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Moon of Alabama

Al-Qaeda Gets An Oscar

Hollywood is all about fake. That is what movies are - fake depictions of a fake reality that only exist in the mind of scriptwriters, directors and a usually gullible audience. (Disclosure: I do like some movies.)

Hollywood has never been shy of plagiarizing. Every idea, tale of cinematographic trick that made a splash somewhere - and is thereby a potential money generator - will get copied again and again. Every successful make gets a remake. And another one.

In 2015 the promoting host of the Miss Universe franchise "misread" the name of the winner. He announced "Columbia" when the chosen winner was "Philippines." After a few minutes he "corrected" himself. That "mistake" brought a lot of additional media attention - and financial value - to the event owner.
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The War Hawks Rolled Donald Trump

President Trump's first National Security Advisor Mike Flynn got kicked out of office for talking with Russian officials. Such talks were completely inline with Trump's declared policies of détente with Russia. (I agree that Flynn should have never gotten the NSA job. But the reasons for that have nothing to do with his Russian connections.)

Allegedly Flynn did not fully inform Vice-President Pence about his talk with the Russian ambassador. But that can not be a serious reason. The talks were rather informal, they were not transcribed. The first call is said to have reached Flynn on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Why would a Vice-President need to know each and every word of it?

With Flynn out, the war-on-Russia hawks, that is about everyone of the "serious people" in Washington DC, had the second most important person out of the way that would probably hinder their plans.
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A Desperate Obama Administration Resorts To Lying And Maybe More

On September 28 the French mission to the UN claimed that two hospitals in east-Aleppo had been bombed. It documented this in a tweet with a picture of destroyed buildings in Gaza. The French later deleted that tweet.

It is not the first time such false claims and willful obfuscations were made by "western" officials. But usually they shy away from outright lies.

Not so the US Secretary of State John Kerry. In a press event yesterday, before talks with the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault about a new UN resolution, he said (vid @1:00) about Syria:
Last night, the regime attacked yet another hospital, and 20 people were killed and 100 people were wounded. And Russia and the regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities and children and women.These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes. And those who commit these would and should be held accountable for these actions.
No opposition group has claimed that such an extremely grave event happened. None.
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Another US Proxy Force Defeated By ISIS - Incompetent Training or Intent?

The US military has again failed in one of the training programs it runs in support of fighting the Islamic State. Earlier training missions had failed to create competent and willing forces. Supplies for US supported forces ended on the black markets or directly in the hands of the Islamic State. Is all this really incapability or is there some intent behind this?
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US Delivers 3,000 Tons Of Weapons And Ammo To Al-Qaeda & Co in Syria

The United States via its Central Intelligence Agency is still delivering thousands of tons of additional weapons to al-Qaeda and others in Syria.

The British military information service Janes found the transport solicitation for the shipment on the US government website FedBizOps.gov. Janes writes:
The FBO has released two solicitations in recent months looking for shipping companies to transport explosive material from Eastern Europe to the Jordanian port of Aqaba on behalf of the US Navy's Military Sealift Command.

Released on 3 November 2015, the first solicitation sought a contractor to ship 81 containers of cargo that included explosive material from Constanta in Bulgaria to Aqaba.
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The cargo listed in the document included AK-47 rifles, PKM general-purpose machine guns, DShK heavy machine guns, RPG-7 rocket launchers, and 9K111M Faktoria anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) systems. The Faktoria is an improved version of the 9K111 Fagot ATGW, the primary difference being that its missile has a tandem warhead for defeating explosive reactive armour (ERA) fitted to some tanks.
The Janes author tweeted the full article (copy here).
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Why Is The US Silently Bombing Syria's Electricity Network?

The Aleppo power plant is a 1,000 megawatt thermal plant in five units build by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in 1995-1998. It is situated some 25 kilometers east of Aleppo city center.  During the fighting around Aleppo various electricity distribution stations were damaged and electricity in parts of the city has become scarce and unpredictable. But the main power station had so far not been hit.

The plant is in the hands of the Islamic State but there is an informal agreement between the government, which controls the distribution network, and those who hold the power generating station:

[T]he agreement of understanding pertains to the division of the electricity supply between the parties, whereby ISIS will receive 60 percent of the quota and the Syrian regime will receive 40 percent.
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Russia's Campaign To Snuff Off The CIA's Al-Qaeda Forces

With some 125 strikes in three days the Russian bombing campaign continues to build. The US media is now obsessed with the idea that Russia may be using "dumb bombs" instead of Syrian "barrel bombs". This is becoming a new propaganda meme. But videos from the Russian airbase show that at least some of the planes are armed with KAB-500S-E satellite (GLONAST) guided bombs which are precise "smart" bombs. (Other pictures and video from the Russian air base show a quite comfortable life including air conditioned quarters, a mess tent, Gulaschkanonen, a bakery, a laundry etc. This base is not an improvised short-term installation.)

Besides that how is it more humane to kill by a precise bomb than by a "dumb bomb" or "barrel bomb". Gaza was bombed by the Israelis with (US produced) smart bombs. That did not lead to less destruction or killing. The recent Saudi (US produced) bomb on the Yemen wedding that killed 130 people was also "smart" and hit right where it was targeted at.
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Are Manned US Helicopters Flying In Syria?

A NYT piece on the failure if the  "Division 30" Pentagon mercenaries in Syria and their coming Version 2 includes some interesting bits (in bold). The general line of the piece is that the failure of the first group sent in does not lead to significant changes but to attempts to create more of the same. That is not really new but the usual Pentagon mindset.
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Syria: Is Israel Planning To Escalate?

Yesterday four rockets or mortars fired from the Syrian side of the Golan heights landed on Israel occupied parts of the Syrian Golan without causing any damage. A recent report cited the Israeli defense expert Tzvi Yechezkieli:
He noticed that all terrorist activity directed at Israel on the Golan Heights is the work of Hezbollah and not of Jabhat al-Nusra, the Al Qaeda affiliate that is in control of the border with Israel.
If al Qaeda is in control of the Golan border how would Hizbullah fire small, short ranged missiles over it?
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