Wednesday, August 24, 2016
© AP Photo/ Zha Chunming
On Monday, the United States and South Korea began a massive round of war games simulating defense and invasion scenarios vis-à-vis North Korea, called the Ulchi Freedom Guardian Games. The 12-day military exercise comes amid bellicose rhetoric from an increasingly isolated Kim Jong-un regime in Pyongyang, and at a time when China increasingly believes that the United States is meddling in regional affairs, disturbing the delicate balance of power in the eastern Pacific.
© AP Photo/ Xinhua, Wu Dengfeng, File
Over the weekend, it was learned that China had previously threatened war against Japan over a dispute regarding islands in the East China Sea, as well as Beijing’s irritation at the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, refuting China’s territorial claims. Beijing also threatened a military response to cooperation between Japanese naval forces and the United States in conducting freedom of movement exercises in the region.
In this context, as tensions over the South China Sea rise in conjunction with parallel regional concerns, including the placement of a THAAD missile defense shield on the Korean peninsula, disputes between China and Japan over the Senkaku islands, and a growing US military presence in the Pacific, the increasingly belligerent rhetoric espoused by all parties in the region threatens to erupt into a full-scale conflict.
On Wednesday, diplomats from Japan, South Korea and China met in Tokyo to try to head off the winds of war and bring a lasting resolution to disputes that face Asia, without Americans in the room.
Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with author and international affairs expert Patrick Lawrence to discuss the talks and the possible implications for regional and global security.
"I am not at all surprised by developments this week and you are quite right, that these exercises are having exactly the opposite effect than they should. There are a number of things that I like about this trilateral meeting," said Lawrence. "Asians, and by that I mean the non-West, have a certain sense of identity. They have their many differences of course and countless tensions. But they do, at bottom, have a certain sense of identity, whereby their inclination is to solve their problems themselves, without reference to historically superior powers. I couldn’t approve more."
"You have China, South Korea, and Japan sitting at the same table. All three of those, no matter how you cut it, have differences with the two others. But they are sitting down," said the expert. "North Korea is one issue, the islands are the other big issue, and the Americans are not there. I look forward to seeing what they are able to come up with on their own."
"China is on the record fifty ways from Sunday that they want to resolve outstanding bilateral issues cooperatively. The only people who don’t understand that are people whose reading is confined to the American press," said Lawrence. "The American position in Asia is very vulnerable now, appearances notwithstanding. Post-1945 we were the cop, everyone knows that, and the imperial powers went into decline. The British went broke, the French were done in Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and so [Asia] was ours."
© AP Photo/ Zha Chunming
"Now we are at a point where we might not be so needed. The published position is that we must be there, we are the only ones who can solve the islands question, and the rest of Asia wants our protection against the aggressive Chinese. It is simply not so," said Lawrence. "I don’t think they want us to leave. As I’ve said in columns previously, America has a lot of frontage on the ‘Pacific Lake’ and everyone is fine with that, but a lot of other countries do as well, and America is only one among them."
"America is a Pacific power, it is not an Asian power. There is a big difference."
Turkey Invades Syria, Backed By U.S.
August 24, 2016
On Wednesday morning, Turkey abruptly launched an all-out military assault on Syria, sending in tanks, troops, and engaging in airstrikes, in concert with airstrikes from the United States, to the northern portions of Syria near the Turkey-Syria border under the guise of combating ISIS forces. At this time, the military operations seem focused around Jarablus.
According to the BBC, “A dozen Turkish tanks and other vehicles have rolled across the Syrian border after heavy shelling of an area held by so-called Islamic State (IS). Military sources told Turkish media 70 targets in the Jarablus area had been destroyed by artillery and rocket strikes, and 12 by air strikes.”
For those who may be wondering exactly what the Turkish goal might be, two points must be mentioned in regards to Turkey’s actions which should go some length to demonstrate that the Turks are still focused on destroying the Syrian government as well as preventing the establishment of a Kurdish enclave either in Syria or Turkey.
First, the Turkish military is acting as the frontal assault for “moderate” rebel forces like the FSA who are marching in directly behind the Turkish military to hold territory conquered by the Turks. Any association with the Free Syrian Army, a gaggle of Western-backed extremists indistinguishable from ISIS, should be a major warning sign to any informed observer that the goal is not to aid in the destruction of terrorist forces in Syria or to assist the Syrian government in its goal to do so. Second, the Turkish invasion was accompanied by American airstrikes which clearly indicates that the Turks are operating closely with the United States, which has been chomping at the bit to either directly destroy the Syrian government via military invasion or to create “buffer zones” and “safe zones” in the country to act as forward operating bases for future terrorist proxy operations.
Al-Masdar reports on the progress of the Turkish military offensive by writing:
The Turkish Special Forces, alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Faylaq Al-Sham, reportedly captured their first village during this new offensive dubbed “Operation Euphrates Shield.”
According to Faylaq Al-Sham’s official media wing, their forces captured the village of Tal Katlijah after the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists quickly abandoned the area in order to reinforce Jarabulus.ISIS has mostly abandoned the small area between Jarabulus and the Turkish border, leaving only small units to resist the advancing Turkish-backed rebels.The Turkish-backed rebels are now attacking the hilltop village of Tal Sha’er, which is along the road to Jarabulus.
The Turk agenda here is also two-fold: On one hand, Turkey’s Erdogan wants to continue to work with NATO and the United States to destroy the secular government of Bashar al-Assad while, on the other hand, Turkey needs to do all it can do to prevent an autonomous Kurdish enclave on its border with Syria. An effective way to do this is to create a “buffer zone” between the Kurds and Turkey while, at the same, making sure that the dimensions of the “buffer zone” are the same as the “safe zone” desired by NATO two years ago in order to keep terrorist supply lines moving through Turkey and in to Syria. That narrow and porous jihadist corridor has become known as the Jarablus corridor, the same areas which the Turks are now invading and filling up with terrorists as we speak.
For its part, the Syrian government has condemned the Turkish invasion. As ABC News reports,
Syria’s government has denounced Turkish military incursion, describing it as Turkey’s “blatant violation” of Syrian sovereignty.In a statement reported by state-run news agency SANA on Wednesday, the government says that “any move to combat terrorism on Syrian territories should have been coordinated with the Syrian government and army.”The statement also calls for an immediate end to the Turkish “aggression,” which it says is being carried out under the pretext of fighting terrorism.It says: “Fighting terrorism cannot be undertaken by ousting Daesh and replacing it with other terrorist organizations directly backed by Turkey.” Daesh is the Arabic language acronym for IS.
The YPG has likewise condemned the Turkish involvement in Syria, labeling it a “blatant aggression in Syrian internal affairs.”
Turkey’s move raises even more questions now regarding the nature of its recent “failed” coup as well as its relationship with Russia and the United States. A troubling new dimension has also been added to the Syrian crisis as the Turks have now officially invaded a sovereign country in an already volatile region. Undoubtedly, we will be watching these events closely.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
This article may be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.
of combat hardware to army to beef up grouping in Donbass
August 23, 17:06 UTC+3 KIEV
According to the president, the combat hardware will help the Ukrainian army defend the country more effectively and finally achieve peace in the Donbass region
According to the president, the combat hardware will help the Ukrainian army defend the country more effectively and finally achieve peace in the Donbass region
Material has 1 page
© Nikolai Lazarenko/Ukraine president's press service/TASS
KIEV, August 23. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has transferred 141 pieces of domestically-produced combat hardware to the country’s armed forces to strengthen their grouping in the area of Kiev’s military operation in Donbass.
"Today we’re transferring 141 pieces of military hardware produced and modernized at Ukrainian defense enterprises," Poroshenko said at the handover ceremony in the town of Chuguyev in the north-eastern Kharkov region.
As Poroshenko said, this combat hardware will help the Ukrainian army to defend the country more effectively and finally achieve peace in the Donbass region.
In 2016 alone, the Ukrainian armed forces have received over a thousand units of combat hardware, Poroshenko said. The Ukrainian leader also said that deliveries from foreign partners had been organized as well.
"Our partners have already delivered over 700 pieces of military and special hardware: radar stations, counter-battery radars and we’re already receiving remotely piloted stations, thermal imaging devices and reliable communications means," Poroshenko said.
Behind Plan To "Enlarge Electorate By At Least 10 Million Voters"
Ever wonder who is behind all the lawsuits filed to overturn state voter ID laws? Those lawsuits are very expensive, after all, racking up 1,000's of billable hours from some very high-end law firms. Well, courtesy of the 2,500 documents recently released by DC Leaks, we now know that George Soros is funding the legal fees as part of his stated goal to "enlarge [the U.S.] electorate by at least 10 million voters" by 2018.
The specifics of the plan were discussed at the May 2014 board meeting of the "Open Society Foundations" a liberal grant-making group founded by Soros (the full 222-page presentation from the board meeting can be found at the end of this post). The Society's first goal under its "Proposed Strategic Framework 2015-2018" was to "strengthen the quality of American democracy through greater inclusion, participation & accountability." Under the goal, the Society's top objective was to:
Enlarge [the U.S.] electorate by at least 10 million voters through modernization of voter registration systems, and through expanded constitutional/legislative protections
As context for their mission to expand the electorate, the Open Society warned that "American democracy is threatened" by, among other things, "undue influence of wealthy interests." Isn't it ironic that an organization funded by George Soros would be worried about the "undue influence of wealthy interests" on the American political system?
American democracy is threatened. Broad ideological (and geographic) polarization is reflected in a decline in fact-based discourse, and deeply divided federal and state government institutions. Fueled by misguided Supreme Court decisions, our public life and politics have been flooded by the undue influence of wealthy interests acting for their own benefit even as voting by historically marginalized constituencies is challenged.
The Open Society board presentation goes on to enumerate 4 specific "tactics" that would be utilized to expand the electorate. The wording of the tactics is masterful effectively painting anyone who might support "election integrity" laws as a bigots looking to erect barriers to voter registration as a means to suppress or deny certain segments of the population the right to vote.
More fully equip those with less voice - including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, APIA communities, and Middle Eastern, Arab, South Asian and Muslim communities – to effectively influence public policy issues, including those concerning the rule of law, public access to information and voting, internet regulation, and criminal justice.Broaden the electorate by lowering barriers to voter registration through the various forms of modernization and increased ballot access, while sustaining and expanding the franchise by establishing strong protections against vote suppression, denial and dilution.Give more equal weight to the speech of all who influence elections and policymaking, by reducing the undue influence of the few wealthy interests influencing politics and policy, including ongoing support for anchors and through developing and seeding alternative legal theories that support regulation of political spending in elections.Improve effectiveness and participatory capacity of municipal governments, especially in places experiencing demographic shifts or without significant civic capacity
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Soros first started challenging voter ID laws in 2014 and subsequently was quoted publicly as saying "We hope to see these unfair laws, which often disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our society, repealed." Soros also publicly vowed to spend at least $5mm on the effort in 2015.
In fact, the first lawsuit challenging voter ID laws came in Ohio in 2014 just days before the Open Society board meeting. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the "Ohio Organizing Collaborative" even though they had to be replaced later in the case due a state investigation alleging they had forged signatures and "registered dead people to vote." Oops.
The first in a series of lawsuits claiming that voter ID laws disproportionately hurt minority voters was filed in Ohio just days before the Open Society documents were transmitted to the board of directors in May 2014.Elias filed the Ohio lawsuit on behalf of a group called the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. That group was later replaced on the lawsuit when it was investigated by a state criminal agency for allegedly forging signatures and registering dead people to vote.
Ironically, or perhaps not, 1 year after the Open Society NY board meeting the State of California took the unprecedented step of automatically registering to vote every single person who stopped by the DMV for a driver's license or ID card, unless that person specifically opted out. Per the Los Angeles Times:
When people go to the DMV to obtain or renew a driver's license, or to get a state identification card, they’ll be asked for the usual information in such transactions, such as their name, date of birth and address. They’ll also be asked to affirm their eligibility to vote and will be given the choice of opting out of registering at that time. Information about anyone who does not decline registration will be electronically transmitted from the DMV to the secretary of state’s office, where citizenship will be verified and names will be added to the voter rolls.
According to J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a nonprofit law firm that litigates to defend election integrity, Soros is doing everything possible to "fundamentally transform American elections." Per the Washington Free Beacon:
“George Soros is involved in every aspect of manipulating the rules of American elections,” Adams told the Washington Free Beacon. “From funding Pew’s efforts to centralize election administration, to fueling litigation that attacks election integrity laws, to fanning the flames of racial agitation and polarization, Soros dollars are doing all they can to fundamentally transform American elections.”
as DHS Cuts Water Supply — Media Blackout
Source: Common Dreams
Cannon Ball, ND — Growing in number and spirit, the Standing Rock Sioux protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline is swiftly gaining strength ahead of a federal hearing on the controversial project. Support has spread across the country, and thousands have descended on the peaceful “prayer camps” in recent days, prompting state officials on Monday to remove the demonstrators’ drinking water supply.
North Dakota homeland security director Greg Wilz ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the protest encampment, despite the sweltering heat, because of alleged disorderly conduct, according to the Bismarck Tribune, including reports of laser pointers aimed at surveillance aircraft.
“People are getting overheated now already,” said Johnelle Leingang, the tribe’s emergency response coordinator, as temperatures hovered around 90º F on Monday. “It’s very hurtful.”
Tribal activists say the state’s response, which includes surveillance, road blockades with military checkpoints, and a state of emergency declaration, has been overly aggressive and manipulative.
“It is deeply ironic that the Governor would release emergency funds under the guise of public health and safety, but then remove the infrastructure that helps ensure health and safety in the camp,” said Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth.
The supplies were provided last week by the North Dakota Department of Health at the tribe’s request to support the roughly 2,500 people now gathered along the Standing Rock reservation’s border on the Cannonball River, near where the pipeline is slated to cross.
LaDonna Allard, director of one of the prayer camps, said, “The gathering here remains 100 percent peaceful and ceremonial, as it has from day one. We are standing together in prayer…Why is a gathering of Indians so inherently threatening and frightening to some people?”
“This is nothing but repression of our growing movement to protect our water and future generations,” Houska added.
Standing Rock spokesman Steven Sitting Bear said he’s received “notifications from tribes all over the country that have caravans in route, so it’s continuing to grow.”
On Wednesday, high profile activists and supporters are rallying in Washington D.C. outside the U.S. District Court, where members of the Standing Rock Sioux will argue that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted Energy Transfer Corporation approval for the 1,172-mile pipeline without tribal consent.
The tribe says that the pipeline—which will carry up to 570,000 barrels of fracked Bakken oil daily across four states to a market hub in Illinois—puts the sacred waters of the Missouri River at great risk.
Climate campaigner and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben penned an op-ed on Monday offering a vision of “what it might mean if the if the Army Corps, or the Obama administration, simply said: ‘You know what, you’re right. We don’t need to build this pipeline.'”
“It would mean that after 525 years, someone had actually paid attention to the good sense that Native Americans have been offering almost from the start,” he continues:
One has the ominous sense of grim history about to be reenacted at Standing Rock. North Dakota authorities—who are in essence a subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry—have insisted that the Sioux are violent, that they have “pipe bombs.” There are rumors about calling in the National Guard. The possibility for renewed tragedy is very real.But the possibility for a new outcome is there as well. The Army Corps of Engineers might back off. The president might decide, as he did with Keystone, that this pipeline would “exacerbate” climate change and hence should be reviewed more carefully. We might, after five centuries, actually listen to the only people who’ve ever successfully inhabited this continent for the long term.
Construction on the pipeline remains halted after developers paused the project last week in anticipation of the Wednesday hearing.
Meanwhile, a U.S. District Court hearing on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the protesters has been rescheduled from Thursday to Sept. 8, although a restraining order against the demonstrators has also been extended until then. Filing the order on Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland wrote that factions are ‘”strongly encouraged to meet and confer in good faith’ to try and resolve the dispute out of court,” the Tribune reported.
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Headed To USA, Seized In Spain
Source: Firearm Blog
On August 4, the Risk Analysis Unit (UAR) Custom Algeciras noticed a suspicious container headed out to the US by ocean freight. The Bill Of Lading indicated dismantled weapons. However the UAR decided to seize the container for a full inspection. This is common for ocean freight and customs. I used to work for a Freight Forwarder and we imported containers of shipments from Asia. US Customs often runs random exams/inspections on containers. They can be as simple as a full container x-ray or in this case a full inspection and every item is pulled from the container and matched up with the packing list and invoice.
The UAR pulled this container and found it full of Sig 553s. 737 of them. Along with 72 Swiss made grenade launchers.
Here is a different video of two agents opening the container.