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Fri, 20 Apr 2018
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Egypt to resume military exercises with US after 8-year hiatus

James Mattis General Amer
US Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) and Egypt's Central Military Zone Commander General Ayman Abdelhamid Amer stand for the playing of the US national anthem following Mattis' arrival to place a wreath at the memorial of the Unknown Soldier in Cairo on April 20, 2017.
Egypt has announced that it will resume hosting joint military exercises with the United States following an eight-year hiatus.

Colonel Tamer el-Rifai, an Egyptian military spokesman, said Tuesday that the two countries would begin the 10-day maneuver on September 10.

Egypt and the US began the drills, known as the "Bright Star", in 1981 and staged it each two years until 2011 when former US President Barack Obama decided to suspend the action following a popular uprising that led to the ouster of the long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak. The Obama administration then cancelled the exercises after a democratically-elected government was removed from power in a coup led by then army chief and current president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The military strongman was elected to power next year but failed to convince Washington to resume the drills as the White House felt increasing pressure over its inaction to deal with human rights abuses in Egypt.

Comment: It appears the US is propositioning Egypt using a variety of methods. To be sure, none of this has anything to do with 'human rights'. That's just political speak the US uses to pressure other countries and to indicate displeasure over some rebellious response that doesn't abide with complete submission.


France defense minister decides to arm surveillance and intelligence drones

France drone
© Philippe Desmazes / AFP
France will soon begin arming its surveillance and intelligence drones, the country's defense minister has announced, saying the move will help France's military become "more effective" and allow it to better use its fighter jets and helicopters.

"I decided to begin the process of arming our intelligence and surveillance drones," Defense Minister Florence Parly said in a speech in the southeastern French city of Toulon, as quoted by AFP.

The decision will initially apply to the six unarmed Reaper surveillance drones that France bought from the US, Parly said, adding that the UAVs will be armed from 2019.

Most of those UAVs are based in Africa's Sahel region, and are being used in the fight against Islamic extremists, according to AP.

According to Parly, the drones will "pose a permanent threat to armed terrorist groups" in the areas where the country's military operates.

Light Sabers

Vladimir Putin: 'It is difficult to talk to people who confuse Austria and Australia'

Vladimir Putin

It is difficult to talk to people who confuse Austria and Australia. But there is nothing we can do about this; this is the level of political culture among part of the American establishment. As for the American people, America is truly a great nation if the Americans can put up with so many politically uncivilised people.

Vladimir Putin

Wow. Even though I have just written a commentary on the level of frustration and, frankly, contempt, the Russians are feeling towards their American counterparts, these words by Vladimir Putin are truly a slap in the face that will resonate around the world for a long time to come even if the imperial corporate media makes another herculean effort at not noticing them. I can only repeated what I said in my previous article, I have never ever heard anything even remotely resembling the kind of language coming out of Russia today.

By the way, Putin confirmed what I wrote yesterday when he said: "The Americans had the right to reduce the number of our diplomatic offices. It is another matter altogether that they have done this in way that was absolutely uncivil". Had the Americans just expelled any number of diplomats or closed some Russian diplomatic facilities the Russians would have accepted that as "played by the rules". But Trump and the intellectual midgets surrounding him decided to publicly humiliate Russia and instead ended up ridiculing themselves. Yesterday, another well-know Russian politician, Sergei Markov, referred to the American leadership as "amoral pygmies"!

To say that the Russians are unimpressed by Trump's thuggery is an understatement.


One third of Turkey's judicial branch affiliated with Gulen movement, says top judicial official

Ismail Rustu Cirit
© Photo by Anadolu news agency
Chairman of the Turkish Supreme Court Ismail Rustu Cirit delivers a speech during a ceremony at the Supreme Court of Appeals in Ankara, Turkey, on September 5, 2017.
A high-ranking Turkish judicial official says almost one-third of the country's judicial staff have been affiliated to the movement of US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Ankara government accuses of having masterminded the failed July 15 coup attempt.

On Tuesday, Chairman of the Supreme Court Ismail Rustu Cirit described it as "discouraging" that members of the Turkish judicial institution have had a role in acts of terror.

"There is nothing more confidence-shaking for the society than to see almost one-third of judges and prosecutors, who are supposed to be entirely trustworthy, have been involved in terrorist activities," Cirit commented.

During the July 15 botched putsch last year, a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had seized control of the country and the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was no more in charge. The attempt was, however, suppressed a few hours later.

Comment: Remember, when you hear 'Gulen', just replace that with 'US intelligence' and you'll get a picture of just how deeply the US has influenced Turkey's governance.


Understaffed Intelligence Committees lean on ex-spies to oversee spy agencies

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
© Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
Lawmakers assigned to oversee the sprawling U.S. intelligence apparatus rely strongly on a staff that in recent years has included scores of onetime spooks, analysts and lawyers who previously worked at the spy agencies under scrutiny.

According to a comprehensive analysis by McClatchy, at least one-third, and perhaps far more, of the professional staff members who carry out the work of the House and Senate intelligence committees are themselves veterans of the agencies that the two panels oversee.

That reliance raises questions about how effectively the two oversight committees carry out supervision of a swelling intelligence empire that now employs some 107,000 people with a combined budget projected to reach $78.4 billion next year.

Some national security experts see little problem as long as the spy agencies thwart any repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks - and so far, the agencies have succeeded. Their triumphs are secret, and largely unheralded.

Arrow Up

Putin calls out US folly - 'Low political culture' of American leaders

President Vladimir Putin
© AP Photo/Wu Hong
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries on the sideline of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China, Sept. 5, 2017.
Speaking at the BRICS summit this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin deplored the "low political culture" of American leaders.

"It is difficult to dialogue with such people," said Putin, adding: "You can do nothing about it."

Less diplomatically, what the Russian president was lamenting is this: the incorrigible stupidity of US leaders.

To say that is not merely about making a facetious swipe at American politicians. Far more seriously, it points to how difficult and dangerous international relations are when a major party is so evidently obtuse to reason and facts.

As if to illustrate the point, while Putin was castigating American low political culture, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was opening her mouth to release more of her habitually inane remarks.

Haley told the UN Security Council on Monday that North Korea "was begging for war" and she affected a hilariously innocent pose, saying: "War is never something the United States wants."

What? This is from an envoy whose country has been in a state of permanent war over the past two decades, and which at times has been bombing seven countries simultaneously in flagrant violation of international law.

For the American envoy to make such a patently false rendering of reality is beyond stupid. It is dangerously delusional. This is what Putin was referring to when he said it is difficult to dialogue with such people. It's like trying to reason with someone who's psychotic.


Russia drafts UN Security Council resolution to send peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine

UN peacekeeper
© Reuters
Russia has proposed a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on sending UN peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine, to provide security for the OSCE monitoring mission after President Putin voiced the idea.

Russia has introduced a draft resolution to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the establishment of a UN mission that would provide security for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors working in eastern Ukraine, the Russian UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, told journalists.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Foreign Ministry to submit the draft after voicing the idea at a press conference following the three-day BRICS summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen.

"I consider the presence of peacekeepers, or rather people who would provide security for the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] mission, absolutely appropriate, and see nothing wrong with it," the Russian leader said.

Bad Guys

A 'conspiracy theory' no more: Google is the NSA's branch of information warfare

google cia nsa
Google wants to be Big Brother's eyeballs on you. All us Internet gurus knew this since before the NSA was found out spying on everybody. But now the Mountain View boys are more determined than ever to filter your information, and to obliterate any semblance of truth reaching people.

If I had led into an article with that paragraph even five years ago, I'd have been instantly labeled a "conspiracy theorist" or worse. How about now dear reader? Is the idea the technocrats and their huge monied handlers want to run you crazy? I didn't think so. But if you need proof beyond the obvious, Google'S 160-page handbook tells us all exactly how they plan to spoon feed us only "their" news. The lengthy handbook is a heavy read for the average person, but the book does lay out an Orwellian machination unlike anything seen since the Nazi propaganda machine of Hitler. Pay close attention to the "instructional" on page 108 where Google dictates who does and does not meet rating criteria. The section under Fails to Meet (FailsM) is a steamrolling of the free press, and suggested hiding certain kinds of sites:
"Pages that directly contradict well established historical facts (e.g., unsubstantiated conspiracy theories), unless the query clearly indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint."

Comment: The above is not a surprise to the keen information warrior. It should be noted that even with the vast resources of the NSA, CIA, etc. that they've gone into overdrive in trying to maintain their hold on information. In doing so, they continually reveal themselves to a growing portion of the population.


Putin explains reluctance to reveal presidential campaign plans

Vladimir Putin
© Grygory Sysoev / Sputnik
Vladimir Putin has said that he does not want to announce his plans concerning the 2018 presidential elections because this could paralyze all political and administrative work in the country.

"I have said it before and I can say it again - as soon as they announce election campaigns in our country, everyone immediately stops working. I know this firsthand," the Russian president told reporters at a press conference after the BRICS summit in China.

"This is because they all start thinking about what will happen after the elections, who will be working where. But we have to work right now, everyone in his place, be active and never let your attention get away from your field of work," Putin added.

"I am sure that those who want to participate in the presidential elections will announce this in the time that is set in the law."


BRICS consider expanding construction of high-speed Eurasian railway

High speed train
The issue which will be discussed during the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia seeks to pool the strength of the BRICS with the ambition of One Belt-One Road.

China's One Belt-One Road trading and commerce initiative has seen China extend high speed rail and modern highway networks in its own country as well as in that of neighboring Pakistan. The ever expanding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a testament to the power of modern infrastructure projects to unite Asian partners.

Transporting goods across Russia's expansive territory is a further goal of One Belt-One Road. The practical realities of easily achieving this are largely predicated on constructing ultra-modern railways which would begin in China, travel through Russia, with a terminus in Europe.