ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

US/Korea Kick-Off War Games Practicing Nuclear First Strike, Despite Threats From North

Military tensions are expected to come to a critical juncture on the Korean Peninsula this week, with South Korea and the United Sates beginning Monday their annual military exercise in the wake of a standoff between Washington and Pyongyang over the latter’s threat to launch missiles toward the US island of Guam.

The Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, a computer-based military drill, is to kick off with some 50,000 South Korean and 17,500 US troops participating to simulate a war with North Korea. It will last until the end of the month. The number of US forces mobilized this year is markedly lower than last year’s 25,000.

This year’s exercise will focus on deterring North Korea from launching nuclear attacks and preparing the allies’ forces for a pre-emptive strike against it. The drill is reportedly based on Operational Plan 5015, which contains a scenario for carrying out a pre-emptive “decapitation” of North Korean leadership.

“If the enemy provokes, (our military) will retaliate resolutely and strongly to make it regret it bitterly,” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo said during a change of command ceremony held at the Ministry of National Defense compound in Seoul. President Moon Jae-in attended the event.

South Korea`s marines participate in an amphibious landing drill near Ulleung Island in the East Sea. (Yonhap)

The exercise comes amid under Pyongyang’s looming threat to fire ballistic missiles to waters near the US island of Guam. Delaying a decision on the island attack plan last week, the North’s Kim Jong-un said he would “wait and see” how Washington reacts.

On Sunday, Pyongyang’s state-run media lashed out at the allies for holding the exercise, saying they were “adding fuel to the fire.” North Korea and the US have traded warlike rhetoric since the North succeeded in launching two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

“It would be a great mistake for the US if they have such a delusion that the war is somebody else’s business happening across the Pacific,” said North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun, the communist party’s official newspaper.

The command-post exercise UFG takes place every year at about this time and always elicits a reaction from Pyongyang. But the North’s harsh rhetoric heeds more attention this year, military experts said, since it is the first major drill since the North test-fired ICBMs.

In recent years, North Korea has also conducted military provocations around the time the UFG is held. Pyongyang launched a submarine-based ballistic missile last year and fired off antiaircraft guns at an anti-North Korea propaganda loudspeaker unit on the cross-border region in 2015.

The reduced number of US participants — which includes 3,000 reinforcements — has sparked speculation the allies might have scaled back the annual exercise in consideration of military tensions with North Korea. Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, however, has dismissed such a view, stressing the exercise would be played out on a level similar to that of last year.

“The number of US troops participating in the exercise can vary depending upon circumstances,” said a Seoul military official who declined to be identified, rejecting any link between the numbers and current tensions on the peninsula.

The US is also unlikely to send to the peninsula its strategic assets, such as nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, submarines and long-range fighter-jets carrying nuclear bombs, according to Seoul’s military officials. Those assets were not deployed here during the UFG in 2016.

US Pacific Commander Adm. Harry Harris(left) and South Korea`s Defense Minister Song Young-moo. Yonhap.

Meanwhile, a group of top US military leaders paid a visit to South Koreaand met with their counterparts in Seoul on Sunday to ease jitters over the US commitment to defend South Korea following the North’s successful ICBM tests.

Among them were Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the US Strategic Command. Samuel A. Greaves, director of the US Missile Defense Agency, is to visit later this week.

During his meeting with Defense Minister Song Young-moo, commander Harris pledged an “iron-clad” defense commitment to the South against North Korea’s “ever-evolving” nuclear and missile threats.

“In order to respond to any provocation from North Korea, it is more important than ever before to maintain a robust Korea-US alliance,” Song was quoted as saying by the Defense Ministry during the closed-door meeting.

Harris and other military leaders are expected to observe the UFG exercise and meet with other South Korean senior military officers this week. They will also hold a press conference with local reporters.

By Yeo Jun-suk (jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)

The Death Of Our Nation

The Death Of A Nation

Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Every living nation needs symbols. They tell us who we are as one people, in what we believe, and on what basis we organize our common life.

This fact seems to be very clear to the current leadership in Russia, particularly to President Vladimir Putin, in restoring and reunifying a country rent by three generations of Red and White enmity to achieve a national synthesis. With regard to things spiritual, this meant first of all the world-historic reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church, between the Moscow Patriarchate and the New York-based Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. It also meant the rebuilding of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior dynamited by the communists 1931, not coincidentally the recent target for desecration by degenerates hailed by western «democracy» advocates.

Civic and military symbols matter as well. After 1991 there were those who wanted landmarks of the communist era to be ruthlessly expunged the way the Bolsheviks had themselves sought (in Solzhenitsyn’s description) to rub off the age-old face of Russia and to replace it with a new, ersatz Soviet image. Instead, wisdom prevailed. The national anthem adopted in 2001 retains the Soviet melody but with new lyrics (written by Sergey Mikhalkov, who with Gabriel El-Registan had penned the original lyrics in 1944!) – Lenin and Stalin are out, God is in. The old capital is again Saint Petersburg, but the surrounding district still bears the name Leningrad. The red star marks Russia’s military aircraft and vehicles, while the blue Saint Andrew’s cross flies over the fleet. The red stars likewise are still atop the Kremlin towers while the Smolensk icon of Christ once again graces the Savior Gate. The red banner that was hoisted triumphantly on the Reichstag in 1945 is carried on Victory Day. The remains of exiled White commanders like Anton Denikin and Vladimir Kappel were repatriated and reburied at home with honor.

I may be wrong, but I would like to think that perhaps Russia took a lesson from what until recently had been the American example. In his Second Inaugural Address in March 1865, as the «brothers’ war« was drawing to a close, Abraham Lincoln spoke of the need to «bind up the nation’s wounds». In striving to do so, nothing was more important than our honoring the heroes of both the Blue and the Gray, perhaps most poignantly demonstrated decades later in the veterans’ reunions at Gettysburg. «Unconditional Surrender» Grant and «Marse Bobby» Lee, «Uncle Billy» Sherman and «Stonewall» Jackson, naval legends David «Damn the torpedoes» Farragut and Raphael «Nelson of the Confederacy» Semmes, cavalrymen «Fightin’ Phil» Sheridan and J.E.B. Stuart, and many, many others – these names belong to all of us. As Americans.

To say this is not to avoid the centrality of slavery in the southerners’ attempted secession or to address the constitutional question of whether they were legally entitled to do so. (Maybe California will have better luck heading for the exit. ¡Adios, amigos!) Nor does it sugarcoat white southerners’ perception of Reconstruction as a hostile, armed occupation or of the institution of Jim Crow racial segregation after federal troops were withdrawn and the Democratic Party assumed power. But the fact is that the mythos of North-South reconciliation in a reunited American nation was a foundation of our becoming an economic giant by the late 19th century, a world power at the beginning of the 20th (at the expense of the decrepit Spanish empire, with the celebrated military participation of former Confederates), and a dominant power after two victorious world wars.

That America may soon be gone with the wind. The violence at Charlottesville, the pulling down of a Confederate memorial by a mob in Durham, the removal of four monuments from Baltimore (which has one of America’s highest homicide rates) under the cowardly cloak of night, and calls for getting rid of many more are simultaneously the death throes of the old America built on one national concept and the birth pangs of a new, borderless, multiethnic, multilingual, multireligious, multisexual, ahistorical, fake «America» now aborning in violence and lawlessness.

He who says A must say B. When one accepts demonization of part of our history and placing those who defend it beyond the pale of legitimate discourse, one should hardly be surprised when the arrogant fury of the victors is unleashed. That takes two forms: the nihilist street thugs of «Antifa» and «Black Lives Matter», and the authorities (both governmental and media, a/k/a the Swamp) who confer on them immunity for violent, criminal behavior. The former are the shock troops of the latter.

They’ve been at it for months, well before Charlottesville, across the country, with nary a peep from the party that supposedly has uniform control over the federal government. Our First Amendment rights as Americans end where a black-clad masked thug chooses to put his (or her or indeterminate «gender») fist or club. To paraphrase U.S. Chief Justice Roger Taney in Dred Scott, loyalists of the old America have no rights which the partisans of the new one are bound to respect. Where’s the Justice Department probe of civil rights violations by this organized, directed brutality? (Or maybe there will be one, including looking into George Soros’s connection. If not, what’s the point of having RICO?)

To be sure, the spectacle of genuine racists on display in Charlottesville provided the perfect pretext for these people, but they’re not the cause. Far from forestalling the violent, revolutionary abolition of the historic America (definitively described by Pat Buchanan) by inciting some kind of white backlash – perhaps in the form of a race war as some of them despicably hope – the «Unite the Right» organizers at Charlottesville have accelerated the revolution. It’s a revolution that dovetails with the anti-constitutional «RussiaGate» coup in progress against President Trump, who is the last hope for preserving the historic American nation. If he is removed (is he the only one, even in his own Administration, fighting back?) and the nice respectable anti-Trump Republican party is restored, they’ll gladly join hands with their Democratic and media Swamp buddies in dragging what remains of America down.

If anyone is tempted to think that the new America will be more peaceful in world affairs, think again. It’s no coincidence that the same forces that want to bring Trump down and also redefine our country’s identity coincide almost entirely with those who want America aggressively to impose «our values« – meaning their values – on the globe. As I put it almost 20 years ago in a somewhat different context, this fake «America» is the vanguard of Rainbow Fascism, at home and abroad.

No doubt the same terrible sense of foreboding, even worse, must have occurred to Russians in 1920, when they saw their country bloodily sacrificed on the altar of a crazed, internationalist ideology. Somehow, after paying an unimaginable price in war and repression, they emerged three quarters of a century later still remembering how (as the late General Aleksandr Lebed put it) «to feel like Russians again».

If we fail to avoid the impending long night, will we Americans be so lucky?

The 2nd American Civil War Just Around the Next Corner

Are We Nearing Civil War?

President Trump may be chief of state, head of government and commander in chief, but his administration is shot through with disloyalists plotting to bring him down.

We are approaching something of a civil war where the capital city seeks the overthrow of the sovereign and its own restoration.

Thus far, it is a nonviolent struggle, though street clashes between pro- and anti-Trump forces are increasingly marked by fistfights and brawls. Police are having difficulty keeping people apart. A few have been arrested carrying concealed weapons.

That the objective of this city is to bring Trump down via a deep state-media coup is no secret. Few deny it.

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Goal: have the Times story trigger the appointment of a special prosecutor to bring down the president.

Comey wanted a special prosecutor to target Trump, despite his knowledge, from his own FBI investigation, that Trump was innocent of the pervasive charge that he colluded with the Kremlin in the hacking of the DNC.

Comey’s deceit was designed to enlist the police powers of the state to bring down his president. And it worked. For the special counsel named, with broad powers to pursue Trump, is Comey’s friend and predecessor at the FBI, Robert Mueller.

As Newt Gingrich said Sunday: “Look at who Mueller’s starting to hire. … (T)hese are people that … look to me like they’re … setting up to go after Trump … including people, by the way, who have been reprimanded for hiding from the defense information into major cases. …

“This is going to be a witch hunt.”

Another example. According to Daily Kos, Trump planned a swift lifting of sanctions on Russia after inauguration and a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin to prevent a second Cold War.

The State Department was tasked with working out the details.

Instead, says Daniel Fried, the coordinator for sanctions policy, he received “panicky” calls of “Please, my God, can you stop this?” The Greatest Comeback:… Patrick J. Buchanan Best Price: $8.99 Buy New $9.00 (as of 11:07 EDT – Details)

Operatives at State, disloyal to the president and hostile to the Russia policy on which he had been elected, collaborated with elements in Congress to sabotage any detente. They succeeded.

“It would have been a win-win for Moscow,” said Tom Malinowski of State, who boasted last week of his role in blocking a rapprochement with Russia. State employees sabotaged one of the principal policies for which Americans had voted, and they substituted their own.

Not in memory have there been so many leaks to injure a president from within his own government, and not just political leaks, but leaks of confidential, classified and secret documents. The leaks are coming out of the supposedly secure investigative and intelligence agencies of the U.S. government.

The media, the beneficiaries of these leaks, are giving cover to those breaking the law. The real criminal “collusion” in Washington is between Big Media and the deep state, colluding to destroy a president they detest and to sink the policies they oppose.

Yet another example is the unfolding “unmasking” scandal.

While all the evidence is not yet in, it appears an abnormal number of conversations between Trump associates and Russians were intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

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Then those transcripts, with names revealed, were spread to all 16 agencies of the intel community at the direction of Susan Rice, and with the possible knowledge of Barack Obama, assuring some would be leaked after Trump became president.

The leak of Gen. Michael Flynn’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, after Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for the hacking of the DNC, may have been a product of the unmasking operation. The media hit on Flynn cost him the National Security Council post.

Trump has had many accomplishments since his election. Yet his enemies in the media and their deep state allies have often made a purgatory of his presidency.

What he and his White House need to understand is that this is not going to end, that this is a fight to the finish, that his enemies will not relent until they see him impeached or resigning in disgrace.

Patrick BuchananTo prevail, Trump will have to campaign across this country and wage guerrilla war in this capital, using the legal and political weapons at his disposal to ferret out the enemies within his own government.

Not only is this battle essential, if Trump hopes to realize his agenda, it is winnable. For the people sense that the Beltway elites are cynically engaged in preserving their own privileges, positions and power.

If the president cannot rewrite Obamacare or achieve tax reform, he should not go around the country in 2018 wailing about Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. They are not the real adversaries. They are but interchangeable parts.

He should campaign against the real enemies of America First by promising to purge the deep state and flog its media collaborators.

Time to burn down the Bastille.

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The CIA Invented Terror-War In Laos

What Laos Taught the CIA

 

 

 

Earlier this month, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) commemorated its 50th anniversary. As Southeast Asian nations look forward to building a more stable future, it’s also useful to remember the events that shaped the modern history of the region.

Fifty years ago, many parts of Southeast Asia were plagued by wars and local conflicts which included the Vietnam War, the anti-communist hysteria in Indonesia, and the rise of a military dictatorship in Burma.

But there was another war, a secret war that was being waged in a remote corner of the Indochina Peninsula during the same period. This was the civil war in Laos, which saw the rise of Hmong soldiers fighting the rising tide of communism in their country. Unknown to some Lao soldiers at the time, the combat strategy and logistics of their government were being directly handled and provided by Central Intelligence Agency officials of the United States.

Joshua Kurlantzick’s recent book A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA is more than just a retelling of the war in Laos and the role it played in the Vietnam conflict. It narrates the history of how the CIA began its notorious paramilitary operations in Laos and how this became the template for future covert wars organized by the agency in many parts of the world.

One character in the book is likened to Colonel Kurtz, the mad American soldier in the film Apocalypse Now, who in real life was awarded by the CIA for his bravery and service in leading a paramilitary training camp in Laos.

The CIA experiment turned the small landlocked country into the most heavily bombed place in the world and it failed to prevent the victory of communists in both Laos and Vietnam. Yet the CIA deemed it a success.

Unlike in Vietnam, the CIA-led operation in Laos didn’t lead to the massive deployment of U.S. troops and eventual loss of American lives. What the CIA did was to train and build a Lao paramilitary force composed mainly of Hmong natives who fought and died fighting the communists. The CIA’s work in Laos was later credited (unofficially, of course) for delaying the victory of the Vietcong by redirecting the focus of the northern Vietnamese military. This was done with little political noise in the United States because it didn’t involve the sending of troops, aside from maintaining the secrecy of the operation which lasted for almost two decades.

Never mind that the fields of Laos continue to be littered with unexploded bombs up to this day. As far as the CIA is concerned, its Laos operation provided the agency with the know-how and valuable field experience on how to conduct a war without openly declaring war. After Laos, the CIA emerged as a central player in implementing the foreign policy of the United States. More importantly, it became an enormous military machine which can confidently demand a significant appropriation from the government to be used for training various paramilitary troops across the world.

The CIA operations in Laos during the Vietnam War is not without its modern parallels, as a quick glance at the news would remind us. Anti-communism is replaced by anti-terrorism, surveillance and bomb operations are now done by drones, but paramilitary troops are still being used in conflict zones. There’s no direct link with the CIA, of course. But the imprints which we first saw in Laos are discernible. Only this time, the money used to finance these small wars are bigger and more costly to the American public.

The CIA history in Laos provides a cautionary tale of how a supposedly minor tactical operation could mutate into a monstrous military undertaking. This is especially the case if there is no public accountability and transparency, particularly regarding the use of funds for these covert operations. Seen from the narrow prism of U.S. domestic politics, public pressure can be avoided as long as civilian casualties and collateral damage are mainly members of the local population. But for the countries where the CIA is operating, the fundamental issue is the military and political intervention of a foreign power.

It is interesting to note that a few months before the official celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, several leaders in the region were complaining about US intervention in their countries. These leaders, who are facing corruption and human rights cases, could be simply trying to divert public attention; but their rants have historical basis.

After all, it was the CIA which supervised the long war in Laos; and even its online museum acknowledged the agency’s various hitherto secret activities in the region in the 20th century. It is accused of supporting paramilitary networks that later became uncontrollable such as the Taliban, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and even ISIS. The point is less whether or not these accusations hold up; at the very lease, they can serve as a grain of truth that is in every good lie.

There are numerous speculations about what the CIA is doing today. Most of the time these are dismissed as part of baseless conspiracy theories. But the publication of studies based on declassified CIA documents has provided the public with better knowledge about the appalling extent and magnitude of U.S. military operations around the world.

But is the CIA really capable of managing wars? And can it really build a local army in a foreign country? Laos offers an answer, but also raises many more other questions.

Al-Arabiya Posts Video of Saudi F16 Shooting-Down Qatari Airliner

[Video evidence that the Saudi royals, like ISIS, do not understand that shooting-down airliners is “terrorism”.]

Saudi state TV justifies shooting down of

Qatari airliners

 

Al-Arabiya video shows missile attack on Qatar Airways jet, claiming ‘international law’ allows destruction of flights violating airspace

A Qatar Airways Airbus A350 XWB (Reuters)

A Saudi state TV channel has produced a video showing the potential consequences of a Qatari passenger jet entering Riyadh’s airspace – being shot out of the sky.

In a short animation published on Al-Arabiya TV a few days ago, a commercial Qatar Airways passenger jet is shown entering Saudi airspace, before being escorted to land by a Saudi fighter jet.

A voiceover says that, “according to international law, a state that bans flights from entering its airspace has the right to deal with the violating plane in any way it wishes”.

“The options in this case either take the form of deploying a fighter jet that forces the plane to land whereby the flight crew are then tried on several charges.”

Or, the voice adds, “international law also allows states to shoot down any flight that violates a state’s airspace, classing it as a legitimate target, especially over military areas.”

In early June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a commercial and economic blockade on Qatar, ostensibly for the emirate’s support for terrorism, a claim Doha denies.

The release of the video – and its implications for unarmed passenger jets – was condemned by scores of Twitter users.

In a bid to boost tourism, Qatar last week announced visa-free travel to citizens of 80 countries.

Qatar Airways chief Akbar al-Baker said his carrier, which this year plans to extend its network to 62 new destinations, would be a primary beneficiary.

“This historic announcement comes at time of historic significance; while some countries in the region have decided to close their skies and their borders, Qatar has instead opened its borders,” he said.

“Calling for the assassination of the President is a federal crime”

Maria Chapelle-Nadal
Candidate Maria N. Chappelle-Nadal speaks on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, during the First District Congressional Candidates debate at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

With five written words Thursday morning, one of Missouri’s most controversial state lawmakers spawned a U.S. Secret Service investigation, potentially endangered her own political career — and flung St. Louis squarely into the middle of America’s raging racial-political debate in the wake of the unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

“I hope Trump is assassinated!” Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, wrote during a morning Facebook exchange, referring to Republican President Donald Trump.

She quickly deleted her post, but not quickly enough. By mid-afternoon, the political verdicts of her own party were rolling in:

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.: “I condemn it. It’s outrageous. And she should resign.”

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis: “(C)alling for the assassination of the President is a federal crime. . . . (She is) an embarrassment to our state. She should resign immediately.”

Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber: “The . . . Party will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the President. I believe she should resign.”

Missouri Senate Democratic Caucus leader Sen. Gina Walsh: “(She) should be ashamed of herself for adding her voice to this toxic environment.”

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, and state Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, also called for Chappelle-Nadal’s resignation. Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ office said late Thursday afternoon that a statement from him is forthcoming.

In an interview, Chappelle-Nadal acknowledged she wrote the offending line on her personal Facebook page in response to another commenter before deleting it.

“I didn’t mean what I put up. Absolutely not. I was very frustrated. Things have got to change,” Chappelle-Nadal told the Post-Dispatch. “It was in response to the concerns that I am hearing from residents of St. Louis. I have deleted it, and it should have been deleted, but there is something way more important that we should be talking about.”

She added later: “I am not resigning . . . What I said was wrong, but I am not going to stop talking about what led to that, which is the frustration and anger that many people across America are feeling right now.”

Chappelle-Nadal said her comment stemmed from frustration over the events in Charlottesville over the weekend, in which a white supremacist protester allegedly rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.

Trump’s reaction to the tragedy, which included the assertion that “both sides” of the protests were to blame for the violence, has drawn criticism across the political spectrum.

“There are people who are afraid of white supremacists” in the aftermath of Charlottesville, she said. “There are people who are having nightmares. there are people who are afraid of going out in the streets. It’s worse than even Ferguson.”

According to a screenshot of the now-deleted conversation obtained by the Post-Dispatch, another commenter named Christopher Gagné was writing about a cousin of his who he said was on Trump’s Secret Service detail.

“But, what I posted earlier, I truly believe will happen, sooner … not later,” he wrote.

In a subsequent interview with the Post-Dispatch, Gagné said that wasn’t a reference to assassination, but to his earlier-stated belief that Vice President Mike Pence will use the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to have Trump removed from office.

“Damn,” Gagné then wrote, “now I’ll probably get a visit from the secret service.” He followed that comment with “smdh,” an abbreviation for “shaking my d— head.”

Chappelle-Nadal responded: “No. I will. I hope Trump is assassinated!”

The U.S. Secret Service’s St. Louis field office “is looking into this,” the office confirmed Thursday.

Kristina Schmidt, special agent in charge, told the Post-Dispatch that “hypothetically” in such investigations, agents try to “determine intent, to determine if there was a violation of federal law. If there is, then we refer it to the U.S. Attorney.”

“Our primary goal is to determine if there is intent and meaning behind it,” Schmidt said.

Richard Callahan, former U.S. attorney in St. Louis, said that generally in cases involving such threats, “we try to distinguish between ‘stupid’ and (actual) intent.” He said the “bottom line” is the question of whether the person was serious about making the threatened action happen.

Another factor, he said, is “whether it’s a person of influence. You look at the person’s station in life, whether they might have influence over others.”

In addition to party-wide condemnation of Chappelle-Nadal’s post, state Rep. Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis, issued a formal request Thursday to the Missouri Senate committee that deals with member ethics asking for Chappelle-Nadal’s removal from office, calling her “an embarrassment nationally for the Missouri General Assembly.”

The furious responses from Chappelle-Nadal’s own party might at least partly reflect her history of internal political strife as an outspoken critic of people on both sides of the aisle.

First elected to the House in 2004, she served three terms before winning a four-way primary for the Senate’s 14th District in 2010.

In January 2015, she filed a proposal in the Senate seeking the ouster of former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, for his actions in relation to the August 2014 death of a black teenager in Ferguson by a white police officer. In her proposal, she said Nixon “seems only to acknowledge the existence of the African-American community on or about election day.”

The measure went nowhere. But her attacks on Nixon never dimmed. In a tweet at the time of the protests in Ferguson, Chappelle-Nadal wrote: “You don’t know s*** because you never communicate. F* you, governor!”

She’s also tried to exert political payback against her foes. She spent nearly $20,000 on negative ads against Rep. Joe Adams, whom she had defeated in her race for the Senate five years previously.

She got into a fight with Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, at a Lil Wayne Concert at Scottrade Center in 2011 over legislation regarding local control of the city police department.

Last year, she unsuccessfully challenged Clay, the St. Louis-based congressman, in the Democratic primary.

During the most recent legislative session, Chappelle-Nadal focused her efforts on a controversial buyout program for homeowners in the Spanish Village neighborhood of Bridgeton who have been impacted by pollution in the nearby Westlake Landfill.

Initially, she wanted her colleagues to approve a $12 million program and threatened to shut down the Senate with a filibuster if it didn’t move forward. She backed off when the Senate endorsed a $1 million pilot program. But the House didn’t agree and she left the Capitol in May with nothing.

Kurt Erickson and Joe Holleman of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

Saudi Forces Have Leveled Entire Shia Towns, Creating Their Own Saudi Mosuls and Fallujahs

Awamiya: Inside Saudi Shia town

devastated by demolitions and fighting

 

Remains of a car and buildings in the town of Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017)
Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

 

The BBC’s Sally Nabil has been given rare access to Awamiya in Saudi Arabia, a town in the east of the Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdom that has been rocked in recent months by deadly clashes between security forces and Shia militants that were triggered by the demolition of its old quarter.

“You will have only a few minutes on the ground. When we say ‘go’, you will have to leave at once,” a Saudi police officer told us firmly as we got on an armoured vehicle heading to Awamiya.

As we approached the town, escorted by special forces, officers kept talking to their commanders over the phone to make sure the convoy was safe to proceed.

The security situation in Awamiya remains unstable, although the government says it is in control.

Saudi special forces member holds patrols the town of Awamiya (9 August 2017) The Saudi interior ministry has blamed the unrest on “terrorist groups”   Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

When we got to Awamiya, the scale of devastation was shocking. It looked like a war zone – as if we were in Mosul or Aleppo.

The town, which lies in the Qatif region of oil-rich Eastern Province, was home to about 30,000 people, most of them Shia.

Now, there is nothing left of the once vibrant residential area but bullet-riddled houses, and burned-out cars and shops – a testament to the heavy fighting.

Members of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority have for years complained about what they perceive as discrimination and marginalisation at the hands of the Sunni monarchy.

But their protests have always been met by a crackdown.

“The Saudi regime does not accept opposition, whether it comes from a Sunni or a Shia. They are just intolerant,” Ali Adubisi, the director of the Berlin-based European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, told me.

 
A burned-out bulldozer in Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017)The local authorities say they have been demolishing “dilapidated buildings”  Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

As I walked around Awamiya, I saw a few bulldozers standing in the middle of the wasteland.

In May, the authorities started demolishing the 400-year-old al-Musawara area, as a part of what it says is a “development project”.

“Eighty houses were demolished, and we still have about 400 more to go. These are dilapidated buildings, they should be modernised,” acting mayor Essam Abdullatif Al-Mulla told me.

“Families have been relocated after being generously compensated and offered alternative houses.”

Map of Saudi Arabia

As soon as the demolitions started, the confrontation in Awamiya took a violent turn.

Shia groups accused police troops of forcing people to leave, with the aim of crushing dissent.

Activists say security forces sealed off the town’s entrances and exits in late July, denying remaining residents access to essential services such as medical care.

 
Bullet-ridden building in Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017) Shia groups have accused the authorities of forcing thousands of people to leave  Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

The violence has killed more than 20 civilians, among them a three-year-old boy who died on Wednesday, in addition to at least five militants, according to activists.

The Saudi authorities say eight police officers and four special forces personnel have died, but did not release any information on civilian and militant deaths.

The interior ministry has blamed the unrest on “terrorist groups who have been in the area for years”.

A statement said government forces had been attacked repeatedly with rocket-propelled grenades, Molotov cocktails and machine guns.

“Terrorists indiscriminately killed civilians, and used them as human shields. People fled because they felt threatened by the militants,” it added.

 
A damaged mosque and remains of buildings in Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017) Activists say the violence has left more than 20 civilians and five militants dead   Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

But there is another version to this story.

I managed to find a Saudi man who recently fled Awamiya, and is now seeking asylum in Germany.

“Security forces would shoot everyone – a man, a woman, an elderly person, or even a child,” he said.

“For days I couldn’t step out of my house. I was too scared.”

The man, who asked us not to identify him as he feared for his life, told me he had never personally taken up arms but that he understood why some people had chosen to do so.

“You can be sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia just because you are a Shia and you belong to a different religious sect.”

“The people are deprived of their freedom and dignity and might even be executed in unfair trials. They won’t remain silent forever. If someone shoots you, you will have to shoot back.”

 
Members of Saudi security forces stand guard in the town of Awamiya (9 August 2017)Activists say security forces sealed off the town’s entrances and exits in late July   Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

The man recalled the start of the Shia protests in Awamiya in early 2011, when people emboldened by the Arab Spring uprisings across the region took to the streets.

“We were peaceful protesters, but security forces used to disperse us with live ammunition,” he said.

Since then, hundreds of people have been arrested. Human rights groups say Specialised Criminal Courts, set up for terrorism cases, have sentenced more than three dozen men and boys to death after convicting them of protest-related crimes following unfair trials.

Activists fear that 14 protesters, including four found guilty of offenses committed when they were children, could be executed at any moment.

They include the nephew of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric and vocal critic of the government who was convicted of terrorism offensives and executed in January 2016.

 
A poster mourning the executed cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr hangs on a lamppost in Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017) A poster mourning the executed cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr still hangs on a lamppost   Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

Our brief visit to Awamiya was interrupted by gunshots, fired from a distance.

We did not know whether it was the police, or the armed groups. But we had to leave at once, just as the commander said.

On our way back, I looked through the car window, and wondered if life would return to this ghost town any time soon.

It is very difficult to tell, as the reasons for the unrest are still very much present.

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