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Wed, 25 May 2016
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Moscow warns of dire consequences if Taliban chooses warlord Haqqani as new leader

© fbi.gov
There will be severe consequences if Sirajuddin Haqqani, considered one of the most dangerous warlords in the Middle East, becomes leader of the Taliban following the reported killing of Mullah Akhtar Mansour, a Russian Foreign Ministry official has said.

Haqqani, believed to be in his mid-40s, has been largely cited as a possible successor to Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was reportedly killed in a targeted US drone strike in a remote Pakistani area on Saturday.

"There will be hell to pay" if the Afghan guerrilla commander replaces Mansour, Foreign Ministry official and the Russian president's special representative on Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told Interfax on Monday.

Comment: Thanks, America, for making this possible. And thanks for having the courtesy of letting Islamabad know you were going to carry out this operation over their land... after it had already taken place. Pakistan's foreign ministry responded:
"Pakistan wishes to once again state that the drone attack was a violation of its sovereignty, an issue which has been raised with the United States in the past as well," the ministry said in a statement issued to the media on Sunday.
Islamabad said that US officials informed the country's prime minister and army chief of the strike only after it had been completed. US Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been notified of the air strike in a telephone call, but declined to elaborate on the timing.
Pakistan also accused the US of interfering in the peace process in neighboring Afghanistan, saying that the strike allegedly killing the Taliban leader was carried out amid international talks aimed at drawing the militant organization into negotiations. "A politically negotiated settlement was the only viable option for lasting peace in Afghanistan," the foreign ministry said.
How arrogant. Kind of like announcing a NATO meeting with Russia, without letting the Russians know they were even invited.


Early brainwashing: Poland introduces NATO lessons in schools ahead of Warsaw summit

© Janek Skarzynski / AFP
Polish schoolchildren will start learning about NATO along with national history and other civic studies as Warsaw prepares to host a NATO biennial summit in July.

The Polish Foreign Ministry has proposed introducing classes about NATO that will promote the alliance and explain its role in Poland.

Poland is among the nations at the forefront of the US-backed campaign to put more troops in Eastern Europe. They are justifying the buildup by a perceived threat from Russia, which Moscow denies exists.

Free books about NATO's importance for Poland have also been distributed to every school and library in the country.

"It is a very good idea that experts from the [foreign] ministry or from NATO come to schools," Aleksandra Kusmierz, a civic studies professor at a high school in Stalowa Wola, told the Financial Times. "Every student in my school would have something to say about it," she added.


Leaked tapes expose coup plot against Brazil's Dilma Rousseff, Romero Juca resigns

Recordings detail a conversation involving leading officials in the Brazilian government, seeking a way to end a criminal corruption probe entangling dozens of the country's political figures.

On Monday, Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo revealed a recording of a conversation between the country's planning minister Romero Juca and Sergio Machado, former CEO of state-owned oil company Petrobras subsidiary Transperto, calling for a carefully orchestrated and arguably-legal coup against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

The conversation centered on "changing" the government to "stop the bleeding" revealed by the so-called Car Wash investigation into Petrobras' corrupt practices. Both men are being actively investigated for corruption under the probe, and Juca resigned from his position on Monday.


One of these things is not like the others: Buzzfeed's Libya delusions

Another excellent piece of journalism by Borzou Daragahi ...
Buzzfeed, May 23 2016
No, U.S. Ground Troops Aren't Headed To Libya Anytime Soon

"... there won't be boots on the ground anytime soon."
Well ...

Comment: Further reading:


Residents evacuate Fallujah as Iraqi troops begin op to retake city from ISIS

© Sabah Arar / AFP
An offensive to retake the besieged city of Fallujah from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has begun, Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi announced on Sunday. Local residents have been told to evacuate via secured routes.

"Zero hour for the liberation of Fallujah has arrived. The moment of great victory has drawn near and Daesh [derogatory term for IS] has no choice but to flee," Abadi posted on his Twitter account.

The Iraqi offensive will see the army, police counterterrorism units, local tribal fighters, and a coalition of Shiite Muslim militias join forces. Meanwhile, air support will most likely be provided by the US-led coalition.

Comment: Yep, the same Fallujah that was destroyed by U.S. forces in 2004. This comes as U.S.-backed SDF rebels are preparing their assault on Daesh in Raqqa, Syria, from three axes. But as usual, the Americans probably have ulterior motives:
Pentagon plan: Convert Daesh caliphate into US-backed Syrian rebel redoubt. When have they ever done anything for purely humanitarian purposes, let alone for the Syrian people? Meanwhile, the Russians-Syrians-Iranians launched an offensive on Shaer, Homs, outside Palmyra. Russian jets and marines are reportedly participating in the offensive. Daesh is on the retreat.


Propaganda alert! Europol sez: 'New Daesh terror threatens Europe'

© Flickr/ Thierry Ehrmann
Lawmakers in the European Parliament are Monday (May 23) discussing the latest report from Europol on the changing modus operandi of Daesh, also known as ISIL, that says terrorists have developed an external action command trained for special forces style attacks.

Members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, are set to discuss the implications of the latest assessment of the threat from Daesh by Europol that predicts:

"[Daesh] inspired terrorists or another religiously inspired terrorist group will undertake a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe again, but particularly in France, intended to cause mass casualties amongst the civilian population."

Comment: The report was written earlier this year, but it's timely as can be. Consider: Merkel Admits 'Grave Concerns' Over Turkey as Migrant Deal Enters Brexit Row. Daesh would not be a threat without Turkish support (not to mention U.S. support).


Truth be told: Saudi press just accused US Govt of blowing up World Trade Centers as pretext to perpetual war

In response to the U.S. Senate's unanimous vote to allow 9/11 victims' families to sue Saudi Arabia in federal court, a report published in the London-based Al-Hayat daily, by Saudi legal expert Katib al-Shammari, claims that the U.S. masterminded the terror attacks as a means of creating a nebulous "enemy" in order garner public support for a global war on terror.

The report by al-Shammari, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), claims that long-standing American policy is "built upon the principle of advance planning and future probabilities," which the U.S. has now turned toward the Saudi regime after being successfully employed against first the Taliban and al-Qaeda, then Saddam Hussein and his secular Baathist controlled Iraq.

Al-Shammari claims the recent U.S. threats to "expose" documents implicating the Saudi government are simply the continuation of a U.S. policy, which he refers to as "victory by means of archive." He highlights that during the initial invasion of Iraq, under George H.W. Bush, Saddam Hussein was left alive and in power to be used as "a bargaining chip," but upon deciding that he was "no longer an ace up their sleeve" Washington moved to topple his government and install a U.S.-backed ruling party.

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 are now the "ace up the sleeve" of the U.S. government, according to al-Shammari.
"September 11 is one of winning cards in the American archives, because all the wise people in the world who are experts on American policy and who analyze the images and the videos [of 9/11] agree unanimously that what happened in the [Twin] Towers was a purely American action, planned and carried out within the U.S. Proof of this is the sequence of continuous explosions that dramatically ripped through both buildings... Expert structural engineers demolished them with explosives, while the planes crashing [into them] only gave the green light for the detonation - they were not the reason for the collapse. But the U.S. still spreads blame in all directions. [This policy] can be dubbed 'victory by means of archives."
The impetus behind the attacks, writes al-Shammari, was to create "an obscure enemy - terrorism - which became what American presidents blamed for all their mistakes" and that would provide justification for any "dirty operation" in any nation.

Light Sabers

Going against the plan: Why the psychopath neocons hate fascist Trump

© REUTERS/ Rhona Wise
Donald Trump's recent speech on foreign policy has been roundly condemned by the US foreign establishment. It has also been ridiculed as confusing and contradictory.

​This is a misrepresentation. Whilst Trump did not provide a detailed programme — to have done so in the middle of an election would have been unwise — his underlying message is clear enough.

​Instead of a foreign policy based on an ideology centred on US world hegemony, "exceptionalism" and "democracy promotion" Trump promises a foreign policy straightforwardly based on the pursuit of US national interests.

To understand what that would mean in practice consider the contrast between what the US public wants and what the US has actually done under successive US administrations.

Whereas the US public since 9/11 has been overwhelmingly focused on jihadi terrorism as the greatest threat to the US, the US foreign policy establishment is only minimally interested in that question. Its priority is to secure US world hegemony by reshaping the world geopolitical map.

Light Sabers

Liberation of Raqqa from ISIS would be comparable to capture of Berlin in WWII

© REUTERS/ Rodi Said
The upcoming liberation of the Syrian city of Raqqa from the terrorist group Daesh can be compared geopolitically to the capture of Berlin during World War II, member of political division of the Social-Nationalist Party of Syria, Tariq al-Ahmad said.

Earlier it was reported that the Syrian Democratic Forces will start a large-scale operation to liberate the 'capital' city of Daesh terrorists, Raqqa.

"In general, I believe that Raqqa is symbolic due to the presence of Daesh and it is declared as their capital by them. Taking back Raqqa can be compared with the capture of Berlin in World War II. I say this in a political and geopolitical sense," al-Ahmad said.

He further said that in his opinion whoever takes back Raqqa will majorly stand out in the world in symbolic terms.

"It will be considered a major victory over Daesh as I think it is very important to unite joint efforts of Russians, Iranians and other allies, so that the Syrian Army can enter Raqqa," al-Ahmad stressed.


World Bank announces new pandemic insurance program to mobilize funds for virulent diseases

© AFP/Marco Longari
A nursing mother at Kailahun, West Africa hospital
The World Bank announced Saturday a new program to mobilize funds quickly against virulent disease outbreaks after the world was caught unprepared in the 2014 Ebola disaster in West Africa.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the new Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) will accelerate global and national responses to disease outbreaks that threaten large populations and fragile economies.

He said the PEF, a combination of catastrophe insurance and bonds, is a direct reaction to the sluggish donor response to the outbreak of Ebola, which eventually killed close to 11,000 in West Africa and shut down economic activity for months.

"Pandemics pose a serious threat to global health and economic security," said Kim. "The recent Ebola crisis in West Africa was a tragedy that we were simply not prepared for. It was a wake-up call to the entire world." "There is no effective international system ready to respond quickly to a pandemic."

Kim, a medical doctor and expert on health and disease in developing countries, put the World Bank in the lead of the response to Ebola at the time. But he acknowledged that it took months to bring together the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to pay for deploying health personnel, supplies, and other relief to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. In the meantime, he said, the death toll rose ten-fold.