U.S. State Department ‘deeply troubled’ over Syrian operations in…Syria! Against ISIS and Al Qaeda!

Global Research, June 22, 2018

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement today warning the Syrian government to cease and desist from its final military push against ISIS and al-Qaeda groups in southwest Syria. The United States is “deeply troubled by reports of increasing Syrian regime operations in southwest Syria” because such operations are within the “de-escalation zone negotiated between the United States, Jordan, and the Russian Federation last year and reaffirmed between Presidents Trump and Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam in November,” the statement says.

What a strange warning. The United States, which illegally occupies territory of a country nearly 6,000 miles away, is warning Syria, the country it partly occupies, not to conduct military operations against terrorist organizations within its own borders!

Aside from the absurdity of Nauert’s press release, there is the important matter that the whole statement is a lie.

First, the “deconfliction zone” to which she refers has been unilaterally declared by the United States. Syria never agreed to cease military operations within its own borders. Suggesting that Damascus is violating some agreement when it was never party to the agreement is shockingly dishonest.

Second, even the “de-escalation zones” agreed between Russia, Iran, and Turkey in Astana, Kazakhstan, in May, 2017, exempted UN-recognized terrorist groups from the deal. So even if Syria was a party to the US-claimed “de-escalation” agreement, its current advance on ISIS and al-Qaeda controlled territory would not be a violation.

Third, the State Department’s claims on the “Da Nang” agreement between Presidents Putin and Trump are purposely misleading. The very first sentence of the “Da Nang” statement affirms the two leaders’ “determination to defeat ISIS in Syria,” demonstrating the high priority placed on fighting ongoing terrorist occupation of parts of Syria.

So why now, seven months later, is the US warning Syria against completing the very task that Trump and Putin made a top priority?

Also, the “Da Nang statement” discusses the “de-confliction” areas explicitly in the context of the fight against ISIS:

The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both US and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved.

So, again, why is the US objecting to the Syrian government’s actions to achieve a goal — defeat of ISIS — reiterated by the US government?

The “Da Nang” statement also made it clear that when it comes to Syrian territory, that country’s sovereignty must be respected:

The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character…

How can the US be committed to Syria’s sovereignty when it violates that sovereignty by occupying Syrian territory and warning the Syrian government against attacking al-Qaeda and ISIS-dominated areas of Syria?

The United States — which maintains hundreds of US troops illegally in Syria — warns Syria about conducting military operations within its own borders against internationally-recognized terrorist groups, citing the “Da Nang” agreement, which:

…reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination, of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area…

But those “foreign fighters” they agreed to eliminate by definition must include the US military itself! So actually it is the US that is violating the agreement by remaining in Syria, not the Syrian government by fighting al-Qaeda!

As an astute colleague wrote today,

have also been rumors in Washington that the Administration is preparing for something ‘big’ in Syria, possibly related to warnings from the Pentagon that Syrian forces have been threatening the unilaterally declared “de-escalation zone” in the country’s southeast.”

Nauert’s release may be one big lie, but the US threat against Syria is looking to be deadly serious.

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Featured image is from the author.

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121 bombs a day: Trump’s military drops a bomb every 12 minutes, and no one is talking about it – Lee Camp

June 21, 2018

By Lee Camp

We live in a state of perpetual war, and we never feel it. While you get your gelato at the hip place where they put those cute little mint leaves on the side, someone is being bombed in your name.

While you argue with the 17-year-old at the movie theater who gave you a small popcorn when you paid for a large, someone is being obliterated in your name. While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names.

Once every 12 minutes.

The United States military drops an explosive with a strength you can hardly comprehend once every 12 minutes. And that’s odd, because we’re technically at war with—let me think—zero countries. So that should mean zero bombs are being dropped, right?

Hell no! You’ve made the common mistake of confusing our world with some sort of rational, cogent world in which our military-industrial complex is under control, the music industry is based on merit and talent, Legos have gently rounded edges (so when you step on them barefoot, it doesn’t feel like an armor-piercing bullet just shot straight up your sphincter), and humans are dealing with climate change like adults rather than burying our heads in the sand while trying to convince ourselves that the sand around our heads isn’t getting really, really hot.

You’re thinking of a rational world. We do not live there.

Instead, we live in a world where the Pentagon is completely and utterly out of control. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the $21 trillion (that’s not a typo) that has gone unaccounted for at the Pentagon. But I didn’t get into the number of bombs that ridiculous amount of money buys us. President George W. Bush’s military dropped 70,000 bombs on five countries. But of that outrageous number, only 57 of those bombs really upset the international community.

Because there were 57 strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen—countries the U.S. was neither at war with nor had ongoing conflicts with. And the world was kind of horrified. There was a lot of talk that went something like, “Wait a second. We’re bombing in countries outside of war zones? Is it possible that’s a slippery slope ending in us just bombing all the goddamn time? (Awkward pause.) … Nah. Whichever president follows Bush will be a normal adult person (with a functional brain stem of some sort) and will therefore stop this madness.”

We were so cute and naive back then, like a kitten when it’s first waking up in the morning.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that under President Barack Obama there were “563 strikes, largely by drones, that targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. …”

It’s not just the fact that bombing outside of a war zone is a horrific violation of international law and global norms. It’s also the morally reprehensible targeting of people for pre-crime, which is what we’re doing and what the Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report” warned us about. (Humans are very bad at taking the advice of sci-fi dystopias. If we’d listened to “1984,” we wouldn’t have allowed the existence of the National Security Agency. If we listened to “The Terminator,” we wouldn’t have allowed the existence of drone warfare. And if we’d listened to “The Matrix,” we wouldn’t have allowed the vast majority of humans to get lost in a virtual reality of spectacle and vapid nonsense while the oceans die in a swamp of plastic waste. … But you know, who’s counting?)

There was basically a media blackout while Obama was president. You could count on one hand the number of mainstream media reports on the Pentagon’s daily bombing campaigns under Obama. And even when the media did mention it, the underlying sentiment was, “Yeah, but look at how suave Obama is while he’s OK’ing endless destruction. He’s like the Steve McQueen of aerial death.”

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UK PM’s husband’s Capital Group is largest shareholder in BAE, shares soared after Syrian airstrikes

From RT
April 18, 2018

Philip May, husband of the UK prime minister, works for a company that is the largest shareholder in arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since the recent airstrikes in Syria.

The company, Capital Group, is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin – a US military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares have also rocketed since the missile strikes last week.

The fact has not gone unnoticed by some on Twitter, who agree that BAE Systems has done very well out of the UK-US-France allied airstrikes on Syria, which were sanctioned by Theresa May. It has been reported that the UK’s contribution to military strikes was to fire eight ‘Storm-Shadow’ missiles at an alleged chemical weapons facility, each of which cost £790,000 ($1.13 million) – totaling £6.32 million ($9 million). The missiles were manufactured by BAE Systems.

Theresa May’s husband has worked as a relationship manager for the research investment company Capital Group since 2005. The Tory-BAE links go even deeper, however. The former chancellor of the exchequer and present editor-in-chief at the Evening Standard, George Osborne’s other employer Black Rock is the fifth-largest shareholder in BAE System.

Figures revealed as of March 31, 2018 reveal that the Capital Group has amassed over 360,000 shares in the company, up over 11 percent on the previous quarter, which may have contributed to a hefty rise in BAE’s share price, which currently stands at around 600p.

For the full article:

https://www.rt.com/uk/424392-may-husbands-capital-group/

See also:

https://www.rt.com/uk/430566-trump-detention-philip-may/

Philip May and family profit from Trump’s caging of children in detention centers

Captured Ukrainian soldiers say offensive planned for World Cup

From Fort Russ

By Paul Antonopoulos
May 24, 2018

Ukrainian soldiers captured by the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said in statements on Wednesday that Kiev might launch an offensive against Donbass during the upcoming 2018 World Cup held in Russia.

According to reports, two captured Ukrainian soldiers, Vasily Zhimilinsky and Vitaly Chmil explained the circumstances in which they were captured and answered questions from reporters. The two soldiers confirmed that they were not pressured by the Donetsk side.

“We were told that an offensive would begin either on the eve of the presidential election in Russia, when the snow melted and the earth dried up, or during the World Cup.”

The captured soldiers even revealed that “there was an order and it was all a matter of receiving more ammunition and fuel … The captain also told us that before the offensive, Javelin anti-tank missile systems would be delivered to every unit on the front line.”

Chmil confirmed suspicions that Ukrainian forces are readying for an offensive against Donbass defense forces. The two captured soldiers confirmed the presence of artillery systems at the Ukrainian army’s frontline positions.

One of the captured soldiers was declared a deserter by the high command of the Ukrainian military, although both soldiers were captured on the battlefield, but at different times and in different sectors on the contact line.

The conflict in Donbas began in 2014 when Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, who refused to recognize the new government in Kiev which came to power after a US-backed coup.

The official Minsk Agreements have done little to prevent constant Ukrainian forays and bombardments. The Donbass republics have persistently accused Ukraine of provocations and violating the Minsk Agreements, whereas Kiev habitually claims that the Donbass militias and “Russian occupation forces” alleged to be in the area are shooting at themselves and blaming Ukraine.

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/05/captured-ukrainian-soldiers-say-offensive-planned-for-world-cup/

„Stopp der Air Base Ramstein“ — Protest gegen die Kriegsdrehscheibe Ramstein

From KenFM

25.05.2018

Ein Kommentar von Klaus Hartmann.

Auch in diesem Jahr will die Kampagne „Stopp der Air Base Ramstein“ die Kriegsgefahr in der Öffentlichkeit verdeutlichen, die von dieser US-Militärbasis bei Kaiserslautern ausgeht.

Die Air Base Ramstein spielt die zentrale Rolle in der NATO Kriegsführung und für sämtliche verdeckten und offenen Aggressionen, die die USA im Nahen und Mittleren Osten unternehmen. Ob Drohnen nach Pakistan, Afghanistan und den Jemen, Waffennachschub für die Terroristen in Syrien, die Kriegsdrohung gegen den Iran – nichts geht ohne Ramstein. Von hier, von deutschem Boden, geht Krieg aus!

Sicher steht der Drohnenkrieg mithilfe der Relaisstation in Ramstein vordergründig im Fokus der öffentlichen Aufmerksamkeit. Das ist auch sehr berechtigt, denn dieses permanente Morden ohne Kriegserklärung und ohne Gerichtsurteile ist barbarisch und skandalös. Dabei darf aber nicht vergessen werden, dass die Bedrohungssituation durch die Air Base um ein Vielfaches größer ist.

In den letzten Jahren und Monaten hat die NATO eine Kette neuer Hauptquartiere und Waffenlager, Kampfbataillone und „Speerspitzen“ entlang der russischen Grenze stationiert. NATO-Panzer rollen durch Deutschland an die „Ostfront“, wie die deutschen Medien das ohne Hemmungen oder Skrupel unumwunden wieder schreiben. Mit dem Allied Air Command sitzt auch die Kommandozentrale eines Krieges gegen Russland in Ramstein.

Das AEGIS-Raketensystem, stationiert auf vier Kriegsschiffen sowie landgestützt in Rumänien und in Polen, verkürzt die Raketen-Vorwarnzeiten für Russland. Die USA wollen sich die „risikofreie“ nukleare Erstschlagfähigkeit sichern, indem ein Gegenschlag ausgeschaltet wird.

Das irreführend „Raketenabwehrschild“ genannte AEGIS-System ist offensiv. Auf Knopfdruck von der US-Air Base Ramstein können die landgestützten Startvorrichtungen auch die seit 1987 verbotenen atomar bestückbaren Cruise-Mittelstreckenraketen abschießen, was eine neue Qualität der nuklearen Bedrohung nach Europa zurückbringt.

Russland bedroht kein Land in Europa und der Welt und setzt sich weltweit für kollektive Sicherheit ein. Durch die Aufrüstung und den neuen Aufmarsch der NATO wird allerdings die staatliche Existenz Russlands bedroht. Davor kann es nicht zurückweichen, sondern wird alle notwendigen Gegenmaßnahmen ergreifen.

Trotzdem hat Russland seine Militärausgaben um 20% auf 55,3 Milliarden Dollar gesenkt, während die USA sie auf 610 Milliarden Dollar gesteigert haben. Die 29 NATO-Staaten geben zusammen  881 Mrd. Dollar für Rüstung aus , fast das 16 fache Russlands.

Russland könnte sich im Kriegsfall gezwungen sehen, seine Vernichtungsmacht frühzeitig und massiv gegen den rückwärtigen Raum des Feindes einzusetzen. 6 Minuten Zeit bleibt Russland in diesem Fall, um auf „den Knopf“ zu drücken, dann wird die Region Kaiserslautern, die Westpfalz und Deutschland insgesamt in eine atomare Wüste verwandelt.

Die Proteste in Ramstein/Kaiserslautern stehen deshalb in diesem Jahr auch im Zeichen der verschärften NATO-Konfrontation mit Russland – am Freitag, 29.06., findet die große öffentliche Abendveranstaltung in der Versöhnungskirche Kaiserslautern mit Gabriele Krone-Schmalz statt: „Macht uns Russland nicht zum Feind!“

Die lebensgefährliche US-Air Base könnte in kurzer Zeit verschwinden. Die Bundesregierung muss „nur“ den „Vertrag über den Aufenthalt ausländischer Streitkräfte in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland“ kündigen, die Kündigungsfrist beträgt nur zwei Jahre!

Über 50.000 Menschen haben inzwischen den Aufruf „Abrüsten statt Aufrüsten!“ unterschrieben. Die Bundesregierung hat sich aber als NATO-Mitglied verpflichtet, den Rüstungshaushalt bis 2024 auf mehr als 75 Milliarden Euro zu verdoppeln. Kleiner Hinweis, diese Verpflichtung gilt tatsächlich nur für NATO-Mitglieder! Was liegt also näher, als aus diesem Aggressionsbündnis auszutreten? So viel Geld könnten wir sparen, und es für Bildung, Soziales und bezahlbaren Wohnraum, für Pflege und Gesundheit einsetzen!

Die Protestaktionen vom 24. Juni bis zum 01. Juli 2018 umfassen ein einwöchiges Aktions-, Informations- und Kulturcamp. Die Campteilnehmer fahren an einem Tag in Bussen nach Büchel und demonstrieren für den Abzug der dort stationierten Atomwaffen. Von Montag bis Donnerstag wird in Kaiserslautern eine „Friedenswerkstatt“ mit über 60 Foren und Workshops über friedenspolitisch relevante Themen stattfinden. Von der Lage im Iran bis zu den Chancen der Rüstungskonversion in Rheinland-Pfalz.

Höhepunkt der Proteste sind am Samstag, den 30. Juni 2018, zwei Auftaktkundgebungen in Landstuhl und Ramstein mit anschließender Demonstration zur Air Base. Bei der Abschlusskundgebung sprechen Sahra Wagenknecht und Eugen Drewermann. Erstmals gibt es auch einen Aufruf zu Aktionen des zivilen Ungehorsams – Wir blockieren anschließend die Air Base Ramstein!

Die Protestaktionen in Ramstein haben sich in den letzten Jahren zu Höhepunkten der aktionsorientierten Friedensbewegung entwickelt. Aber der Erfolg des Protests ist kein Selbstläufer! Es kommt auf jede und jeden an. Wir wollen, wir müssen mehr werden, damit die Kriegstreiber in Berlin sich nicht länger taub stellen können!

Sprecht Freunde und Kollegen an, organisiert die gemeinsame Fahrt nach Ramstein! Informiert Euch im Internet unter https://www.ramstein-kampagne.eu/. Tragen wir mit vielfältigen Aktionen zu einem Klima in der Gesellschaft bei, das die Schließung der Militärbasis auf die politische Tagesordnung setzt!

https://kenfm.de/tagesdosis-25-05-2018-protest-gegen-die-kriegsdrehscheibe-ramstein/

“Stop the Ramstein Air Base” protests, 24 June – 1 July; German citizens preparing to block U.S. main base at Kaiserslautern

From Fort Russ

By Tom Winter
May 25, 2018

Translated from a German commentary by Klaus Hartmann

Again this year, the campaign “Stop the Ramstein Air Base” aims to expose the threat of war that emanates from this US military base at Kaiserslautern.

The Ramstein Air Base plays the central role in NATO warfare and all the covert and open aggression that the United States has in the Middle East. Whether drones to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, arms supply for the terrorists in Syria, the threat of war against Iran – nothing works without Ramstein. From here, from German soil, war is going out!

Surely the drone war out of Ramstein as a way station is superficially in the focus of public attention. This is also very justified, because this permanent murder without declaration of war and without court sentences is barbaric and scandalous. However, it should not be forgotten that the overall threat caused by the Air Base is many times greater.

In recent years and months, NATO has stationed a chain of new headquarters and weapons depots, battalions, and “spearheads” along the Russian border. NATO tanks are rolling through Germany to the “Eastern Front,” as the German media write without restraint, without inhibitions or scruples. With the Allied Air Command, the command center of a war against Russia lies in the US Ramstein Air Base.

The AEGIS missile system, deployed on four warships and land-based in Romania and Poland, shortens missile warning times for Russia. The US wants to secure a “risk-free” nuclear first strike capability by eliminating a counter-strike.

The misleading “missile defense shield” called the AEGIS system is offensive. At the push of a button from the US Ramstein Air Base, the land-based launchers can also shoot down atomic equippable Cruise medium-range missiles, which have been banned since 1987, bringing a new level of the nuclear threat to Europe.

Russia is not threatening any country in Europe or the world, and advocating collective security worldwide. However, NATO’s rearmament and new deployment threatens Russia’s sovereignty. Before that, it can not back down, but will take all necessary countermeasures.

Nevertheless, Russia has reduced its military spending by 20% to $ 55.3 billion, while the US has increased its own to $ 610 billion. The 29 NATO countries together spend $881 billion on armaments, almost 16 times that of Russia.

In the event of war, Russia could be forced to use its destructive power early and massively against the rear space of the enemy. Russia would have 6 minutes to press “the button,” then the Kaiserslautern region, the West Palatinate and all Germany in total is transformed into an atomic desert.

The intensified NATO confrontation with Russia gives further urgence to the protests in Ramstein / Kaiserslautern this year. On Friday,June 29, the big public evening event will take place in the Reconciliation Church Kaiserslautern with Gabriele Krone-Schmalz: “Don’t turn Russia into an enemy!”

The lethal US Air Base could disappear in a short time. The Federal Government must “only” terminate the “Contract on the Residence of Foreign Armed Forces in the Federal Republic of Germany,” and the notice period is only two years!

More than 50,000 people have signed the call “Disarm instead of arm up!” However, as a member of NATO, the Federal Government has committed to doubling its armaments budget to more than € 75 billion by 2024. Small note, this obligation is actually only for NATO members! What could be more natural than to withdraw from this alliance of aggression? We could save so much money and use it for education, social and affordable housing, care and health!

The protests from 24 June to 1 July 2018 include a one-week action, information and culture camp. The camp participants travel in buses to Büchel and demonstrate for the withdrawal of the nuclear weapons stationed there. From Monday to Thursday, a “Peace Workshop” will be held in Kaiserslautern with over 60 forums and workshops on topics relevant to peace policy. From the situation in Iran to the chances of armament conversion in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The climax of the protests will be on Saturday, June 30, 2018, two opening rallies in Landstuhl and Ramstein followed by a demonstration to the Air Base. Sahra Wagenknecht and Eugen Drewermann will speak at the closing rally. For the first time there is also a call for actions of civil disobedience – We will block the Ramstein Air Base!

The protests in Ramstein have become highlights of the action-oriented peace movement in recent years. But the success of the protest is not a matter of course! It depends on each and every one. We want, we have to become more so that the warmongers in Berlin can no longer play deaf!

Talk to friends and colleagues, organize the joint trip to Ramstein!  Inform yourself on the internet at https://www.ramstein-kampagne.eu/. With a variety of actions we contribute to a climate in society that puts the closure of the military base on the political agenda!

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/05/germans-citizens-preparing-to-block-the-us-main-base-at-kaiserlautern-heres-why/

The Pentagon can’t account for $21 trillion (that’s not a typo)

This is from 1998-2015 — 17 years — and the number could go higher.

No one knows how the money was spent.

The Pentagon apparently has access to any amount of cash it wants, no matter what the “budget” says, and with no accounting — with zero accounting.

By comparison, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act was $700 billion. This is 30 times the 2017 military budget.

“My staff and I learned that it was nearly impossible to get accurate information and answers to questions such as, ‘How much money did you spend?’ and ‘How many people do you have?’ 
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in a 2011 speech
Global Research, May 20, 2018
Truthdig 14 May 2018
Twenty-one trillion dollars.

The Pentagon’s own numbers show that it can’t account for $21 trillion. Yes, I mean trillion with a “T.” And this could change everything.

But I’ll get back to that in a moment.

There are certain things the human mind is not meant to do. Our complex brains cannot view the world in infrared, cannot spell words backward during orgasm and cannot really grasp numbers over a few thousand. A few thousand, we can feel and conceptualize. We’ve all been in stadiums with several thousand people. We have an idea of what that looks like (and how sticky the floor gets).

But when we get into the millions, we lose it. It becomes a fog of nonsense. Visualizing it feels like trying to hug a memory. We may know what $1 million can buy (and we may want that thing), but you probably don’t know how tall a stack of a million $1 bills is. You probably don’t know how long it takes a minimum-wage employee to make $1 million.

That’s why trying to understand—truly understand—that the Pentagon spent 21 trillion unaccounted-for dollars between 1998 and 2015 washes over us like your mother telling you that your third cousin you met twice is getting divorced. It seems vaguely upsetting, but you forget about it 15 seconds later because … what else is there to do?

Twenty-one trillion.

But let’s get back to the beginning. A couple of years ago, Mark Skidmore, an economics professor, heard Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, say that the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General had found $6.5 trillion worth of unaccounted-for spending in 2015. Skidmore, being an economics professor, thought something like, “She means $6.5 billion. Not trillion. Because trillion would mean the Pentagon couldn’t account for more money than the gross domestic product of the whole United Kingdom. But still, $6.5 billion of unaccounted-for money is a crazy amount.”

So he went and looked at the inspector general’s report, and he found something interesting: It was trillion! It was fucking $6.5 trillion in 2015 of unaccounted-for spending! And I’m sorry for the cursing, but the word “trillion” is legally obligated to be prefaced with “fucking.” It is indeed way more than the U.K.’s GDP.

Skidmore did a little more digging. As Forbes reported in December 2017,

“[He] and Catherine Austin Fitts … conducted a search of government websites and found similar reports dating back to 1998. While the documents are incomplete, original government sources indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.”

Let’s stop and take a second to conceive how much $21 trillion is (which you can’t because our brains short-circuit, but we’ll try anyway).

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