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Unofficial US-North Korea talks dropped after State Department denies visa to top official

© Reuters
North Korea (L) and U.S. flags
The first talks planned between Washington and Pyongyang in years have reportedly been canceled, as the US State Department denied entry to a high-level North Korean diplomat, with the North's recent missile tests and Kim Jong Nam's murder also possible factors.

The low-key talks between former US officials and Choe Son Hui, the director-general of the American affairs bureau in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, were set to take place between March 1 and 2 in New York, but Choe was denied a visa, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The rationale behind scuttling the meeting was not immediately clear, but the report said Pyongyang's latest ballistic missile test and the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, may have played a role.

Bad Guys

The Georgian connection: How American weapons are being smuggled to Syria - and who's profiting from it

Mikhail Saakashvili and John McCain: Two peas in an arms smuggling pod
Former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili still enjoys close ties with various American organizations, involving USAID, which traffics weapons under the cover of agricultural projects in West Georgia, close to Zugdidi - as one of the key sources of this article explains, "I have told you in previous articles, and interview with the Georgian press, ones which were not interesting enough at the time to be published, or the time was not ripe, or it wasn't politically expedient. Georgia is an integral part of the so-called "ratline" of weapons and fighters to Syria.

The official DoD definition of ratline is: "An organised effort to move personnel and/or material by clandestine means across a denied area or border".

Megis Kardava, as various source explained interviews with the Georgian Press, is in Turkey under the protection of the Turkish and American intelligence services, as he is the person most directly responsible for the flow of weapons and fighters into Turkey and Syria.

Panalpina and Evergreen, are companies involved in weapons trafficking, are [always] ready to accept goods and deliver-to-the-given-destination. One of the main companies involved in the weapons shipments to Georgia and Syria is Dillon Aero, which works out of the State of Arizona. This is one of the reasons John McCain and John Kerry made recent visits to Georgia, they are afraid of what might be revealed under a Trump presidency.

Eye 1

Who's responsible for the rising number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the US?

The executive order denying entry to visa travelers from seven Muslim countries signed by Donald Trump shortly after his inauguration hasn't just sparked controversies among Americans on migration policies, but aggravated the large Muslim community that dwells in the United States. The media campaign that followed this order pursued the sole objective of accusing Trump of anti-Muslim policies.

However, it must be noted that this latest executive order temporarily freezing immigration from seven predominantly Islamic countries would affect only about 12% of the world's Muslims, according to estimates from a 2015 Pew Research Center report on the current and projected size of religious groups. Out of the seven states listed in the new immigration ban, only Iran is to be found among the 10 countries with the largest Muslim populations.

Quenelle - Golden

Russia's military experience in Syria has only made her stronger

Russia's powerful, resourceful military has sent Washington running for the hills

A permanent peace is still a long way off for Syria — please, don't even mention Geneva, it will give us digestion issues — but there is a silver lining to this genocidal, western-manufactured war: Russia has effectively ended Washington's global hegemony.

The Syrians, Russians and Iranians have all paid a high price, but the message is clear: Washington's game of "regime change" dominoes — which has gone on for decades, but became particularly brutal and unapologetic after 9/11 — is over.

Comment: Not only has this crisis made the Russian military stronger, but the Syrian Army is tough as nails too. If anyone wanted to see Syria removed as a threat from the Middle East they've failed. Check out:

Russia creates elite Syrian Army unit to hunt down ISIS
The Russian military has formed a new Syrian Arab Army (SAA) unit to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization in Syria's vast desert terrain.

Known as the "ISIS Hunters," the Syrian Arab Army unit was funded and trained by Russian Special Forces in Latakia before being deployed to the volatile Palmyra front in the eastern countryside of the Homs Governorate. These Russian-trained soldiers are specialized in defending and protecting government facilities in desolate areas around the country.

Blue Planet

Eurasia integration: A three-speed affair

© Wikipedia
Europe, relatively integrated, lives today in a de facto two-speed reality. Eurasia integration, a work in progress and with vastly more reach, is for the moment a three-speed process, as seen through the positioning of three Central Asian "stans".

Away from the hysterical 24/7 news cycle, Turkmenistan quietly went to the polls. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, in power for 10 years now, amassed a positively North Korean 97.69% of the vote among 3.22 million registered citizens.

Chances are Gurbanguly's name will never be correctly pronounced in the Beltway, as Melissa 'Spicey" McCarthy hinted in a by now legendary TV sketch. No worries for someone who had a gold statue of himself erected in Ashgabat and doubles as a superstar folk singer.


35 people killed, dozens injured as bombers attack military facilities in Homs, Syria

© Sputnik/ Ilya Pitalev
Terror act in Homs
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near military facilities in the Syrian city of Homs.

Over 35 people are dead and multiple injured, RIA Novosti source reported from the scene.

The head of the military security department in the Syrian province of Homs is reported dead as a result of the attack.

"The number of casualties has reached 35 people, dozens injured. More than six suicide bombers blew themselves up near only two objects belonging to the security forces. General Hassan Daabul, the head of the military security department for the province of Homs is among the dead," the source told the agency.

"From what is known so far, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the city of Homs. One — near the building of the state security department, the second — near the department of military intelligence. It is impossible to say exactly how many people were killed or wounded at the moment" the source told the agency.

Stock Up

Crimea's revenues have doubled within three years since reunification with Russia

Crimea's budget revenue figures have nearly doubled from those of the Ukraine era.

The head of Russia's Crimean Republic, Sergey Aksyonov, has revealed that the Republic's revenue figures have nearly doubled those which were being earned by the peninsula during the best days under Ukraine's rule.

While Crimea was under Kiev's control, its budget never exceeded 22 billion roubles. Compare that with the 40.6 billion rubles which the Republic managed to earn in tax revenue and from other sources in 2016. It's important to note that this figure doesn't even include federal aid money from Moscow.

Comment: Crimea has been thriving since its reunification with Russia, in stark contrast to Ukraine where most Ukrainians are now living below the poverty line.

2 + 2 = 4

Moscow appoints acting permanent representative to UN after Vitaly Churkin's death

Ilyichev will head Russia's diplomatic mission until the appointment of the new Permanent Representative

© AP Photo/Richard Drew
Pyotr Ilyichev
Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Pyotr Ilyichev has been appointed as acting Permanent Representative to the organization after Vitaly Churkin's unexpected death, according to a representative of Russian Foreign Ministry's press service.

"Pyotr Ilyichev has become acting Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations," he said. Ilyichev will head Russia's diplomatic mission until the appointment of the new Permanent Representative


Soros-linked ex-Clinton staffer behind 'organized' townhall protests

"Democrats are in disbelief that they have nothing but flailing and screaming to deal with this."
Confirming the suspicions of Republican Chair of the House Committee on Oversight, Jason Chaffetz's comments last week, that protesters were an organized mob, FreeBeacon reports show that a group founded by a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer is behind 'The Townhall Project' and its parent company is located at the same address as an organization funded by liberal billionaire George Soros.

As a reminder, two weeks ago we observed that according to Chaffetz, town-hall protests are far from spontaneous, organic events, and were in fact carefully orchestrated events, which saw protesters "bused" in from afar:
Chaffetz shot back, and told KSL that the raucous reception he received at Thursday evening's town hall meeting was "bullying and an attempt at intimidation" from a crowd opposed to President Donald Trump's election. More importantly, the republican accused paid interests (here the name of George Soros has been heard frequently in recent months) of orchestrating the rising protests and violence at Republican townhalls. Chaffets said the crowd that filled the auditorium at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights and spilled over into a protest outside, included people brought in from other states to disrupt the meeting.

"Absolutely. I know there were," he said, suggesting it was "more of a paid attempt to bully and intimidate" than a reflection of the feelings of his 3rd District constituents.

"You could see it online a couple days before, a concerted effort in part to just cause chaos," the Utah Republican said Friday.

Comment: Soros is bringing his color revolution template home.


Russia to veto UNSC resolution imposing sanctions on Syria - envoy

Russia will veto the UN Security Council's draft resolution imposing sanctions on Syria over alleged chemical attacks Damascus is blamed for, Russia's Deputy Permanent Represented to the UN Vladimir Safronkov told reporters on Friday after the UN Security Council's closed session.

"I clearly defined my position to the partners, saying that given it (the draft resolution) will be submitted for voting we will veto it, and they know about it," Safronkov said, noting the draft resolution "prejudges results of the investigation" conducted by experts of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The draft resolution is one-sided and "based on insufficient evidence," he said.