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Russia Responds to Netanyahu’s Ultimatum in Syria With a Warning to Israel

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Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in person that Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria that threatens Israeli interests. Netanyahu also stated that Israel is prepared to take action in Syria to curb the alleged threat.

At the time, Putin did not respond specifically to Israel’s issue with Iran. This provided some uncertainty regarding Russia’s position on the current conflict given Russia views Iran as a strategic ally. At the same time, however, Russia would likely not want to be dragged into a regional spat between Israel and the Islamic Republic.

However, according to the Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet, Russia has responded by warning Israel not to authorize any attack on Iranian military positions in Syria.
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Three Dangerous Delusions about Korea

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They say that most of the world’s real dangers arise not because of what people don’t know but because of what they do "know" that just ain’t so.

As a case in point, consider three things about Korea that the bipartisan Washington establishment seems quite sure of but are far removed from reality:

Delusion 1: All options, including U.S. military force, are "on the table."

- Everyone knows there are no military "options" the U.S. could use against North Korea that don’t result in disaster. The prospect that a "surgical strike" could "take out" (a muscular-sounding term much loved by laptop bombardiers) Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile capabilities is a fiction. Already impractical when considered against a country like Iran, no one believes a limited attack could eliminate North Korea’s ability to strike back, hard. At risk would be not only almost 30,000 U.S. troops in Korea but 25 million people in the Seoul metropolitan area, not to mention many more lives at risk in the rest of South Korea and perhaps Japan.
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Always Planning Never Winning: While US Wins Some Battles, Insurgents Win the Wars

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General John F Campbell, commander of all foreign forces in Afghanistan 2014-2016, said in a speech in Kabul on December 28, 2014 that "The insurgents are losing, they’re desperate." But they weren’t and they aren’t.

On August 21 President Trump outlined his plan for continuation of the 16-year US-NATO war in Afghanistan, in which there is supposedly a new strategy. Strangely, his speech included the announcement that "Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win," which tends to beg the question — don’t armies always fight to win? If not, we might wonder what all the US-NATO-"Coalition" soldiers died for, over these blood-soaked years in which United States taxpayers have had to pay over a trillion dollars for the cost of fighting an unwinnable war.

The other foreign countries involved in the war have not had to pay anything like that amount. The cost to Britain, for example, before it reduced its forces to a small training team in 2015, was 27 billion pounds — 35 billion dollars. And only 453 soldiers killed. Peanuts, so far as the politicians are concerned. And there are very few people in the UK who know or care about Britain’s disastrous Fourth Afghan War.
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Time To Listen to Our Korean Allies

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Old Chinese saying: "when elephants battle, ants get crushed." Think of the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula in which the government in Seoul has been all but ignored. South Korea’s newly elected president, Moon Jae-in, keeps insisting that the US must not launch war against North Korea without South Korea’s agreement. 

President Donald Trump and the US media appear not to have heard Moon’s pleas, or are simply disregarding them. Amazingly, six decades after the end of the 1950 Korean War, South Korea’s 650,000-man active armed forces and 4.2 million-man reserves remain under the command of a US four-star general. 

This neo-colonial arrangement was supposed to have ended years ago, but successive conservative South Korean governments maintained their nation’s acceptance of Washington’s Asian Raj. So does Japan. The most recent South Korean rightist leader, Park Guen-hye, was ousted for alleged corruption and is now in jail awaiting trial.
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Last Eight Months Prove United States a Bonafide 'Regime'

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Elected to the Oval Office as a harsh critic of US involvement in costly Middle Eastern conflicts by a war-weary public, The Donald has turned out be just as much of a war president as those who went before. He’s ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian government airfield and dropped the "Mother of All Bombs" on Afghanistan. That’s in addition to threatening North Korea and Venezuela and escalating US involvement in the bombing of cholera-stricken Yemen.

The millions of Americans who voted for Trump, hoping he’d be the president to bring the troops back home, have been cruelly disappointed and are certainly feeling betrayed. They shouldn’t be at all shocked, however, as American political history shows us a clear pattern.

The sad, inescapable truth is that it doesn’t matter who gets elected as president and what they say on the election trail; the policies on the issues that matter remain the same after the inauguration. What the last eight months have proven, to anyone who still had any doubts, is that the US is not a "democracy" that changes course according to the public will, but a full-blown regime, governed by the Wall Street/CIA/Endless War Party which never loses power regardless of how people vote.
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What Afghan ‘Stalemate’ is All About

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The Associated Press has carried an exclusive report regarding the intensive, on-going political dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban behind the scene, the appearance of a "stalemate" notwithstanding. That such contacts have been going on was a widely known secret, but the AP report is specific regarding their high frequency and it discloses that these contacts are handled at a very high level. There is no reason to doubt the AP claim citing authoritative sources.

Thus, there are two aspects here – the timing of the "leak" and contents of the leak. The curious thing about the timing is that this "leak" has appeared just 10 days after US President Donald Trump’s speech outlining the way forward in Afghanistan. To say the very least, the leak significantly moderates the US’ newly proclaimed Afghan strategy and gives it a "human face." The comfort level in Pakistan should rise by a few notches at least.

Quite obviously, some well-informed source with access to a highly restricted "Top Secret" document has shared the info with AP. It can only be a top level Afghan source close to the leadership in Kabul or a foreign power (like the US) which has every business to know in real time what its puppet regime in Kabul is up to.
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Is a Militarized Police The Answer To Inner City Turmoil?

On Monday, President Trump announced he was issuing an executive order to reinstate the transfer of military weapons and equipment to local police forces. A partial ban had been put in place late in the Obama Administration. The weapons transfer program has a long history in the drug war but even 25 years later it has failed to make a difference in that war. It has been successful, however, in further undermining our civil liberties. A militarized police force is all about control, not safety...
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Making Stuff up on Twitter is the New 'Journalism' — and We Deserve it

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On Monday, The Guardian published a story which should have surprised no one: Information pushed aggressively on Twitter by anti-Trump conspiracy theorist duo Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor came from a hoaxer who duped Taylor in an email.

Taylor, a former White House staffer under Bill Clinton, tweeted out “fake details of criminal inquiries” related to Donald Trump which did not exist and were “invented” by a hoaxer claiming to work for the New York attorney general.

Mensch, a former conservative member of parliament in the UK and now a self-styled journalist, helped Taylor to spread the information on Twitter, while also claiming to have separate sources to back it up.
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Ruby Ridge Lessons for Fighting Right-Wing Extremism

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In the wake of the protest in Charlottesville by white supremacists, many people are demanding a crackdown on dangerous right-wing extremists. The federal government has previously carried out similar campaigns against with disastrous results. Rather than intellectually purifying the nation, such efforts are far more likely to turn nitwits into martyrs and to ravage Washington’s credibility.

Prior federal law enforcement efforts to take down “bad ideas” quickly spiraled out of control. In the 1960s, an FBI COINTELPRO operation set up its own 250-member Klan organization “to attract membership away from the United Klans of America,” as a 1976 Senate report noted. One federally-funded informant admitted that he and other Klansmen had “beaten people severely, had boarded buses and kicked people off; had went [sic] in restaurants and beaten them with blackjacks, chains, pistols.” Other FBI COINTELPRO operations sought to destroy black activists, including Martin Luther King Jr.  One FBI office boasted of spurring “shootings, beatings and a high degree of unrest … in the ghetto area of southeast San Diego.”

Once the FBI committed to subverting “dissident speech,” its crackdowns became a bureaucratic growth industry that eventually included even women’s liberation movements. Nixon aide Tom Charles Huston testified in 1975 of COINTELPRO’s tendency “to move from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the line.”
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Iran, Again...Will Israel Start a New War?

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When politicians are feeling the heat, they start a war and their popularity goes up even if the war is unnecessary or completely ridiculous. Donald Trump, the presidential candidate who promised that he would not take the nation into another Middle Eastern war, did so when he launched a fifty-nine cruise missile barrage against a Syrian Air Base even before he knew for sure what had happened on the ground. It was totally stupid but proved to be popular, even among talking heads and Congressmen, some of whom described his action as “presidential” in the best sense of the word.

It’s the same in Israel. For those who have not been following developments there, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been under pressure due to an ongoing investigation for corruption. One of the truly great things about Israel is that while they have a lot of corrupt politicians, just like everywhere else, they actually investigate, indict, prosecute, convict and send them to jail.

The betting is that Netanyahu will soon be in prison, so he has been responding in the time-honored fashion by threatening his neighbors and hinting at the possibility of increased military action and even war. If there is a war going on, he believes, probably correctly, that no one will want to remove him.
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