US: Clinton calendars won’t be released until after election

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

AP Photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

The department has so far released about half of the schedules. Its lawyers said in a phone conference with the AP’s lawyers that the department now expects to release the last of the detailed schedules around Dec. 30, weeks before the next president is inaugurated.

The AP’s lawyers late Friday formally asked the State Department to hasten that effort so that the department could provide all Clinton’s minute-by-minute schedules by Oct. 15. The agency did not immediately respond.

The schedules drew new attention this week after the AP analyzed the ones released so far. The news agency found that more than half the people outside the government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton while she was secretary of state had given money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation. The AP’s analysis focused on people with private interests and excluded her meetings or calls with U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.

The AP’s reporting was based on official calendars covering Clinton’s entire term plus the more-detailed daily schedules covering roughly half her time as secretary of state. The AP first asked for Clinton’s calendars in 2010 and again in 2013. It then sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the detailed schedules, and the department so far has provided about half of them under court order.

Clinton has said the AP’s analysis was flawed because it did not account fully for all meetings and phone calls during her entire term as secretary. She also said the analysis should have included meetings with federal employees and foreign diplomats. The AP said it focused on her meetings with outsiders because those were more discretionary, as Clinton would normally meet with federal officials and foreign officials as part of her job.

Clinton said she met with people outside government regardless of whether they gave money or charitable commitments to her family’s charity.

“These are people I would be proud to meet with, as any secretary of state would have been proud to meet with, to hear about their work and their insights,” Clinton said this week on CNN.

With the foundation drawing continued attention, Clinton promised Friday to put in place additional safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest with the charity should she win the White House.

The foundation issue, along with continued focus on her use of a private email server, has dogged Clinton politically throughout the week, drawing strong criticism from opponent Donald Trump.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller released a statement Friday night saying: “It is unacceptable that the State Department is now refusing to release her official schedule before the election in full. Voters deserve to know the truth before they cast their ballots.”

Former President Bill Clinton said last week that if she is elected president, the foundation will no longer accept foreign or corporate donations.

The State Department is now estimating there are about 2,700 pages of schedules left. Under its process, it is reviewing and censoring them page-by-page to remove personal details such as private phone numbers or email addresses. In some cases it has censored names of people who met privately with Clinton or the subjects they discussed.

A State Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trudeau, declined to discuss the ongoing case and noted the agency is struggling with thousands of public records requests.

In court, the AP in December had asked U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to order the State Department to produce specific percentages of the remaining schedules every 30 days under a formula so that all would be released before the presidential primary elections were complete.

Instead, because the State Department said it did not know how many pages were left, Leon ordered it in January to release at least 600 pages of schedules every 30 days. Each 600-page group covers about three months of Clinton’s tenure.

Under the present rate, a government attorney working on behalf of the State Department notified the AP’s lawyers, it will take about four and one-half months – or until Dec. 30 – to release all the remaining schedules through the end of Clinton’s term, in February 2013. The government’s notice late Thursday was the first time the State Department has provided the AP with a measure of how many pages were remaining and when it expected to complete the job.

It was unclear whether the judge will reconsider his earlier decision and order faster results. In the AP’s lawsuit over other Clinton-related files, Leon has said it would be “ridiculous” to allow the State Department to delay until even weeks before the election. He also cited “mounting frustration that this is a project where the State Department may be running out the clock.”

 

Categories: 2016 US Elections, US News, USA

FBI’s stingray quickly found suspect after local cops’ device couldn’t

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

OAKLAND, Calif.—According to new government affidavits filed earlier this week, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) used its stingray without a warrant in 2013 for several hours overnight as a way to locate a man accused of being involved in shooting a local police officer. The OPD called in the FBI when that effort was unsuccessful. The FBI was somehow able to locate the suspect in under an hour, and he surrendered to OPD officers.

That suspect, Purvis Ellis, is the lead defendant in the case of United States v. Ellis et al. The case involves four men who are charged with the January 21, 2013 attempted murder of local police officer Eric Karsseboom in the parking area in front of a Seminary Avenue apartment complex in East Oakland. The men are also charged with running an alleged local gang, centered around Seminary Avenue (known as “SemCity”).

While these new filings fill out the timeline a bit more, they also raise new questions in Ellis. The case has provided rare insight into how this surveillance device, also known as a cell-site simulator, is used in practice to find suspects and the seeming lengths the government is willing to go to keep it quiet. The tool has come under increasing scrutiny by lawmakers and activists in recent years. Since this case began, the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, and the State of California now require a warrant when a stingray is used in most circumstances.

According to the government, Ellis, who is not accused of being the actual shooter, was the target of both the Oakland Police Department’s and the FBI’s stingrays. (The victim of the shooting, Karsseboom, previously identified co-defendant Deante Kincaid as the man who actually fired the non-fatal shot that struck Karsseboom in the wrist.)

Earlier this month, US Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu ordered the government to formally declare how the stingrays were used to find Ellis, who was either in the apartment building or immediately present for the shooting of Karsseboom. He ultimately surrendered to the OPD when he emerged from Apartment #112 at about 11am on January 22, 2013.

His attorney, Martha Boersch, told Ars that she was unable to comment on her client’s precise location during the encounter with Karsseboom, who testified that his encounter involved the other three defendants. It is also unclear why the stingray solely targeted Ellis when the other three suspects had fled the scene by the time the stingray was activated at the Seminary Ave. apartment complex.

These new filings are the government’s attempt to address Ryu’s judicial order. All of the discussion regarding stingrays, among other issues pending before the court, are part of the criminal discovery process, which has been ongoing for nearly three years.

“We’re nowhere near setting a trial date,” US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton told both sides during a Wednesday hearing in federal court in Oakland.

Four men remain accused

All parties agree that Karsseboom was shot at about 6:15pm on January 21. Karsseboom arrived at the apartment not in uniform and not in a marked patrol car—he was sent there to look for a car the OPD believed was involved in an earlier shooting. Karsseboom told a state court hearing in 2013 (before the case was moved to federal court) that he did not declare he was a cop until after the trigger was pulled, at which point the three men he says confronted him ran away.

Karsseboom later recalled the shooting during that preliminary examination, but in retrospect, court documents show that details start becoming murky at this point. OPD declared the scene “secure” by 6:29pm. But a few hours after the incident, OPD Officer Steve Valle received a call from a confidential informant who is labeled in court documents only as “X.” X told Valle that she or he received a call where X learned the names of two people involved in the original, January 20 shooting: Deante Kincaid and Damien McDaniel. X said two others were present: Purvis Ellis and someone named Lil’ Joe, later identified as Joseph Pennymon. (Kincaid, McDaniel, and Pennymon are the other three co-defendants in US v. Ellis.)

Deante "Tay Tay" Kincaid, is accused of being the one who fired the shot against Oakland Police Officer Eric Karsseboom.
Enlarge / Deante “Tay Tay” Kincaid, is accused of being the one who fired the shot against Oakland Police Officer Eric Karsseboom.

The government has argued that while two stingrays were used to locate Ellis, it did not need a warrant given “exigent circumstances,” a particular situation that provides an exception to the 4th Amendment. According to American criminal procedure law, an exigent circumstance involves imminent bodily harm or injury, the destruction of evidence, or the flight of a suspect.

Prosecutors argued that because the three men involved in the altercation were at large, there was a clear exigency. Ellis’ defense, meanwhile, has countered that because the OPD had declared the scene “secure” 14 minutes after Karsseboom was shot, there was no exigency. This issue remains unresolved.

Calling in the feds

The new Monday filings consist of a pair of affidavits, one from an FBI special agent, whose name was redacted, and another by an OPD officer, whose name was also withheld.

The OPD officer wrote that she or he was alerted to the incident at 6:40pm and was told to respond. But given that the officer was off-duty, and as most OPD officers live outside the city, the officer told the court that it would have taken up to two hours to return to Oakland. By the time the officer arrived on the scene with what seems to have been an OPD surveillance van, it was around 9:00pm.

The Oakland cop wrote that her or his team finally turned on the stingray at about midnight, in the early morning hours of January 22.

The officer continued:

Prior to operating the cell site simulator, OPD first contacted the telephone carrier of the subject cellular telephone and completed the required exigent circumstance request form to obtain a pen register/trap trace and subscriber information for phone number 510-904-7509 to assist in locating the cellular telephone with the cell site simulator. I did not begin operating the device until after OPD obtained this information from the telephone provider.

Prosecutors did not respond to Ars’ request for further information about how authorities obtained Ellis’ number, why he was targeted, or how long the OPD’s stingray was in operation.

It’s likely that the “subscriber information” MetroPCS provided included not only the name on the account but also the IMSI number associated with that number, which allowed the stingray to begin its search. The affidavit seems to suggest (but does not outright say) that the OPD stingray was in operation continuously for nearly 10 hours.

As Ars reported previously, according to an OPD log that was later redacted, a notice soon went out at 5:24am: “PING SUSP PHONE IN BLDG TWDS REAR STILL.” In addition to a Computer Aided Dispatch log notation from 3am, this message seems to be the second indication in all of the publicly available records that some sort of cell phone surveillance was taking place.

Despite seemingly being able to ping Ellis’ phone, the OPD wasn’t actually able to locate it—so then they called in the FBI. According to the FBI affidavit, the special agent was notified at about 7:00am on January 22 and got to work. The FBI showed up at about 9:00am and had its stingray set up by about 10:00am, at which point the OPD shut down its cell-site simulator.

The FBI agent wrote:

Upon powering the cell site simulator on, it detected the presence of the subject cellular telephone within the apartment building located at 1759 Seminary Street, Oakland, California. Once the cell site simulator identified the subject cellular device, it only obtained the signaling information relating to that particular phone. As previously noted, such signaling information did not include content such as e-mails, texts, contact lists, images, or other data from the phone, nor did it provide subscriber account information.

At one point, in an effort to reduce the error radius and increase the accuracy of the location of the cellular telephone, a cell site simulator augmentation device was deployed into the interior of the apartment building. This device is used in conjunction with the cell site simulator and has no data storage capability whatsoever. As before, during this operation of the cell site simulator, only limited signaling data and identifying information was collected from the targeted cellular telephone. At all times during the deployment of the cell site simulator and the augmentation device, the equipment and I were located in publicly accessible areas in and around the target apartment building.

The stingray seems to have been successful—Ellis emerged from Apartment #112 just before 11:00am and was taken into custody. The FBI shut down its operation immediately and “all data for this incident was purged.” Similarly, the OPD affidavit noted that it “did not retain any information regarding the information encountered by its cell site simulator.”

Was Oakland’s stingray obsolete?

Ars presented these new affidavits to two privacy activists, who both seem to believe that the FBI had a more advanced stingray at the time.

In September 2014—nearly two years after the Seminary Ave. shooting—Ars reported that Oakland was one of a handful of cities across America that was pursuing a “Hailstorm” upgrade to its existing stingray system. The Hailstorm is necessary because older models cannot penetrate a more modern 4G LTE connection.

“It’s unclear from the Oakland declaration how continuous the operation of their equipment was,” Brian Hofer, chair of the City of Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission, told Ars. His newly created commission has been scrutinizing the city’s procurement process for surveillance and has pushed for new policies overseeing its use.

“We believe that Oakland only had an older 2G/3G Stingray, based on public records in our possession,” he continued. “It is possible that the FBI already possessed a Hailstorm or similar 4G capable device at this time, or an older 2G/3G system but with enhanced amplification, or maybe Oakland’s equipment was simply malfunctioning.”

Daniel Rigmaiden, who was the defendant in the most well-known stingray case, US v. Rigmaiden, agreed with this analysis.

“The FBI was probably using whatever is the top of line at the time, while OPD was likely using whatever public records may tell us,” he said. “In any event, it probably just came down to the FBI being better at using the equipment (the OPD person may have had some technical problems), or maybe the equipment used by OPD was too old to work with the target phone. If I had to guess, OPD tried all night, finally conceded, and then called in the pros. This is a good argument as to why local governments don’t need this equipment, i.e., if the FBI is willing to just step in at anytime.”

Rigmaiden also speculated that the FBI’s “augmentation device” was a KEYW device or something similar.

He also noted that he believes the policies to immediately delete all data are “just a cover to destroy information that could reveal technical details of the equipment.”

“It’s ridiculous to think that all data needs to be deleted from a Stingray in order to protect the privacy of third parties (or whatever their other reasons are),” he said, speculating that this could be a Brady violation, a legal ruling where the government has found to not provide evidence that could be exculpatory to the defense.

“Like any computer, it’s very easy to delete some files or data while saving other files or data,” he continued.

“When law enforcement clears a stingray of data, it could very easily save and preserve the data collected on the target phone. When this is not done, it is a Brady violation—like what the attorneys argued in Ellis. This isn’t an ‘all or nothing’ scenario. You can delete third-party data from a stingray while preserving relevant evidence for the defense. The fact that this is not done is what alarms me. The fact that the OPD has no set policy to destroy Brady material (while the FBI does) is just incidental to me. It’s more alarming to me that law enforcement continues to get away with destroying evidence. These are serious charges and this is evidence that would be helpful to the defense. It was wrong for the OPD and FBI to delete it.”

“Media Actively Conspiring With Clinton Campaign” To Cover-up Hillary Major Health Issues

August 26, 2016 1 comment

hillary-confused3

This article was written by Michael Snyder and originally published at the End of the American Dream.

Editor’s Comment: They can try to cover up her declining health and significant mental problems, but there is just no covering up the psychopathic tendencies – they run strong in her, and the whole country can see it plainly.

It is a matter of the Naked Emperor; everyone knows, and yet somehow she clings to power. Must be an important somebody’s errand gal. God help us.

There Is A Mainstream Media Conspiracy To Hide Hillary Clinton’s Rapidly Failing Health

by Michael Snyder

Is Hillary Clinton healthy enough to serve as president if she wins the election? Over the past couple of weeks this has become a major issue, and the mainstream media is actively conspiring with the Clinton campaign in a desperate attempt to cover up the truth. For example, the Washington Post, which has essentially become a mouthpiece for the Clinton campaign at this point, has been publishing an article “debunking” claims about Clinton’s health almost every day recently.

One of their headlines that really caught my attention was “Don’t believe everything you read about Hillary Clinton’s health on Google”. By the way, there were three Hillary Clinton campaign ads on that one page alone. But CNN took things to an entirely new level this week when it published an article entitled “Clinton’s health is fine, but what about Trump?” I was so flabbergasted by that headline that my wife came into my office to see what all of the commotion was about. No, Hillary Clinton’s health is not “fine”, and we will get to that later in this article.

Despite the fact that Clinton opened up a jar of pickles that was supposedly sealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live the other night in a ridiculous attempt to prove that she was healthy, the facts keep coming out, and the more Americans talk about her health issues the more her poll numbers go down.

Hillary Clinton Opens Jar of Pickles on Jimmy Kimmel Show
To Prove She’s Strong and Healthy

As I have previously documented, the mainstream media isn’t even pretending to be objective in this race, and they have shifted into panic mode as they try to stop the damage to their favored candidate. One writer for the New York Times even went so far as to suggest that search engines should manipulate the results that they show to the public to help hide Hillary Clinton’s health problems.

But these aren’t just rumors. Her extended coughing fits have become increasingly difficult to explain. Even worse for her campaign is the fact that she has gone into seizures while on camera. She has been falling down with alarming regularity, and she also has a huge unexplained hole in her tongue. Clinton should just be honest with the American people about all of these things.

And even though her personal doctor claims that she is in good health, he has also confirmed that Clinton has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and is being treated with a drug known as Armour Thyroid

The Internet is awash with rumors about Hillary Clinton’s health, but there is one medical condition she is actually known to have.

That is hypothyroidism, a condition affecting about 10 million Americans in which the thyroid is underactive, resulting in a variety of symptoms including fatigue, weakness and weight gain.

For most patients, the symptoms can be significantly reduced or eliminated with the use of hormone therapy. Clinton is being treated with a medication called Armour Thyroid, according to her doctor, who has issued a letter saying she’s in “excellent” physical condition and is fit to serve as president.

In addition, it has been documented that Clinton has taken the drugs Lovenox and Coumadin as well. The following comes from an excellent article on Clinton’s health by Bob Eschliman

The Clinton campaign has frequently pointed to the July 28, 2015, letter from her personal physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, in which she refers to the Democratic presidential nominee as being in “excellent health.” The report is supposedly based upon a May 21, 2015, examination, but, if you actually read the letter, the doctor notes Clinton has had a number of issues.

According to the letter, Clinton has been on anticoagulation medication since 1998, not since her 2012 fainting incident as has been widely reported. And, both of her parents had histories of cardiovascular issues—her father died of a stroke, and her mother died of congestive heart failure.

Following her first deep vein thrombosis—a blood clot in the leg—in 1998, she was told to take Lovenox, a short-term blood-thinning drug, whenever she planned to take long-distance flights. After her fall, concussion, and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis—a blood clot in the brain—in 2012, she was permanently placed on Coumadin due to her family’s health history.

In addition, we can learn more facts about Clinton’s health from her personal emails which have been leaked to the public.

For example, a 2011 email chain discussed a condition known as “decision fatigue”

Clinton sent an email to close confidante and advisor Cheryl D. Mills on August 19, 2011 featuring the text of an article entitled Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?

The article talks about how people in positions of power and influence can suffer from “decision fatigue” that causes them to be “low on mental energy” and prompts the sufferer to “become reckless” and “act impulsively”.

The article also explains how “decision fatigue” could explain why “ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues,” which is possibly a nod to Clinton’s infamous temper tantrums that have left her staffers in tears.

Considering how many important decisions a president must make each day, this is quite alarming.

In a subsequent email chain, Clinton was sent information about a drug that is used for “excessive sleepiness in patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis”

In a separate email sent two months later, Hillary received information from her top foreign policy advisor Jacob Sullivan about a drug called Provigil (Modafinil), which is used to treat “excessive sleepiness in patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis,” as well as “excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy”.

And of course so much has already been said about the head injury Clinton suffered a number of years ago. But what most Americans do not know is that one of Clinton’s assistants actually reached out to the commissioner of the NFL to inquire about how to treat her “cracked head”

Hillary Clinton Cracked Head - Wikileaks

So what are we to make of all of this?

Are we supposed to ignore the facts that are laid out in these emails?

Just yesterday, CNN published an article entitled “The new birthers: Debunking the Hillary Clinton health conspiracy” that sought to demonize anyone that would dare to question Clinton’s health.

But meanwhile, reporters in the mainstream media continue to publish some of the most outrageous and ridiculous rumors imaginable about Donald Trump. They do this because they desperately want him to lose.

These days, one of the easiest ways to discredit a position is to label it a “conspiracy”, but the truth is that the pundits in the mainstream media are some of the biggest “conspiracy theorists” of them all.

There are legitimate questions about Hillary Clinton’s health, and the American people deserve the truth.

Unfortunately, they aren’t going to be getting it from the mainstream media.

Dr. Drew’s Hillary Health Problem Admission CENSORED by Show’s Producers

Get Ready, Governments Preparing for World War: “People Have Become Less Prepared For An Emergency”

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

nuclear-war

This article was written by Daisy Luther and originally published at her new site DaisyLuther.com.

Editor’s Comment: When it comes to emergencies, the best advice is that once government is warning you to get prepared, it is already too late. Maybe that is a bit harsh, but the truth of the matter is that disaster and war are around every corner, and you should keep your family in a constant state of readiness. Not fearful, but prepared.

There are enough domestic threats to warrant this, but now growing reasons to think that the entire world is coming unglued. And yet people have become complacent and numb to the threats we face. What do you think will really happen once Hillary is in office? What will be the result in Syria of a Turkish invasion, U.S. meddling, Russian airstrikes and the constant threat of ISIS, al Nusra and other terror groups? The answer may inevitably be: World War III. But then again, maybe not. Though some have suggested that world war is the *only* way of fixing an economic depression once it is set in. This alone could explain WWII, which effectively ended the Great Depression – but only at a cost of tens of millions of lives.

Get ready, and stay ready. Things that are coming may quite possibly be unpredictable, but it is highly likely they will be chaotic, violence and destabilizing.

A Disturbing Series of Events: Governments Around the World Seem to Be Preparing for War

by Daisy Luther

Remember how a couple of days ago the German government advised its citizens to start stockpiling food and water? Well, today they have announced that they are considering reintroducing conscription…the draft, to ‘help with any future disaster’.

And Germany isn’t alone. There are increasing hints in countries around the world that something big is on its way…and it won’t be pretty.

Do they know something we don’t?

The German government will discuss their emergency plans Wednesday. The BBC reports:

Germany may reintroduce a form of national service for civilians to help the army deal with a future disaster.

The role of civilians is part of a new civil defence strategy to be discussed by the government on Wednesday.

Since the strategy was leaked to the media there has been intense debate about stockpiling food and water.

In a crisis civilians might be obliged to help direct traffic or provide fuel and accommodation for the military.

Germany only scrapped conscription in 2011. However, it was not removed from the country’s constitution, which means it would be incredibly simple to reinstate.

Not sure I like the look of this.

The German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance published a list

As I wrote about on Monday, the German government is urging citizens to get prepared – and quickly.

The German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) put the following list on their website as a guide:

  • 28 litres (6.2 gallons) of drinking water
  • 4.9kg (10.8 pounds) of bread, noodles, rice, potatoes
  • 5.6kg (12.3 pounds) of vegetables and pulses (preferably pre-cooked)
  • 3.6kg (eight pounds) of fruit and nuts (in jars or tins)

This it states is a survival list that should last an individual for two weeks in the event of a national emergency.

Wolfgang Kast, a public health manager with the German Red Cross said,

“People have become less and less prepared for an emergency”.

…We’ve got accustomed – not least because of the internet – to having everything available at all times,”

In addition to the food list he suggested medicines, a flashlight, spare batteries, and candles. Hardly comprehensive, but it’s a start. (source)

The American government has also issued recent warnings.

Last summer there were two alarming warnings urging Americans to get prepared.

First, in May, President Obama said:

One of the things that we have learned over the course of the last seven and a half years is that government plays a vital role, but it is every citizen’s responsibility to be prepared for a disaster. And that means taking proactive steps, like having an evacuation plan, having a fully stocked disaster supply kit. If your local authorities ask you to evacuate, you have to do it. Don’t wait. (source)

This was followed by DC Homeland Security Director Christopher Geldart issuing a warning to residents:

Everyone needs to dust off their evacuation plans, understanding Metro isn’t a reliable option over the next year.

“When we put more vehicles on the road– like an emergency happening in the middle of the day and everybody leaving at the same time– that’s going to cause backup and it’s going to take people a good time to get home,” Geldart said. “It will take longer– much longer– than they are used to. So what we’re telling folks is, you need to have a plan with your family.” (source)

And that’s not all. The hints are everywhere that war could be on the horizon.

The rest of the world hasn’t exactly been calm and peaceful, either.

In general, Europe doesn’t have the prepping mentality that exists on this side of the pond but it looks like they are starting to consider that the government may not be in a position to help its citizens.

The UK hasn’t come right out and said that Brits should start stockpiling food and water, but the government there has produced a Preparing for Emergencies booklet that few people even know exists. It’s ‘What You Can do’ page lists essential items that should be to hand in the event of an emergency and advises that enough food, water, and medication should be available to last a few days. The booklet also gives advice on various emergency situations and how to deal with them.

The pace of world events is picking up…yesterday it was announced that Turkey had evacuated an entire town as it intends to engage in across border action with Islamic State in Syria. (That has now happened Ed.)

North Korea has fired a missile from a submarine in violation of International law.

Venezuela

Every day, something worrying occurs on the international stage. Worrying developments that threaten stability across the globe.

Make sure you have:

There’s something very suspicious about all of these unsettling events happening in such close succession.

We shouldn’t be waiting for governments to tell us to prepare. We should be doing it of our own volition. We should be taking responsibility for the safety of our families.

And we should be doing it now.

China’s Pivot to World Markets, Washington’s Pivot to World Wars, and the Debacle of the Latin American Left

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

shutterstock_27178492

Source:

Introduction: China and the United States are moving in polar opposite directions: Beijing is rapidly becoming the center of overseas investments in high tech industries, including robotics, nuclear energy and advanced machinery with collaboration from centers of technological excellence, like Germany.

In contrast, Washington is pursuing a predatory military pivot to the least productive regions with collaboration from its most barbaric allies, like Saudi Arabia.

China is advancing to global economic superiority by borrowing and innovating the most advanced methods of production, while the US degrades and debases its past immense productive achievements to promote wars of destruction.

China’s growing prominence is the result of a cumulative process that advanced in a systematic way, combining step-by-step growth of productivity and innovation with sudden jumps up the ladder of cutting edge technology.

China’s Stages of Growth and Success

China has moved from a country, highly dependent on foreign investment in consumer industries for exports, to an economy, based on joint public-private investments in higher value exports.

China’s early growth was based on cheap labor, low taxes and few regulations on multi-national capital. Foreign capital and local billionaires stimulated growth, based on high rates of profit. As the economy grew, China’s economy shifted toward increasing its indigenous technological expertise and demanding greater ‘local content’ for manufactured goods.

By the beginning of the new millennium China was developing high-end industries, based on local patents and engineering skills, channeling a high percentage of investments into civilian infrastructure, transportation and education.

Massive apprenticeship programs created a skilled labor force that raised productive capacity. Massive enrollment in science, math, computer science and engineering universities provided a large influx of high-end innovators, many of whom had gained expertise in the advanced technology of overseas competitors.

China’s strategy has been based on the practice of borrowing, learning, upgrading and competing with the most advanced economics of Europe and the US.

By the end of the last decade of the 20th century, China was in a position to move overseas. The accumulation process provided China with the financial resources to capture dynamic overseas enterprises.

China was no longer confined to investing in overseas minerals and agriculture in Third World countries. China is looking to conquer high-end technological sectors in advanced economics.

By the second decade of the 21st century Chinese investors moved into Germany, Europe’s most advanced industrial giant. During the first 6 months of 2016 Chinese investors acquired 37 German companies, compared with 39 in all of 2015. China’s total investments in Germany for 2016 may double to over $22 billion dollars.

In 2016, China successfully bought out KOKA, Germany’s most innovative engineering company. China’s strategy is to gain superiority in the digital future of industry.

China is rapidly moving to automate its industries, with plans to double the robot density of the US by the year 2020.

Chinese and Austrian scientists successfully launched the first quantum-enabled satellite communication system which is reportedly ‘hack proof’, ensuring China’s communications security.

While China’s global investments proceed to dominate world markets, the US, England and Australia have been trying to impose investment barriers. By relying on phony ’security threats’, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May blocked a multi-billion dollar Chinese investment-heavy nuclear plant (Hinckley Point C). The pretext was the spurious claim that China would use its stake to “engage in energy blackmail, threatening to turn off the power in the event of international crises”.

The US Committee on Foreign Investment has blocked several multi-billion dollar Chinese investments in high tech industries.

In August 2016 Australia blocked an $8 billion-dollar purchase of a controlling stake in its biggest electricity distribution network on specious claims of ‘national security’.

The Anglo-American and German empires are on the defensive. They increasingly cannot compete economically with China, even in defending their own innovative industries.

In large part this is the result of their failed policies. Western economic elite have increasingly relied on short-term speculation in finance, real estate and insurance, while neglecting their industrial base.

Led by the US, their reliance on military conquests (militaristic empire-building) absorb public resources, while China has directed its domestic resources toward innovative and advanced technology.

To counter China’s economic advance, the Obama regime has implemented a policy of building economic walls at home, trade restrictions abroad and military confrontation in the South China Seas – China’s strategic trade routes.

US officials have ratcheted up their restrictions on Chinese investments in high tech US enterprises including a $3.8 billion investment in Western Digital and Philips attempt to sell its lighting business. The US blocked ‘Chen China’s planned $44 billion takeover of Swiss chemical group ‘Syngenta’.

US officials are doing everything possible to stop innovative billion dollar deals that include China as a strategic partner.

Accompanying its domestic wall, the US has been mobilizing an overseas blockade of China via its Trans-Pacific-Partnership, which proposes to exclude Beijing from participating in the ‘free trade zone’ with a dozen North America, Latin American and Asian members. Nevertheless, not a single member-nation of the TPP has cut back its trade with China. On the contrary, they are increasing ties with China – an eloquent comment on Obama’s skill at ‘pivoting’.

While the ‘domestic economic wall’ has had some negative impacts on particular Chinese investors, Washington has failed to dent China’s exports to US markets. Washington’s failure to block China’s trade has been even more damaging to Washington’s effort to encircle China in Asia and Latin America, Oceana and Asia.

Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Taiwan, Cambodia and South Korea depend on Chinese markets far more than on the US to survive and grow.

While Germany, faced with China’s dynamic growth, has chosen to ‘partner’ and share, up-scale productive investments, Washington has opted to form military alliances to confront China.

The US bellicose military alliance with Japan has not intimidated China. Rather it has downgraded their domestic economies and economic influence in Asia.

Moreover, Washington’s “military pivot” has deepened and expanded China’s strategic links to Russia’s energy sources and military technology.

While the US spends hundreds of billions in military alliances with the backward Baltic client-regimes and the parasitical Middle Eastern states, (Saudi Arabia, Israel), China accumulates strategic expertise from its economic ties with Germany, resources from Russia and market shares among Washington’s ‘partners’ in Asia and Latin America.

There is no question that China, following the technological and productive path of Germany, will win out over the US’s economic isolationist and global militarist strategy.

If the US has failed to learn from the successful economic strategy of China, the same failure can explain the demise of the progressive regimes in Latin America.

China’s Success and the Latin American Retreat

After more than a decade of growth and stability, Latin America’s progressive regimes have retreated and declined. Why has China continued on the path of stability and growth while their Latin American partners retreated and suffered defeats?

Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador, for over a decade, served as Latin America’s center-left success story. Their economies grew, social spending increased, poverty and unemployment were reduced and worker incomes expanded.

Subsequently their economies went into crisis, social discontent grew and the center-left regimes fell.

In contrast to China, the Latin American center-left regimes did not diversify their economies: they remained heavily dependent on the commodity boom for growth and stability.

The Latin American elites borrowed and depended on foreign investment, and financial capital, while China engaged in public investments in industry, infrastructure, technology and education.

Latin American progressives joined with foreign capitalist and local speculators in non-productive real estate speculation and consumption, while China invested in innovative industries at home and abroad. While China consolidated political rulership, the Latin American progressives “allied” with strategic domestic and overseas multi-national adversaries to ’share power’, which were, in fact, eagerly prepared to oust their “left” allies.

When the Latin commodity based economy collapsed, so did the political links with their elite partners. In contrast, China’s industries benefited from the lower global commodity prices, while Latin America’s left suffered. Faced with widespread corruption, China launched a major campaign purging over 200,000 officials. In Latin America, the Left ignored corrupt officials, allowing the opposition to exploit the scandals to oust center-left officials.

While Latin America imported machinery and parts from the West; China bought the entire Western companies producing the machines and their technology – and then implemented Chinese technological improvements.

China successfully outgrew the crisis, defeated its adversaries and proceeded to expand local consumption and stabilized rulership.

Latin America’s center-left suffered political defeats in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, lost elections in Venezuela and Bolivia and retreated in Uruguay.

Conclusion

China’s political economic model has outperformed the imperialist West and leftist Latin America. While the US has spent billions in the Middle East for wars on behalf of Israel, China has invested similar amounts in Germany for advanced technology, robotics and digital innovations.

While President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “pivot to Asia” has been largely a wasteful military strategy to encircle and intimidate China, Beijing’s “pivot to markets” has successfully enhanced its economic competitiveness. As a result, over the past decade, China’s growth rate is three times that of the US; and in the next decade China will double the US in ‘robotizing’ its productive economy.

The US ‘pivot to Asia’, with its heavy dependence on military threats and intimidation has cost billions of dollars in lost markets and investments. China’s ‘pivot to advanced technology’ demonstrates that the future lies in Asia not the West. China’s experience offers lessons for future Latin American leftist governments.

First and foremost, China emphasizes the necessity of balanced economic growth, over and above short-term benefits resulting from commodity booms and consumerist strategies.

Secondly, China demonstrates the importance of professional and worker technical education for technological innovation, over and above business school and non-productive ’speculative’ education so heavily emphasized in the US.

Thirdly, China balances its social spending with investment in core productive activity; competitiveness and social services are combined.

China’s enhanced growth and social stability, its commitment to learning and surpassing advanced economies has important limitations, especially in the areas of social equality and popular power. Here China can learn from the experience of Latin America’s Left. The social gains under Venezuela’s President Chavez are worthy of study and emulation; the popular movements in Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, which ousted neo-liberals from power, could enhance efforts in China to overcome the business- state nexus of pillage and capital flight.

China, despite its socio-political and economic limitations, has successfully resisted US military pressures and even ‘turned the tables’ by advancing on the West.

In the final analysis, China’s model of growth and stability certainly offers an approach that is far superior to the recent debacle of the Latin American Left and the political chaos resulting from Washington’s quest for global military supremacy.

A Crooked Mile

August 26, 2016 1 comment

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The “crooked mile” from the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile etc) is Fleet Street, which is well known to London journalists. So I was told when I joined the BBC at Bush House, at the very end of Fleet Street. Not only is the street itself crooked, but so are many of its occupants. Crookedness is a professional problem for the media.

However, in older times (let us drop a hint of nostalgia) a journalist had a choice. He could work in a newspaper supporting Tories or Labour or Liberals. Now there is no difference: all British newspapers including the Guardian hate Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader. In the US, all the media hates Trump. There is simply no choice for a reader or a writer!

The only-one-opinion media is the worst thing you can find. Look at what it did to the Russians! I do not mean now, when they have the whole supermarket of ideas, but in 1991.

Exactly 25 years ago, in August 1991, I witnessed Russia’s Mother of All Colour Revolutions, as an Arab poet might call it. It lasted for three days. The Media Masters produced and broadcast a wonderful show of people rising against their tyrants, braving tanks and kicking down a statue or two of their oppressors. You’ve seen such shows broadcast by the same team from Kiev’s Maidan or Cairo’s Tahrir or indeed Baghdad. The results were equally dismal.

The revolution was so much hot air. The old regime collapsed like a house of cards; not a single shot was fired in its defence. There was a collusion between the old Soviet elites and the Masters of Discourse, between the KGB and CNN.

An Emergency Committee established by the last defenders of the regime, acted out a bad old wolf; they called upon the army to bring tanks into Moscow, but did not dare to arrest Yeltsin. The tanks did not move against the rebels and served as a props in this great show.

Moscow folk poured out in their thousands to greet Yeltsin, braving the perfectly innocuous tanks and the tame KGB. There was practically no resistance: Communist Party members in their millions accepted capitalism; the once-mighty KGB fell on its back like a puppy eager to be petted; the army obeyed the new rulers.

There were no victims (except for three boys who got under a reversing armoured vehicle and were given the title of Great Heroes of the Revolution and a state funeral).

The show of liberation and glory has been just a show; the reality was grim. This is always the case with those immensely satisfying productions: they look good, but there is a hell to pay for. It was nice to see jubilant crowds overturn the statue of Felix Dzierżyński in Moscow (just like Saddam Hussein’s in Baghdad), but the modest, safe, productive life of Russians was over. The vast wealth of the Soviets, accumulated by the intensive work of generations, has been divided and shared by a few (mainly Jewish) oligarchs. The rich became obscenely rich, while the middle class perished.

Russian men’s life expectancy dropped down to 58; fifteen million men and women died of this rapid change for the worse. The population’s steady growth has been reversed into fast decline. There were 150 million Russians before the ’91 revolution, the number dropped to 142 and only now has reached 146 million, still much less than in the Soviet days. If we deduct immigrants (and Russia has the world’s 2nd largest number of immigrants, about 12 million, after the US), we’d get even worse figures. Industry has been destroyed. Science, arts, cinema, theatre, media were ruined – unless these were of immediate use for the oligarchs.

Only ten years later, with ascent of Putin, Russia began its long climb back. Just recently she managed to regain her pre-1991 level.

Why did well educated, literate Russians allow themselves to be tricked in such a way? Soviet society was highly centralised, there were few checks and balances, no opposition, no free political media. Mikhail Gorbachev had held the supreme powers of a Tsar. Such a structure is highly susceptible to betrayal or even to a gross miscalculation. As Gorbachev decided to submit to the West, he passed control over the media and cadres to a fully paid and owned Western spy Mr Alexander N Yakovlev. In a few years, the Soviet media made a full turn around, and now it beamed a simple, single message: Communism was a mistake, or worse: a crime, Americans are our friends; accept their guidance; and you will live like the Swiss (?!) do.

The Russians were very naïve. They did not trust their old media, but they yet had no immunity against the new one. Their new media was as totalitarian as the old one, just its bias has been changed. The Russians discovered that their Pravda lied to them, and they made the wrong conclusion that the New York Times would tell them truth.

They did not know that nursery rhyme about a crooked man who walked a crooked mile and lived in a crooked house is a good description of mass media. They accepted the changes that pauperised them. Thus I learned that media can convince people to act against their own interests.

 

A similar process is now going on, 25 years later, in the US. The totalitarian, united mainstream mass media, concentrated in a few (mainly Jewish) hands may yet lead the Americans to perdition. Ostensibly, Americans, sturdy individualists as they are, should understand that they are likely to lose their country. That the Coalition of Minorities will empower the Iron Heel of bankers, military and spooks. The experience of 1991 taught me that it is as difficult to fight the Masters of Discourse as it was for the children of Hameln to disregard their Piper. Still, this time the Crooked Men may yet lose just because they discarded the cloak of impartiality.

Michael Goodwin wrote: “The shameful display of naked partisanship by the elite media is unlike anything seen in modern America. The largest broadcast networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — and major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post have jettisoned all pretence of fair play. Their fierce determination to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has no precedent. Indeed, no foreign enemy, no terror group, no native criminal gang suffers the daily beating that Trump does. The mad mullahs of Iran, who call America the Great Satan and vow to wipe Israel off the map, are treated gently by comparison.”

“The U.S. media is essentially 100 per cent united, vehemently, against Trump, and preventing him from being elected president.” – said Glenn Greenwald, and he noted that it will not help them. People who vote for Trump will not care about media spin, like the people who voted for Brexit did not care about arrogant British elites and their media spin masters. They prophesied but their prophecies failed.

Indeed, a false prophesy is the oldest trick in the book. Whenever they say that Trump is doomed to lose, that their polls and their analysis determine his failure is unavoidable, remember: they lie. Sputnik News Agency, one of a very few outlets still independent from the Spin Masters United, revealed: Donald Trump has made a political comeback for the ages, but the media has gone silent about a major new poll that shows that Trump now holds a two point lead over Clinton, nationally.

Not that it matters too much. The polls are just a device to convince you to support their candidate. Nobody knows the result unless one intends to rig the elections. And this is a real danger that should be met, not discounted.

Michael Moore added another ploy saying that Trump does not want to win. Some people in the Counterpunch, including Jeff St Clair, picked it up. What they actually mean is that they would say different things or they would use another strategy. For instance, Trump did not use the $400 million transfer to Iran as a peg to attack the administration. Doesn’t it mean he does not want to win?

Not at all: this was a wise and principled decision not to rock the nuclear agreement with Iran. This agreement is a good deal, and it is better to keep in place. Perhaps Trump paid attention to Ron Unz’s story of American POWs who were left to die in Vietnam because the US administration preferred to renege on the promised payment to Hanoi. The US owed more than $400 million to Teheran; this transfer had to be done, and a responsible statesman would avoid attacking it even if it was a good opportunity to goad Obama.

It seems that Trump is doing well, and if his nerves wouldn’t fail him and his supporters he’ll make the historic change of regaining America for Americans. And letting other countries to live their own way – something the Masters of Discourse can’t tolerate.

This does not mean all Trump’s strategies are perfect. His harping on the Muslim theme appears to be useless. Mind you, I am always against mass immigration, Muslim, Jewish or Buddhist, and if the US – and other countries – will stop this modern slavery trade, I’d say Amen. But the US has no Muslim problem, and a very few Muslims at all. Obama regime did not allow Iraqi or Syrian refugees to come to its shores in substantial quantities. Ten thousand a year: why, that’s what Greece gets in a day!

Perhaps Trump hoped the Jewish supporters will flock to him, as American Jews embrace and finance every bloody-minded European anti-Muslim nationalist of Netherlands, Denmark or England. But this scheme misfired. Anti-Muslim Jews are plentiful in the US, but they cold-shouldered Trump, as Kevin MacDonald established. They want to spread distrust and hatred between the natives and the Muslims of Europe, but in the US? This is too close to home. Once your natives are made aware of a difference between a Muslim and a Christian, they can discover a difference between a Christian and a Jew. So, if Trump thought he will get Jewish support in exchange for anti-Muslim policies, he miscalculated.

While Trump’s anti-Muslim campaign bore no fruits, he became the standard-bearer for freedom of mind versus Masters of Discourse. “I’m not running against Crooked Hillary,” he told a crowd. “I’m running against the Crooked Media.” And this is the most important message of the campaign.

Now there are better chances to defeat the Crooked Men than ever before, as the MSM loses its position versus social networks and free internet. The social networks are also biased and manipulated; still, they are more free and less centralised. However, the MSM should be broken, democratised and de-monopolised. The US managed to break up the mighty Standard Oil in 1911; it should be possible to break media into small independent companies in 2017. Otherwise, we shall always be fed with propaganda.

The Masters of Discourse love to create a media event and spin it until it occupies the whole of the world agenda. Do you remember a poor little Syrian kid who was found drowned on the Mediterranean shore? This very sad, very tragic, but hardly exceptional event has been spinned and beamed until the German chancellor proclaimed she will accept all Syrian refugees. This is exactly what the spin masters wanted: to overflow Europe with refugees, to create there another Coalition of Minorities, to overburden the welfare state and to cause collapse of Europe as an independent entity.

Now they choose another baby picture in Aleppo, Syria as a trigger for military intervention. This death is a tragic event, as deaths of another hundred thousand of Syrian children is. If Hillary Clinton would not ship mountains of weapons to the islamist extremists in Syria, these children would be alive. Would an armed intervention by the West return them to life? No, the best way out is pacification of Aleppo and of the whole Syria. The armed rebels may leave Aleppo safely, while the civilians will remain in their homes, at peace.

I do not believe these tragic pictures are being shown in good faith. So many Palestinian children were killed by Israelis, but their pictures never stopped the endless flow of American military aid to Israel. Palestinians tried to publish photos, and made zero impact. They were condemned for publishing “war porno”. So these dog-whistle words and pictures are supposed to act only when the spin masters use them. It is manipulation, not compassion.

If we want peace and prosperity, justice and mercy, we should break the spell of the crooked media upon people. The crooked should be made straight, in words of the Bible. This is the most important message of these times, and the late August is a good time to act upon it.

 

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Biden meets with Erdogan, backs Turkish invasion of Syria

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Source: Halil Celik

Under the pretext of “strengthening Turkey’s security by clearing terrorist groups from the border and maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity,” the Turkish army launched a major escalation of the war in Syria on Wednesday with a cross-border operation codenamed Euphrates Shield.

Turkish units began their assault on ISIS and Kurdish militia forces at 4 AM local time, backed by tanks and supported by intensive artillery bombardments and airstrikes, including air support from the US-led coalition. The incursion marked the first time since last November, when Turkey shot down a Russian jet near the Turkish-Syrian border, that Turkish warplanes have struck inside Syria.

The invasion comes only days after a series of mortar shells targeted the Turkish town of Karkamis from the Syrian side of the border. Turkish authorities evacuated thousands of inhabitants.

There have also been a number of ISIS attacks in Turkey over the past two years, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. ISIS is the prime suspect in a deadly blast last Saturday at a wedding in the southeastern province of Gaziantep that left 54 people dead. After the suicide bombing, the Turkish government vowed to “completely clear the Turkish border” of terrorist elements.

Operation Euphrates Shield entails invading Syria and establishing a buffer zone, in blatant violation of Syrian sovereignty. This has long been advocated by the Turkish government and, at various times, by NATO allies. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is calling for the imposition of a “safe zone” in Syria as a means of carving out a base of operations directed above all against the Russian- and Iranian-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus had said earlier this week that proposals to establish a “secure zone,” an internationally policed buffer area, should be reconsidered.

The Turkish escalation will sharply increase tensions in an already unstable and explosive situation, with the United States, the major European powers, Iran, Russia and China all intervening to back competing factions in the Syrian war.

Once the invasion was underway it became clear that Washington was throwing its weight behind it. While the situation remains extremely fluid, it appears that the Obama administration, having undermined its relations with Turkey by tacitly backing the July 15 military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is trying to rebuild its ties to Ankara at the expense of the Kurdish militias it has been supporting.

US Vice President Joseph Biden arrived in Ankara as the invasion of Syria was unfolding. After reiterating Washington’s claim, lacking all credibility, that it “did not have any foreknowledge” of the coup, he declared the US government’s support for Ankara’s invasion of Syria and endorsed its key aims.

At a press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Biden insisted that Syrian Kurdish forces had to bow to Turkish demands and return to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River if they wanted to continue receiving US support. “We have made it absolutely clear that they must go back across the river. They cannot and will not, under any circumstances, get American support if they do not keep that commitment,” he said.

Russian officials, who had sought to develop closer ties with the Turkish regime in the aftermath of the abortive coup, indicated their concern over the military escalation. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that Turkey’s air and ground operation could lead to “further degeneration of the situation in the conflict zone” and “flare-ups of interethnic tensions between Kurds and Arabs.”

Both the Assad regime and the Syrian Kurdish militias denounced the invasion. The Syrian Foreign Ministry said it “condemns the crossing of the Turkish-Syria border by Turkish tanks and armored vehicles towards the town of Jarabulus, with air cover from the US-led coalition, and considers it a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty.”

A Foreign Ministry source added, “Any party that wishes to fight terrorism on Syrian soil must coordinate with the Syrian government and army… What is happening in Jarabulus now is not a fight against terrorism. Rather, it is substituting one form of terrorism for another.”

The Kurdish militias, which have once again been double-crossed by their US imperialist backers, are providing yet one more example of the bankruptcy of their bourgeois nationalist orientation and their reliance on imperialism. Redur Xelil, spokesman for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia operating in Syria, complained that Turkey’s move was a “blatant aggression in Syrian internal affairs,” while Syrian Kurdish politician Aldar Xelil said the operation was a “declaration of war” on Kurdish autonomous administrations in northern Syria.

In an attempt to justify the incursion, Turkish authorities referred to United Nations resolutions calling for a fight against ISIS. They said Turkey was engaged in an act of “legitimate self-defense enshrined in the UN Charter.”

Turkish President Erdogan said, “Right now, unfortunately, all the attacks that happened in Gaziantep and Kilis…brought this issue to this point.” Referring to last Saturday’s Turkish security summit, Erdogan said Turkish officials had decided they “have to solve the problem.”

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara hours after the invasion, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the aim of the operation was to clear ISIS from the southern border. Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala underscored that the operation would continue until the “terror threat at our border is eliminated.”

Turkish authorities also insisted that Turkey was not invading Syria on its own, but operating in coordination with the US-led coalition and in support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters aiming to recapture the northern Syrian city of Jarabulus from ISIS.

However, the aim of the Turkish invasion is not limited to clearing ISIS from Jarabulus. Operation Euphrates Shield is a preemptive strike to block any attempt by Syrian Kurdish militias to capture Jarabulus before the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is able to take control. Making no distinction between ISIS and the YPG, Ankara has strengthened its FSA proxies against the Syrian Kurdish militias, the lead force within the so-called Syria Democratic Forces alliance (SDF) backed by the United States.

The growing influence in Syria of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the crossing over to the western side of the Euphrates River of its military arm, the YPG, earlier this month alarmed Ankara, which fears the establishment of a US-backed autonomous Kurdish region in the Syrian-Turkish border region. Yesterday, following the onset of the invasion, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu called on Syrian Kurdish forces to go back to the eastern side of the Euphrates. “The US also supports this… I am saying very clearly that we will do what is necessary,” he said.

Last week, after Syrian war planes bombed US-backed Kurdish forces in the northern Syrian town of Hasakeh and Washington threatened to respond by attacking the Syrian regime, Turkey launched artillery barrages against both ISIS and Kurdish fighters near Jarabulus.

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are supporting the Turkish invasion. Speaking at a press conference following a Central Executive Board meeting, CHP spokeswoman and deputy chair Selin Sayek Boke expressed her party’s support for Operation Euphrates Shield, while criticizing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for waiting so long to attack ISIS both inside and outside of Turkey. The MHP is widely known as the leading advocate of an invasion of northern, Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq.

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