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Sun, 26 Feb 2017
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Iran press claims US uses 'all means available' to spy on Iran

© AFP 2016/ ATTA KENARE
As the number of incidents between US and Iranian armed forces in the vicinity of the Islamic Republic's borders continues to increase, it appears that Washington remains insistent to keep assessing Tehran's defensive capabilities using every tool at its disposal.

The most recent incident involved a P-8 and an EP-3 US reconnaissance aircraft that were flying in close proximity to the Iranian border. The planes were contacted by Iranian military and were told to change course or risk being shot down if they violated the Islamic Republic's border.

This is the latest in a series of recent altercations between the US and Iran. The Pentagon claims its ships have been intercepted by Iranian vessels on at least 31 separate occasions since January.

Info

That will be the day: UN Ambassador Churkin says countries that cause instability should pay more to alleviate humanitarian crises

© Carlo Allegri / Reuters
Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the United Nations.
Countries responsible for launching wars and stirring instability should be held accountable and pay a heavy share of the financial burden of aiding devastated regions, Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told RT.

"We believe that, first of all, it should be the responsibility of those countries who actually caused those problems," Churkin said in an interview with RT's Sophie Shevardnadze, referencing Iraq and Libya as examples of countries suffering present-day instability.

"We know what countries caused destabilization in the Middle East, starting with the invasion of Iraq. We know who caused destabilization in Northern Africa with the invasion of Libya," Russia's UN ambassador said in an apparent reference to the United States and its NATO allies.

"Mostly those countries will have to pick up the tab for humanitarian work," he repeated.

Megaphone

Tory MP wants to hold Cameron to account for 'ill conceived' Libya war

© Toby Melville / Reuters
Former PM David Cameron should be summoned to Parliament to account for his decisions during the 'ill-conceived' 2011 Libya war, according to a Tory MP.

The call follows a scathing report by the Foreign Affairs Committee which found Cameron "ultimately responsible" for the disastrous war which plunged the North African state into chaos and led to the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in the region.

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, who sits on the committee, said the former PM, who stepped down as MP a day before the report was published, should be summoned before the committee at the "earliest opportunity."

Comment: Those responsible for the Libyan war need to be held accountable and jailed.

See also: House of Commons report: David Cameron 'ultimately responsible' for Libya collapse and rise of ISIS


Cult

New York Times' Tom Friedman attempts to "bash Putin" - screws up for hubris and stupidity


New York Times nitwit Tom Friedman - with an all-too-large readership
A lame as ever Tom Friedman joins the Putin bashing circus and, as a hundred columnists before him, connects Putin to Trump to hit his real target. But as also characteristically for him, Friedman demonstrates a lack the knowledge and understanding that few others are able to reach. Thus, Putin is bad, because:
A 2015 report in The Moscow Times noted that "life expectancy in Russia has been growing several times slower than in the rest of the world for the past 20 years, according to a research by the U.S.-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation." That coincides almost exactly with Putin's leadership of the country. The article explained, "During the period of 1990-2013 [life expectancy] only grew by 1.8 years in Russia, while the global average number increased by 6.2 years, pushing Russia out of the top 100 countries with the highest life expectancy and placing it in 108th position — between Iraq and North Korea."
Here is graph with the life expectancy in Russia.

Comment: The bastions of (what passes for) "respectable journalism" in the US are coming out full bore to demonize Russian President Putin.See the following for another recent example:

Gutter journalism: Washington Post mocks conspiracy theories - while creating their own about Killary being 'poisoned'


Dollar

Might be the last: IMF approves delayed $1bn tranche to Ukraine

© Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters
A general view shows Independence Square in central Kiev, Ukraine.
After a year's delay the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $1 billion aid tranche for Ukraine from its $17.2 billion bailout program.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has described the IMF decision as "positive."

The amount is less than the originally planned $1.7 billion because some conditions were not met.

So far, Ukraine has received only the first two tranches from its four-year bailout program. Last year the IMF allocated $5 billion in March and $1.7 billion in August.

Comment: This may be the last IMF tranche Kiev gets: Russia sends tough warning to IMF on Ukraine


Snakes in Suits

Surprised US spy agencies divert resources from war on terror to focus on alleged Russian threat

© Larry Downing / Reuters
America's extensive intelligence apparatus is diverting its resources from the war on terror to increase numerous spy agencies' capabilities in gathering intelligence on Russia, a number of US officials told The Washington Post.

As Russia-US relations hit their lowest point in decades, Washington has been refocusing its spying activities on Russia on a scale unprecedented since the end of the Cold War. The Washington Post's sources claim that recent directives from the White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) moved Russia higher up the intelligence priorities list.

Some ten percent of American intelligence resources are now dedicated to gathering information on Russia. US spy agencies continue to increase their personnel dealing with Russia by shifting the resources focus from terrorist threats and US war zones abroad.

Comment: A classic psychopathic view of a non-psychopathic intentions; confusion reigns.


Dollars

Corruption and waste in Afghanistan: Role of US gov't exposed

© Omar Sobhani / Reuters
A new report examining widespread corruption and waste in Afghanistan found that the practice blossomed following the US invasion in 2001. The problem was fed by its slowness to recognize the problem and exacerbated by the injection of tens of billions dollars into the economy with very little oversight.

"Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan" examined how from 2001 to 2014 the US government, through the Department of Defense, State, Treasury and Justice and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) understood the risks of corruption in Afghanistan, how the US evolved its understanding, and the effectiveness of that response.

Comment: Read more on the ongoing corruption in Afghanistan:


Info

UN court official: No chance of Russia compensating Ukraine over Crimea reunification

© Maks Vetrov / Reuters
Participants of a festive event dedicated to the second anniversary of Crimea reuniting with Russia in Yalta.
Ukraine's threats to seek compensation from Russia over its 2014 reunification with Crimea are doomed to failure because they lack any legal grounds, according to an official from a UN arbitration court.

"I have repeatedly heard statements from [Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel] Klimkin in which he promised to file a lawsuit [against Russia] at some international court in the nearest future," Kamil Bekyashev, a member of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, said in comments with Izvestia daily.

"At the same time, he cannot say what particular instance Ukraine is going to address. There is a hierarchy of international court bodies, consisting of the UN International Court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea... But whatever court they turn to, I will be there," Bekyashev added.

Comment: Kiev is broke and looking for any means to find money:


Snakes in Suits

House of Commons report: David Cameron 'ultimately responsible' for Libya collapse and rise of ISIS


The chairman of Britain's Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Crispin Blunt, described the decision to intervene in Libya in 2011 as based on a 'blood-curdling assessment'
The scathing verdict comes just one day after Mr Cameron's sudden announcement that he will leave Westminster immediately

The bloody collapse of Libya - which triggered a refugee crisis and aided the rise of Isis - is blamed today on David Cameron's blunders when he intervened to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi.

A damning report by MPs condemns the 2011 military campaign for lacking both "accurate intelligence" and a coherent strategy for the aftermath of removing the dictator.

The disastrous results were "political and economic collapse", tribal warfare, the refugee crisis, widespread human rights abuses and the rise of Islamic State (IS) in North Africa, fuelled by weapons abandoned by the Gaddafi regime.

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee concludes: "Through his decision-making in the National Security Council, former prime minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy."

Comment: And yet, after calling out Cameron on his part of destroying a whole nation, the British MP's still insist on vilifying and characterizing Gaddafi as "unpredictable," or a danger to his people.

See:


Satellite

Russia's UN Ambassador: US pursuit of military domination hampers space arms ban negotiations

© NASA / Reuters
The US' selfishness and its desire for global military domination accounts for its reluctance to negotiate the ban on the placement and development of weapons in space, and poses a threat to other countries, Russia's UN Ambassador told RT.

"They want to have American military domination, they are not comfortable enough in the world of checks and balances. They don't want much to share power and influence with others," Vitaly Churkin told RT's Sophie Shevardnadze.

"If you imagine that the arms race weapons spread into outer space ... it creates all sorts of problems," Churkin explained. "For example, in terms of the possibility of continued reduction of nuclear weapons. From time to time Washington says that they want to see further negotiations with Russia on the reduction of nuclear weapons, but it's hard to talk about that without keeping in mind the possibility of weapons appearing in outer space. If that were to happen, that would create a completely different strategic situation, much more difficult to regulate."

"So, we will keep pushing an international ban on the deployment of weapons into outer space," the Ambassador added.