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Massive death toll from US bombing in Mosul; what does the West now say about Aleppo?

Massive death toll after US air strike on ISIS held Mosul. Will West admit it was wrong about Russian air strikes in Al-Qaeda held Aleppo?

Alexander Mercouris

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The Iraqi military and its US led coalitions backers have announced what might as well be called a ‘humanitarian pause’ in the battle against ISIS in Mosul.

This came after confirmation that a US air strike on the city on 17th March 2017 killed 150 civilians.  This is how the Guardian reports details of the strike and the pause

Iraqi military leaders have ordered a pause in their push to recapture west Mosul from Islamic State as international outrage mounted over a series of airstrikes that killed at least 150 people in one district of the embattled city alone.

Rescuers continued to retrieve bodies from the rubble of the Mosul Jadida neighbourhood on Saturday, more than a week after the coalition attacks, which are believed to have led to one of the highest civilian tolls in the region since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Civil defence workers say they have pulled more than 140 bodies from the ruins of three buildings and believe dozens more remain under the rubble of another, a large home with a once cavernous basement in which up to 100 people had hidden last Friday morning.

Locals at the site said the enormous damage caused to the homes and much of the surrounding area had been caused by airstrikes, which battered the neighbourhood during a pitched battle between Isis members and Iraqi forces.

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said: “We are stunned by this terrible loss of life.” Chris Woods, the director of the monitoring group Airwars, said: “The al-Jadida incident alone is the worst toll of a single incident that I can recall in decades. I cannot think of a higher toll from a single event.

As the scale of the disaster became apparent, Iraqi military sources confirmed they had been ordered not to launch new operations in east Mosul, echoing a statement from a federal police spokesman that cited concern about civilian casualties as a reason for a pause.

This comes only a few months after Western governments and the Western media engaged in a fiery campaign against Russian bombing during the fighting in eastern Aleppo, with allegations of war crimes against the Russians being banded about together with threats to establish a no-fly zone over the city and stern denunciations of Russian conduct from the pulpit of the UN Security Council.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a website that strongly supports the Syrian opposition and whose reliability some have questioned, puts the total number of civilians killed in eastern Aleppo during the final stages of its liberation from the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis between November and December 2016 as 465 of whom 62 were children.  To be clear this is a death toll from all causes, with some people said to have been executed by the Jihadis themselves and by no means all the others caused by the bombing.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also claims that 142 civilians, 42 of them children, were killed as a result of Jihadi shelling in Syrian government controlled western Aleppo during the same period.  That is something the Western media – with no reporters in any part of Aleppo during the fighting – has barely reported at all.

To be clear in stating these figures – which some people, given their source will doubtless anyway wish to dispute – I make no false claims and no false charges, whether about Russian bombing in Aleppo or US bombing in Mosul.

Nor do I draw any unwarranted comparisons between the conduct of the two bombing campaigns.  The fact that more than 150 civilians are said to have been killed in a single US coalition air strike in Mosul by comparison with a total civilian death toll from all causes in eastern Aleppo during the final month of the fighting there of 465 probably means that the death toll of civilians killed by US bombing in Mosul is higher – possibly much higher – than was the death toll of civilians killed by Russian bombing last year in eastern Aleppo.  However Mosul is a much bigger city than was easrern Aleppo and the areas of Mosul still controlled by ISIS appear to be far more densely populated than were the Jihadi controlled areas of eastern Aleppo, so it is not surprising that the death toll in Mosul is higher.

For the record, I do not believe that the US-led coalition deliberately targets civilians or civilian targets in Mosul, any more than I believe the Russian air force deliberately targeted civilians or civilian targets (including hospitals) in Aleppo last year.  Nor do I believe that the bombing campaign in the one case is being conducted more negligently or with less heed for civilians than was the other.

Where a ruthless and fanatical Jihadi terrorist movement embeds itself in a civilian area and takes civilians as hostages to use them as human shields, which is what happened with the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis in eastern Aleppo last year, and which is what is happening with the ISIS led Jihadis in Mosul now, deaths amongst civilians if these areas are to be liberated from the Jihadis are unavoidable.  All that can be done in such cases is to take such measures as are possible to try to mitigate these losses, including by establishing ‘humanitarian corridors’ for the civilians to leave, and ‘humanitarian pauses’ to enable them to do so.

Inevitably that gives time for the Jihadis to re-supply and re-organise, making the fight against them harder and more prolonged.  It was nonetheless what the Russians and the Syrians repeatedly did during the fighting in Aleppo last year, and it is what the US led coalition and the Iraqis have been obliged to do in Mosul now.

Where I do draw parallels is not in the actions of the two air forces but in the completely different way Western governments and the Western media have reported the result of the bombings in the two battles.

In the case of Aleppo the coverage, and the denunciations of the Russians which went with it, were completely over-the-top, and became frankly hysterical.  By contrast until now the bombing in Mosul was barely being reported at all.  To the extent that it ever got mentioned it seemed to me it was all too often done as part of some further criticism by the Western media of their perpetual whipping boys – Sputnik and RT – for daring to report it.

As for the Western media itself drawing parallels or comparisons between the bombing campaigns in Aleppo and Mosul, that was of course something which was completely out of the question.  Even today, as more information about the US coalition air strike of 17th March 2017 trickles in, all the British media outlets which I have looked at studiously avoid saying anything about it.  Only the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn, in his exemplary coverage of the wars in Iraq and Syria, has ever commented on it

What the noisy campaign against the bombing in Aleppo and the silence up to now about the bombing in Mosul tell us, together with the refusal to draw the obvious comparison between the two and the harsh treatment of anyone who did, is that the outcry about the bombing in Aleppo last year was propaganda pure and simple.

The real concern was not for the civilians in Aleppo but for the fact that the Jihadis in the city were about to be defeated, with the civilians being cynically used as props and pawns in a propaganda game which colluded in Al-Qaeda’s use of them as human shields.

Many will of course say that this was obvious all along.  Perhaps it was, but it is still unnerving to see it exposed so quickly and so completely.

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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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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