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US Navy sends ship to Russia’s Far East, reportedly prepares to enter Black Sea

RT | December 5, 2018

An American destroyer sailed off the Russian coast, near the Pacific Fleet base in Vladivostok, in a first such stunt since the Cold War. Another US ship is expected in the Black Sea soon, amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The USS MCCampbell (DDG-85) went into the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay to “challenge Russia’s excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea” enjoyed by the US and others, Lieutenant Rachel McMarr, a spokesperson for the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.

The US Navy calls such stunts “Freedom of Navigation Operations” (FONOP). The last time a FONOP was conducted in this area was 1987, at the peak of Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union.

“These operations demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” McMarr said. “That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe.”

Peter the Great Bay was named after the first emperor of Russia, and is dotted with bases of the Russian Pacific Fleet. The presence of a US destroyer in the area is comparable to a Russian sail-by of San Diego, California or Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Washington does not recognize Russia’s territorial claims in the Sea of Japan, with a Navy official telling CNN they far exceed the 12 nautical mile limit guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). While Russia has ratified the convention, the US has not.

That is not all, however. The US Navy could also be planning to send a warship into the Black Sea in the near future. CNN reported that the State Department has notified Turkey of the intent to send a warship through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which requires a 15-day notice under the terms of the 1936 Montreux Convention.

The 1936 treaty also limits the presence of ships from nations that don’t border the Black Sea to a maximum of 21 days. The US last had a ship in the area back in October.

Anonymous US officials told CNN the move was a response to last month’s incident between Russian coast guard ships and three Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, which connects the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.

“We routinely conduct operations to advance security and stability throughout the US 6th Fleet area of operations to include the international waters and airspace of the Black Sea,” fleet spokesman Commander Kyle Raines told CNN.

The US has also repeatedly sent ships to the parts of East China Sea claimed by Beijing, drawing repeated protests from China – most recently last week, when the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) sailed through the area.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian primary school in al-Khalil

IMEMC News | December 5, 2018

Israeli soldiers invaded, Wednesday, the Sammoa’ town, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and demolished a Palestinian school.

Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers surrounded Seemia area, north of the Sammoa’ town, and declared it a closed military zone, preventing the Palestinians from entering it.

They added that the soldiers then used their armored bulldozers to demolish the Tahadi 13 small school of several classrooms and their facilities.

The school was sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education through European funding, with a total cost of 40,000 Euros, and was supposed to open in two days.

The Ministry of Education denounced the ongoing Israeli violations, targeting educational facilities and students, and added that the school is located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli military and administrative control.

The school was built to make it easier for students in that area to reach it, especially due to Israeli military roadblocks and restrictions imposed by the military in various areas of Hebron.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers have demolished many Tahadi schools in that same area, and other parts of the West Bank, as part of Israel’s illegal attempts to confiscate the lands to use them for military purposes and colonialist activities.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 3 Comments

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine continues in Fasayil

International Solidarity Movement in coordination with Jordan Valley Solidarity | December 4, 2018

Fasayil al Wusta, Occupied Palestine – The ethnic cleansing of Palestine continues. Dunum by dunum, village by village, house by house, the people of Palestine face a slow, systematic genocide in their homeland. Two houses were demolished in the south of the Jordan Valley, in the village of Fasayil, on Sunday morning. The Israeli government did not issue a warning. The village of 1,300 people has been facing Israeli assaults on their land since the early seventies, with the construction of two settlements on either side, and a huge farmland in front of them, all less than a kilometre away.

But it was in 2010 that the Israelis came and virtually destroyed the entire village of Fasayil al Wusta. The residents have, since then, built the village back up.

Hassan Mohammed Hussein A´Zayed built a house for his son, who suffers from mental disabilities, and is sensitive to hot weather. “That house cost me 15,000 shekels to build, not only because of building materials, but because of the air conditioning (unit),” he said. The house only lasted one year before it was bulldozed on Sunday, the AC unit along with it.

A few metres in front of the newly destroyed house, one can see at least three other piles of rubble that used to be housing units, all belonging to Hassan. This was the seventh time a house of his was demolished. “They keep destroying them. Sometimes with warning, sometimes not. It´s a random policy. There´s no way of knowing what they´re going to do.” Hassan has 8 children.

Aeman Rashaeda, father of four, whose wife teaches at the nearby school, was the next to lose his house, on the same road as Hassan´s. When the Israelis approached him, they told him that it was forbidden to build, and that he was living in a closed military firing zone.

When the complete destruction of the village took place 8 years ago, 10 families immediately fled. This is a village that receives only 1,500 litres of water for each household per week; that can never get a permit to farm or build; that cannot dig a well deeper than 150 meters, enforced by Israeli occupation law.

Before the 1967 invasion of the West Bank, this village shared water from a natural spring 4 kilometers up a nearby mountain. It has, since then, been surrounded by 3 Israeli wells – the water now privatised – controlled for settler use. 60 percent of the Jordan Valley has been closed by the Israeli occupation for “military firing and security zone(s)”, but it´s been well known for years to have actually been used for agribusiness. Pick any one feature of the military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and you will find a policy of theft, of racism, of genocide.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Mueller’s Farce Rages On: Flynn Colluded With Foreign Power, but Not Russia

By Kit Klarenberg – Sputnik – 05.12.2018

Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, has provided “substantial” assistance to special counsel Robert Mueller’s controversial investigation and should be spared jail, court filings revealed December 4.

In two separate documents, both heavily redacted, Mueller’s team said Flynn participated in 19 interviews with the special counsel or other Justice Department officers, and provided relevant documents and communications, including “firsthand information about” contact between Trump administration staff and the Russian government”. Consequently, he deserves credit for “accepting responsibility in a timely fashion and substantially assisting the government”.

“Additionally, the defendant’s decision to plead guilty and cooperate likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming with the [special counsel] and cooperate,” they added.

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan is scheduled to sentence Flynn December 18 — federal sentencing guidelines call for the General to receive up to six months in prison.

Where’s the Beef?

Many mainstream journalists and pundits have made much of the filings despite their almost total information deficit, suggesting the insights provided by Flynn could amount to the bombshell proof of collusion they’ve desperately craved for so long.

However, few if any have acknowledged a crucial qualifier — the filings specifically refer to “the content and context of interactions between [Trump’s] transition team and the Russian government”, in other words any contact that took place during the 73-days between election day (November 8 2016) and inauguration day (January 20 2017).

Thus, Flynn providing “substantial” information to investigators is hardly significant. After all, he was in the first place indicted for lying to investigators about his own contact with Kremlin representatives during the transition process — which wouldn’t have been criminal or even occurred unless there was an official investigation in the first place — a charge he pled guilty to in December 2017.

As a result, the focus of Mueller’s probe into Flynn’s activities was always destined to be the two-and-a-half-months leading up to Trump’s ‘swearing in’ as President — and contact that took place between the President-elect’s staff and Russian officials during this period is certainly no indication of pre-election collusion of any kind.

Moreover, the virtually total redaction of the documents — which has been widely mocked on social media — by definition gives no hint as to the type of information Flynn has provided to investigators. That his name has been entirely absent from any of the other Russia-related legal actions the special counsel has pursued over the past 12-months may be highly notable indeed.

In a sense then, it’s arguable the documents are in fact merely further confirmation Mueller’s probe will not uncover explosive evidence of a long-running, secret relationship between Trump and the Russian state.

Backroom Deals

Still, the detail of Flynn’s contact with Kremlin representatives is certainly worthy of investigation, for it does point to collaboration between Trump’s team and a foreign power — albeit not Russia.

In December 2016, Flynn — supported by other transition staff- launched a diplomatic bid to sink a UN Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlement expansion, which outgoing President Barack Obama had unprecedentedly allowed to go ahead.

“The effort represented a fitful first foray into global diplomacy by Trump’s transition team, bearing hallmarks that have become familiar in the weeks since he took office — their efforts were marked by a brusque disregard for diplomatic protocol and a hasty pressure campaign that changed few, if any, minds,” Foreign Policy magazine assessed.

This “pressure campaign” was launched after the direct urging of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and saw Flynn contact then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, and ask him to ensure Russia voted against the resolution.

In the end, the initiative was a miserable failure, with not a single country changing its vote — including those, such as the UK, which had made clear they wished to forge positive relations with the incoming administration.

Nonetheless, no matter the efficacy of the operation (or lack thereof) the attempt still amounts to backstair collusion in service of subverting official US government policy, although one wouldn’t perhaps know it from media coverage of the conspiracy (or, again, lack thereof).

The “pressure campaign” is rendered all the more suspicious and sinister given Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role as co-director of a foundation funding the construction of Israeli settlements on financial records he filed with the Office of Government Ethics, an obvious and scandalous potential conflict of interest which went virtually unreported by news outlets — much less condemned.

Moreover, that Trump enthusiastically pledged to relocate the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on the campaign trail — one of the few pre-election promises he has upheld as of December 2018 — is also worthy of examination, which yet again has so far been unforthcoming in the US mainstream.

At the very least, Tel Aviv has gotten far more out of the President than Moscow ever has — and the lack of outrage or censure over the Trump administration’s demonstrable and proven collusion with Israel lies in stark contrast to the inexorable denunciation of entirely speculative and unproven supposed collusion between the President and the Kremlin.

An explanation for this deep and cohering divergence may lie in Kushner’s December 2017 appearance at billionaire Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban’s annual forum on US-Israel relations.

In a conversation between the pair, Saban thanked Kushner for his role in Flynn’s failed “pressure campaign”.

“As far as I know, there’s nothing illegal there…I think this crowd and myself want to thank you for making that effort, so thank you very much,” he said.

Saban’s comments were especially notable given he is and was not a Trump supporter or donor — instead, he’s the largest contributor to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s political activities, donating in excess of US$25 million to the pair over the years, and funding the Clinton Library and the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the process.

Sound and Fury

The specifics of Mueller’s indictment of Trump fixer Michael Cohen are also problematic for ‘RussiaGate’ proponents, although none have so far admitted it.

On November 29, Cohen pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to Congress about his role in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to construct Trump Tower Moscow, after he gave false written answers in order to “minimize links” between the Moscow project and Trump, and “give the false impression” the initiative it was abandoned earlier than it in fact was.

Cohen explained to prosecutors he was deceptive out of loyalty to the President — although what he attempted to cover up barely seems worth suppressing. For some time, Trump’s former attorney communicated with Felix Sater about the project, who’d promised to secure Russian financing — whether private or governmental — for the proposal — but no Russian supporter could be found after months of hot air, infuriating Cohen.

“You’re putting my job in jeopardy and making me look incompetent, I gave you two months and the best you send me is some bullshit garbage invite by some no name clerk at a third-tier bank,” Cohen wrote in an email to Sater December 31 2015.

Losing patience with Sater’s ludicrous promises, Cohen decided to get in touch with Russian officials himself — but lacking any contact details, he was reduced to writing to a generic email address attached to Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary. He ended up reaching Peskov’s assistant, and evidently no further — for Russian financing — or even permits — didn’t ever materialize.

Sater is said to have vainly tried to save the project, allegedly suggesting none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin be given a penthouse in the complex in order to cultivate Kremlin interest in the project, but the deal eventually collapsed entirely — and it’s highly doubtful Trump was ever apprised of the bizarre proposal, let alone Putin himself.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Is China Really More “Dystopian” Than The UK?

By Andrew KORYBKO – Oriental Review – 05/12/2018

RT reported that the UK’s so-called “National Data Analytics Solution” will see an algorithm process whichever of 30 separate data points have been recorded about a person in local and national police databases in order to predict which members of the population are most likely to commit a crime or be victimized by one, after which the state will dispatch local health and social workers to offer “counseling” to them in an attempt to prevent the computer’s envisioned scenario from transpiring. This program is being likened to the 2002 film “Minority Report” and carries with it a vibe of China’s controversial “social credit” system, albeit without any “rewards” being offered for law-abiding behavior. In fact, one can actually make the claim that instead of the UK copying China to a degree, it was actually China that learned from the UK seeing as how the island nation’s mass surveillance system used to be far ahead of the communist nation’s one.

The problem with “pre-crime” technology, however, is that it straddles the fine line between security and liberty in what is supposed to be a “democracy”, therefore making it uncomfortably out of place in the UK while being much more natural to implement in centrally controlled societies like China’s. While the European country insincerely pretends to be a “democracy” in the Western sense of how this system is commonly assumed to function, the East Asian one makes no such pretenses and is proud of having a different organizational model, which should be doubly disturbing for any British citizen because it means that their “democratically elected government” is actually less forthcoming about its nationwide surveillance strategy than comparatively more centralized China’s is. No value judgement is being made about either country’s governing system, but the purpose of this comparison is to point out the surprising similarities between the two that are usually lost on most observers.

For as much as China is demonized for taking proactive security measures against Uighurs who the state fears are at risk of succumbing to terrorist ideologies, the UK will essentially be channeling the same spirit of this strategy through its “National Data Analytics Solution” with what can only be assumed are the ethno-socio minority groups in the country that are statistically more at risk of committing crimes or being victimized by them. The difference, however, is that drawing attention to this doesn’t serve the US’ geopolitical interests because it has nothing to gain by destabilizing the UK and possibly imposing sanctions against it for supposedly violating these subjects’ “human rights”, unlike its stance towards China in this respect. While many are fretting that “East Asia” is pioneering the way for Orwell’s 1984 to come to life, they’d do well to consider just how much “Oceania” has already done to make this a reality too.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Nov 30, 2018.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

What About Clapper’s Lies?

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | December 5, 2018

Critics of President Trump are exulting over convictions that special counsel Robert Mueller has secured in his Trump-Russia collusion investigation, some of which involve lying to Congress or to federal investigators. The critics are emphasizing the importance of telling the truth to federal officials.


Then why the continued pass for James Clapper, Jr., the former Director of National Intelligence. He lied to Congress under oath about the secret surveillance that the NSA was conducting on the American people.

Yet no indictment and punishment for Clapper. What gives with that? If telling the truth to Congress is important, then why give Clapper a pass? Is it fair to punish some people for lying and do nothing to others?

Or is it that the members of the national-security branch of the government are given elite status given their overwhelming power within the federal governmental structure?

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , | 1 Comment

Trump Tower Moscow: A CIA-Backed Provocation Against Putin, Trump – Economist

Sputnik – December 5, 2018

The media fuss surrounding the Trump Tower Moscow project that was never implemented may further exacerbate Russian-American relations, Sputnik contributor Ivan Danilov wrote, sharing his views on what was really behind the much-discussed initiative

The Trump Tower Moscow “plot” was nothing less than a CIA-backed provocation, deems Ivan Danilov, a Russian economist and Sputnik contributor.

“If we separate wheat from the emotional chaff of US media, we would get the following: immediately after [Donald] Trump becomes a presidential candidate, an agent of several US intelligence agencies, [Felix Henry] Sater, who had been earlier embedded in Trump’s business structure, came to then [Trump’s] lawyer [Michael Cohen] with a ‘brilliant idea’: to give [Vladimir] Putin a penthouse in order to turn the Russian president into an element of advertising”, Danilov wrote in his latest op-ed.

The economist underscored that one important link is missing in this chain, stressing that no one had confirmed so far whether the American president knew about the Sater-Cohen plan and endorsed it.

If this link is missing, the whole “chain” snaps, according to Danilov.

On 17 May 2018 BuzzFeed News reporters  Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold broke that Trump’s two “key business partners” had been secretly negotiating a deal aimed at building “an icon of the Trump empire — the Trump World Tower Moscow” amid the 2016 presidential campaign.

The media outlet referred to “exclusively” obtained documents revealing “a detailed and plausible plan” and “well-connected Russian counterparts”.

On 29 November, Cormier and Leopold unveiled ex-Trump business associate Sater’s plan “to give a $50 million penthouse at Trump Tower Moscow to Russian President Vladimir Putin” as part of the aforementioned real estate initiative. Sater discussed this plan with Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, who hailed the idea at that time.

“My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin”, Sater told BuzzFeed News.

Meanwhile, on 29 November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Trump Tower project in Russia in an attempt to “minimize” his boss’s ties to Russia.

However, the biggest news about the proposed real estate deal is that it was considered “during the 2016 primaries and caucuses,” The Washington Post highlighted on 30 November, stressing that the former Trump lawyer earlier lied that the endeavour had been brought to naught before the primaries.

“This provides more evidence that the project was being rather seriously pursued with potential assistance from the Russian government, despite Trump’s presidential candidacy and despite Trump’s regular assurances that he didn’t deal with Russia”, the Post claimed.

In addition, Cohen “did recall” that in or around January 2016, he received a “response” from Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president’s press secretary, Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote on Thursday.

For his part, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed what sort of response he gave to Trump’s business associates after receiving Cohen’s letter that was sent to his official email.

“They were asked what the presidential administration has to do with this and if they realized who they contacted”, the Kremlin spokesman recalled. “They said they wanted to build a house… They were told that the administration is not engaged in construction projects and we will be happy to see them at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum if they are interested in investment”.

The case does not appear to be a smoking gun. Commenting on the media fuss, a source close to the US president told Fox News that the Sater-Cohen plan to provide the Russian president with a penthouse would have been a “stupid idea”, and emphasised that Trump had “never heard” about it.

Sater’s longstanding cooperation with US intelligence services, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) adds further controversy to the case.

On 12 March, 2018, Cormier and Leopold reported that Felix Henry Sater (born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky), 52, had “spent more than two decades as an intelligence asset who helped the US government track terrorists and mobsters”.

Given all of the above, the whole case looks like a “three-penny provocation” aimed at discrediting President Donald Trump, Danilov pointed out.

“One can presume that the next phase of the scandal will be the publication of Sater and Cohen’s photographs on the side-lines of the SPIEF or near the venue of the forum in the American media, which, from the point of view of US investigators, may well prove that the ‘Kremlin and Trump plot’ did take place”, he noted, bemoaning the fact that this “three-penny provocation” could seriously affect the already complicated US-Russian relations.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Military defeats push Kabul into talks with Taliban as US seeks way out from Afghan stalemate

RT | December 5, 2018

Direct talks with the Taliban are crucial for the Kabul government to survive amid crushing defeats by the militants, Afghanistan experts told RT amid expectations that end of the 17-year war is looming.

Afghanistan returned to headlines this week, with a government-affiliated official making an unconventional peace gesture towards the Taliban. Ehsan Taheri, spokesman for the High Peace Council – a body that mediates peace between the government and the militants – said Kabul is ready to talk directly to the Taliban. He promised there will be no prerequisites to discuss any issue “crucial for the future of Afghanistan.”

“There’s no doubt the Afghan government relies on speeding up talks with Taliban” as the situation on the ground deteriorated over the past two years, Nikita Mendkovich, an expert with Russian International Affairs Council, told RT.

The Taliban have managed to gain upper hand in various parts of the country, and the Western-backed Afghan National Army risks being defeated in the coming years, he explained. And while Kabul’s offer of peace sounds promising at a glance, analysts say it has more to do with the survival of the current government than anything else.

The militants are able “to take matters into their own hands” without providing any security guarantee to the Afghan government, the expert noted.

That aside, Afghanistan is preparing to hold presidential elections, putting the sitting President Ashraf Ghani in a precarious position. Because he is unpopular with sizeable part of the population and regional elites, he must demonstrate “some results.”

“A peace deal or at least a long-term truce with Taliban would be a bargaining chip for Ghani to remain in power,” according to Mendkovich. However, the main reason for Kabul to accelerate the peace process is still rooted in “military defeats” sustained by the Afghan army and NATO forces.

Meanwhile, Omar Nessar, a researcher with Russia’s Institute for Oriental Studies, said he doesn’t see how a peace deal might become reality.The Taliban are demanding that NATO troops leave the country, which in turn is “unacceptable” for Western sponsors of Kabul.

The Taliban “doesn’t need peace talks right now as they continue to gain foothold in Afghanistan,” Nessar stressed. The Afghan leadership is a too week actor to talk with, but the Americans may try to ask Kabul to negotiate on their behalf in order to “save the image of the government.”

Afghan stalemate: Winning peace to lose war?

On the military front, the reality looks as murky as it was over the past years. On Tuesday, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie who is set to take the lead of US Central Command (CENTCOM), gave oxygen to a claim there was no easy way out from the 17-year Afghan war.

“I do know that today it would be very difficult for [the Afghan security forces] to survive without our and our coalition partners’ assistance,” McKenzie said, noting that if the US forces are to leave “precipitously right now,” the Kabul government might fall.

McKenzie said that in light of a steep rise in casualties, the US must step up its efforts to help Afghan forces to recruit and train much-needed reinforcements, describing the current rate of losses as unsustainable. “They’re fighting hard, but their losses are not going to be sustainable unless we correct this problem.”

Asked to provide his take on this, Nessar said that while the US “is tired of the war” it cannot leave Afghanistan in full. A complete troop withdrawal would mean acknowledging a military defeat in the war on Taliban, he stated.

“The US cannot win war, it tries to win peace,” Mendkovich commented. Asked if the US could employ a peace deal with Taliban to get out of the war, he suggested a complete troop pullout is unlikely. US air bases and military compounds are “strategic assets” instrumental to “create threats” against neighboring China, Russia and Iran, and the Americans don’t want to lose them.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

Putin: Russia Opposes Destruction of INF Treaty, But Will React in Proper Manner

Sputnik – 05.12.2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is against the destruction of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, but would respond accordingly if it happens. His comments come a day after the US said it would withdraw from the treaty if Russia does not return to full compliance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the United States had decided to leave the accord long before the public announcement and used alleged violations by Russia as a pretext to do it.

“This means that the decision has long been made, but it has been made sneakily. They thought we wouldn’t notice this, but this is already in the Pentagon’s budget — the creation of these missiles. But only after did they announce publicly that they were leaving,” Putin said.

“As the next step, they started to think whom they could shuffle the blame onto. Well, to say ‘Russia is to blame’ is the easiest and the most habitual thing for an ordinary Western person. This is not true, we are against the destruction of the treaty, but if it happens, we will react accordingly,” he added.

The president agreed that many other countries are still developing intermediate and short-range missiles, while Russia and the US had limited themselves under the INF Treaty. At the same time, he added that if Washington believes that it should have such weapons, Moscow will follow suit.

“This is true. Many other countries, perhaps, already a dozen of countries, are producing such weapons, while Russia and the United States have restrained themselves bilaterally. I believe our US partners think that now the situation has changed to such an extent that the United States should have such weapons as well. What answer will we provide? A simple one: then we’ll do it as well”, Putin said.

He further recalled that the US had unilaterally withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty back in 2002, which was one of the key agreements in international security.

“And they still had the audacity, they have withdrawn from the treaty calmly… without referring to anything. They just pulled out from the treaty, and called it a day. In fact, this is exactly what is happening now, but now they reflect on whom they could shuffle the blame onto for this step, which I believe is ill-considered,” Putin told reporters.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty within 60 days unless Russia returns to full compliance with the accord.

In October, President Donald Trump announced his intention to leave the treaty over Russia’s alleged violations. Russia has consistently denied any violations of the agreement, saying that the US knows very well that Moscow was abiding by the provisions of the treaty.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

What missile exactly? Reuters misses the target as it spreads fear on Iran expanding missile range

RT | December 5, 2018

All is fair in love and war, or when you want to do a little scaremongering. Reuters sounded the alarm on Iran’s efforts to boost the range of its missiles, while completely missing what missiles they were.

The story ran by the news agency on Wednesday cited Iran’s Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh as saying: “One of our most important programs is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition,” and “We don’t see any limitations for ourselves in this field.”

Sounds scary? Sure, because, Reuters added, the Iranian military say the range of their missiles is 2,000km and it is enough to target “US bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, plus US aircraft carriers in the Gulf.” It’s so scary that the US deemed it a good reason to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

The only problem with this leap of logic is that General Nasirzadeh leads Iran’s Air Force (which Reuters did mention) and that he was speaking about Iranian air-to-air missiles (which Reuters omitted). Air-to-air missiles are fired by aircraft and hit aircraft, not “bases in Afghanistan and aircraft carriers in the Gulf.”

And it just so happens that Iran’s Air Force is not the scariest part of its military. It mostly consists of US-made aircraft, which the country received back when it was led by Washington’s buddy, the Shah. This year’s big achievement for the military arm is that now Iran is mass producing the Fakour-90 long-range air-to-air missile.

It’s a clone of the American AIM-54 Phoenix, can be fired from Iran’s American F-14 Tomcats and has a whopping reported operational range of 150km, compared to 190km of the original, which was retired along with its platform more than a decade ago.

Iran’s Fars news agency, the source of the quotes from General Nasirzadeh, cites him this way.

“Today, we are after increasing the range of our air-to-air missiles. Therefore, one of our most important plans is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition. We are after Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles and ammunition and consider no limitations in this regard for ourselves because the Air Force should heighten the country’s deterrence power along with other (Armed) Forces.”

Sure, Iran does develop ballistic missiles too and seeks to improve their range. But General Nasirzadeh’s statements are irrelevant to this and his rhetoric seems to be a long cry from what Reuters made it out to be. Almost a day after its publication, the misleading story remains uncorrected.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment