US Intelligence Veterans Say Merkel Information on Russia’s Invasion to Ukraine Unreliable

Situation in Donetsk region.© RIA Novosti. Guennady Dubovoy

Situation in Donetsk region.© RIA Novosti. Guennady Dubovoy

 

Topic: Situation in the South-East of Ukraine

MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) – Members of US Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) movement wrote an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying that the NATO’s information about the invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine is unreliable.

“You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence,” a letter published on warisacrime.org website reads.

The letter, signed by ten former US intelligence officers also says that “the images, released by NATO on August 28, provide a very flimsy basis to charge Russia with invading Ukraine.”

Moreover, the veterans are certain that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s speeches are drafted by Washington.

The letter aims to brief Merkel on the alleged Russian invasion to Ukraine prior to the NATO summit scheduled for September 4-5.

Earlier in May, the movement’s members signed a memorandum addressed to US President Barack Obama, asking him to take steps towards the de-escalation of the Ukrainian crisis and urged him to officially announce that NATO will not integrate Ukraine and Georgia.

Eastern Military District Troops Moved to Highest State of Combat Readiness

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

 

MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) – Troops in Russia’s Eastern Military District are moved to the highest state of combat readiness as surprise drills begin in the region, the Russian Ministry of Defense informed on Friday.

“As part of a surprise check of the Eastern Military District troops’ combat readiness, military formations and units located in the Eastern region of the Russian Federation have completed the implementation of measures to enter the highest degree of combat readiness,” the ministry wrote in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to hold snap combat readiness drills in Russia’s Eastern Military District starting Thursday.

Air defense forces and military units would be put on full combat alert starting 10:00 a.m. Moscow time [6:00 a.m. GMT], Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday.

The Eastern Military District includes military units in Transbaikal and the Far East. The headquarters are located in the city of Khabarovsk.

 

MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Armed Forces received over 3,600 units of main military equipment in 2014 as a result of the efficient implementation of the state defense orders, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

“This year alone, as of August, the troops have already received more than 3,600 units of main military equipment and almost 241,000 units of other types of weaponry,” Putin said at a government meeting on federal budget.

“It is important to maintain this intensive tempo,” Putin stressed.

 

 

TIME – President Obama’s Anti-ISIS War in Syria May Be Illegal

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington September 10, 2014. President Barack Obama called Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Wednesday ahead of an evening speech in which the U.S. leader plans to lay out his strategy for defeating the militant group Islamic State, the White House said. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington September 10, 2014. President Barack Obama called Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Wednesday ahead of an evening speech in which the U.S. leader plans to lay out his strategy for defeating the militant group Islamic State, the White House said. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES –

 

CIA Says ISIS Ranks May Have Tripled

Obama is relying on questionable legal authority in his pursuit of terrorists, but that never stopped George W. Bush.

If truth is the first casualty of war, law is apparently the last, at least for President Barack Obama.

Obama came to office declaring his determination to reimpose legal limits on the American effort to defeat al Qaeda. He swore to close Guantanamo Bay, abolish torture, tighten rules for the treatment of terrorist prisoners and rein in the broad executive power President George W. Bush had claimed in the global hunt for terrorists.

But after five-and-a-half years of near-constant terrorist brush fires in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, and a Congress that remains largely unwilling to update key counterterrorism legislation, Obama appears finally to have surrendered to a very loose legal definition of where and when he can use military force against terrorists.

In his prime time speech Wednesday evening, Obama told Americans he was expanding attacks against the group calling itself the “Islamic State”, also known as ISIS or ISIL, by targeting its fighters not just in Iraq but also in Syria. “I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria as well as Iraq,” Obama said, “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Strategically, that makes sense. Speaking to reporters before Obama’s speech, a senior administration official explained, “ISIL is moving with impunity back and forth from Syria to Iraq, and vice versa, each time and from each place gaining arms, gaining manpower, gaining fuel, literally and figuratively, for their fight.”

Legally, however, Obama’s authority to attack ISIS in Syria is on shaky ground. Under the Constitution, Congress decides if and when the U.S. goes to war. In 2002, it authorized President George W. Bush to attack Iraq. That authorization, broadly interpreted, can be read to include the threat ISIS now poses there. But it doesn’t apply to Syria, at least not easily. And the Obama Administration announced this summer that it was no longer using the 2002 authorization to justify its actions.

Instead, Obama claims he has authority to bomb ISIS in Syria under the Sept. 14, 2001 authorization from Congress following the 9/11 attacks. In the call with reporters, Obama’s senior administration official said, “We believe that he can rely on the 2001 AUMF [Authorization for Use of Military Force] as statutory authority for the military airstrike operations he is directing against ISIL.”

That joint resolution gave the president the power to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

A variety of legal scholars on the left and the right, including Obama himself, have argued that authorization is too broad and needs to be rewritten so it doesn’t give eternal war-fighting power to all future presidents. And as Jack Goldsmith writes for TIME today, it’s a stretch for Obama to claim it applies to ISIS, given that ISIS and al Qaeda split earlier this year.

According to a 2012 speech by Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security who previously served as Obama’s top lawyer at the Department of Defense, there are two characteristics that a group must have to be considered an “associated force” with al Qaeda under the 2001 authorization. First they must be “an organized, armed group that has entered the fight alongside al Qaeda,” and second, the group “is a co-belligerent with al Qaeda in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” The White House has yet to release to Congress or the public any detailed analysis of their determination that the Islamic state meets these standards.

If Obama is breaking the law, don’t expect much to come of it in the short term. The consequences of Obama’s legal interpretation, beyond his own discomfort, are not likely very great. The Bush administration showed the bar for legally constraining presidential counterterrorist actions is high, and even when it is surmounted there are little or no penalties. Politically, the president has nothing to fear: no matter how angry they are about the new effort against ISIS, the left wing of Obama’s party isn’t going to impeach him, and the right won’t either, at least not for going after Islamic extremists.

In the long term, perhaps Obama’s legal legerdemain will boost those who want to come up with new, clearer legal frameworks for international counterterrorism operations. But for now Obama, like Bush before him, seems determined to act without them.

 

U.S. intelligence

CIA Says ISIS Ranks May Have Tripled

Foreign fighters, including Americans, appear to be pouring into Syria to support the terrorist group

The CIA estimates that ISIS, the Islamist terrorist group that has declared a caliphate in the large swath of Iraq and Syria which it now controls, “can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria, based on a new review of all-source intelligence reports from May to August, an increase from our previous assessment of at least 10,000 fighters,” a CIA spokesperson said. That estimate accounts only for individuals fighting with ISIS itself, not with any affiliated group.

The new estimate reflects a sharp uptick in recruitment over the summer “following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate,” the CIA spokesperson said.

The CIA believes more than 15,000 foreign fighters from 80 countries—at least 2,000 of whom are Westerners—have traveled to Syria to join ISIS ranks. A dozen or more could be Americans, the CIA believes.

A U.S. intelligence official cautioned that the CIA’s estimate is not a precise figure and reflects a broad approximation based on limited intelligence. “The gap between the low and high points indicates there is uncertainty about the exact number of fighters in (ISIS),” a US intelligence official said. “Given the changing dynamics of the battlefield, new recruits, and other factors, it is difficult to assess the precise number of individuals in a terrorist group that is evolving and practices good operational security.”

 

Wales, Catalunya and the Basques May Follow Scotland in Its Search for Independence

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Republican writing supporting the Yes vote in the Scottish Referendum on a mountain in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.

 

MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) – Inspired by Scotland’s example Wales may also claim its independence in a few years, the Guardian reported Friday.

“It will take a lot of work but I think it can happen. I’m over 50 now but we can see independence here in my lifetime,” Welsh political campaigner and popular children”s author Angharad Tomos told the Guardian after returning from Scotland.

Before the Scottish referendum went forward, debates about independence in Wales were widely seen as impossible, but now there is a growing optimism among Welsh nationalists.

Although Welsh people are aware of the arguments against independence, such as the fact that Wales is not economically strong enough and is located too close to England to be separated, some locals still believe that one day Wales could secede from the United Kingdom. Just as the Scottish people do, Welsh claim that the reason for all of the problems in the country is Westminster’s dominance.

“People tell us we’re a poor country. Wales is not poor. We’ve got huge natural resources. We’re poor because Westminster makes the rules. They’ve never made the rules in favor of us and it’s getting worse. People are having to use food banks; I never thought that would happen. There’s so much unemployment in my area [north west Wales] that young people are disempowered and leaving,” Tomos said.

Some Welsh politicians agree that independence in Wales should no longer be seen as a pipe dream, but rather as a long-term aspiration.

“Six hundred years ago our state was destroyed. We’re playing catch-up. There are 641 castles in Wales. We may be the most militarily occupied nation in the history of Europe. We have to go through a period of de-occupation in our minds. In this century, maybe in our generation, Wales will be an independent state. We need to prepare for that,” the Guardian quoted Adam Price, Welsh politician and former Plaid Cymru member as saying.

Although the majority of Welsh people prefer to live just as they are now and do not want to change the status quo, with recent polls showing that only few percent of voters in Wales would back the independence, everyone agrees that a “Yes” vote is Scotland would have a major impact for the rest of the United Kingdom.

“While a decision to go it alone lies with the people of Scotland, a yes vote would have a major impact for the rest of the UK, and regardless of the result it is important for us to consider our future constitutional arrangements in Wales,” Carwyn Jones, the leader of Welsh Labour and the first minister told the Guardian.

The long-standing issue of the Scottish independence is to be settled by a referendum scheduled for September 18, when voters will be asked one question only, “Should Scotland become an independent country?”

If the majority of Scots vote for independence, then on March 24, 2016 Scotland will secede from the United Kingdom.

Dutch report into Ukraine jetliner disaster continues cover-up

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When Malaysian Flight 17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, mainstream political hacks and their lapdog media blanketed the world with screaming front page headlines blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin. But now photographic evidence showing bullet holes in the cockpit – along with eyewitness testimony – prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the two Ukrainian fighter jets escorting MH17 that shot it down. The motive: demonize Putin, accelerate NATO aggression against Russia, and get Europe on board with American anti-Russian sanctions.

Today’s guest Peter Myers, a researcher from Queensland, Australia, directs us to this high quality image proving a Ukrainian shootdown of MH17. Also check out this suppressed BBC interview with shootdown eyewitnesses – it was “pulled” by the BBC as part of the Western media cover-up of the MH17 false flag. Also check out the German experts explaining why we know that the Ukrainian fighters shot down MH17; and the nine veteran intelligence analysts telling Obama to “stop lying” about MH17.

 

The following article was published by WSWS.org

By Robert Stevens — WSWS.org
10 September 2014

The Dutch Safety Board’s (DSB’s) preliminary report into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) is being portrayed by imperialist governments and their media spokesmen as confirmation that anti-Kiev rebels in eastern Ukraine shot the plane down with a Russian-supplied Buk surface-to-air missile.

While claims of indirect Russian responsibility for the destruction of MH17 are at the heart of the US-NATO propaganda over Ukraine, the report says nothing of the sort. In fact, it does not even state that the aircraft was shot down. MH17 crashed on July 17, in the war zone of eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers and crew members lost their lives.

The DSB’s report states that, in accordance with the stated “sole objective” of “the prevention of similar accidents and incidents,” it does not “apportion blame or liability in respect of any party”—something that the capitalist media downplays or ignores.

The only basis on which the media can again repeat their assertions that pro-Russian separatists were responsible is the report’s statement that “The damage observed in the forward section of the aircraft appears to indicate that the aircraft was penetrated by a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft” (emphasis added).

But the report never once identifies what it means by “high-energy objects.” It also claims that, even though enough of the wreckage was recovered to confirm that the aircraft appears to have been particularly badly hit above the level of the cockpit floor, DSB investigators supposedly failed to recover or study any of the objects that penetrated the plane.

The report as issued is equally compatible with radar and satellite data presented July 21 by the Russian military, indicating that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet was in the immediate vicinity and ascending towards MH17 as it was shot down. Missiles and machinegun rounds fired by an SU-25 are also “high-energy objects.” This possibility has not been addressed, let alone refuted by Kiev, Washington or anyone else involved in the investigation.

On August 9, the Malaysian New Straits Times published an article effectively charging the Kiev regime with shooting down MH17. It stated that evidence from the crash site indicated that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter with a missile followed by heavy machine gun fire. The report was subsequently ignored by the world’s media.

In the days immediately following the tragic incident, the accusations now repeated ad nauseam were used to ramp up a confrontation with Russia, including punitive sanctions and NATO military manoeuvres.

Since then, at least up until yesterday, an extraordinary silence descended over the affair. Now, once again, without any evidence, the world’s population faces a new barrage of propaganda from Washington and Kiev and their accomplices.

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, for example, said, “The findings are consistent with the government’s statement that MH17 was shot down by a large surface-to-air missile.”

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said the report “leads to the strong suspicion that a surface-to-air missile brought MH17 down, but further investigative work is needed before we can be certain.”

The BBC’s transport correspondent Richard Westcott stated that, whereas, “This report doesn’t say flight MH17 was knocked from the sky by a missile,” it “pretty much rules out anything else.”

In fact, not one word of anything reported regarding the fate of flight MH17 can be taken at face value. All of those involved in the investigation and its coverage have a vested interest in asserting Russia’s responsibility, at least indirectly, for the plane being shot down.

The 34-page DSB report is based upon an investigation in accordance with the statutes of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations. Ukraine requested the Netherlands undertake the investigation on July 23, 2014, a week after the crash.

According to ICAO guidance, “a preliminary report shall be submitted to appropriate States and to ICAO within 30 days after the occurrence.” But, because it was a “complex investigation,” the DSB states that “the date of publication of the preliminary report was extended by approximately three weeks.”

A full report will not be made until sometime within a year of the investigation being launched.

The preliminary findings were based on an analysis of photographs collected by various sources, radar footage obtained from Ukraine and Russia and initial reports from Ukrainian and Malaysian crash investigators. Due to the area of the site remaining a war zone, the DSB said access to the site of the wreckage by international air safety experts had not yet been possible and it was their intention to visit the site when it was safe to do so.

The DSB does not address the absence of any satellite imagery or radar data, or any other evidence supplied by US intelligence agencies, which operate the most powerful global surveillance network. It is implausible, to say the least, to imagine that Washington’s vast apparatus was paying no attention to the war zone of eastern Ukraine, which is also a regular flight path for many commercial airline flights.

Moreover, the US was heading a 10-day NATO exercise in the adjacent Black Sea, which concluded the day MH17 was downed. This operation specifically involved commercial traffic monitoring with sophisticated electronic intelligence and “reaction to asymmetric threat warnings, anti-submarine warfare and artillery firing.”

In sharp contrast, following the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, photographs of the area taken by a French satellite were delivered to the investigators within hours. The US Department of Defence and NASA also provided the investigation with high-resolution photographs from spy satellites.

Despite Russia continually requesting that the US administration supply the investigation with the images and data it obviously possesses relating to the MH17 crash, it has refused to do so.

Noting that it was not credible that the US did not possess detailed knowledge of the circumstances of the crash, the WSWS wrote on August 18, “If the evidence that is in Washington’s hands incriminated only Russia and the Russian-backed forces, it would have been released to feed the media frenzy against Putin. If it has not been released, this is because the evidence points to the involvement of the Ukrainian regime in Kiev and its backers in Washington and the European capitals.”

A separate criminal investigation into the crash is being carried out by the Dutch prosecution service at The Hague, involving 10 Dutch prosecutors and 200 police officers. In this case, the criminal investigators have given no time scale as to when their investigation will be completed.

Critical information regarding the fate of MH17 is likely being withheld. A leaked document dated August 8 and obtained by the Russian website Live Journal and translated into English by the Global Research web site is reportedly a non-disclosure agreement signed by the four nations involved in the MH17 investigation—Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia and Belgium. Under its terms, all intermediate results of the ongoing investigation will be classified. The document includes a stipulation that publication of the investigation’s final results would only take place if Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia and Belgium arrived at a consensus.

The International Business Times (IBT) noted, “The nations involved signed the agreement, the Verkhovna Rada [parliament] of Ukraine then ratified the agreement, after which Malaysian authorities were allowed to join the investigation.”

The IBT report cited Russian prosecutor-general Yuri Boychenko saying, “Any one of the signatories has the right to veto the publication of the results of the investigation without explanation.”

Remembering Gustavo Cerati With The Artists He Influenced

Argentine rock star musician Gustavo Cerati died on Sept. 4.

Argentine rock star musician Gustavo Cerati died on Sept. 4. Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images

 

Last week we received word that Argentinian music legend Gustavo Cerati had died. We were shocked. In the ’80s and ’90s, as frontman for the band Soda Estereo, Cerati became the first pan-Latin American rock star — and he was only 55 when he died on Sept. 4.

A good friend of those who sought refuge in Buenos Aires, Gustavo was one of the many Argentinians that welcomed entire families with open arms.

Soda Estereo was the first rock band to tour throughout the entire continent, and it proved that being a rocker could be profitable. Record labels took note and opened their doors to rock in your language

We are planning a tribute show celebrating Gustavo Cerati’s life and his legacy.  Please feel free to tell us what is your favorite Cerati song, live concert, or memory? You can leave your suggestions in the comments section.