Connect with us

Latest

News

Another American known wolf? Fort Lauderdale shooter known to FBI, worked for security, amid backdrop of mass drills

Another shocking active-shooter incident rocks America. This time, according to Florida’s Broward County Sheriff’s Department, thirteen people were shot, including five dead, after an apparent shooting rampage took place at Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport.

Shawn Helton

Published

on

514 Views

Published with the permission of the author. First appeared on 21st Century Wire

At the moment, there is still no clear motive for the shooting attack and no evidence linking the suspect to terror. However, officials have yet to rule out the possibility of terrorism.

The timing of this shooting attack cannot be overstated, as there was a major US intelligence review over an alleged Russian hack influence on America’s 2016 election that was scheduled on the very same day…

‘KNOWN WOLF?’ – (Photo illustration 21WIRE’s Shawn Helton)

NOTE: It only took a matter of hours for the Fort Lauderdale shooter’s back story to emerge.

According to authorities, the suspected airport shooter, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, checked a declared handgun inside his luggage, later retrieving it at Fort Lauderdale Airport’s Terminal 2 baggage claim. Santiago then reportedly loaded the gun in a bathroom came out in the terminal opening fire on fellow travelers – including a series of head shots.

After the shooting spree, the suspect was reported to have calmly turned himself to the police.

According to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel,  “The shooter is in custody and unharmed,” said. “No law enforcement officers fired any shots.”

The whole series of events is strange to say the least, but the oddities didn’t stop there. 

Santiago-Ruiz’s US military background includes service in the Puerto Rico Army National Guard in 2007, according to the Department of Defense. Santiago-Ruiz was listed as a combat engineer who had been deployed to Iraq in April 2010, returning to US soil in 2011. Later in November of 2014, following a move to Alaska, he became a member of the Alaska National Guard. In August of 2016, Santiago-Ruiz was transferred to Inactive Ready Reserve.

Additionally, Santiago-Ruiz was stated to be employed by an as of yet unnamed Anchorage security company while living in Alaska.

According to the Associated Press and Miami’s local CBS News affiliate, “The Pentagon said he [Santiago-Ruiz] went AWOL several times as a specialist during a stint with the Alaska National Guard and was demoted to private first class, the Associated Press reported. He was given a general discharge, which is lower than an honorable discharge.”

Earlier reports stated that Santiago-Ruiz flew on a flight from Canada. Air Canada promptly denied that the suspected airport shooter was on any of their flights. Other US mainstream outlets later stated that he arrived on an in-bound Delta Airlines flight instead.

AIRPORT SHOOTING’ –  Esteban Santiago is in custody following a shooting at a Fort Lauderdale airport. Authorities gathered travelers on the tarmac after the incident. (Image Source: Chicago Tribune)

Interestingly, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was on the scene of the shooting, and was ‘live-tweeting’:

Another Known Wolf?

As 21 WIRE has documented over the years, many so-called shooting/terror/attacks involve individuals being monitored by security services prior to an alleged act taking place. A place where a ‘lone wolf’ graduates into the ranks of a known wolf. In fact, very often those being watched by authorities exhibit all the tell-tale signs of a patsy or an informant, working either for a law enforcement or intelligence agency. Historically, government operators have often made use of low-life criminals, and mentally disturbed individuals to fulfill various role in entrapment stings or sometimes as bonafide actors in an actual attacks.

In any case, alleged attackers and security agencies have a dicey relationship, making any link between them highly suspect in nature.

In January of 2015, a strategic security service think-tank known as The Soufan Group, reported that a larger national security threat resides with radicals who’ve had a lengthy criminal background with known ties to security agencies:

“The Soufan Group, a New York think tank, said a better term for “lone wolves” would be “known wolves“, given how many are already known to Western intelligence agencies before they strike.

“These individuals, acting alone or in small groups … have been on the radar of various agencies and organisations, highlighting the difficulty of effectively monitoring and managing people at the nexus of criminality and terrorism,” it said in a report this week…”

The Fort Lauderdale shooting story rapidly emerged out of corporate media halls looking to sell the public on the latest tragic shooting in America. The Hollywood International Airport shooting has elements of other high-profile shooting events in recent history, such as the TSA/LAX shooting, the the Tucson shootingOrlando Pulse nightclub shooting, the San Bernardino shooting attack, the Chattanooga military base shooting siege, as well as the aspects of the Aurora theater shooting and the Grand theater shooting in Lafayette and many others.

Is the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter another case of a known wolf – triggered into action?

The apparent Fort Lauderdale airport shooter, Santiago-Ruiz, who is said to be Puerto Rican was born in New Jersey (living in Alaska), and was well-known to authorities, having recently undergone a mental health evaluation after allegedly visiting an FBI office in Alaska where he claimed he was under ‘CIA mind control,’ with voices in his head telling him to join ISIS’:

“They say last November, he walked into the FBI’s office in Anchorage, Alaska, claiming that  his mind was being controlled by the CIA and that it was forcing him to join ISIS. He appeared agitated and incoherent, and made disjointed statements — and although he said he didn’t wish to hurt anyone, agents were concerned by his erratic behavior and decided to call local authorities, a senior federal law enforcement official said.

Local police took him to a local medical facility for evaluation, and the FBI closed its assessment of Santiago after conducting database reviews, interagency checks and interviews with family members, the official said.”

Shades of the Manchurian Candidate?

We’re also told that the suspect’s aunt had flagged his mentally unstable condition previously. According to USA Today:

Yet the troubling episode is now part of an emerging profile of a deeply disturbed man described by his aunt Friday as someone who had “lost his mind.”

Maria Luisa Ruiz of Union City, N.J., said her nephew, who had moved to Alaska for work as a security guard, only recently began to show signs of instability.

“Like a month ago, it was like he lost his mind,” she said “He said he saw things.”

The inclusion of Santiago-Ruiz’s alleged ‘voices’ in his head, supposedly triggered by the CIA, immediately recalls another bizarre case that was also difficult to comprehend – the Navy Yard Shooter from 2013.

Here’s a passage from a 21WIRE report discussing the apparent Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis:

“Rather than get caught up in the ‘fear campaigns’ sold to us by our favorite news anchor-zombies, its important to consider another aspect of these mass shootings by making a tally of  the trigger points that media uses to manipulate public perception, as they carefully propagandize certain elements within a crisis making sure to illicit ‘the right’ reaction from every major demographic.”

Is this what we are seeing in the aftermath of the Fort Lauderdale shooting?

Heavy.com added the following details about the supposedly troubled Santiago-Ruiz:

The shooter – whose troubled behavior had already drawn the attention of the FBI, Army, and Anchorage police – arrived Friday afternoon at the busy airport on a flight from Alaska, with the gun used in the shooting properly stored in his checked baggage, NBC News reports.

One report said the shooter, who lived in Alaska, had no other luggage but the gun, which federal rules allow a person to declare at a ticket counter and check under the plane but not carry on.”

In addition to Santiago-Ruiz’s lengthy time with the US military and the National Guard, in recent years, the suspected shooter was involved in various crimes. Here’s a passage from The Daily Beast describing some of Santiago’s background:

“According to charging documents provided by the Anchorage prosecutor’s office to The Daily Beast, on January 10, 2016, Santiago verbally assaulted his then girlfriend, a 40-year old mother of one child from a previous marriage whom The Daily Beast is not naming, through a locked bathroom door, telling her to “Get the fuck out, bitch.” After he forced his way in by breaking down the door, he smacked her in the head and strangled her. By the time police arrived, Santiago had fled the scene.

Santiago was arrested days later and released on the condition that he have no contact with the victim, but in February, Anchorage police found him at his girlfriend’s residence and he was charged for violating the conditions of his release. That case is still pending.

Alaska court records show a criminal record under Santiago’s name for minor traffic infractions including operating a vehicle without insurance and a broken taillight. Records also show his landlord evicted him for non-payment of rent in February 2015.

The assault case was resolved in March when Santiago entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, an alternative to adjudication where prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charges in exchange for Esteban’s completion of requirements, the details of which are unknown.”

While Anchorage municipal prosecutor Seneca Theno told The Daily Beast that previous charges against Santiago-Ruiz are unlikely to be dropped following the airport shooting – you still have to wonder what ‘requirements’ were asked of Santiago-Ruiz to get the alleged assault charges dropped from his record in the first place, given the brutal nature of them.

FOX NEWS echoes a Sun Sentinel report, “Why the gunman may have chosen South Florida was unclear. He had no clear connection to the state aside from relatives in the Naples area, a two-hour drive away, the Sun Sentinel reported.

The same FOX report adds the following about Santiago-Ruiz’s alleged lengthy mental health battle:

“Bryan Santiago said his brother never spoke to him directly about his medical issues.

“We have not talked for the past three weeks,” Bryan Santiago said. “That’s a bit unusual … I’m in shock. He was a serious person … He was a normal person.”

Mass Shooting Distraction?

Another aspect to these highly emotive and polarizing known wolf shooting events, is that usually they dominate US media coverage for several days. As other charged elements of an alleged shooter/attacker are propagandized, such as Santiago-Ruiz’s Palestinian scarf image (seen on the left) seized upon by FOX News anchors who fused Santiago-Ruiz’s allegedly ‘ISIS-like’ hand gesture with the Gaza-Israeli conflict.

The shocking scene at Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport occurred the same exact day US intelligence leaders briefed President-elect Donald Trump on so-called Russian hack allegations in the lead up to the 2016 election.

Back in September of 2016, while examining the aftermath of the New York and New Jersey bomb plot/attack, we analyzed whether a deeper social engineering agenda might have been at play – as part of a larger geopolitical drama unfolded in Syria appeared to be masked by media.

When looking deeper, we discovered other overlapping stories that coincided alongside the ‘known wolf’ NYC bomber. Here’s a passage that discussed the NYC attack that seemed to bury Western coverage regarding a vicious airstrike campaign that killed dozens of members of Syria’s army:

“You have to wonder, were the events in New York and New Jersey also a weapon of mass distraction, following a major international embarrassment for the United States both at home and abroad – the brutal airstrike campaign in Syria that killed over 70 Syrian troops?

This unlikely bombing incident just happened to also coincide with the UN General Assembly in NYC, where President Obama was delivering among other speeches, his “War on Terror” addresses to the international community. No surprise then, with the city suddenly on ‘high terror alert’ – that Obama quickly, confidently and comfortably used his center stage spotlight at the UN, shifting into ‘national security’ mode – boasting how quickly his police forces solved the case. It was almost if he was ready for events that weekend.”

Similarly, you have to consider if this new high-profile shooting event at Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport will dominate the news cycle, as the US intelligence community scrambles to prove Russian hack allegations over the next week.

On January 4th ABC News reported the following:

“The classified report requested by President Barack Obama detailing Russia’s alleged role in cyberattacks during U.S. presidential elections dating back to 2008 is now complete, and he is expected to receive the first briefing on its findings on Thursday afternoon, U.S. officials tell ABC News.

President-elect Donald Trump, who said last week he would receive his briefing on the matter on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, is scheduled to receive his briefing on Friday. Both briefings will be conducted by the heads of relevant agencies, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency, the FBI and the CIA.

U.S. officials denied claims from Trump that his special briefing was delayed so the U.S. intelligence community could strengthen its case against Russia. Officials instead said there may have been a scheduling disconnect or some confusion on the part of the Trump transition team.”

Interestingly, other explosive high-profile stories went to the back burner, such as the Chicago kidnapping and teen torture story – and the fallout from CNN’s Don Lemon following his egregious comments after the tragic racially motivated attack.

Media Memory: Reports of a ‘Second Shooter’ at Terminal 1

During the later hours of the US mainstream media coverage, networks like CNN were still floating the possibility of a second shooter, as reports emerged of shots fired in the adjacent terminal housing United Airlines, Terminal 1.

Interestingly, local reports also reported eye-witness accounts of a ‘second gunman’ involved in the Fort Lauderdale shooting. Here’s a passage from an ABC News affiliate discussing the reports of a second gunman at the Fort Lauderdale shooting:

“All day I’ve heard people talking about second incidences,” Catie Rutledge wrote on Instagram. “After waiting on the tarmac for hours and hunting someone down to get our bags, we are now waiting for a bus, so that we can leave the airport.”

There was panic when authorities feared there was a second gunman. Law enforcement asked travelers to seek shelter. Fear prompted many to say their final good byes to loved ones. Some frightened parents were in tears as they tried to protect their children.”

This aspect of the case seemingly disappeared from media outlets following Santiago-Ruiz’s arrest.

The phenomena of multiple shooters being immediately reported after an apparent mass shooting event was also echoed during both the Orlando nightclub shooting and the San Bernardino attack in 2015.

Later in the evening, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed that there was no second shooter – despite previous reports. The suspect was being interrogated by the FBI. This statement was in stark contrast to multiple witness statements made on national TV, placing the series of shots, or perhaps an additional series of shots and subsequent crowds fleeing in panic at Terminal 1 – that would either be instead of Terminal 2, or in addition to it.

This wasn’t just an anomaly – this was backed up by at least 2 different witnesses on CNN, perhaps more in other reports which 21WIRE has yet to collate here.

Was this a case of something that happened in Terminal 1 – either part of a drill, or another gunman – which was memory-holed by the media and DHS, or could this be we are looking at planted witnesses who got their lines wrong? This is a fair question to ask, considering we are talking about multiple witnesses stating the shots and crowds panicking in Terminals other than the official story in Terminal 2.

Here are four ‘alternative’ witnesses:

Witness 1: CNN’s coverage of the ‘Active Shooter’ festival at Fort Lauderdale Airport reveals yet another anomaly in their story. CNN reported the alleged shooter, Esteban Santiago, shot 5 people dead in the Delta Terminal 2, and yet, all the witnesses reported 4 shots fired in the United Terminal 1. When this witness, a father who flew in from Chicago, tells of the United T1 shots fired, CNN’s reporter Boris Sanchez appears to panic, possibly then receiving a feed in his ear and then essentially tells the witness ‘you are wrong, there were no shots fired in United Terminal 1.’ Was this bad reporting, or bad stage management by CNN? Watch:

Witness 2: Immediately after CNN’s Boris Sanchez mix-up with man flying in from Chicago at United Terminal 1, another CNN witness was suddenly produced, going by the name of ’Ryan Ward’, interviewed by Jim Sciutto, then comes on, using very scripted language apparently in an attempt to clean-up the inconsistent statements of the last witness. Ryan Ward describes the mayhem, people running, “luggage flying” and “people screaming, gunman coming” – even though he admits he was NOT in Delta Terminal 2 where police report the actual shooting took place. Ward claims he was in a wheel chair because of back surgery, but then claims he “got up and ran over“ to save a little girl and “I ran back over and pushed the mom into a corner and laid on top of her”. He then says that, “It does sound like it was an unsubstantiated second threat, but people certainly weren’t acting like it” – here he was mirroring the identical language used by the previous CNN reporters. Coincidence? Even more oddly, Ward claims he was flying Jet Blue, and that the, “Jet Blue staff were really great” – only problem is that Jet Blue is in Terminal 3, and not in T1 or T2. Watch:

Witness 3: Another witness, testifying multiple gunman on the scene, although the Terminal location being referenced by this 3rd witness is somewhat unclear:

Also, there is an additional media report by Intellihub of a pilot, in uniform and on-site, who also testifies about a loud commotion, with police in pursuit of a perpetrator seen in Terminal 1 – a stark contrast to the official story:

“The pilot believes that “there was another shooting” in Terminal 1 that law enforcement and the F.B.I. are likely covering up. ‘I could hear females screaming and people running away from terminal 1.’

The pilot said he feels that it was definitely “some kind of combined effort to attack” the airport.

EDITORS NOTE: If readers have any other witness reports of a ‘Second Shooter’ or shots fired in Terminal 2, please leave them below in the comment section.

Here’s an ABC News feature with Mark Lea, an apparent eye-witness (later photographed the crime scene) who came ‘face-to-face’ with Santiago-Ruiz – who also rather incredibly, managed to not get shot during the encounter…

Fort Lauderdale’s ‘Active Shooter’ Drills

Very often preceding an apparent shooting/attack there is the presence of mass casualty drills. Fort Lauderdale was no exception.

In 2015, the Sun Sentinel reported the following:

At a Fort Lauderdale cinema Wednesday, two men in camouflage gear calmly walked down the aisle and fired rifles and handguns at moviegoers.

Twenty-seven volunteers were “injured” in three theaters during the drill.

Fort Lauderdale police guarded and escorted paramedics wearing protective gear to tend to the wounded actors, even though the “shooters” weren’t captured and blank gunfire echoed elsewhere in the Riverwalk movie complex.

The agencies’ goal is to speed up paramedics’ responses during mass killings, domestic calls and other violent incidents.”

Similarly, in June of 2016, an inter-agency meeting described future protocols regarding mass drills:

“The meeting, held every quarter, is an opportunity for agencies to coordinate with one another and discuss the latest techniques in fighting domestic terror attacks.

Last month, agencies participated in an active-shooter exercise at the Fort Lauderdale Postal Facility.

In February, the group participated in Operation Heat Shield, consisting of weapons of mass destruction and an active shooting drill.

Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Rick Bradshaw of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said these training exercises are important.”

With such a large law enforcement effort to tackle the active-shooter, you have to wonder why and how these events seem to coincide with major attacks on US soil.

Here’s a YouTube video from commentator Peekay Truth discussing aspects of this latest mass shooting tragedy in America…

Dupes, Informants and Pawns

Additionally, as we’ve mentioned before, during the aftermath of 2014’s Canadian Parliament Shooting in Ottawa, we outlined many of the primary markers used in certain terror related events globally and other mass casualty incidents often seen in America.

The shocking event, like other bizarre attacks in recent years, have often distorted public opinion, pushing the populace towards new security measures in the wake of heavily coordinated and stylized crimes.

The suspected Parliament Hill and National War Memorial shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, (Left Image: therightscoop) had the perfect ‘modus operandi’ and résumé to be an informant for either a law enforcement or intelligence agency.

According to the Globe and Mail, Zehaf-Bibeau was already designated as a “high risk traveller” by the Canadian government’s security services – who had also seized his passport. Was this the reason why the Zehaf-Bibeau snapped? Was he being targeted or being pressured into becoming an informant?

Other terror stooges and suspicious intelligence ‘informant’ cases include the following:

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (see his story here)
Buford Rogers
 (see his story here)
Jerad Miller (see his story here)
Naji Mansour (see his story here)
Quazi Mohammad Nafis (see his story here)
Mohamed Osman Mohamud (see his story here)
Timothy McVeigh (see his story here)
Salim Benghalem (see his story here)
Michael Adebolajo (see his story here)
Daba Deng (see his story here)
Elton Simpson (see his story here)
Man Haron Monis (see his story here)
Abu Hamza (see his story here)
Haroon Rashid Aswat (see his story here)
Glen Rodgers (see his story here)
Omar Mateen (see his story here)
Tashfeen Malik (see her story here)
Djamel Beghal  (see his story here)
Anjem Choudary (see his story here)
Cherif Kouachi (see his story here)
Said Kouachi (see his story here)
Amedy Coulibaly (see his story here)
Hayat Boumeddiene (see her story here)
Salah Abdeslam (see his story here)
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (see his story here)
Nidal Malik Hassan (see his story here)
Abdelhakim Dekhar  (see his story here)
Abdelhamid Abaaoud (see his story here)
Samy Amimour (see his story here)
Ismaël Omar Mostefaï (see his story here)
Mohamed Lahouij Bouhlel (see his story here)
Anis Amri (see his story here)

As we’ve mentioned here at 21WIRE before, many political leaders and media operatives bang the drums of security over so-called terror ‘sleeper cells’ hiding in a nation near you – none of them acknowledge the historical fact that they themselves have also helped to harbor, grow, foment and radicalize individuals through counter-terrorism operations for decades.

It is important to mention again, that the FBI created the counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) to influence and disrupt political factions from the inside out. Between 1956 and 1971 (including the Socialist Workers party in 1973), the FBI’s controversial program infiltrated and radicalized hundreds of left-wing and right-wing groups to control and neutralize political dissidents across America.

As we stated after the suspicious Oregon campus shooting in 2015, mass media has worked out their own formula for laying out a familiar series of polarizing political points in the aftermath of any ‘tragic’ event, as they have with many others incidents.

The Fort Lauderdale shooting appears once again, to purposefully redirect the public to look at a ready-made laundry list of items (in this case mental-health, supported by online rants on social media) about the persona of a shooter as an ironclad motive for a crime. The aftermath in the case of Fort Lauderdale is no different, as it rapidly descended into an overindulgent barrage of media speculation and theorizing.

All too often we’ve seen the ‘stage persona’ of any alleged attacker or killer being touted as hard evidence, despite the fact that even strong circumstantial evidence of any apparent crime would likely result in many hours of analysis and debate, potentially without a definitive conclusion, even if the evidence reaches a court room.

For the average person, it’s hard to differentiate from a drill or a real event, causing one to scrutinize the legitimacy of such an operation.

In recent years, the investigative tactics of various intelligence agencies have come into question, none perhaps more dubious than the Newburgh FBI sting that involved entrapping four men to participate in a fabricated event created by the bureau. Here’s a 2011 passage from The Guardian describing how an FBI informant named Shahed Hussain coerced four others into a fake terror plot:

“The “Newburgh Four” now languish in jail. Hussain does not. For Hussain was a fake. In fact, Hussain worked for the FBI as an informant trawling mosques in hope of picking up radicals.

Yet far from being active militants, the four men he attracted were impoverished individuals struggling with Newburgh’s grim epidemic of crack, drug crime and poverty. One had mental issues so severe his apartment contained bottles of his own urine. He also believed Florida was a foreign country.

Hussain offered the men huge financial inducements to carry out the plot – including $250,000 to one man – and free holidays and expensive cars.

As defence lawyers poured through the evidence, the Newburgh Four came to represent the most extreme form of a controversial FBI policy to use invented terrorist plots to lure targets. “There has been no case as egregious as this. It is unique in the incentive the government provided. A quarter million dollars?” said Professor Karen Greenberg, a terrorism expert at Fordham University.”

The whole episode seemed akin to the WTC 1993 bombing case, which involved yet another informant working alongside officials.

The Gun Control & Security Agenda

As pointed out in 21WIRE during 2015’s Oregon campus shooting, the primary focus for mass media concerning the Fort Lauderdale incident, will now be all of the hot button socio-political issues including ‘gun control-reform’ and those concerned over ‘mental illness’ background checks, along with those who constitutionally oppose such restrictive legislation.

It should be obvious by now that events like Fort Lauderdale, along with other ‘mass-shootings’, have become a sharp catalyst to usher in calls for endless new ‘mass shooting’ protocols, inter-agency ‘fusion’, ‘first-responder’ emergency medical protocols, and also for injecting more and more military terminology into civilian life – with the media playing a critical role in steering the public away from questioning any of the dubious elements surrounding any shooting event.

In a sense, the media is helping to nudge these shooting events out of the forensic sphere and into the political arena as quickly as possible, effectively closing the feedback loop of concerned citizens and those who may have been affected by an event.

The Fort Lauderdale shooting has prompted the mainstream media to feed into concerns over airport security, gun ownership and a persons mental health background. All of media’s fear-inducing drama regarding the Fort Lauderdale shooting boils down to a contentious battle over gun reform and mental health as the Obama administration comes to a close. No doubt this latest shooting will give cause to new security measures in airports across America.

Here’s another look at outgoing President Obama discussing his frustration on gun control in a ‘legacy’ interview with the BBC from 2015 – – amazingly, only a few hours before a mass shooting in Lafayette…

*UPDATE* – Broward Sheriff Scott Israel stated that deputies arrived on the scene between “60 to 70 seconds after the Fort Lauderdale shooting took place – quite an incredible response time by most law enforcement standards.

TMZ acquired footage of the Fort Lauderdale shooter in action – the video appears to display elements of staging – decide for yourself…

According to reports, “Airport officials, along with federal and local authorities, are investigating who had access to the footage and who allowed it to be taped without authorization, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief told the Sun Sentinel.”

Stayed tuned as more details come out regarding the Fort Lauderdale shooting…

Advertisement
Comments

Latest

US Sanctions Foster Emergence of Multipolar World

US sanctions negatively affect the economies of the targeted countries, but they also push the nations hit by them to move closer to each other.

Published

on

Authored by Arkady Savitsky via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Russia, Iran, China, and now Turkey are in the same boat, as all have become the target of US sanctions. But none of those nations has bowed under the pressure. Russia had foreseen the developments in advance and took timely measures to protect itself. The Turkish national currency, the lira, is plummeting now that Washington has introduced sanctions as well as tariffs on steel and aluminum, in an attempt to compel Ankara to turn over a detained American pastor. Turkish President Erdogan said it was time for Turkey to seek “new friends,” and Turkey is planning to issue yuan-denominated bonds to diversify its foreign borrowing instruments. On Aug. 11, President Erdogan said Turkey was ready to begin using local currencies in its trade with Russia, China, Iran, Ukraine, and the EU nations of the eurozone.

The recent BRICS summit reaffirmed Ankara’s commitment to the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) that is geared toward de-dollarizing its member states’ economies, and the agreement to quickly launch a Local Currency Bond Fund gives that policy teeth. Turkey has also expressed its desire to join BRICS.

Ankara is gradually moving toward membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). It has been accepted as a dialog partner of that organization. Last year Turkey became a dialog partner with ASEAN. On Aug. 1, the first ASEAN-Turkey Trilateral Ministerial Meeting was held in Singapore, bringing together Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt ÇavuşoğluASEAN Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is serving as the 2018 ASEAN term chairman. The event took place under the auspices of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that attracted foreign ministers and top diplomats from 30 countries.

Ankara is mulling over a free-trade area (FTA) agreement with the Eurasian Union. This cooperation between Ankara and the EAEU has a promising future.

Meanwhile, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has provided a $3.6-billion loan package for the Turkish energy and transportation sector. Turkey and China have recently announced an expansion of their military ties. As one can see, Turkey is inexorably pivoting from the West to the East.

Russia has a special role to play in this process. The US Congress has prohibited the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey because of the risk associated with Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 air-defense system. In response, Turkey is contemplating a purchase of Russian warplanes. Ankara prefers Russian weapons over the ones offered by NATO states. As President Erdogan put it, “Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives.”

On Aug. 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan discussed the prospects for boosting economic cooperation. Both nations are parties to the ambitious Turkish Stream natural-gas pipeline project. Ideas for ways to join forces in response to the US offensive were also on the agenda during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Turkey, Aug. 13-14, although Syria was in the spotlight of the talks. One mustn’t forget that Russia was the first country to be visited by the Turkish president after the failed 2016 coup.

As a result of some tough times resulting from US sanctions, Iran is redoubling its efforts at building foreign relationships. Under US pressure, European companies are leaving Iran, with China gradually filling the void. Now that US and European airspace companies are moving their business ventures out of Iran, this presents a good opportunity for Russian aircraft, such as the MS-21 or IL-96-400M. The Russian automaker GAZ Group is ready to supply Iran with commercial vehicles and light trucks powered by 5th generation engines.

Tehran is an observer state in the SCO, and it is to become an essential hub for the Chinese Belt Road Initiative (BRI). On June 25, a freight train arrived in the Iranian city of Bandar-e Anzali, a port on the Caspian Sea, having passed through the China-Kazakhstan-Iran transportation corridor and entering the Anzali Free Zone that connects China to both the Kazakh port of Aktau and to Iran, thus creating a new trade link to the outside world. This gives a boost to the BRI. On Aug. 12, the five littoral states (the Caspian Five) signed the Caspian Sea Convention — the fruit of 22 years of difficult negotiations. This opens up new opportunities for Iran and other countries of the region as well as the BRI. The idea to form a new economic forum was floated at the Caspian Five summit.

China and Russia back the idea of Iran’s full-fledged SCO membership. In May Tehran signed an interim FTA agreement with the EAEU. Greater EAEU-BRI integration under the stewardship of the SCO is also on the horizon.

According to the Daily Express, Iran could band together with Russia and China in an anti-US alliance. Iran may also get an observer status in the CSTO. Iran-Turkey trade has recently revived, and that bilateral relationship includes burgeoning military cooperation.

Nothing can be viewed in just black and white, and every coin has two sides. The US sanctions do negatively affect the economies and finances of the targeted countries, but in the long run, they will also push the nations hit by them to move closer to each other, thus encouraging the emergence of the multipolar world the US is trying so hard to resist.

Continue Reading

Latest

It’s Official: ‘Britain’s Democracy Now At Risk’

It’s not just campaigners saying it any more: democracy is officially at risk, according to parliament’s own digital, culture, media and sport committee.

The Duran

Published

on

Via True Publica, authored by Jessica Garland – Electoral Reform Society:


Britain’s main campaign rules were drawn up in the late 1990s, before social media and online campaigning really existed. This has left the door wide open to disinformation, dodgy donations and foreign interference in elections.

There is a real need to close the loopholes when it comes to the online Wild West.

Yet in this year’s elections, it was legitimate voters who were asked to identify themselves, not those funnelling millions into political campaigns through trusts, or those spreading fake news.

The government trialled mandatory voter ID in five council areas in May. In these five pilot areas alone about 350 people were turned away from polling stations for not having their papers with them — and they didn’t return. In other words, they were denied their vote.

Yet last year, out of more than 45 million votes cast across the country, there were just 28 allegations of personation (pretending to be someone else at the polling station), the type of fraud voter ID is meant to tackle.

Despite the loss of 350 votes, the pilots were branded a success by the government. Yet the 28 allegations of fraud (and just one conviction) are considered such a dire threat that the government is willing to risk disenfranchising many more legitimate voters to try to address it. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Indeed, the fact-checking website FullFact noted that in the Gosport pilot, 0.4 per cent of voters did not vote because of ID issues. That’s a greater percentage than the winning margin in at least 14 constituencies in the last election. Putting up barriers to democratic engagement can have a big impact. In fact, it can swing an election.

In the run-up to the pilots, the Electoral Reform Society and other campaigners warned that the policy risked disenfranchising the most marginalised groups in society.

The Windrush scandal highlights exactly the sort of problems that introducing stricter forms of identity could cause: millions of people lack the required documentation. It’s one of the reasons why organisations such as the Runnymede Trust are concerned about these plans.

The Electoral Commission has now published a report on the ID trials, which concludes that “there is not yet enough evidence to fully address concerns” on this front.

The small number of pilots, and a lack of diversity, meant that sample sizes were too small to conclude anything about how the scheme would affect various demographic groups. Nor can the pilots tell us about the likely impact of voter ID in a general election, where the strain on polling staff would be far greater and a much broader cross-section of electors turns out to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society, alongside 22 organisations, campaigners and academics, has now called on the constitution minister to halt moves to impose this policy. The signatories span a huge cross-section of society, including representatives of groups that could be disproportionately impacted by voter ID, from Age UK to Liberty and from the British Youth Council to the Salvation Army and the LGBT Foundation.

Voters know what our democratic priorities should be: ensuring that elections are free from the influence of big donors. Having a secure electoral register. Providing balanced media coverage. Transparency online.

We may be little wiser as a result of the government’s voter ID trials. Yet we do know where the real dangers lie in our politics.

Continue Reading

Latest

Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Advertisement

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...

Advertisement
Advertisements

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement

Advertisements

The Duran Newsletter

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending