Thursday, February 22, 2018

Blog

News Roundup 2/14/18

  • Trump is unconvinced that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. [Link]
  • US Intelligence Agencies claim Russia will try to meddle in 2018 elections. [Link]
  • Berkeley votes to become a marijuana sanctuary city. [Link]
  • Philippines President Duarte suggests his soldiers should shoot women in their genitals. [Link]
  • The Afghan Army announces a plan to push 2,200 older officers to retire. [Link]
  • A US drone destroyed a tank operated by Russian mercenaries in the Feb. 7th attack. [Link] Scores of Russians were possibly killed in the attack. [Link]
  • Trump’s 2019 budget calls for $550 million to support the YPG in Syria. Turkey says the US support for the YPG does not change their plans. [Link]
  • Iraq will need $88 billion to rebuild from the ISIS War. [Link]

 

Sources: The US Killed At Least 100 Russians in Syria Last Week

This article originally appeared at Ant-Media. 

 

Syria — At least 100 Russians were a killed last week when U.S.-led coalition forces clashed with pro-Assad fighters in eastern Syria, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing a U.S. official and three Russian sources.

From the article:

“More than 200 mercenaries, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base and refinery held by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region, two of the Russians said. The U.S. official put the death toll at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured.”

The third Russian source, an unnamed mercenary commander, told Bloomberg the still-rising death toll from the incident is already about five times higher than Russia’s official losses since entering the conflict in 2015. He said dozens of his wounded men are still being treated in military hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

On Monday night, hours before the Bloomberg article was published, Reuters ran a similar report with sources revealing the identities of two of the Russian mercenaries killed in the February 7 clash. Reuters was unable to independently confirm those deaths.

The U.S.-led coalition claims the deaths resulted from an “unprovoked attack” by pro-Assad forces who were trying to seize lucrative oil fields controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the U.S. supports.

Russia declared the coalition attack an “act of aggression” that showed the real purpose of U.S. presence in Syria is not to combat terrorism but to take over and control economic assets that belong to the Syrian Arab Republic.

Russia’s Defense Ministry initially stated that Moscow had no knowledge of Russian mercenaries operating in the region and that it only tracks data on the country’s armed forces. It doubled down on that claim following the reports of dead Russians.

“We don’t have information about other Russians who might be in Syria,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Tuesday.

Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat who is now an independent political analyst, told Bloomberg that given the potential of the incident for deepening military engagement between the U.S. and Russia, this is exactly what the Defense Ministry would say.

“This is a big scandal and a reason for an acute international crisis,” Frolov said. “But Russia will pretend nothing happened.”

WaPo Debunks the Non-Scandal of “Anglo-American” Law

In a recent speech, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a passing reference to the “Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement”. Naturally, this sparked outrage and new accusations that Sessions is racist.

Those accusations may be well-founded, but this is about the weakest evidence that could be offered to support them.

A solid new piece at The Washington Post explains why.

In short, descriptions of the US legal system as “Anglo-American” are actually quite mainstream, appearing routinely in legal arguments and even Supreme Court opinions. The reason this description is common is because it’s literal. The roots of the American legal system can be found in the English (that is, Anglo) common law tradition. Since the US started out as thirteen English colonies, it should be a surprise to precisely no one that the American legal system was influenced by the English one.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for criticizing Jeff Sessions. Among other problems, he’s a hard-liner on immigration, a staunch supporter of the Drug War, and an advocate for civil asset forfeiture.

The point is that we should criticize politicians primarily for the things they do, and the policies they promote–not just the words they say.

News Roundup 2/13/18

  • An Oklahoma judge gave a woman a lenient jail sentence because she sterilized herself. [Link]
  • Trump introduces a $4.4 trillion budget. The budget includes a $1.4 trillion in infrastructure spending. [Link] Trump also plans to expand the US nuclear weapons arsenal. [Link]
  • VP Mike Pence on North Korea, “If you want to talk, we’ll talk.” [Link]
  • Justin Raimondo explains how Mattis is pushing Trump to keep troops in Afghanistan and Somalia. [Link]
  • Trump says he is “not sure if Israel truly wants peace.” [Link]
  • An Israeli Member of Parliment introduced a bill that would effectively annex the West Bank. [Link] Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu lied and said he was discussing the annexation with Trump to delay the Parliment from pushing forward with the bill. The US announced that Trump was not in talks with Israel about annexing the West Bank. [Link]
  • In Somalia, al-Shabaab is stealing aid money given to displaced people by the UN through taxes. [Link]
  • A mayor in Mali was freed after being held by militants for three weeks. [Link]
  • The US is now bombing Uighurs in Afghanistan. [Link]
  • The Riyadh Ritz-Carlton reopens after the Saudi Crown Prince used the hotel as a prison. [Link]
  • At least 31 Turkish troops have been killed in Operation Olive Branch. [Link]
  • Russian mercenaries among 100 killed by a US coalition airstrike in Syria on Feb. 7th. [Link]
  • 500 civilians have been killed or injured in Raqqa by ISIS mines since the SDF forced ISIS from the city. [Link]
  • Venezuela oil production down 20% from a year ago according to an OPEC report. [Link]

Wormwood: Watch It!

If you’re tempted to believe the intel “community” about anything, watch the Netflix original “Wormwood.”

Jeremy Scahill interviews the director and lead actor on his “Intercepted” podcast.

The Dews From Heaven

Pliny said, of the dew, that it is, “…the sweat of Heaven, the spittle of the stars.”

Mormon scripture, evoking Moses, recites, “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.”

This morning, walking between classes on a college campus, I noticed a field of grass catch the morning sun in the following way:

The young people around me charged past the scene, indifferent, as I or anyone often would.  Today, however, I had to take pause to review the beauty of the dew upon the field.

News Roundup 2/12/18

  • A sheriff ordered deputies to “take out” an unarmed man. The deputies later murdered the man. [Link]
  • Former Kentucky district judge pleas guilty to human trafficking charges. [Link]
  • Trump aide, Rob Porter, resigns after his history of domestic abuse is revealed. Both of Porter’s ex-wives told the FBI that Porter abused them. [Link] White House Chief of Staff John Kelley offers to step down for his role in the scandal. [Link]
  • The US has armed Persian Gulf patrol boats with laser-guided missiles. [Link]
  • 71 people have been killed in plane crash in Russia. [Link]
  • Kim Jung Un invites South Korea’s president to talks. [Link]
  • The US carried out several drone strikes in Pakistan targeting the Pakistani Taliban. [Link]
  • India claims Pakistan is using US weapons to attack Indian forces. [Link]
  • Senator Rand Paul says it’s time to come home from Afghanistan. [Link] The Taliban have invited Rand Paul to peace talks. [Link]
  • An Afghan governor is rejecting government voter ID card because it labels him as an ‘Afghan.’ [Link]
  • The US drug war in Afghanistan is ineffective in fighting the Taliban. [Link]
  • Israel claims an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace. Israel downed the drone and carried out heavy airstrikes in Syria. Syria was able to shoot down one F-16I involved in the attack. Both pilots survived. [Link] US State Department issues a statement supporting Israel’s actions. [Link]
  • Syrian Kurds down a Turkish helicopter over Afrin. [Link] Assad is allowing the Syrian Kurds to reinforce Afrin. [Link]
  • Daniel McAdams responds to the US attack on Assad allied forces. [Link]
  • Mattis admits that the US has no evidence Assad used chemical weapons. [Link]
  • Human Rights Watch accuses the Iraqi Kurds of carrying out mass executions against alleged IS fighters in mid-2017. [Link]

 

Radio Interview: Why I Am Proud NOT to Have “Served” in Vietnam

I was on the Craig Silverman Show yesterday talking about why I am proud not to have “served” in Vietnam. Listen here.

The Antiwar Comic: A Country of Something

This is a common theme in this comic, but it rarely seems to resonate outside Libertarian circles.  You know the story…

The Antiwar Comic:  A Country of Something

For more comics visit The Webcomic Factory.

My First Drunkpost

I only drink alcohol about once a month.  I suppose that makes me a lightweight.  When you drink, there’s that thing of having profound insights by virtue of the mundane becoming vastly overinflated.

I’ve previously had the forebearance to refrain from taking these insights and posting them on this site, that is, while drinking.  But this one time I have to indulge.

I left the military and am in college again thanks to the GI Bill.  This Saturday I’ve been doing homework all day, and then the house party started next door and made concentration impossible.  So off to the trashy, “legendary” bar for me.  So here, live, at a quintessential state university “legendary” bar, I’ve had a profound drinking thought.

Read Scott's NEW Book!
Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan