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48 hours after Western missile strike, undamaged Syrian air force resumes its operations

Syrian air force returns to the skies of Syria, bombing Jihadis as it did before the missile strike

Alexander Mercouris

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The missile strike launched by the US, Britain and France continues to puzzle.

It appears that no-one was killed during the strike, and that the only damage done was to a number of civilian buildings – first and foremost those of the Syrian Scientific Centre in Damascus – which according to reports the Syrian authorities – amply warned by the Russians, Western media reports and President Trump’s tweets – had evacuated three days before.

Meanwhile no part of the Syrian armed forces seems to have been damaged in the least.  Where the strike on Al-Shayrat air base last year did at least do some damage to the base and did destroy a few aircraft, the latest strike has not damaged a single one.

The result is that 48 hours after the strike the Syrian air force is back in operation across Syria in full force.  Here is how the normally reliable Al-Masdar news agency reports its activities

The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) is back to launching airstrikes across Syria, following a short absence due to the US-led strikes on Syria.

Beginning in the northern countryside of the Homs Governorate, the Syrian Air Force launched at least a 50 airstrikes over the towns controlled by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.

 In particular, the Syrian Air Force targeted the towns of Qunitrat, Al-Hamrat, Deir Ful, Izzeddine, and Majdal with at least three dozen airstrikes.

The Syrian Air Force would then carry several airstrikes in southern and western Idlib, southeast Hama, and northern Latakia; these strikes would specifically target jihadists from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP).

Due to the Turkish military’s presence in northern Syria, the Syrian Air Force is restricted from targeting certain areas because of the pact between Ankara and Moscow.

A military strike that has no effect whatsoever on the country which it is supposed to be attacking is or should be an object of bafflement.

The Western powers will no doubt say that the intention of the military strike was not to damage the Syrian military but to damage Syria’s ‘chemical weapons capabilities’.  Even if that is true how destroying a few empty buildings is going to achieve that objective I am completely unable to see.

The alternative explanation is that the military strike was more ambitious than the US and the Western powers are admitting, and that the reason the Syrian air force and the Syrian military were untouched by it is because it was a failure.

The Russians and the Syrians claim that 71 out of the 105 missiles the Western powers launched at Syria were shot down by Syria’s air defence forces and that the major focus of the air attack was not the undefended civilian buildings which were destroyed, but Syria’s air bases, but that this part of the attack – which was the main part – utterly failed.

The US and the Western powers of course deny this, as they would be expected to do.

I am not a military analyst and I do not have access to the intelligence, but I do note that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – a resolutely anti-Assad organisation, which is normally accepted as reliable by the Western media – is backing the Russian and Syrian claims.  Here is a supposed breakdown of the missiles which the Syrian air defence supposedly shot down and of their intended targets provided by someone who calls himself “Bundy” on its twitter feed

I have no way of knowing how accurate or not this information is, but I record here without comment the comments of the Moon of Alabama, which has given this issue some thought

There is a very large discrepancy between the Russian Ministry of Defense report of strike and the description in the Pentagon briefing on the strike. According to the Pentagon only three places related to non-existing Syrian chemical weapons were targeted:

This combined military strike was directed against three distinct Syrian chemical weapons program targets.

In summary, in a powerful show of allied unity, we deployed 105 weapons against three targets.It does not make any sense to send 35 cruise missiles against each of those not hardened, not defended targets like the now destroyed Barzeh research center which was a small two story building complex (pic of destruction) and had been declared free of chemical weapons and weapon research by the OPCW. Why would the U.S. military use such a high number of precision weapons against only three targets? This is extremely unusual and does not make sense at all.

The Russians, as well as other sources on the ground, report in detail of many more targets:

Four missiles targeted the Damascus International Airport; 12 missiles – the Al-Dumayr airdrome, all the missiles have been shot down.18 missiles targeted the Blai airdrome, all the missiles shot down.

12 missiles targeted the Shayrat air base, all the missiles shot down. Air bases were not affected by the strike.

Five out of nine missiles were shot down targeting the unoccupied Mazzeh airdrome.

Thirteen out of sixteen missiles were shot down targeting the Homs airdrome. There are no heavy destructions.

In total 30 missiles targeted facilities near Barzah and Jaramana. Seven of them have been shot down.

At least six airports were targeted according to the Russian report. The Pentagon reports no strike on Syrian airports but claims to have launched a way too high number of cruise missiles for each of the claimed three target. The Syrian opposition outlet SOHR reports of eight targets and says that at least 65 of the cruise missiles were downed by the Syrian air defenses. The Russians say 71 were shot down while the Pentagon says none of its cruise missiles were hit.

At least three other sources confirm the Russian version of events. The Pentagon is lying. The attack was a U.S. attempt to disable the Syrian air force by destroying its airports. It failed and the Pentagon is hiding that failure. Will the U.S. media report this discrepancy?

To which I would merely add that if the missile strike was as big a debacle as Russian and Syrian reports claim it was, then the Pentagon will certainly know of it, and the failure of the strike will be the cause of huge dismay to the senior officers of the US military.

Regardless of this, the fact is that the Syrian military is undamaged, is once more on the offensive, and the Syrian air force is not only operating again but has returned in force to its bases.

In other words Syria has just experienced a military operation which has not affected the course of the war one jot.

The Western powers’ missile strike was either a total failure or an exercise in utter pointlessness.

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NXIVM Sex-Cult Prosecutors Have Evidence Of Illegal Clinton Campaign Contributions For “Political Influence”

NXIVM’s Clinton connections have been known for some time.

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Via Zerohedge


US Attorney Richard Donoghue asked a federal judge last month for permission to present a mountain of new evidence in the NXIVM sex-cult trial – including evidence of an “illegal scheme to exceed contribution limits to a presidential primary campaign,” in the “hopes of obtaining political influence to advance their own agenda,” according to a March court filing.

“At the suggestion of a political operative, who has since pleaded guilty to an unrelated New York state bribery charge also involving campaign contributions, the contributions were “bundled” and presented to the candidate at a fundraising event attended by conspirators,” the filing continues.

And whose “presidential primary campaign” did the group allegedly attempt to buy influence with?

None other than Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to former NXIVM publicist-turned-whistleblower Frank Parlato, who told Big League Politics “I was there, and I knew that the contributions were made by more than a dozen NXIVM members to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

At present, the judge overseeing the case has not responded on the case docket.

Founded by accused pedophile Keith Raniere, NXIVM started out as a multi-level-marketing self-help business for people who wanted to “reach their potential” through various courses.

NXIVM’s Clinton connections have been known for some time 

After being run out of Arkansas in the early ’90s by then-Governor Bill Clinton’s attorney general on charges of fraud and business deception, Raniere and NXIVM executives emerged a decade later only to donate $29,900 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 presidential campaign a decade later. At least three NXIVM officials are (or were) “invitation-only” members of the Clinton Global Initiative, according to the New York Post.

Meanwhile, NXIVM’s ‘inner sanctum’ turns out to have been sex-cult known as ‘DOS’ – which Parletto says stands for “dominus obsequious sororium,” or “master over the slave women.”

A 2009 photo of Raniere in Albany, New York, where Mack bought a house to be closer to the Nxivm founder.

Raniere’s inner cadre included Seagrams heiresses Clare and Sara bronfman, who joined NXIVM in 2002 and subsequently contributed $150 million of their inheritance to the organization, while Claire bought 80% of Wakaya island off the coast of Fiji for $47 million in 2016, according to Vanity Fair.

Female members of DOS – such as former Smallville actress Allison Mack, would procure women for Raniere – who required that prospective “slaves” upload compromising collateral into a Dropbox account. One such recruit-turned-coach was India Oxenberg – daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenbergwho met with prosecutors in New York in late 2017 to present evidence against Raniere.

Allison Mack

Raniere and Mack were arrested on federal charges which include sex trafficking, forced labor, wire fraud conspiracy, human trafficking and other counts. Most recently, Raniere was accused of having sex with children and producing kiddie porn, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Mack – who allegedly held the second-most-senior position in NXIVM, pleaded guilty earlier this month to racketeering charges and manipulating women into becoming sex slaves.”I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people, and I was wrong,” a tearful Mack told a Brooklyn judge. “I know I can and will be a better person,” she added.

Prior to his death, Clare and Sara’s father, Seagrams founder and former president of the World Jewish Congress Edgar Bronfman (whose funeral Hillary Clinton spoke at), told Vanity Fair of NXIVM “I think it’s a cult.”

Edgar Bronfman Sr. receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1999

A cult which tried to buy favor with Hillary Clinton, allegedly.

(March filing below, P. 24)

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Tulsi Gabbard: Trump is ‘Saudi Arabia’s servant’ as he refused to end US support of Yemen war

Tulsi tweets: “By vetoing War Powers Act, Trump again proves he’s the servant of Saudi Arabia.”

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Via RT…


Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has called President Donald Trump’s decision to veto a bill seeking to end US support for the Yemen war nothing less than proof he serves Saudi Arabia.

By vetoing the bill dubbed the War Powers Act, Trump again “proves he’s the servant of Saudi Arabia – the theocratic dictatorship spending billions spreading the most extreme and intolerant form of Islam around the world, supporting al-Qaeda & other jihadists, and waging genocidal war in Yemen with US help,” Gabbard said in an emotional tweet.

The War Powers resolution, approved in the House of Representatives in April and the Senate in March, was vetoed by President Donald Trump, who said it was an “unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members.”

In the video that accompanies the tweet, Gabbard is heard saying that the US is complicit “in this genocide that’s causing millions of people to starve and suffer.” She accused Trump of being “more interested in pleasing the Saudis that doing what is right.”

This is by no means the first time Gabbard has attacked Trump over Saudi Arabia. Last year, she tweeted: “Hey @realdonaldtrump: being Saudi Arabia’s b*tch is not ‘America First.’”

Since a Saudi-led coalition started the military offensive against Yemen in 2015, an estimated 60,000 Yemenis have died due to the conflict, and another 85,000 have succumbed to famine and malnutrition. Airstrikes conducted often with munitions supplied by the US and its allies frequently target areas with civilians. The Saudis say they are acting in support of the exiled president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, against the Yemeni Houthis who control most of the country. Riyadh and its Western allies accuse the opposition group of being proxies of Iran.

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Is Lori Loughlin’s Daughter Olivia Jade Now Under Investigation?

Both Olivia Jade and Bella are technically still University of Southern California students whose accounts are on hold while the university reviews their cases.

The Duran

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Via Yahoo News…


Another day, another “ruh-ro” in the ongoing Operation Varsity Blues saga. After Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in the college admissions scam on Monday, the Daily Mail now reports one of their two daughters—either influencer/vlogger Olivia Jade, 19, or Bella Giannulli, 20—has received a “target letter” declaring her the subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice.

As The New York Times reported earlier this week, “at least some children of the parents who were charged in the scandal have received so-called target letters, which notify people that they could be targets of a criminal probe.” So far, no students (read: kids of the dozens of parents) allegedly involved in the scandal have been charged.

Internet sleuths are now, inevitably, speculating that the daughter in question could be Bella, who deleted her Instagram account this week. (Her sister’s remains active.) Both Olivia Jade and Bella are technically still University of Southern California students whose accounts are on hold while the university reviews their cases; their parents, Loughlin and Giannulli, stand accused of paying $500,000 to Operation Varsity Blues ringleader William “Rick” Singer to pass their daughters off as crew recruits. Some of the high-profile parents charged, including Felicity Huffman, have pleaded guilty in hopes of reduced sentences, though prosecutors are still seeking a four- to 10-month jail sentencefor the actress. But on Monday, Loughlin and Giannulli entered not guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and are vowing to fight the charges.

One potential line of defense? Loughlin and Giannulli—because, reminder, it wasn’t only the moms who were allegedly involved in the scam—were just trying really, really hard to help their kids, according to the L.A. Times, in this cultural moment of “parenting on steroids.” For future reference, though, steroid possession is also illegal.

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