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Syria Has a New King: Sukhoi Su-57 Enters Combat

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Russia never shows aggression or escalates, but when challenged it responds, often asymmetrically.  A non-aggressive way to respond to attacks and aggression from the U.S. and its NATO allies is to introduce new weapon systems to the Syrian battlefield.

Turkey shooting down the Russian Su-24 brought in the S-400 missiles. Encounters with Americans brought in the Su-35 and the S-300V4. If Russia had simply deployed this military hardware and the resulting Anti-Access/Area Denial capability in Syria without first being provoked, the West would have seen it as escalation and a sign of yet more “Russian aggression”.

Last week the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the first two production specification Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighters had entered service. Yesterday two Su-57s were seen flying to Syria and landing on the Russian air base in Khmeimim. The timing may be a coincidence, but this follows the attack by the U.S. Air Force on Syrian forces in Deir ez-Zor that may have killed 100 Russian “contractors” and wounded twice the number.

As of February 2018 the Sukhoi Su-57 is the king of the skies. The previous ruler, the American F-22 Raptor is a superb design. It is stealthy and agile and able to outgun and outrun almost any 4th generation fighter. Its design is in many ways a model for the Su-57. Its production was however stopped after only 187 units and further development ended. The F-22 relies on 20-year old technology and electronics. The Su-57 is closer to the state-of-the-art.

The newest American fighter, the F-35 is generally considered to be a failed design. It is trying to be too many things at once and fails in most of them. Its fighting capabilities may be on par with the Brewster Buffalo. In a dogfight it would lose to any 4th generation fighter. Without its stealth it will become a sitting duck.

The U.S. is still superior in numbers, training, and combat experience, but it can no longer rely on technological superiority. In experience, Russia is catching up fast.

When Russia first entered Syria it did so in a manner and posture least threatening to the old masters of the Middle East. Syria has many air bases with Soviet-style hardened shelters for airplanes. Instead the Russian fighters were deployed to a civilian airport, the Bassel Al-Assad International Airport in Latakia. The planes were set in neat rows at the side of the runways, making them easy targets, even for terrorist mortars and drone attacks. With each Western provocation and attack Russia has improved its defenses, bringing in weapon systems specifically suited for combating or deterring the type of attacks seen.

Russian vulnerability may actually be cosmetic; modern Russian air defense systems like the Pantsir-S1 may be better able to defend the force against cruise missile attacks and rocket artillery than the concrete shelters at the Shayrat airbase.

The three-way proxy war between Russia, Turkey and the United States has escalated to a new level. Russia and Syria failed to get Turkey and the U.S. to fight each other over American plans of splitting up Syria and creating an independent Kurdistan. Instead, Syrian troops were forced to enter the Kurdish pocket in Afrin, putting Syria in direct conflict with Turkey. The Russian air force will have to protect Afrin from Turkish airstrikes. The Su-57 could pose a serious threat to Turkish F-16s.

An even greater threat of conflict in Syria exist between Russia and the United States. Two weeks ago on February 7th the U.S. Air Force attacked “pro-government” forces killing, by U.S. accounts, a hundred. It is still unclear what happened. Who attacked whom? Who fired the first shot? Some say that Putin ordered his “mercenary army” to attack the U.S. and Kurds. The ISIS Hunters say that they were attacked by a group of ISIS jihadists after the Hunters had cut off the jihadists movement. Others believe that an agreement had been reached between Syrians and the SDF, Russian civilian contractors would move in to secure the CONOCO gas field so that civilian workers could enter and production restart. Some believe that the whole event was a trap set up the U.S.: they knew of the deal but vetoed it by firing on the convoy for four hours.

Despite what General Mattis says, Syrian troops have controlled the Deir ez-Zor suburbs on the eastern bank of the Euphrates from well before American special forces entered to grab the CONOCO and Omar gas and oil fields. The now destroyed pontoon bridge to cross the Euphrates was specially imported from Russia. The first Syrian unit to enter the eastern bank were the ISIS Hunters. Twenty of their members were killed in the American attack. Russian and Syrian sources confirm that at least 60 Syrians and maybe 35 Russians were killed.

It is questionable if a company called PMC Wagner or Wagner Group even exists. There are many organizations in Russia recruiting volunteers for both Donbass and Syria. If a private company is involved in transferring money, it is more likely to be registered in Hong Kong that Russia, as private military companies are illegal under Russian law. “Wagnerite” may simply mean a Russian or Russian speaking volunteer who is fighting in Syria with out being a part of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. No one has ever provided proof of the existence of a large Russian mercenary unit in Syria. No photographs or video exist. It is more likely that the Russians in Deir ez-Zor were part of the secretive “ISIS Hunters” unit.

Both Russia and the United States have tried to downplay the events in Deir ez-Zor, keeping the details secret. Bloomberg now says that Trump considers protecting himself against allegations of Russia collusion by citing the deaths of “scores of Russian mercenaries” as evidence of his tough stance toward the Kremlin. If it was revealed that the U.S. intentionally targeted Russians, then Russia would be under pressure to retaliate. In this context the introduction of the Su-57 may mean that Russia is ready to challenge the U.S. Air Force in the skies over the Euphrates.

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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ABC’s Ted Koppel admits mainstream media bias against Trump [Video]

The mainstream news media has traded informing the public for indoctrinating them, but the change got called out by an “old-school” journo.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Fox News reported on March 19th that one of America’s most well-known TV news anchors, Ted Koppel, noted that the once-great media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, have indeed traded journalistic excellence for hit pieces for political purposes. While political opinions in the mainstream press are certainly within the purview of any publication, this sort of writing can hardly be classified as “news” but as “Opinion” or more widely known, “Op-Ed.”

We have two videos on this. The first is the original clip showing the full statement that Mr. Koppel gave. It is illuminating, to say the least:

Tucker Carlson and Brit Hume, a former colleague of Mr. Koppel, added their comments on this admission in this second short video piece, shown here.

There are probably a number of people who have watched this two-year onslaught of slander and wondered why there cannot be a law preventing this sort of misleading reporting. Well, Russia passed a law to stop it, hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook. It is a smart law because it does not advocate imprisonment for bad actors in the media, but it does fine them.

Going to prison for reporting “the truth” looks very noble. Having to pay out of pocket for it is not so exciting.

Newsmax and Louder with Crowder both reported on this as well.

This situation of dishonest media has led to an astonishing 77% distrust rating among Americans of their news media, this statistic being reported by Politico in 2018. This represents a nearly diametric reversal in trust from the 72% trust rating the country’s news viewers gave their news outlets in 1972. These statistics come from Gallup polls taken through the years.

 

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Palestinian court’s life sentence for American wrongly called “hate”

US Media spins it as Palestinian “hate” without giving the complicated history of this region its full perspective.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On December 31, Fox News gave a very pro-Israeli spin by promoting this article as “hate on display.” What happened was that a Palestinian court gave an American with dual Palestinian citizenship a life sentence in prison for “selling land to a Jew.” Here is what the Fox News report said, in part (emphasis added):

An American-Palestinian dual national reportedly was sentenced Monday to life in prison with “hard labor” for trying to sell land to Israelis – extending an incarceration that has already drawn the ire of the U.S. ambassador.

A Palestinian court convicted Issam Akel, who has been held since Oct. 10, of “attempting to sever parts of Palestinian land and annex it to a foreign state,” Reuters reported, citing a judiciary spokesperson.

Palestinians are said to be concerned with land sales in the so-called occupied territories due to alleged fears Israelis will purchase property to further efforts to solidify control of the region.

Akel’s family told Reuters on Monday it was not aware of the verdict or sentence against him. But his plight previously has drawn criticism from U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

A Palestinian judiciary spokesperson told Reuters that Akel’s life sentence also includes “hard labor,” although he can appeal the verdict.

The emboldened sentence contains the core of the problem, though, even though Fox has tried to “hide” this very legitimate claim.

What most Americans do not realize in a clear manner is that the “Palestinian Territories” as such are not distinct from the land that is understood as sovereign territory of Israel. The average American may be led to believe that the two areas are distinct, and that the Palestinians are mad at Israel for Israel having the most and the best land, while the Palestinians are in a terrible area.

But in reality, it is worse than that. The Palestinians have two regions under their jurisdiction, but that jurisdiction gets heavy pressure from Israel, even though both Palestinians and Israelis receive aid from the United States. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Israelis keep starting settlements in Palestinian lands. This is sort of an “invasion by encroachment” that, ironically is also the same sort of subject that gets brought up in the United States concerning its own open southern border.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Although the US gives aid to Palestine, the American government is heavily committed to Israel, despite Israel’s exceedingly bad record of treatment of the Palestinians. In 2011, for example, the US vetoed a draft resolution to condemn all Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as illegal.

This is the same as if Mexico or Honduras began building settlements in Texas and New Mexico and the Americans in the area could do nothing about it.

At times, various US leaders, like VP Joe Biden, have softly spoken against it, but to date no American leader has simply and unequivocally condemned this practice as just plain wrong.

The level of political resentment between the two sides has been almost constant since 1948 when Israel was carved out of British Palestine and 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes, never to be allowed to return. Again, picture this in the USA, where for example, the cities of El Paso and Brownsville get overrun by migrants and the Americans who have lived there for generations suddenly cannot get into their own homes. Not only are their homes not accessible, the migrants live in them now.

The Palestinian situation and response is not any better. With such financial depravity caused by forced eviction, and the hot tempers that are honestly often exacerbated by Islamic ideas of revenge, many Muslim Palestinians consider it honorable to take out their bitter enemies, the Jews, while the Christian Palestinians quietly support the ferocity of the militants because they were wronged, too.

It is probably not a stretch to propose the notion that the strife in this region has been carefully nurtured by the US and even maybe by other powers, for reasons that fill the speculative and often anti-Semitic pages and newspapers in the world. It is certainly an easy bit of incendiary rhetoric to say that having dealings with Jews is like dealing with the devil.

However, the real issue underneath all of this is a refusal to really solve the problem. There is no logistical reason why the problems in Palestine and Israel cannot be solved in a manner mutually beneficial to everyone involved. But this fight is egged on by passion, and to be sure, Fox News’ eye-catching “Hate on Display” was no help at all.

As for the American Palestinian, his actions are easily seen as a betrayal to the beleaguered Palestinian Authority, and his sentence is in response to their territory literally being sold out to a group of people who is illegally squeezing the Palestinians harder and harder. The US use of the new buzzword “hate” is irresponsible here, and it represented a slap in the face of a suffering people, while offering no solution.

 

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