Will Preemptive Accusations Against Russia Cover Up Voting Fraud?
The Clinton campaign and some pseudo experts assert that Russia is somehow guilty of hacking the Democratic National Committee and of revealing DNC emails via Wikileaks. There is zero hard evidence for that. The Clinton campaign also claims that Trump asked Russia to hack Clinton's emails. That is also not the case.
But two "liberal" computer experts, who are taken serious in the security scene, now build on those false assertions to say that Russia might manipulate voting machines in the November 9 elections. It would do so, presumably, to change the vote count in favor of Trump.
A Bruce Schneier op ed in today's Washington Post is headlined: By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines.
That headline alone is already dumb. ANY hacker could target and manipulate the easy to deceive voting machines - should those be connected to the Internet. Local administrators of such machines can manipulate them any time.
Schneier is, untypically for him, in war mongering mode.
If the intelligence community has indeed ascertained that Russia is to blame, our government needs to decide what to do in response. This is difficult because the attacks are politically partisan, but it is essential. If foreign governments learn that they can influence our elections with impunity, this opens the door for future manipulations, both document thefts and dumps like this one that we see and more subtle manipulations that we don’t see.
The U.S. manipulates foreign elections all the time, according to Bush administration lawyer Jack Goldsmith. It may not feel nice to suddenly be the target of manipulation attempts instead of the perpetrator, but manipulation attempts in elections are normal everywhere and no reason to start a war or other "response" measures.
[W]e need to secure our election systems before autumn. If Putin’s government has already used a cyberattack to attempt to help Trump win, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again — especially now that Trump is inviting the “help.”
What a joke. Trump has not invited Russian "help" to manipulate voting computers. Trump also did not ask Russia to "hack" the Clinton email sever. That server no longer exists. If the Clinton email-server was secure, as Clinton asserts, and if the emails in question have been deleted, as Clinton also asserts, how could Russia "hack" for them?
Trump made a FOIA request for emails that, Hillary Clinton claims, have been deleted. What does she fear about that? Trump asked Russia to give the deleted Clinton emails to the FBI, should it by chance have a copy of them. Such a Freedom of Information Act request usually goes to a part of the U.S. administration. But the Obama administration says it does not have those emails. Trump then made a joke in directing the request to Russia.
Trump did get the furious media "outrage" response he intended to get. He thereby ruined the PR effect of the last night of the Democratic Convention. That was likely the sole intention of his stunt and again shows his marketing genius.
But back to the Schneier op-ed. That one is now joined by a piece at Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow. Doctorow is like Schneier a famous person in the computer scene. He quotes the Schneier piece and adds:
Voting machines are so notoriously terrible that they'd be a very tempting target for Russia or other states that want to influence the outcome in 2016 (or merely destabilize the US by calling into question the outcome in an election).
The Doctorow sentence neglects, like Schneier, that the entities with the most obvious interest and capabilities to manipulate U.S. voting machines are not foreign countries. U.S. presidential candidates and their parties have much more at stake. The candidates and the money and interests behind them have stronger motives as well as more potential to change the voting results.
Why do we see such an orchestrated attempt to preemptively accuse Russia of potentially manipulating U.S. voting? This without ANY evidence that Russia ever has or would attempt to do so? Are there already plans for such manipulations that need a plausible foreign culprit as cover up story? Or is there a color revolution in preparation to eventually disenfranchise the election winner?
Cory Doctorow also sees destabilization as a possible motive and outcome of voting manipulations. Already back in March John Robb warned of a scenario this fall in which election results come into serious doubt and where a conflict over voting results escalates into a civil war.
I do not foresee such a scenario (yet). But should large scale voting manipulations take place, and be blamed on Russia, more than a civil war enters the realm of possibilities.
Abu Ghraib Torture Company Re-Hired For Syria - How ISIS Will Benefit
During the occupation of Iraq U.S. intelligence and military services contracted CACI International Inc, a U.S. company in Virginia, to provide "intelligence services" in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. CACI employees were directly involved in torturing Iraqi prisoners.
The U.S. army recently contracted CACI for "intelligence analysis services" in Syria. The Syrian government has not invited or otherwise allowed U.S. military or its contractors to enter the country. Any such activities infringe on Syria's sovereignty and are thereby in violation of international law.
The re-engagement of such a controversial company for services in the area boosts the recruitment appeal of the Islamic State.
A recent U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Press Announcement (Release No: CR-143-16, July 27, 2016) lists under the rubric "Army":
"Six3 Intelligence Solutions Inc., McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $ 9,578,964 modification (P00001) to contract W564KV-16-C-0058 for intelligence analysis services. Work will be performed in Germany, Italy, and Syria, with an estimated completion date of June 29, 2017."
As of 2014 CACI, aka Six3 Systems, was still accused of direct involvement in torture and interrogations in Abu Ghraib:
Syria And The DNC Hack - How Beliefs Turn Into Dangerous Policies
Two examples came up today of people who seem to cope easily with contradicting beliefs.
A well known pro-Syrian rebels dude posted these two tweets within 15 minutes of each other:
6:31 AM - 27 Jul 2016 - Hasan Sari Verified account @HasanSari7
300,000+ civilians in E. Aleppo (40klm) under bombardment & will be starving in 2 weeks as Castillo road cut. Bad.
6:44 AM - 27 Jul 2016- Hasan Sari Verified account @HasanSari7
Out of 300k residents in Eastern Aleppo 30-40k remained there.
300,000 people are under bombardment in an area where - says the same person - only 30,000 people remain.
The 30,000 number is about correct. In March 2015 Martin Chulov of the Guardian visited east Aleppo and estimated that some 40,000 were still living there. He has since re-confirmed that 2015 observation but the number it must have shrunk since. There has been no running water there for a long time and no electricity. Only fighters and their immediate families are left in east-Aleppo. The current estimate is some 5,000 fighters and 20-25,000 civilians. They have, according to multiple sources, food and medical supplies for about three month.
The area is completely closed off though people on foot can leave through checkpoints. The Syrian government sent SMS to invite everyone in the area, civilians and fighters, to get out without trouble. This is all well known to "western" journalists but will not hinder them to daily offer dozens of harrowing accounts of the 300,000 starving children in east-Aleppo and the 286 hospitals that just now were bombed to rubble.
Here is another example of contradicting beliefs in the news. NBCnews headlines: Why Experts Are Sure Russia Hacked the DNC Emails.
Many U.S. officials and cyber security experts in and out of government are convinced that state-sponsored Russian hackers are the ones who stole 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee and leaked them to the public just in time to disrupt the Democrats' national convention in Philadelphia. Here's why the experts are so confident the Russians did it:
[... innuendo and marketing talk from cyber snakeoil dealers ...]
Then follows this paragraph:
Like other cyber-experts, however, [retired four-star Adm. James] Stavridis said definitively proving such connections is virtually impossible. "I don't know the answer to that and I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to that except for a few individuals in the Kremlin."
So experts are "sure", says the piece, while the quoted expert and his colleagues say there is no way to be sure. How does that compute?
Turkey's Foreign Policy Change Is Well Underway
Turkey is on its way to change its foreign policy orientation. Instead of facing "west" towards NATO and the pipe dream of European Union membership, it is looking "east" towards tighter cooperation with Russia, China and Iran. It will also want to intensify its already developed relations with the Central-Asian states Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.
To cover the move, which began before the recent military coup attempt, the Turkish government needs some plausible excuses. The "guilty" party that justifies the change should not be itself but, preferably, its "western partners".
That the coup is probably related to covered activities of the Gülen movement in Turkey is a welcome gift. Turkey is convinced that the U.S. had some hand in the coup, or at least knew about it before it happened but did not warn Ankara. That the coup is U.S. related is not just a conspiracy theory without any basis. The tanker airplanes which filled up the F-16 bombers which bombed the parliament during the coup started from the NATO airbase in Incirlik where the U.S. command for the war on Syria is seated. Three of the five regiments involved in the coup in Istanbul are part of NATO's Rapid Deployable Corps. One of the coup commanders is the head of the Turkish second army which is coordinating the war on Syria (and ISIS) with the U.S. military.
Another signs for U.S. culpability, from the Turkish perspective, is the mealymouthed first statement Secretary of State Kerry gave when the coup was happening. From my live blogging of the coup before it started to fail:
Journo at ongoing Lavrov & Kerry press conference: "France, Belgium told their citizen in Turkey to stay at home." Lavrov: "Russian citizens should too."2:11 PM - 15 Jul 2016 Talking Points Memo @TPM
#BREAKING John Kerry says he hopes for stability in Turkey as coup apparently under way http://bit.ly/29WqHS6
"Stability" - that's pro military coup talk ...
How Clinton And Her Shallow-Brained Media Do Trump's Bidding
Clinton's negative campaign against Trump, and the media leashed to her messages, are doing Trump a huge favor. Unless they can break away from their limited framework, stop their unintended advertising for Trump's campaign, they will propel him to victory.
Here is an example: Networks on Trump: A ‘Dark Speech’ From a ‘Vengeful’ ‘Demagogue’ - Newsbuster
The three networks on Thursday night immediately derided Donald Trump’s “dark speech” as one coming from a “vengeful” “demagogue.”
The "dark speech" theme was obviously a canned response by the Clinton campaign. Her independent media (not) dutifully repeated it over and over. But that negative "dark speech" theme, supposed to condemn Trump, only makes his point.
- His Tone Dark, Donald Trump Takes G.O.P. Mantle - NYT
- Donald Trump Takes America on a Journey to the Dark Side - NBC
- In acceptance speech, Trump’s America is a dark and desperate place - WaPo
- Trump's emotional and dark message: How it will play out - CNBC
- Will Donald Trump's dark view of America resonate with voters? - CSM
- Trump paints dark image of America - CBSNews
- Trump's dark, dystopian — and false — version of America - MinnPost
- Clinton Campaign Slams Trump For Painting A ‘Dark Picture’ Of America - IBT
- Chuck Todd: Donald Trump’s dark vision of America has risks - Today
- Obama rejects Trump's dark America - Politico
- US election: Donald Trump's dark vision of America 'doesn't really jibe' with facts, Obama says - ABC
- Clinton: Trump 'painted a dark picture of America' - The Hill
- Clinton on Trump: 'I can't really imagine him on a white horse' - CNN
- Clinton-Kaine Ticket, in First Rally, Repudiate Trump's Dark Vision of U.S. - Bloomberg
- His dark materials: After that diabolical, masterful performance, Donald Trump could easily end up president - Salon
- Donald Trump’s Dark and Scary Night - Alternet
- 'The party I worked for died tonight': Republicans decry Trump's dark vision - Guardian
- Donald Trump’s Dark And Scary Night - HuffPo
- Donald Trump’s Dark, Dark Convention Speech - The New Yorker
- The dark, frightening America of Donald Trump - Boston Globe
- Twitter found Donald Trump’s speech to be the darkest timeline - Vox
- Donald Trump’s dark speech to the Republican National Convention, annotated - WaPo
(Isn't it amazing how Putin can compel all U.S. media to parrot the very same message?)
Clinton Asserts Putin Influence On Trump - After Taking Russian Bribes
Is Putin manipulating the Clinton campaign?
Russia is weaponizing everything: Word files, federalism, finance and Jedi mind tricks - everything is transformed into a weapon if Russia or its president Putin is imagined to come near it.
But Russia is secretly plotting even more nefarious schemes. Putin is infiltrating Europe. And not only Europe.
Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, is influencing, manipulating and controlling many "western" politicians, parties and movements - in Europe AND in the United States.
- Brexit - Why Putin Is Meddling in Britain’s Brexit Vote - Daily Beast
- The British left - Is Jeremy Corbyn Putin's latest 'useful idiot' in Europe? - International Business Times
- The British right - Britain’s fascist party backs Putin in Syria - Now
- The Greek left - Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece, Raising Eyebrows in Europe - NYT
- The Greek right - Greece´s new nationalism: Europe versus Russia - Academia
- The French right - French far-right signs up to take Putin’s shilling - London Times
- All far right in Europe - Putin Has Far-Right Admirers All Over Europe - New Republic
- All far left in Europe - Russia and the European Far Left - Political Capital Institute
- European Jews - Putin calls on European Jews to take refuge in Russia - Jerusalem Post
- Soccer fans - Whitehall fears Russian football hooligans had Kremlin links - Guardian
- The Italian PM Renzi - Renzi in 'pact with the devil' as he visits Putin? - CNBC
- The Czech PM Zeman - On Kremlin visit, Czech president is among friends
- The Hungarian PM Orban - Vladimir Putin receives a warm welcome from Hungarian PM Viktor Orban - Telegraph
- The British FM Johnson - Johnson Accused Of Being 'Putin Apologist' - Sky News
- The German FM Steinmeier Germany’s Foreign Minister: Playing Putin’s Tune - National Review
- The U.S. Secretary of State Kerry - Putin’s Spell Over John Kerry - American Interest
- Wikileaks - Putin Slams West for Wikileaks' Assange Arrest - ABC News
Putin is indeed everywhere:
9:16 PM - 23 Jul 2016 - Billmon @billmon1
Putin strikes AGAIN! "Seventeen people hurt when Hudson River ferry hits pier in New Jersey"
And now for the crown of it all.
Putin is in cahoots with the Republican presidential candidate Trump - claims the Clinton campaign. Putin is behind, it asserts, the leak of the DNC emails which prove that the Democratic National Committee has been working against Sanders to promote Hillary Clinton. The leak of the DNC emails, says the Clinton campaign, is ..:
.. further evidence the Russian government is trying to influence the outcome of the election.
The Clinton campaign has not looked thoroughly enough into Putin's schemes. Reveal we can that Putin has penetrated U.S. politics even deeper than thought - right down into the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton family itself:
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million.
That money, surely, had no influence on then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's decisions? And what about her husband?
Mr. Clinton received $500,000 ... from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin
These undisputed facts demonstrate that Putin is indeed waging influence by bribing U.S. politicians. But the Clinton campaign is be a bit more hesitant in pointing these out.
Open Thread 2016-24
News & views (unrelated to U.S. elections) ...
U.S. Election Thread 2016-05
- Clinton selects Kaine, a "moderate" right winger somewhat left to her, as her Vice President candidate. "Screw all progressives," she said.
- Trump selects right winger Pence as his Vice President candidate. "Blah, blah, blah," he said while no one at the lunatic Republican National Convention listened.
- The Democratic National Committee under its Zionist leader Wasserman-Schultz had from day one on schemed against other primary candidates to get Clinton elected. (True even if some of the leaked DNC emails may well be fakes.)
- Sanders proved he was fake himself when he sold out to Clinton and endorsed her.
That's my take. Yours may vary.
Turkey - Erdogan Bashing Will Not Stop Foreign Policy Changes
There is currently a lot of Erdogan bashing in the U.S. and European media. It seems that the authors of the hostile pieces would have liked the coup to proceed. Why is a state of emergency and some restriction on human rights in Turkey of concern when the same measures, with less justification, were implemented in France without any protests? The French President Hollande just pushed a new labor law, which the population rejects, through parliament. This without any vote and by using some very murky constitutional provision that are only intended for emergency uses. Where is the protest in "western" media and governments against such undermining of democracy?
The coup in Turkey failed - so far. How that came to be - who planned it, how was it betrayed, why was it botched so very amateurishly - will continue to be puzzling. Some answers seem plausible but there remain many open questions.
But this is of mere historic interest. The Turkish public perceives it as a military coup against the people that thankfully failed. Erdogan (as much as I dislike him) rescued their democracy. That the Gülen movement, under the watch of the CIA, was involved is plausible enough to be taken as truth. Unlike "western" liberals assume, Gülen and his elitist, expensive schools are not liked in Turkey. The secularist see him as a dangerous conservative Islamist, the AKP followers as a deceitful, treacherous competition to their creed, ideals and heroes.
The Turkish public is in shock. That the military would bomb the parliament and gun down civilians in such random ways is unprecedented. That some creepy preacher in the always suspect U.S. was probably behind this is taken as evident. This allows the government to take extraordinary countermeasures. But considering the size of the event and the trauma its has caused Erdogan's response (so far) is rather mild.
The Turkish government has suspended or fired some 40,000 people. Nearly 10,000 were detained, most of which are military rank and file somehow involved in the coup. They will soon be free again. The people suspended and fired are only one percent of the 3,000,000 strong public workforce. An additional 27,000 private teachers had their licenses revoked. These are staff of Gülen's charter schools which are now closed.
- 650,000 people were under arrest.
- 1,683,000 people were blacklisted.
- 230,000 people were tried in 210,000 lawsuits.
- 7,000 people were recommended for the death penalty.
- 517 persons were sentenced to death.
The military in 1980 brutally revolutionize the society and pressed it into a strict Kemalist, secular frame. One can see the current counter coup as an attempt to correct, or even undo that revolution.
Compared to the military coup of 1980 the current action by the Erdogan government is very tame. People in Turkey know this and have little concern. "Western" liberal writers, influenced by Gülen elements in high regard in their own societies, ignore that fact. I do not expect Erdogan to go after the secular or nationalist opposition parties as long as these are not under foreign influence. He has a comfortable majority in parliament and no need to shun the democratic mantle. That would only harm his plans for an Islamist, Ottoman Turkey and the further steps towards that.
Of interest now is the future development of Turkey's foreign policy. Electricity to the U.S./NATO base in Incirlik has today been restored after it was stopped for a week without any sound reason. The warning that this was is by now understood. If the U.S., or NATO, make too much trouble they will be kicked out of Turkey. Before the coup Turkey already renewed relations with Russia and Israel. Iran spoke out against the coup while it was still ongoing and the plotters seemed to win. That will give it some bonus points. Turkey pulled back the troops that were illegally stationed in Iraq. All this points to some redirection fo Turkish foreign policy from a solely "western" to a more Eurasian view.
The big question is Syria on which Russia demands that Turkey changes its position. What will Erdogan do with regard to it?
There are signs that he will change his policies there too. There are already reports that Turkish intelligence agents in Syria are in retreat. Turkey may well completely stop the support for the Jihadis and close its borders. The Turkish point man on Syria so far was the intelligence chief Hakan Fide. He was recruiting, supplying and controlling the Jihadis and running the whole show. There are now signs that he will soon get fired. He will be made the fall guy for not detecting the coup early enough:
Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday that deep-rooted changes will be made to the National Intelligence Agency of Turkey (MİT).
"It is very clear that there were significant gaps and deficiencies in our intelligence, there is no point trying to hide it or deny it. I told it to the head of national intelligence," President Erdoğan told Reuters in an interview at the presidential palace in Ankara.
I expect Turkey to make nice with the governments in Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus (with Russia as the grand power behind) to defeat the common threat of an independent Kurdish state. The plan will be to divide the Kurds into various factions and to instigate these to fight each other. That is usually not difficult. It has worked "well" for hundreds of years and always kept the Kurds from asserting a united national state.
Neither Iran, nor Russia, nor Syria or Iraq will trust Turkey. They will look for any small sign that it might fall back into a hostile position and will be prepared for treason. It will take years for Erdogan to regain good standing with any of them. But he has to start somewhere. The foreign policy of the last years has brought nothing but huge problems for Turkey. The botched coup gives Erdogan the chance to completely change direction and to it fast The U.S., NATO, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will attempt to undermine those changes. The current Erdogan bashing is part of that. It will fail as it has no echo within Turkey.
Following Iranian advice Erdogan is keeping his people in the streets and plazas. The first attempt of the 1953 CIA coup in Iran on August 15 failed. Four days later another attempt succeeded. The danger for the Turkish democracy is not over.
Yemen - Impotent Men Beg: "Please Don't Move While We Rape You"
Since March 2015 Saudi Arabia, with active help of the U.S., UK and UAE, is trying to subdue Yemen by force. Using foreign and Yemeni proxy forces it attempted to march towards the Yemeni capital Sanaa. But all efforts to move from the desert and coastal plains into the mountainous heart of Yemen failed. Thousands of Saudi air strikes, planned with and supported by the U.S., destroyed much of Yemen's infrastructure and heritage but failed to change the military balance.
Followers of the Houthi movement and the Yemeni army loyal to former president Saleh defeated all incursions. At the southern coast al-Qaeda aligned fighters, with silent help from the Saudis, gained and hold some ground around Aden. But they are unable to proceed from there.
The Houthis and their allies then turned the war around by invading Saudi Arabia. This led to peace negotiations under hapless UN supervision. But after the Houthis, in a good-will gesture, stopped further attacks on Saudi Arabia the negotiations failed. The Saudis had demanded total surrender which, for some reason, the Houthis and their allies were not willing to concede. Air attacks by the Saudis increased again and they announced, for the twentieths or so time, that their proxy forces will conquer Sanaa within weeks.
The Houthis and the Yemeni army also renewed their efforts. New Uragan missiles with 100 kilometer reach suddenly came out of nowhere (video) and hit Saudi areas. Now an renewed invasion follows:
2:25 PM - 20 Jul 2016 Haykal Bafana @BaFana3
Breaking : #Yemen forces & Houthi militia surge 10km into Jizan region #Saudi & capture cement plant & army camp. 16°44'49"N 43°4'31"E
Photos : Damage in Samatah, Jizan region, #Saudi Arabia by #Yemen forces shelling 19 July. 16°35'54"N 42°56'17"E
For 200 km of the KSA-Yemen border from Red Sea to inland eastwards, Yemeni forces have invaded at 6 locations, 5-20km deep. Not incl Najran
Celebratory gunfire & fireworks in capital Sanaa. 1am local. Hear that, ya Salman? :-)
Areas in Saudi Arabia held by Yemeni forces for months now : Al Rabuah & Khoubah, Jizan. Al Shorfah, Najran.
The Saudi puppet in the war on Yemen, former vice president Hadi, confirmed and condemned the Houthi success.
The Saudi rulers are incensed. That is not the way their war was supposed to be fought. How dare those Yemenis to invade Saudi land?
The Saudis ran off to their
mommies "western" allies and demanded a strong response. A response was dully given, with a silent smirk, ... in a joint statement:
The Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, USA, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates met on 19 July in London to review the situation in Yemen, following the resumption of UN led-peace talks in Kuwait on 16 July.
The Ministers agreed that the conflict in Yemen should not threaten Yemen’s neighbours
Read that again:
The Ministers agreed that the conflict in Yemen should not threaten Yemen’s neighbours
This should be noted in history books as the most funny diplomatic note ever. "Please, please don't hit back while we invade your land." "Please yield to these impotent men. Please don't move while we try to rape you."
As the Saudis are unable to successfully change the balance in Yemen, and incapable of protecting their own land, the Obama administration prepares to add to the chaos by sending more U.S. troops to Yemen. But if the Saudis, with the most expensive U.S. war toys available to them, are unable to win the fight, the U.S. can't either.
Another Obama war - launched without aim, without the capability to win, but with huge profits for the U.S. military and intelligence complex. Later, some foreign ministers will agree that the U.S. war on Yemen "should not threaten" the U.S. itself.
Some Yemenis though, will disagree.
U.S. Considers "Pause" In Supplies For Group Beheading Sick Child
Yesterday some ten year old kid in Syria was beheaded by U.S. supported "moderate rebels".
The "rebels" alleged that the boy was a fighter for a Palestinian group on the Syrian government side. But the boy looks very small and weak, has infusion tubes in his arm and no military attributes like a uniform or weapons.
There is now additional information about the case:
8:08 AM - 20 Jul 2016 Elijah J. Magnier @EjmAlrai
#Palestinian child, Abdullah Issa, was at Hospital, beheaded by Mateen al-Nahlawee coz his father is a militant.
#Palestinian Abdullah Issa was suffering from lack of oxygen n the bloodstream causes thalassemias and needed blood transfusion every month+
He was not fighting among Al-Quds pro-gov group but his father. He was a patient at the Hospital in #Aleppo when beheaded by pro-#US Zinki.
The five "individuals" who killed the child are members of the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, a group supported by the CIA as well as with Saudi money and weapons. The group issued a statement on the case. It called it "an act of an individual" and blamed the "international community" for its problems. While only one person does the cutting the video shows that the five "individuals" are clearly acting as a group, cheering Takbeer and Allahu Akbar during and after the beheading.
Despite the publicly available video and the statement by the Zinki group leaders admitting the case, the U.S. State Department had only a very subdued response to it:
QUESTION: Is this the kind of thing that would affect assistance, U.S. assistance to this specific group but also just in general to the FSA?
MR TONER: Well, I think we’d take a – if, as you said, if we can prove that this was indeed what happened and this group was involved in it, I think it would certainly give us pause.
QUESTION: It would give you pause?
MR TONER: Well, give us pause about any assistance or, frankly, any further involvement with this group.
QUESTION: So, in other words, so it will draw – there will be some kind of consequence if you’re satisfied that this actually happened?
MR TONER: I can’t – again, I can’t say what that consequence will be, but it will certainly give us, as I said, serious pause and we’ll look at, frankly, any affiliation or cooperation with this group we may have going forward, if these allegations are proven true.
We may expect, says the State Department, a "serious pause" in the delivery of new lethal U.S. weapons to the group. Will a day or two do?
And here is how a western expert, who is paid by Qatar and other Gulf states to support the head choppers, responds to the case:
8:17 AM - 19 Jul 2016 Charles Lister @Charles_Lister
Zinki’s beheading is 100% reprehensible. Simple.
But for #Assad supporters to suddenly claim the moral high-ground is rank hypocrisy.
7:04 AM - 19 Jul 2016 Charles Lister @Charles_Lister
And yes - today’s event notwithstanding - I stand by this statement. Comparing ISIS/AQ to these groups *is* absurd.
Amnesty International provides material that proves how both, Zinki and ISIS, abduct people, torture and commit summary mass killings. But the Islamic State is bound by a brutal but strict interpretation of Islamic law. It would likely never behead a sick child on camera for the fun of it. Neither has any element of the Syrian state ever done such crime.
Comparing the Zinki group to the Syrian government or even the Islamic State savages is indeed absurd.
Failed Coup Hastens Change In Turkey's Foreign Policy
The after-coup purges in Turkey continue. The Erdogan administration is firing any public servant who might, just might, not agree with its policies. Today the education ministry suspended 15,200 teachers and education workers. The licenses of 21,000 teacher at private schools were revoked. The Higher Education Commission asked 1577 university deans to resign. The Religious Affairs Directorate sacked 492 personnel, including imams and muftis. The Turkish Prime Ministry sacked 257 of its personnel in the post-coup crackdown. The Turkish secret service M.I.T suspended some 130 of its spies. In total nearly 50,000 people have been suspended, fired or detained by now. Most of these had nothing to do with the botched military coup against the government.
These losses of knowledge and experience, and the fear of those who for now stay, will take some toll on the functioning of the Turkish government and its security services. Turkey will turn inward while Erdogan will use his current popularity to remake the society in his image.
The expansive Turkish plans and projects in Syria and in Iraq will be cut back. Signs of this were already evident before the coup was launched and defeated. (Indeed some suggested that these changes were a reason for the coup.) The coup will reinforce and hasten the changes in Turkey's foreign policy.
Turkey pulled back the military forces it had illegally stationed in Bashiqa near Mosul in Iraq. Earlier the Iraqi government as well as Russia had protested against these forces on Iraqi ground but to no avail. Now they silently retreat. The Iranian agency FARS, though not always reliable, reported yesterday that all Turkish agents in Aleppo province in Syria were called back to Turkey. During the coup event something curious happened to one important person:
The top counter-terrorism official responsible for Turkey’s campaign against Islamic State did go to a “meeting” at the presidential palace in Ankara. He was later found with his hands tied behind his back, shot in the neck, according to a senior official.
Someone used the coup trouble to off the top Turkish ISIS contact. How very convenient. This is the only reported casualty at the presidential palace I have heard of. Who might have had an interest in removing this witness of Turkish relations with ISIS? Could this be some "cleaning the record" before making nice again with Syria and its allies? There is a second data-point that might have such a motive. The Erdogan government is now accusing "Gülenists" for the trouble with Russia and claims that the pilot who shot down a Russian jet also took part in the coup. Another person that stands in the way of better relations with Russia is thereby now imprisoned and moved out of the diplomatic picture.
CIA Rebels Behead Kid And Other U.S. Successes in Syria
The U.S. "regime change" operation in Syria recently tallied up some major successes.
The Syrian Democratic Force, a U.S. sponsored group of mostly Syrian Kurds, is besieging the Islamic State held eastern city of Manbij. According to the UN's Human Rights commissioner 70,000 civilians in Manbij are cut off from all supplies. We have yet to hear calls for an immediate breaking of the siege or for enforced air drops of supplies to these people. Where are all the R2P fans in the Obama administration and all the well paid Syrian opposition propaganda groups on this? That the U.S. has managed to avoid any questions about this siege is surely a success.
Instead of delivering food the U.S. did some different air drops on Marjib:
At least 56 civilians were killed on Tuesday in air strikes north of the besieged Islamic State-held city of Manbij in northern Syria, and residents said they believed the attack was carried out by U.S.-led warplanes, a monitoring group said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the dead included 11 children, and that dozens more people were wounded.
The CIA finances a long list of proxies in Syria to fight the Syrian government and the millions of people its protects. It has delivered high powered TOW anti-tank weapons to many of these groups:
The groups that the CIA currently allows munitions to be shared with are: ... Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, (Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki)...
According to the BBC Foreign News producer Riam Dalati it is a group of these Nour al-Din al-Zenki "moderate rebels" who yesterday captured a Palestinian boy of some 8. 10, maybe 12 years, taunted him and accused him of fighting on the Syrian government's side. The boy had no uniform on and had medical infusion tubes in his right arm.
The CIA supported "moderate rebels" then behead the boy with a knife right on the back of that red pickup truck. There are photos and videos of the child alive as well as video of the beheading. The Zinki group, like its CIA supporters, was already known for torturing people.
This shows again that the Obama administration has "done nothing", or at least not enough, to help these democratic forces in Syria. If these moderate people would have received more weapons, they could have used something better than a rusty knife to slaughter the boy (/sarcasm). Indeed the group blames the "international community" for such behavior of its members.
Wide Purges After Stage-Managed Coup Will Cripple Turkey
As fake evidence now gets sorted out from the real stuff considerable evidence emerges that the coup in Turkey was either completely staged or at least a controlled provocation as a prelude to large, well planned purges.
While some junior officers involved in the coup may have believe that it was for real, Erdogan and his power apparatus knew that the coup was coming and had everything under control. One wonders how those juniors were deceived and what provoked them into their hasty, amateurish, hapless attempt. Did some allegedly upcoming investigation spook them?
Erdogan admitted today an TV that he knew the coup was coming:
7:47 PM - 17 Jul 2016 Mahir Zeynalov @MahirZeynalov
Erdogan acknowledges they knew about a "military activity" at least 7-10 hours before the coup vid
9:34am 18 Jul 2016 Borzou Daragahi @borzou
Turkey official: "Gulenists in military under investigation for some time. Group acted out of emergency when realized under investigation"
These "Gülenist" were more likely those nationalist Kemalist seculars which the New York Times now labels "extreme".
That the coup was expected explains why Erdogan left his vacation hotel in Marmaris hours before soldiers showed up to arrest him:
9:12 PM - 15 Jul 2016 (((Garrett Khoury))) @KhouryGarrett
#Turkey: Erdogan confirms coup forces surrounded his hotel in Marmaris...4 hours after he had left. That's a special sort of ineptitude.
It also explains why two F-16 fighter jets, allegedly part of the coup, had Erdogan's plane in sight but did not take it down:
"At least two F-16s harassed Erdogan's plane while it was in the air and en route to Istanbul. They locked their radars on his plane and on two other F-16s protecting him," a former military officer with knowledge of the events told Reuters.
"Why they didn't fire is a mystery," he said.
These pilots were not real partakers of the coup. They must have had orders not to shoot. Flight radar data showed Erodgan's plane circling in a holding pattern south west of Istanbul for hours. It would have been very easy eliminate him.
From the same Reuters piece:
The former military officer said the coup plotters appeared to have launched their attempt prematurely because they realized they were under surveillance, something corroborated by other officials in Ankara.
Colonel Pat Lang, who for years worked as U.S. military intelligence official in Turkey, contacted old acquaintances:
I am assured by Turkish sources that Erdogan and senior officers he had appointed manipulated low level plotting to create a "coup" that could be defeated easily leading to his consolidation of power.
There is precedence for such a coup in Turkey's history:
The Auspicious Incident (or Event) (Turkish: (in Istanbul) Vaka-i Hayriye "Fortunate Event"; (in Balkans) Vaka-i Şerriyye, "Unfortunate Incident") was the forced disbandment of the centuries-old Janissary corps by Sultan Mahmud II on 15 June 1826. Most of the 135,000 Janissaries revolted against Mahmud II, and after the rebellion was suppressed, its leaders killed, and many members exiled or imprisoned, the Janissary corps was disbanded and replaced with a more modern military force.
Historians suggest that Mahmud II purposely incited the revolt and have described it as the sultan's "coup against the Janissaries".
This coup is Erdogan's Reichstagsfire, the alleged torching of the German parliament building in February 1933 which was used by Hitler to purge communists and other enemies of his rule.
The stage-managed coup is now followed by a real one in which Erdogan takes down all presumed enemies.
NYT Pampers Erdogan - Declares Secularism To Be Extreme
In its coverage of the coup attempt in Turkey the New York Times asserts that being a secularist is "extreme":
Turkey’s politics was for decades divided between secularists and Islamists, but both Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Gulen have occupied a middle ground between these two extremes.
the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.
Secularism is the basis of all modern democracies. How is that extreme?
Erdogan as well as Gülen are Islamists. They both believe in the primacy of religion. (Though Gülen's alleged $25 billion charter school empire, his ties to the CIA and to the Clinton Foundation cast doubt on any claim that he is driven by religious morality.) Erdogan called the coup a "gift of god".
In the same piece the NYT also asserts that:
Mr. Erdogan’s Turkey has been a reliable American ally and partner in the fight against the Islamic State.
That will be news to the Pentagon. It took years for Erdogan to take any concern about the Islamic State serious. His country still has a mostly open border policy towards the Islamic State. He just stopped U.S. air operation against the Islamic State in Syria by closing the Incirlik airbase. A move designed to pressure the U.S. to deliver Gülen, who resides in Pennsylvania and is Erdogan's arch enemy, to Turkey. Is that really a "reliable ally and partner"?
Had the amateurish coup succeeded democracy in Turkey would have been suspended for some years. Now, that Erdogan has won. he is launching an astonishingly well prepared cleansing campaign. Thousands of soldiers, including many officers unrelated to the "coup", have been detained. Some 3,000 judges, a fifth of the judiciary, have been suspended. Hundreds of them, including supreme court judges, have been jailed. Independent news-sites get closed, editors are rounded up. Erdogan calls on his Islamist followers to occupy the streets. They attack Syrian refugees, Kurdish and Alevi neighborhoods. Democracy in Turkey is now lost for decades.
To pamper Erdogan by redefining moral norms, as the NYT does, will not better the situation of the Turkish people or of anyone else exposed to Erdogan's whims.
Coup Against Wannabe-Sultan Failed - Beware The Aftermath
(Please also read the updated tweets below. There are some very interesting nuggets in there that are not yet reflected in the text.)
Yesterday's short coup attempt (real time MoA) by parts of the military against the wannabe-Sultan of Turkey failed. Some 200 people on both sides were killed, some 1,200 wounded.
The plotters' major mistakes were:
- to not capture Erdogan and the leaders of his political and security organizations,
- to not shut down all means of mass communication, especially the Internet, except those under their strict control,
- to not put out a trusted public face to represent the coup.
Erdogan escaped and could orchestrate the counter to the coup. He could continue to communicate with his security management, foreign politicians and his supporters. Without any well known alternative leader the public had only Erdogan to follow.
The amateurish behavior of the coup plotter opens the question of who ran this show. Was this, as some asserted early on, an Erdogan plot to seize more power?
There are three possible motives/perpetrators behind this coup:
- the Islamic movement following the preacher Fetullah Gülen, a former Erdogan ally and now arch-enemy who lives in the U.S. and has CIA relations;
- the old Kemalist secularist movement in the military and deep state;
- the Erdogan AKP movement in a false flag operation to seize more power;
There is no evidence for any of these theses and none of them clearly fits the observed pattern.
The response will be harsh. Edogan will crack down on ANYONE he politically or personally dislikes - completely independent of their involvement in the coup. All political parties, even the mostly Kurdish HDP, spoke out against the coup while it was ongoing. The religious Gülen movement also opposed it. Most of the involved soldiers were told that they were part of an exercise. It will not save any of them from Erdogan's and his supporters' wrath.
The somewhat coup-supportive early statements from Lavrov ("avoid bloodshed") and Kerry ("stability!") will increase Erdogan's mistrust of any foreign official.
Erdogan will now become even more paranoid and unpredictable than he was before. The domestic atmosphere in Turkey will become extremely strained.
A few relevant recent tweets (see last post for many earlier ones):
5:36 PM - 15 Jul 2016 chinahand @chinahand
I'll put on my tinfoil hat re TK. What kind of coup waits til bossman's out of town & doesn't try to detain him? & AKP has plenty of
@chinahand diehard para-fash assets that wud hit streets immediately on its behalf. No plan to counter that? #WorstCoupEver I suspect
@chinahand TRE knew about the plot, made sure it would fail w/ help of loyal officers pretending to be part of it, & let it go ahead.
@chinahand now time to clean up the (extremely messy) mess & take out the trash, methinks
6:24 PM - 15 Jul 2016 ilhan tanir @WashingtonPoint
Pres Erdoğan says this is an opportunity presented by God to clean up Turkish Military . #live press conference
9:12 PM - 15 Jul 2016 (((Garrett Khoury))) @KhouryGarrett
Turkey: Erdogan confirms coup forces surrounded his hotel in Marmaris...4 hours after he had left. That's a special sort of ineptitude.
Turkish Military Takes Down Wannabe-Sultan?
There are some signs that the military in Turkey is currently launching a coup against the wannabe-Sultan's government.
This is developing and unconfirmed.
Some very recent tweets (All time stamps on a unified timeline):
12:18 PM - 15 Jul 2016 agitpapa @agitpapa
Something fishy's going on military blocking Bosphorus bridge, jets buzzing Ankara. Tayyip took Turkey back decades is it already 1980?
12:20 PM - 15 Jul 2016 ilhan tanir @WashingtonPoint
Bosporus Bridge currently blocked by Turkish Military. Everybody is asking: what is going on? Turkey. Istanbul. pic.twitter.com/7pqwTY9zQw
12:21 PM - 15 Jul 2016 agitpapa @agitpapa
Curfew declared in Ankara.
12:30pm · 15 Jul 2016 Mahir Zeynalov @MahirZeynalov
Reports of significant military presence in urban areas in Turkey. Two Istanbul bridges on lockdown by military.
12:32 PM - 15 Jul 2016 Mahir Zeynalov @MahirZeynalov
Turkish fighter jets flying low over Ankara pic.twitter.com/wqcPmLBOyW
12:39 PM - 15 Jul 2016 Moon of Alabama @MoonofA
Moon of Alabama Retweeted Mahir Zeynalov
Smells of army coup?!?
The "Western" War On Syria Depends On Al-Qaeda - Attacker In Nice Followed Its Guidance
The attacker in Nice, who last night killed some 80+ people by driving a truck into a crowd, was likely incited by al-Qaeda. Inspire, al-Qaeda's magazine, called for such truck attacks in its Issue Number 2 (pdf).
Page 54 read:
Pick your location and timing carefully. Go for the most crowed locations. Narrower spots are also better because it gives less chance for the people to run away. Avoid locations where other vehicles may intercept you.
To achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can while still retaining good control of your vehicle in order to maximize your inertia and be able to strike as many people as possible in your first run. ...
The ideal location is a place where there are a maximum number of pedestrians and the least number of vehicles. In fact if you can get through to “pedestrian only” locations that exist in some downtown (city center) areas, that would be fabulous. There are some places that are closed down for vehicles at certain times due to the swarms of people.
The Promenade des Anglais, the seaside boulevard in Nice where the attack took place last night, was blocked for ordinary traffic to allow a large crowd of pedestrians to watch the Bastille Day fireworks. The place and occasion perfectly fit the al-Qaeda terror recommendations.
While Osama Bin Laden had at times cautioned about indiscriminate attacks, al-Qaeda has hardly refrained from such on other occasions. Currently the government held western part of Aleppo, filled with mostly Sunni refugees, is under daily indiscriminate fire by improvised artillery from al-Qaeda and "moderate-rebels" who hold parts of east-Aleppo.
The French government did not care or even favored when its citizens went to Syria to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government by means of terrorism:
"The fighters in Syria are not fighting France or Europe; they are fighting against the Assad regime," Valls [,the French interior minister,] said.
Now these fighters and their ideology are coming back to France.
The Syrian president Assad had warned that terrorism committed against Syria would return to the "West" to bite:
"The West uses any element, even if it is against them elsewhere," Assad said. "They fight Al Qaeda in Mali and they support it in Syria and in Libya, but the West doesn't know — or perhaps it knows but is not now aware — that this terrorism will return to it and they will pay the price later in Europe and the United States."
Now the French president Hollande said he would reintroduce a state of emergency and call up troops to patrol the street. But both measures have been in place for the last months and obviously could not prevent such an attack. Hollande also vowed to intensify attacks on the Islamic State. But it is France' and its allies' support for "moderate rebels" in Syria what keeps al-Qaeda in Syria and the Islamic State alive.
The United States, like France, does not fight al-Qaeda in Syria. Weapons it provides to "moderate rebels" in Syria are used in coordinated attacks with al-Qaeda against the Syrian government. Indeed its proxy war for "regime change" against Syria depends on al-Qaeda storm troopers:
Up to now, the United States has carried out occasional strikes against what have been described as senior Qaeda figures in Syria. But it has refrained from systematic attacks against the Nusra Front, whose ranks are heavily Syrian, including many who left less extreme rebel groups because Nusra was better armed and financed. Faysal Itani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, was also critical of the proposed military coordination with the Russians. He said that combined attacks against Nusra would effectively end the Syrian opposition, cementing Mr. Assad’s grip on power and enraging most Syrians.
As long as France, the U.S. and their allies in the Middle East support "rebels" in Syria to achieve a change of government by force the terrorism committed in Syria by al-Queda, its affiliates like Ahrar al Sham or by the Islamic State, will come back to strike in their own countries.
We can expect more attacks like in Paris, Brussels, Orlando and Nice until sanity regains some space in the brains of "western" governments.