ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

New Chief of Space and Missile Defense Commits Suicide Before Starting New, Highly Demanding Job

major-general-john-rossi[Two-star general committed suicide days before he was to take charge of US space and missile defense]

“The unit’s mission was to plan and conduct system diagnostic monitoring, vulnerability assessments, data integrity studies and quality control of U.S. military satellite communications in support of U.S. Central Command.”–PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado

Army Activates New Battalion for Space, Missile Defense Operations

executivegov

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command has held an activation ceremony for the organization’s 1st Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade.

Army said Thursday Lt. Col. Bryan Shrank, 1st Space Battalion commander, has entrusted Maj. John Bierce to care for and lead the unit as the first company commander and Sgt. 1st Class Wade Parker formally assumed the role of company first sergeant.

“There was no question Maj. Jack Bierce and 1st Sgt. Wade Parker are the absolute right team to stand up this organization, and I know they will do an amazing job,” said Shrank.

U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command conducts space and missile defense operations in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s missions on strategic deterrence, integrated missile defense and space operations.

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Islamist Terrorists Attack Syrian Army Convoy Bound for Aleppo, Heavy Casualties

Islamist rebels hit Syrian Army convoy bound for Aleppo, dozens killed

ARA NEWS

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Syria rebel fighters are seen during battles outside Aleppo. File photo: Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

ARA News

Aleppo – Islamist factions ambushed a Syrian Army convoy south of Aleppo city on Saturday. The raid aimed to prevent regime reinforcements from reaching the ongoing clashes in western Aleppo.

Militants from Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) hit the army convoy with mortars and heavy machine guns. JFS is an Al-Qaeda splinter group, which was previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

“The attack took place on the Khanasir-Ithria road. The convoy, which was coming from Hama city to Aleppo, consisted of at least 6 army vehicles. [They were] loaded with weapons and carrying dozens of soldiers,” media activist Abduljabbar al-Hamwi told ARA News.

The rebels’ bombardment led to the destruction of four vehicles, while two others were hijacked. At least 24 Syrian Army soldiers were killed and ten others were taken as hostages.

“None of the convoy’s vehicles was able to make it to Aleppo. Our operation was successful and we won’t allow any more military reinforcements to reach […] Aleppo,” Ahrar al-Sham spokesman Anass al-Omar told ARA News.

Al-Omar remains confident that the battle for Aleppo is turning in favor of Syria’s Islamist forces. “Despite all the Russian and Iranian support, Assad won’t be able to win in Aleppo,” he said.

Breaking Siege of Eastern Aleppo 

Syrian Islamist factions -as previously mentioned- have launched an offensive to break the siege of eastern Aleppo. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham initiated the campaign by attacking several regime-held districts in western Aleppo.

Abu Saeed al-Halabi, a Dutch member of JFS, told ARA News that the new offensive aims to “free the thousands of Muslims besieged in the eastern part of Aleppo.”

Al-Halabi credited the Army of Conquest, also known as Jaish al-Fatah, with laying the groundwork for the offensive, marshaling Syria’s often disparate Islamists. “[They,] JFS and other factions prepared this assault in great detail and synchronized their forces in an unprecedented manner,” he told ARA News.

Al-Halabi added that Jabhat Fateh al-Sham would commit the bulk of its jihadists to this one operation “[We] will commit most of our resources and inghimasi [suicide] fighters,” he said.

“Both [Sunni] mujahidin and Shia militias have gathered thousands of their fighters for a battle which could decide the outcome of this conflict,” al-Halabi stated. “[Our triumph] will likely secure the remaining part of Aleppo city from Shia forces. This will bury the myth of a political solution in Syria.”

Speaking for his fellow jihadists, al-Halabi, said that all of the recent battles in Syria, Iraq and Yemen were linked. “These battles should be seen in the light of the US-Russian-Iranian alliance’s plan to strip the Sunnis from power in the Middle East,” he said.

According to al-Halabi, the Islamist’s campaign is incredibly important “as it could tip Syria’s power balance.” The JFS member told ARA News that Aleppo “could be the mother of all battles.”

Reporting by: Jamil Mukarram | Source: ARA News

US/Afghan Airstrike For India Kills 19 LeT Terrorists In Kunar Province

Airstrike kill 19 Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in East of Afghanistan

Khaama

By Ghanizada

https://i0.wp.com/www.khaama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Lashkar-e-Taiba-militants-killed-in-Afghanistan.jpgAt least 19 militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group were killed in an airstrike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the airstrike was carried out in Dangam district and at least 8 militants of the terrorist group were also wounded.

According to a statement by MoI, A BM-1 rocket launcher and a Dshk heavy machine gun belonging to the terrorist group were also destroyed in the raid.

MoI further added that a major operation is underway in Dangam district to clear the area from the presence of terrorist groups.

This comes as local officials in neighboring Nuristan province said in mid-2014 that the Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is attempting to establish bases in eastern parts of the country.

The officials further added that over 100 Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were deployed in Nuristan province in an attempt to set up training camps in Kamdish district.

Lashkar-e-Taiba also known as Army of the Righteous, is one of the largest and most proficient of the Kashmir-focused militant groups.

The group was also accused of coordinating and carrying out attack on Indian consulate in western Herat province of Afghanistan in 2014.

Americans Have No Desire for More Interventionism

Americans Have No Desire for More Interventionism

american conservative

A new poll co-sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest finds very little appetite for increased interventionism and even less confidence in U.S. foreign policy:

Only 25 per cent of Americans would like the next president to expand the role of the US military overseas, according to a poll that underlines the cautious mood of voters about foreign policy.

In the poll, only 14 per cent of respondents said US foreign policy had made the country more secure since 9/11, when it launched the more than 15 years of military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

These findings are consistent with other surveys that find scant support for an expanded U.S. role overseas. The public understandably doesn’t share the enthusiasm of foreign policy elites for U.S. “leadership” defined by endless war, multiplying commitments in more and more countries, and no obvious benefit to the United States. What I find worrisome is that there is still any constituency for an even more activist foreign policy after a decade and a half of serial failure.

There is very little support for deploying U.S. forces in Syria and Yemen, and substantial opposition to the former:

Among the respondents, 51 per cent said the US should not deploy ground troops to Syria, and 10 per cent said US troops should help Saudi Arabia in its military campaign in Yemen.

Americans clearly aren’t interested in deeper involvement in either of these wars. Unfortunately, Clinton is likely to be the next president, and she is committed to an expanded role in one and probably favors continuing U.S. support for the other.

Another interesting finding is that there is overwhelming backing for the idea that the president needs Congressional authorization before taking military action:

Eighty per cent per cent said the president should need Congressional approval for military action abroad.

It is encouraging that there is broad support for Congress’ constitutional role in deciding on whether the U.S. should go to war. This finding raises the obvious question: if 80% think this should happen, why are their representatives content to abdicate their role and why isn’t there more pressure on them to hold the executive accountable for unauthorized, illegal wars?

The good news from all this is that the constituency among voters for perpetual war is extremely small, as I would hope it would be. The bad news is that foreign policy elites in Washington are determined to ignore this.

Overcoming the Sheep’s Amnesia with Properly Directed Anger

Amnesia and anger: one is the problem, the other the cure.

fabius-maximus

Summary: There is no need for complex solutions to produce political reform in America. We have the machinery. We know our peril as the Republic dies. We need only find the spark within ourselves that will produce action. I recommend anger. We have much to get angry about. Here we look at our leaders’ lies. They lie because we let them. We believe their lies, learn the truth, then forget the story. It’s a FAILure to learn or even react. Anger can short-circuit this process. Anger is contagious, like all flames. Read this and pass it on.

“Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.”
— Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, book IV, chapter 5 (slightly paraphrased)

“Telemachus, now is the time to be angry.”
— Odysseus, when the time came to deal with the Suitors. From the movie The Odyssey (1997)

A hand for our leaders

Let’s give our leaders a hand.

We have been emasculated. Our political leaders — of both parties — flagrantly cuckold us, flaunting their allegiance to the 1% without even attempting to conceal it. We react to this ugly truth in a commonplace fashion, with the dreamtime (to use Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s concept). We pretend not to see. We pretend not to care. We tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter. We pretend amnesia, as if we don’t remember. Just as a cuckold fears his spouse will leave him for her more attractive new friend, we fear that our leaders will betray us.

Just as spouses drift away from each other once their trust is broken, we less often work the political machinery of the Republic — not even voting. We have less confidence in its institution and leaders. In both cases the response makes the fear more likely to happen.

Trust

Demanding truth is the first step to rebuilding trust.

There is another way to respond. We can get angry and hold our leaders to account. Let’s start with something easy: let’s punish them when they lie to us. We have not done so for generations, so now they lie to us frequently. Why not? Look at this list of lies, documented in last month’s Why do we believe, when the government lies to us so often?  Notice that all of our wars for 50 years have been justified by lies. That’s quite a record, one of which we should be ashamed.
Charlie Brown falls for the Football scam, again

  • Eisenhower lies about the U-2 (1960).
  • The Tonkin Gulf Incident (1964).
  • Our 1st war in Afghanistan (1979+).
  • Libyan hit teams in America (1981).
  • Iran’s nukes (1984-now).
  • The shooting of Iran Air Flight 655 (1988).
  • Iraq’s atrocities in Kuwait (1990).
  • President Clinton lied, a lot (e.g, 1998).
  • Our 2nd war in Afghanistan (2001).
  • Saddam’s link to Al Qaeda (2002).
  • Saddam’s WMD’s (2002).

It’s sad that we’re so gullible, believing lies from liars — again and again. It’s bad that we don’t respond when we learn that they lied to us. Now for the worse news: many American still believe these lies. We’re like the marks of highly skilled con men who refuse to press charges; we find self-deceit less painful than admitting we were fooled.

It need not be like this. This cannot continue, if we wish the Republic to survive.  Let’s break the cycle at the vulnerable step.  Let’s get angry and punish leaders who lie to us. We can vote out elected officials, demand that political appointees get fired and that civil servants get punished.

It’s the easy first step to rebuilding our confidence in the Republic’s machinery. We hold elections every two years. Let’s start with 2016. America has many good people. Let’s put some of them in office. Vote “no” on liars.

Danger: Angry American

For More Information

See all posts about anger, about our amnesia, about propaganda, and about reforming America and the steps to political change.

Posts explaining why our leaders lie to us so frequently:

  1. Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations.
  2. The secret, simple tool that persuades Americans. That molds our opinions.
  3. Why do we believe, when the government lies to us so often? When we change, the government also will change.

A few posts about anger as a political tool to reform America:

  1. Now is the time for America to get angry.
  2. In “Network”, Howard Beale asks us to get mad and do something. He’s still waiting.
  3. A simple thing you can do to start the reform of America: get angry.
  4. How can we arouse a passion to reform America in the hearts of our neighbors?.
  5. Should we risk using anger to arouse America?.

Truth in society

US Looking For Good Excuse To Illegally Move More Troops Into Syria

U.S. commanders in the Middle East are trying to determine whether 300 U.S. troops on the ground inside Syria will be enough to oust the Islamic State group from its self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa.

It’s not a question of combat power. The U.S. has plenty of local allies willing to fight ISIS there. The challenge is convincing those groups to fight the militants rather than each other.

“The biggest problem with Raqqa will be managing the coalition,” said J. Matthew McInnis, a Middle East security expert with the American Enterprise Institute. “If you get an extra six hundred or an extra one thousand troops, that doesn’t dramatically change the situation from a military standpoint, but it does from a political standpoint. You gain a certain amount of ability to manage the situation when you have a little bit larger number troops there.”

U.S. officials say the invasion of Raqqa will begin within weeks. They feel a sense of “urgency” because new intelligence suggests ISIS leaders in Raqqa are planning external attacks in the U.S. and Europe.

This will draw the U.S. military deeper than ever into the multi-sided Syrian civil war, a battlefield far more complex than the one in Iraq, which for years has been the main focus of the U.S. effort to defeat ISIS. The invasion of Raqqa will put the teams of U.S. special operations troops into a unique role managing the movements of rival allied factions that often have fought each other during the five-year-old conflict.

Small teams of American troops will attach to various allied elements, which could include the Turkish military, Syrian Kurdish militias, Sunni Arab tribal fighters and others linked to the so-called Syrian Defense Force, according to defense officials familiar with the planning.

Those teams of elite American troops will provide vital communication links between the groups as well as to the U.S.-led coalition’s centralized command and control system overseeing the operation.

“The U.S. can play a very pivotal role in negotiating this, and then the U.S. troops would help them deconflict it on the ground,” said Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“I don’t know who else can play that role.”

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend is the seventh American general since 2003 to assume command of war operations in Iraq. (Daniel Woolfolk/Staff)

TURKEY vs. THE KURDS

The main fissure in the U.S. alliance is between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds.

The U.S. military believes that the only rebel faction capable of fighting ISIS in Raqqa is the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, a network of militias dominated by the Syrian Kurds. Syrian Kurdish fighters have proven to be an effective ally for fighting ISIS with the help of U.S. air strikes in other parts of Syria.

Yet Turkey — a NATO ally — fiercely opposes U.S. support for the Kurds, fearing that a strengthened Kurdish force will consolidate power and form its own autonomous region along Turkey’s southern border. For decades Turkey has mounted counter-insurgency operations targeting its own restive Kurdish minority.

This tension erupted in combat recently. On Oct. 20, the two sides exchanged indirect fire, prompting the Turkish military to launch air strikes against Kurdish forces. Turkey said its attacks killed 160 to 200 Kurdish fighters.

The U.S. also depends on Turkey for use of Incirlik Air Base, a hub for U.S. air operations near Turkey’s southern border. A power struggle has played out in public view as the top American general overseeing operations against ISIS vowed to march on Raqqa with Kurdish forces regardless of Turkey’s opposition.

“Turkey doesn’t want to see us operating with the SDF anywhere, particularly in Raqqa,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend acknowledged in a press briefing last week. But, he added, “we think there’s an imperative to get isolation in place around Raqqa because our intelligence feeds tell us that there is significant external attack planning going on” there.

“I think we need to go pretty soon,” Townsend said. “And I think that we’ll go with the forces that can go on the timeline that we need.”

Soon afterward, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan called President Obama and vowed to send Turkish troops to Raqqa. But it was unclear how much the Turkish military will coordinate with the American-led coalition, an ambiguity that has made the White House uncomfortable.

“We’re mindful of how complicated this space is,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Thursday. “It’s important that [Turkey’s military] actions are well coordinated to prevent any sort of unintended consequence or unintended escalation among competing interests in that region of the world.”

The next day, Turkey’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim, said its military will not participate in the U.S. operation to invade Raqqa if Syrian Kurdish fighters are included. Turkey, he said, would support the fight, “however, if groups we classify as terrorist organizations like the PYD and YPG are included in the operation, we will not be there.” Those acronyms refer to the Syrian Kurdish militias backed by the U.S.

The U.S. and Turkey may resolve the matter in a way that makes the battlefield even more complicated, said McInnis. “The best case scenario for the U.S.,” he said, “is to move toward some zones of operation, that we try to stay out of each other’s way.

“Having additional U.S. troops in Syria would help manage the balance of power and manage the situation with Turkey.”

MORE U.S. TROOPS IN SYRIA

Townsend said the invasion of Raqqa will involve far fewer U.S. troops than operations in Iraq, where about 5,000 American personnel are currently deployed, many supporting the invasion of Mosul that began Oct. 17.

“We’re also trying to keep a footprint that is very light there to avoid worsening any of the complicating, pre-existing conditions,” Townsend said.

Yet Anthony Cordesman, a defense exerts with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Raqqa operation’s success will ultimately depend on whether the U.S. and its allies can muster enough combat power on the ground.

“If we do not have a decisive ground component, it is not enough to deal with a problem like Raqqa,” Cordesman told Military Times recently.

He suggested that the U.S. military could quietly surge hundreds of additional U.S. special operations troops into Syria without a public announcement by categorizing them as “temporary duty” personnel, a status officially known as “TDY.”

“TDY,” Cordesman said, “is the magic acronym.”

The size of the American force may also have an important psychological impact on the fight for Raqqa’s city center, said Bassam Barabandi, a former Syrian diplomat who now lives in Washington and advocates for Syrian rebels groups.

“The more Americans are involved, the more it will send a message that this is a serious fight,” he said. “If people in Raqqa see that the American are coming, you are encouraging them to make revolution against [ISIS] inside the city.”

In November 2015, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller speculated about the possibility of having to deploy combat forces to Syria and the Islamic State’s self proclaimed capital in Raqqa. For now, it’s unclear how or even if the U.S. military presence in Syria will expand. (Marine Corps video)

Taliban Reject Reports of Secret Meetings w/Kabul Government

Taliban to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Reject Secret Meetings with Qabul Government

ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

London- Mullah Zabihullah, the official spokesman of the “Afghan Taliban” and the second man in the movement said that security measures forced leader of the Afghan Taliban, Haibatullah not to reveal his whereabouts. “We are ordered by God’s will to take all necessary measures to secure his safety,” he said, adding that “the Emir of the Afghanistan Imara did not disappear, he is present among his people and at the frontlines. He is fine.”

Zabihullah replied to questions sent by Asharq Al-Awsat to his electronic email. The number-two man in the Taliban movement denied reports that quoted Western sources in London as saying that the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government have restarted secret talks in Qatar last week.

“There were no such meetings. We reject any secret negotiations with representatives of the government of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani. There is no truth to such reports,” he said.

Zabihullah revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat the presence of relations and new networks with Iran. “The movement is trying to benefit from all legitimate means to reach a regional agreement as part of the war against the American invasion; therefore, the Imara holds ongoing networks with a large number of regional and neighboring states.”

He said 18 months ago, the movement had received Drone planes, which help film suicidal operations.

However, he refused to reveal the side providing such advanced equipment, but asserted that the “movement is expecting to soon receive more advanced weapons.”

Commenting on reports saying that Taliban had appointed a representative in Iran, Zabihullah said: “We heard these reports, but they are untrue.”

Asharaq Al-Awsat asked about the visit of Afghanistan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and earlier the visit of Ghani to Saudi Arabia to hold talks with the Saudi leadership for reaching peace, and whether the Taliban had similar networks with the Kingdom. The spokesperson said Saudi Arabia has a central position among Muslims.

“Our religious shrines are there, and therefore this state has a big responsibility towards the Muslim world and their issues. We seek to have a lasting and good relationship with the government and people of Saudi Arabia,” he added.

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