The Jaysh al-Nasr rebel group in Syria, part of the US-backed Free Syrian Army, has posted footage of its fighters celebrating the shoot-down of a Russian Suhkoi-25 jet fighter in the Idlib province of Syria. It is the first time a Russian fighter has been shot down by Syrian rebels attempting to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
The plane was apparently brought down by a man-portable air defense system (ManPADS) surface-to-air missile. According to press reports, the pilot ejected from the plane safely but was killed by the Syrian rebels on the ground.
The 2017 US military spending bill provided authorization for the Department of Defense to arm the rebels with shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles or ManPADS. At the time, the Russians vigorously objected to the dramatic US move to provide sophisticated weaponry to the rebels, claiming (rightfully it turns out) that “[t]he relevant decision also poses a direct threat to aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces…”
The scenario where a US-backed, US-supplied jihadist group in Syria uses US weapons to shoot down a Russian plane and then murders the pilot on the ground should be seen as a near-nightmare escalation, drawing the US and Russia terrifyingly closer to direct conflict.
The long-awaited House Intelligence Committee report made public today identifies current and former top officials of the FBI and the Department of Justice as guilty of the felony of misrepresenting evidence required to obtain a court warrant before surveilling American citizens. The target was candidate Donald Trump’s adviser Carter Page.
The main points of what is widely known as the “Nunes Memo,” after the House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), have been nicely summarized by blogger Publius Tacitus, who noted that the following very senior officials are now liable for contempt-of-court charges; namely, the current and former members of the FBI and the Department of Justice who signed off on fraudulent applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court: James Comey, Andy McCabe, Sally Yates, Dana Boente and Rob Rosenstein. The following is Publius Tacitus’s summary of the main points:
The dubious but celebrated Steele Dossier played a critical role in obtaining approval from the FISA court to carry out surveillance of Carter Page according to former FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe.
Christopher Steele was getting paid by the DNC and the FBI for the same information.
No one at the FBI or the DOJ disclosed to the court that the Steele dossier was paid for by an opposition political campaign.
The first FISA warrant was obtained on October 21, 2016 based on a story written by Michael Isikoff for Yahoo News based on information he received directly from Christopher Steele – the FBI did not disclose in the FISA application that Steele was the original source of the information.
Christopher Steele was a long-standing FBI “source” but was terminated as a source after telling Mother Jones reporter David Corn that he had a relationship with the FBI.
The FBI signers of the FISA applications/renewals were James Comey (three times) and Andrew McCabe.
The DOJ signers of the FISA applications/renewals were Sally Yates, Dana Boente and Rod Rosenstein.
Even after Steele was terminated by the FBI, he remained in contact with Deputy Attorney General Bruce Our, whose wife worked for FUSION GPS, a contractor that was deeply involved with the Steele dossier.
On January 29, the US House Intelligence Committee voted to publicly release a four-page memo on the “Russiagate” inquiry, authored by committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA). Republican sources tell The Hill that the memo alleges “‘shocking’ surveillance abuses” by the Department of Justice. By the time you read this, we’ll all know much of the memo’s contents, as President Trump has reportedly signed off on the decision to release it with redactions.
While the memo may be a bombshell, what’s more interesting is the rigmarole surrounding its release and the non-release of a competing memo from the committee’s Democratic minority.
We live in an age of unparalleled transparency, thanks to heroes and martyrs like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange. It’s getting harder and harder for governments (and political parties and individual politicians) to keep secrets. That’s a good thing. The more we know, the more effectively we can attempt to hold the political class ever so slightly accountable.
Yet the jokers in Congress continue to arrogantly assume that they’re entitled to hide what they’re up to from the rest of us whenever they decide we don’t need to know.
The Pentagon spends hundreds of billions of dollars maintaining some 1,000 US bases overseas – in every corner of the globe. The rest of the world combined maintains a total of 77 military bases outside of national borders. In this “we’re number one.” But what is the cost? As Professor Robert Pape has extensively researched, it is the sense of being occupied by a foreign power that most motivates potential suicide terrorists. Is a US worldwide military empire really keeping us safe…or is it just making the military-industrial complex rich? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Russiagate has “jumped the shark.” So says Robert Parry, investigative journalist and founder of ConsortiumNews.com. Parry joins today’s (October 12, 2017) Ron Paul Liberty Report to discuss the current state of the mainstream media and the ongoing allegations of Russian interference in American political and social life.
On January 23rd an overcrowded smuggling boat capsized off the coast of Aden in Southern Yemen. Smugglers packed 152 passengers from Somalia and Ethiopia in the boat and then, while at sea, reportedly pulled guns on the migrants to extort additional money from them. The boat capsized, according to The Guardian, after the shooting prompted panic. The death toll, currently 30, is expected to rise. Dozens of children were on board.
The passengers had already risked the perilous journey from African shores to Yemen, a dangerous crossing that leaves people vulnerable to false promises, predatory captors, arbitrary detention and tortuous human rights violations. Sheer desperation for basic needs has driven hundreds of thousands of African migrants to Yemen. Many hope, upon arrival, they can eventually travel to prosperous Gulf countries further north where they might find work and some measure of security. But the desperation and fighting in southern Yemen were horrible enough to convince most migrants that boarded the smuggling boat on January 23rd to try and return to Africa.
Referring to those who drowned when the boat capsized, Amnesty International’s Lynn Maalouf said: "This heartbreaking tragedy underscores, yet again, just how devastating Yemen’s conflict continues to be for civilians. Amid ongoing hostilities and crushing restrictions imposed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, many people who came to Yemen to flee conflict and repression elsewhere are now being forced yet again to flee in search of safety. Some are dying in the process."