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Washington does the unthinkable, kills Syrian troops and helps ISIS

U.S. air strikes on Syrian army positions at Deir Ezzor looks like the U.S. is warning Russia, as the Lavrov – Kerry agreement unravels.

Alexander Mercouris

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News of the US air strikes on the Syrian military positions near the besieged eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor comes as Russian criticism of the US failure to abide by the terms of last Sunday’s Lavrov – Kerry agreement is intensifying.

The first point to make about this attack is that though the US immediately backed off after receiving a Russian warning, the US claim that the attack was a mistake stretches credulity to breaking point.

The US says the situation in Syria is complicated, which is true, and says that this is the reason for the attack, which it insists was a mistake.  The key point however is that though the situation may be complicated in other parts of Syria, it is not complicated in Deir Ezzor at all. 

There are only two parties fighting each other in this part of Syria: the Syrian army and ISIS.  Other Jihadi groups in this part of Syria have either been driven out by ISIS or have been absorbed by ISIS, which is the only military force fighting the Syrian army in this area.

It is just possible that the US confused Syrian troops with ISIS troops, and attacked them by mistake in this area.  However given the comprehensive surveillance means the US has at its disposal, that hardly seems likely.  

Besides it is not clear why the US is carrying out air strikes against ISIS in the area of Deir Ezzor at all, when the only force which is fighting ISIS in this area is not any one of the US’s allies or supposed allies but the Syrian army.

As it happens, the Russians and the Syrians say the attack was made near a Syrian air force base which ISIS was attacking, enabling ISIS to capture a defence line near the base.  If so, it is all but inconceivable the US didn’t know this, and didn’t know who it was attacking.

The second point to make about this attack is that it appears to have been followed almost immediately by an ISIS attack on the Syrian troops who were targeted by the air strike. 

On the face of it that makes it look like a US military air strike carried out to provide air support to an attack on the Syrian army carried out by ISIS troops.

Though that would be shocking if it were true, it is not the first time that there has been an air attack by US led coalition aircraft on Syrian troops fighting ISIS in this area. Exactly the same thing happened in this same area on 6th December 2015.

On that occasion the Russians did not disclose the nationality of the aircraft that attacked the Syrian army positions near Deir Ezzor on 6th December 2015, though they made it fairly clear that they knew who they were.  They did however say that the aircraft belonged to the US led coalition.   The US denied carrying out the strike, and claimed that the Russians had carried out the strike by mistake themselves.

On this latest occasion the Russians have publicly identified the attacking aircraft as American.  It seems four aircraft were involved: two F16s and two A10s.  Moreover the US on this occasion has admitted carrying out the strike.

What is going on?

It is very difficult to see this as anything else other than as an intended warning by the US to the Russians.  The events of the last few days leading up to the strike show why such a warning might have been given.

In the last few days, and in the last few hours especially, the Russians have been stepping up their criticism that the US is not abiding by the terms of the Lavrov – Kerry agreement that was reached on 9th September 2016. 

The Russian military has publicly complained that only the Syrian army is abiding by the cessation of hostilities that was agreed by Lavrov and Kerry last Sunday.  RT reports a senior Russian General Staff official, Viktor Poznikhir, saying the following at a briefing in Moscow.

“After five days of the ceasefire, it has to be noted that only the Russian and Syrian sides have been fully implementing their commitments. On its own initiative, Russia prolonged the cessation of hostilities for 48 hours, and yesterday it was extended for another 72 hours.  The US and the so-called moderate groups under their control didn’t fulfil a single commitment undertaken in the framework of the Geneva arrangements.  The main priority of the Russian-American agreements of September was the division of territories controlled by IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra, and the areas controlled by the ‘moderate opposition,’ as well the separation of the ‘moderate opposition’ from Jabhat al-Nusra.  [Such a division is essential for the implementation of the ceasefire in Syria because] without it, the hands of the government forces are tied. They can’t fight the terrorists without knowing which of them joined the truce and who didn’t.

[Numerous Russian appeals to the American side remain unanswered, which] raises doubts over the US’s ability to influence opposition groups under their control and their willingness to further ensure the implementation of the Geneva agreements.  Russia is making every possible effort to hold off government troops from the use of force in return [to opposition attacks]. If the US does not implement the necessary measures to fulfill their obligations under the September 9 agreements, the responsibility for the failure of the ceasefire will be solely America’s.

Tensions are rising in Syria, especially in the provinces of Aleppo and Hama, where opposition groups are using the cessation of hostilities to regroup forces, refill their stocks of ammunition and weapons and are preparing an offensive in order to capture new territories.  In the past 24 hours, the number of attacks has increased drastically. The positions of government troops, the people’s militia, and civilians were fired at on 55 occasions”.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov and Kerry spoke on the telephone on Saturday to discuss the deteriorating situation. Putin himself then added to the growing sense of crisis by weighing in.  In answer to journalists’ questions at the CIS Council of Heads of State in Bishkek he is reported by Russia’s Presidential website to have said

“We agreed that Jabhat al-Nusra and others of their ilk have to be separated and it has been shown where they are and where these so-called “healthy” forces are. What do we see now? We see no separation of terrorists from this “healthy” part of the opposition, instead we see these terrorists making attempts to regroup, replace one set of signboards with another, replace one name with another and preserve their military potential. This is what we see.”

(note the use of quotation marks qualifying the word “healthy” is in the original text published by Russia’s Presidential website and was presumably authorised by Putin himself)

However the single thing that may have infuriated the US most is that the Russians have been publicly supporting the mounting demands from around the world – including from some of the US’s allies like France – to have the full text of the Lavrov – Kerry agreement published.

During his press conference in Bishkek Putin not only confirmed that it was the US that had insisted that the text of the agreement be kept secret, but also dropped heavy hints as to why this might be so

“Our US partners have always stood for openness and transparency. There is nothing surprising for me that in this case they proceed from their postulate. I can tell you why: this has to do with the difficulties that the United States is facing on the Syrian track. The difficulty is that they can in no way separate the so-called “healthy” part of the opposition from the semi-criminal and terrorist elements.

In my opinion, this is dictated by the desire to preserve the military potential in the fight against the lawful government of President Assad. However, this is a slippery slope; we have often spoken about this. Our US partners seem to be again falling into the same trap they have fallen into so many times. This is a dangerous scenario.”

It is very easy to see how the US might construe comments like this as a threat by the Russians to publish the Lavrov – Kerry agreement unless the US complies with it. 

What may have made the US particularly angry is that on Friday the Russians attempted to use a joint US – Russian presentation at the UN Security Council as a device to get the text of the agreement published.  The US flatly rejected this, and the presentation and joint discussion that had been scheduled to take place at the UN Security Council had to be called off.

Behind the US refusal to publish the text of the agreement is doubtless US embarrassment that the agreement effectively requires the evacuation of Jihadi fighters from eastern Aleppo. 

It is universally accepted by all objective observers of the Syrian conflict that the Jihadi fighters in eastern Aleppo belong either to Jabhat Al-Nusra or to groups closely affiliated with it.  the Lavrov – Kerry agreement, which requires that Syrian opposition fighters separate themselves from Jabhat Al-Nusra, whom the agreement brands terrorists, is therefore tantamount to US agreement that the Jabhat al-Nusra fighters occupying eastern Aleppo withdraw from the city.  It is very likely the Lavrov – Kerry agreement or one of its annexes or protocols spells this out. 

Since that is tantamount to an agreement that eastern Aleppo be surrendered to the Syrian government, it is not surprising the US is reacting fiercely to demands the text of the agreement be made public.

This is probably what is behind the air strike in Deir Eizzor.  It looks like a threat to the Russians by the US – or at any rate by the hardliners in Washington – that any move by Moscow to blame the US for the failure of the agreement or to publish its terms will result in an immediate escalation of US military action on behalf of the Jihadis in eastern Syria.  That this means aligning the US with ISIS – as Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova is rightly pointing out  – is a price that some people in Washington seem prepared to pay.

As of the time of writing the US is desperately rowing back.  It seems the US underestimated the strength of the Russian reaction to the Deir Ezzor attack, and did not anticipate that the Russians would complain about it to the UN Security Council, which is what the Russians have done. 

Since the attack the Russians are saying that the ceasefire now hangs by a thread.  Even before the attack there were reports of Syrian troops returning – apparently with Russian agreement – to their previous positions on Aleppo’s Castello road.

The US of course knows that with the Jihadi offensive on south west Aleppo defeated, and with the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo surrounded, the result of the collapse of the ceasefire would be the eventual defeat of the Jihadi force in eastern Aleppo.  It was this knowledge which caused the US to agree to the Lavrov – Kerry agreement in the first place.

The US action in Deir Ezzor however shows how unreconciled to this reality powerful sections of the US bureaucracy – including especially Ashton Carter’s Pentagon – are.  It seems that there are some people in Washington who are prepared to go to almost any lengths to undermine the Lavrov – Kerry agreement in order to avoid surrendering eastern Aleppo and so as to prevent what many in Washington obviously see as the ultimate humiliation of a joint military campaign with the Russians against ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra. 

The prospects for the Lavrov – Kerry agreement depend on the realists in Washington facing down the hardliners. Despite the apologies and regrets currently pouring out of Washington, after the attack on Deir Ezzor the prospects for them succeeding don’t look good.

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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Deep State poster boy Peter Strzok gives bizarre testimony that goes viral (Video)

The face of the Deep State.

Alex Christoforou

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If you were not convinced that the Deep State exists, then look no further than Peter Strzok’s bizarre, yet revealing, congressional testimony, showcasing the arrogance and smugness of a powerful FBI agent who worked diligently to push a fake Trump-Russia narrative onto the American public.

Via Zerohedge

While Peter Strzok’s marathon Congressional testimony was full of bickering, chaos and drama – mostly between members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees – a clip of the disgraced FBI agent’s seemingly giddy reaction after answering a question is creeping people out.

Some have suggested that Strzok’s reaction was “Duper’s delight” – a hidden smirk that slips out at an inappropriate moment when a liar celebrates a successful manipulation.

Watching Peter Strzok, its hard, if not impossible to believe that this man is not a psychopath, who hated Trump so much that he was willing to forward a collusion story that has cost American taxpayers millions, and torn American society apart.

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The video clip even had Donald Trump Jr retweeting it, as he labeled Strzok “the creepiest person in America.”

Via RT

One particular moment from Peter Strzok’s raucous congressional hearing left Twitter users confounded and disturbed, even prompting Donald Trump Jr to label the FBI agent “the creepiest person in America.”

Strzok faced the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Thursday to answer questions about his conduct during the 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The lengthy hearing quickly descended into a partisan shouting match, as Republicans and Democrats interrupted each other’s questions, heckling or applauding Strzok.

Strzok’s peculiar reaction to one question caught the eye of viewers and many took to Twitter to confirm that their eyes weren’t deceiving them.

Strzok’s facial expressions were also noticed by the congressmen in the room and prompted one of the most dramatic moments of the hearing when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) accused Strzok of outright lying.

“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk; how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert told Strzok, referring to the agent’s extramarital affair with his former colleague Lisa Page, with whom he exchanged anti-Trump text messages. Gohmert’s comment sparked vociferous objections from Democrats.

The hearing evoked a significant reaction, with many describing it as a farce. Former New York mayor and current attorney to US President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, labelled it a “disgrace” and said it “taints the entire Mueller witch hunt.”

“President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. All the results of the investigation are ‘fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed,” he added.

Democrats seemed to agree with that sentiment, as California Congressman Ted Lieu said it was “a stupid and ridiculous hearing.”

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