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Over 60 Civilians Killed or Injured by Coalition Airstrike in Syria - Reports

23:34 12.11.2018(updated 00:07 13.11.2018)

© Sputnik / Mikhail Alayeddin

Over 60 civilians have been killed or injured by a US-led coalition airstrike on Syria's eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, Syrian SANA news agency reported.

Syrian SANA news agency reported on Monday that over 60 civilians were killed or injured by an airstrike, made by the US-led coalition on al-Sha'afa town in eastern Deir ez-Zor.

"More than 60 dead and wounded civilians as a result of an attack by the international coalition on the village of al-Sha'afa in the east of Deir ez-Zor province," SANA said, citing local sources.

Previously, another coalition airstrike on the city of Hajin in Syria's Deir ez-Zor province reportedly killed at least 15 civilians. Ikhbariya TV channel reported then that the majority among those killed were women and children.

Previously, Damascus accused the US-led coalition of violating international law and killing civilians in a letter to the United Nations, saying that Washington wasn't fighting terrorism in the country.

R ~ The term 'coalition' has become rather vague, especially as ISIS/Al Qaeda has no air assets. So, who did this?
Student beats up, attempts to strangle teacher as French school violence hits headlines again

Published time: 12 Nov, 2018 18:20
Edited time: 12 Nov, 2018 18:44

FILE PHOTO. © Reuters / Stephane Mahe

Just as France calmed down after the case of a student threatening a teacher with a ‘gun’ in class went viral, another scandal has hit the suburbs of Paris after a student beat and attempted to strangle his teacher at a school.

The violent incident took place at a vocational high school in the Bezons commune earlier in November, when a 16-year-old attacked his math professor after he told him to leave the class.

Instead of leaving, the teen hit the teacher’s nose with his palm and “grabbed his neck to strangle him,” a source familiar with the case told AFP. Other students intervened to separate them and control their classmate.

The teacher was rushed to a local emergency room with minor injuries to the neck.

The teen was indicted for “aggravated violence” on Sunday, according to the local prosecutor's office. He has been placed “under judicial control” and is banned from attending the school or approaching the victim.

People on social media have reacted to the case, saying that some schoolchildren “refuse to recognize the rules.”

They also criticized the teen’s parents and the quality of education the student received.

The newest incident comes less than a month after an appalling video online showed a student at another French school in the Creteil commune in the southeastern suburbs of Paris threatening a teacher with a dummy ‘gun’ in class. Both the Twittersphere and politicians questioned the regularity of such incidents and the authorities’ response.

R ~ Labeled a student. How cute. What is his ethnic background? Is he French at all? Ah, we'll be waiting for the full story... for a long time. It's hilarious to hear that this is due to the 'quality of education'. That's a good way to avoid the obvious question - who is doing the educating? We're expected to treat teachers as some special people dedicated to education but from where I sit I see teachers who could care less about education (an easy gig) in favor of teaching their demented politics which consists solely of emotional triggers and facts twisted into pretzels, or better yet, omitted entirely.
Israel bombs TV station in Gaza amid massive border flare-up

Published time: 12 Nov, 2018 19:53
Edited time: 12 Nov, 2018 21:20

A ball of fire is seen above the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV station in Gaza City. © AFP / Bashar Taleb

The Israeli military has bombed the studios of the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television station, Palestinian officials and witnesses have confirmed. Footage of a huge blast has appeared online.

A video posted on Twitter shows huge flames erupting over the Al-Aqsa TV station. Screams can also be heard in the background.

The station was targeted as part of a series of airstrikes on Gaza by Israel on Monday. Those strikes were in response to a barrage of rockets launched from Gaza, and follow several days of tense cross-border flare-ups.

Al-Aqsa is the official Hamas-run television channel. Its programming includes news promoting Hamas, as well as children's programming and religiously inspired entertainment.

The bombing happened after the Israeli military launched at least five non-exploding missiles nearby, warning Palestinians to evacuate, according to sources cited by Reuters.

More than 300 rockets were fired towards Israel by Gaza on Monday, 60 of which were intercepted, according to the IDF. A bus which had been used to carry Israeli soldiers was struck by an anti-tank missile from Gaza, critically injuring one.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) says it responded by striking over 70 targets in the Gaza Strip. At least two Palestinian civilians were killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. One person was injured.

The Monday tensions come after days of flare-ups between the two sides. On Sunday, an Israeli special forces raid in the Gaza Strip saw at least two Hamas commanders and four other Palestinians killed. One Israeli soldier was also killed and another wounded.

R ~ Israel, our bestest friend committing yet another war crime. This is what Israel has in mind for any media station or press outlet, anywhere in the world that speaks to the truth. Truth is anathema to these habitual liars. Must bomb and murder to silence us all.
Israeli fighter jets striking Gaza after massive mortar fire from the strip - IDF

Published time: 12 Nov, 2018 15:12
Edited time: 12 Nov, 2018 16:55

Smoke rises fromt he site of an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza strip on Monday morning © AFP / Said Khatib

Israeli fighter jets have pounded the Gaza strip, after mortar fire from inside the Palestinian-controlled strip hit a bus in the Israeli side of the border, the Israel Defense Forces have said.

Two Palestinians have been killed, Gaza's health ministry confirmed.

The airstrikes are the latest escalation in several days of reciprocal attacks between Israel and the Palestinian territories. Earlier on Monday, a barrage of mortar fire from Gaza hit an Israeli bus, wounding at least one person, Reuters reported.

That attack was itself a response to an Israeli special forces raid in the Gaza strip on Sunday night that saw at least two Hamas commanders and four other Palestinians killed. One Israeli soldier was also killed, and another wounded. Israeli warplanes reportedly lobbed missiles at the area after the raid, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut his visit to Paris short to return, in light of the “security incidents.”

The IDF claims 80 mortars were fired into Israel in less than 40 minutes on Monday, while Hamas claims to have launched 100. Sirens wailed across southern Israel as the Iron Dome struggled to intercept the incoming firestorm.

Residents of Israel’s border towns described the attacks to Haaretz as sounding “almost like a war,” while former IDF spokesman Avi Meyer said that he “can’t remember the last time southern Israel came under such a heavy attack from Gaza.”

The latest escalation in an ongoing tit-for-tat struggle, Sunday’s raid and Monday’s airstrikes came at a time of relative calm. Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu told reporters that he was looking into the possibility of a long-term ceasefire with Hamas, and explained that he had allowed suitcases stuffed with $15 million in cash to enter Gaza from Qatar last week, to “prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded to the flareup with a call for ceasefire.

“We call upon the Palestinians and Israelis to immediately return to a sustainable ceasefire, to show restraint, to take measures in order to avoid confrontation with unpredictable consequences,” the Ministry said on Monday.

R ~ 'tit-for-tat'. Really? And who claims that Hamas fired mortars? The IDF and the Mossad, who are infamous for firing so-called rockets from Palestinian land into Israel to frame the Palestinians. Oddly, Hamas, or whoever the IDF claims are behind these attacks, never hit any Israelis. I suppose we're supposed to believe that Hamas is consistently inept when using weaponry. If we are to believe the IDF (and who would?) Hamas really sucks at terrorism. Israel is much, much better at it, using illegal ammo, phosphorus and American supplied jets to kill unarmed civilians. They excel at it if anyone bothers to read through the hundreds of atrocities, provable atrocities, that Israel can lay claim to.

If 'tit-for-tat' then Israel's bill is far greater than they might attribute to Hamas.
The World Below / Trump bashes Macron's idea of European army for protection
« Last post by Rudi Jan on November 09, 2018, 03:09:48 PM »
'Very insulting': Trump bashes Macron's idea of European army for protection from Russia, China & US

Published time: 9 Nov, 2018 22:43

© Global Look Press / Chris Kleponis

US President Donald Trump has unloaded on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, calling the French president's idea of a 'real European army,’ independent from Washington, an insult.

“President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!” the US president tweeted on Wednesday evening.

Trump was referring to the recent interview Macron gave to Europe 1 radio, in which he outlined the idea of a combined European army that would be able to protect Europe from Russia, China… and the US.

"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the US," Macron said at the time.

The relationship between Trump and Macron, once described as a 'bromance', has long since soured amid the US imposing steep tariffs on EU imports and threatening European businesses with secondary sanctions for dealing with Iran.

Trump's recent decision to get the US out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) became another wedge driving European powerhouses and the US even further apart. In his interview, Macron argued that Washington's withdrawal from the 30-year-old arms treaty with Russia, which banned the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles, has undermined European security.

"Who is the main victim? Europe and its security," the French president said.

The rationale behind the idea of creating a European army, which has been floated repeatedly through the years but has yet to materialize, is to lessen Europe's dependence on the whims of the US politicians, Macron indicated.

Trump's calls for Europe to pay up are one of his favorite topics. Since the beginning of his term, Trump has been urging US NATO allies in Europe to up their defense spending. Trump argued that the current target of 2 percent of GDP, which only five NATO members have met this year, is too low and must be doubled.

The US president believes that his country has been treated unfairly and "taken advantage" of by the EU on trade as well. He went as far as to brand the EU a "foe" alongside Russia and China, in wake of the NATO summit in July.
The World Below / S-300 fear factor: Will Israel risk bombing Syria now?
« Last post by Rudi Jan on November 09, 2018, 11:03:27 AM »
S-300 fear factor: Will Israel risk bombing Syria now?

Published time: 9 Nov, 2018 15:32

People watch S-300 air defense missile systems launching missiles at the Ashuluk shooting range outside Astrakhan, Russia, August 5, 2017 © Reuters / Maxim Shemetov

The Israeli Air Force reportedly hasn't conducted a single air mission in Syria after Russian S-300 systems were delivered to the Arab Republic. How may the situation develop further?

Israel has not carried out a single military operation in Syria on its own after September 17, when a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane was brought down by a Syrian missile by mistake, writes German Contra Magazine. The outlet linked this fact with the recent delivery of the formidable Russian S-300 systems to Syria.

Let's clarify Tel-Aviv's position first, though. There have been reports that the Israeli Air Force command pledged to conduct future air missions on the condition of obtaining a prior clearance with the Russian military.

But these reports are at odds with the statements made by Israeli politicians, who denied Russia's request for timely notifications of Israeli Air Force operations in Syria. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "We will not accept any restrictions on our freedom of operation."   

At present, all Russia gets is a few minutes' notice before Israel delivers an air strike on targets in Syria.

High-ranking Israeli military officials justify this by saying that if they were to inform Russia in advance, it could result in information leaks, which, in turn, would give the Syrian air defense and pro-Iran armed groups the time to prepare for an incoming attack. In October, Lieberman said that "in all the matters that concern our security interests, Israel cannot afford to make any compromises."

Now, let us look at the reasoning behind Israel's attacks in Syria. According to Tel Aviv, Israel only launches airstrikes against Iranian militant groups that allegedly supply missiles to terrorist organizations who use the weapons to kill Israeli civilians. In addition, Israeli air forces carry out missions to prevent Iran from delivering weapons to Hezbollah. Tel Aviv considers the actions undertaken by Tehran in Syria as one of the biggest threats to Israel's national security.

This leads to the only possible conclusion: the airstrikes will likely continue, regardless of whether there are any S-300 air defense weapons systems on the ground in Syria or not.

Now, let us look at the combat capabilities of the S-300 missile system (also known as 'Favorite') deployed in the Syrian Arab Republic. There are reasons to believe that there is a set of S-300PM-2 air defense missile battalions currently operational in Syria, consisting of a command-and-control vehicle, a radar detection vehicle and two air defense missile battalions.

The exact number of launcher vehicles in each of the battalions is unknown, but we can safely assume that their number is limited. In any case, the battalions deployed in Syria are not equipped to full strength, which would be 12 launcher vehicles per battalion.

The essential point is that all units of the S-300PM-2 air defense missile battalion are manned by Russian personnel. It will take at least three months to train Syrian crews to operate the system, and so far these pieces of military hardware have not been handed over to be under the command of the Syrian Air Defense Forces.

It seems imperative to give a brief description of the combat capabilities of the system. In mass media, they often say that the S-300 currently has a max range of 250km (155 miles). That means that two battalions of this system can effectively cover nearly half of Syria. 

In principle, it is possible. However a bit of clarification is certainly necessary. Effective engagement range of any air defense missile system depends on the altitude of a target, which is explained by the basic laws of the radio-wave propagation and the fact that the Earth is not flat.

For example, the max range for the S-300PM-2 is indeed 250km, but it will only be able to intercept a target that far if it flies at an altitude of around 12 to 15km (7 to 10 miles). In modern military context, combat aviation rarely operates at such a high altitude. So, if the target travels at about 100m (328 feet) then the engagement range of the S-300 system drops to 25km, and it may get even worse – complex landscape configuration can cut it down to 14-16km.

The key idea here is that one single set of S-300 air defense missile battalions at no point should be seen as a silver-bullet that will enable Syria to shoot down practically any incoming threat.

It should be noted though that even most advanced weapons turn into a pile of metal scrap when handled by ill-trained and unqualified crews.

The S-300 missile systems can only be effective if they are used as elements of a modern missile defense system, which includes a layered anti-aircraft system, fighter jets to provide air cover, a surveillance radar system and electronic warfare components. What is even more important, all those systems need to be operated by highly qualified and motivated personnel.

So, for the Syrian army to be able to fight the Israeli Defense Forces on equal terms, it has to be trained to reach the combat readiness and fighting efficiency of the Israeli military.

It is debatable whether that is at all possible. Even if it is theoretically possible as far as weaponry and military equipment are concerned, trained and motivated crews are a must, and Bashar al-Assad has no military personnel that can meet this criteria right away.

At the moment, one possible scenario is that the Israeli Air Force will continue its airstrikes on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria and the presence of the S-300 systems is unlikely to stop that.

Let's also not forget that Israel will see operational S-300 air defense systems as a national security threat. However it's unlikely that Israel will try and destroy these missile systems – at least as long as the S-300 'Favorite' is operated by the Russian military.

By Mikhail Khodarenok, military commentator for
From Яussia With Love: Putin Billboards Put Up in London to Celebrate

17:47 09.11.2018

BЯEXIT © REUTERS / Peter Nicholls

A bunch of tongue-in-cheek billboards are intended to "celebrate" Russia's role in Brexit as some Kremlin critics have questioned whether Russia has meddled in the 2016 vote on leaving the European Union.

Proud Bear, a group of activists who mockingly call themselves a unit of "Russian GRU officers," have adorned London with Vladimir Putin billboards and BЯEXIT slogans.

The group announced their latest stunt on its Twitter page, saying that they were celebrating Britain's looming departure from the European Union.

Proud Bear shared images of three billboards erected in London. The first two slogans feature a winking Vladimir Putin; the first one reads, "Let's celebrate a red, white and blue Brexit" (a reference to the Russian tricolour), while the second one says, "Brexit means BЯEXIT" (the "R" in "Brexit" is intentionally replaced by the Russian letter «Я», /ya/).

The third billboard, also deliberately misspelled with Russian letters, reads "THAИK YOU! BOЯIS," and sports a photo of former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a vocal Russia critic and a high-profile Brexiteer, waving Russian flags while stranded on a zip wire (a reference to his real-life failed zip wire jump during the London 2012 Olympic celebrations).

According to Proud Bear's webpage, the group's mission (affecting a parodic Russian inflection) is to "help people of England make freedom from the European Union and democracy voting." They are now raising money to pay for "the biggest screen billboard in soon-to-be-not-Europe" at London Waterloo station to celebrate Brexit.

In June 2016, Britain had a divisive referendum on whether to pull out of the European Union, with 51.9 percent supporting the move. Now, the UK is slated to leave the bloc in late March 2019 and is negotiating exit terms with Brussels.

After the referendum, several Remainers, including MPS, accused Russia of secretly backing the pro-Brexit vote. Their concerns were echoed by members of the US Congress, who asked the Director of National Intelligence for information about possible Russian meddling.

However, the UK government has failed to give any evidence of foreign interference in the Brexit vote.
Trump signs order denying asylum to illegal migrants, as caravan approaches US

Published time: 9 Nov, 2018 14:21
Edited time: 9 Nov, 2018 15:21

A US Customs and Border Patrol agent speaks with a Cuban asylum seeker in Texas © AFP / John Moore

President Trump has signed an immigration order requiring asylum seekers to make their claim at their point of entry to the US, and barring illegal immigrants from requesting asylum.

“We need people in our country but they have to come in legally and they have to have merit,” Trump told reporters on Friday, before departing for Paris.

The order comes after weeks of Trump promising to crack down on illegal immigration, as a caravan of several thousand migrants makes its way toward the US’ southern border from Central America. The caravan is currently around 600 miles from the United States.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

 Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border. Many more troops coming. We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!

The directive is a temporary measure, and circumvents current laws that state anyone who applies for asylum in the US is eligible to have their case heard, no matter whether they arrived legally or illegally. As such, it is likely to be challenged in federal courts.

Those denied asylum under the new order will still be able to apply for 'withholding of removal' - a limited form of asylum that doesn't allow for green cards or family members to join the applicant; or asylum under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. In both cases, the applicant has to demonstrate a credible threat if they were to return home.

It forms one part of the president’s latest efforts to tighten border security and clamp down on immigration. Before the midterm elections, Trump mulled ending birthright citizenship - the policy that ensures all children born on US soil are automatically citizens - by executive order.

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Trump told Axios. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

Any executive order ending birthright citizenship would likely provoke a Constitutional debate and be challenged in the Supreme Court, as birthright citizenship is currently guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

In addition to policy changes, Trump has also beefed up the physical security of the US’ 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

Over 5,200 US troops have been sent to the border to erect razor-wire fences and provide surveillance and logistical support to the National Guardsmen and Customs and Border Patrol agents already there.

The president said last week that “anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel” may be deployed to the border, if the current contingent is not enough.

Trump also underscored that anyone who does cross the US border illegally will be detained in “tent cities” and other immigration detention facilities, as “we’re not doing releases” anymore. Trump has been a long time critic of the Obama administration’s ‘catch and release’ policy, under which apprehended immigrants would be released and asked to return for a court hearing at a later date. Unsurprisingly, many do not.
Democrats Demand "Preservation Of All Materials" Related To Mueller & Sessions

by Tyler Durden
Thu, 11/08/2018 - 12:24


That didn't take long...

Just 24 hours after retaking control of Congress in the Midterms,  ABC News  is reporting that four senior members - House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein - sent letters to top Administration officials demanding the preservation of all documents and materials relevant to the work of the Office of the Special Counsel or the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In their letters, the Members wrote:

"Committees of the United States Congress are conducting investigations parallel to those of the Special Counsel's office, and preservation of records is critical to ensure that we are able to do our work without interference or delay.

Committees will also be investigating Attorney General Sessions' departure. We therefore ask that you immediately provide us with all orders, notices, and guidance regarding preservation of information related to these matters and investigations."

The letters were sent to numerous Trump administration officials including the White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, FBI Director Chris Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Robert Khuzami, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, and Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

While it is clear, judging from this request and extensive list, that Democrats intend to lift every stone in search of an obstruction of justice impeachment smoking gun, Progressive strategist Delvone Michael on Thursday said that House Democrats first move upon taking back the House shouldn’t be impeachment, saying likely Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should strive to implement a more “measured” agenda.

“As far as investigations go, she should be extremely measured - I don’t think impeachment should be the first thing that comes - I know the mob wants that but some adults have to be adults in the room,” Michael, a senior political strategist at Working Families, told Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”

We suspect they will not listen, as Bret Stephens noted earlier.

R ~ 'critical to ensure that we are able to do our work without interference or delay'. What can one say when hypocrites speak, incessantly... those who have delayed every move made by Trumpto to move ahead rather than dwelling on the past.

Hillary-ious. Will they be telling the witch from hell to keep 30,000 e-mail for further investigation?
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns from DOJ on Trump’s request

\Published time: 7 Nov, 2018 19:47
Edited time: 7 Nov, 2018 20:34

Former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (FILE PHOTO) ©  Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

US President Donald Trump has requested - and received - the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Department of Justice will be led by his chief of staff Matthew Whitaker until a permanent replacement is nominated.

“We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well!” Trump said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, after announcing the appointment of Whitaker.

There is a potential problem with Whitaker’s appointment over the head of the current deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who has been in charge of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of Trump-Russia “collusion” during the 2016 presidential election. Rosenstein was confirmed to his post by the Senate.

 In his resignation letter, SESSIONS writes, "we have restored and upheld the rule of law -- a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard."

The sacking of Sessions and the appointment of Whitaker have alarmed Democrats, who are concerned that Trump is making moves to shut down the Mueller probe. Prior to becoming Sessions’ chief of staff in September 2017, Whitaker worked as a legal commentator for CNN, and at one point argued that Mueller’s investigation was becoming a “witch hunt.”

There have already been calls by Democrats in Congress for Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia probe.

Sessions, a senator from Alabama at the time, joined the Trump campaign early on and was considered a favorite to take over the Department of Justice in the new administration. He was immediately forced to recuse himself from any probes into “Russiagate,” due to his role in the campaign, however.

Since then, Trump has frequently clashed with Sessions over the DOJ’s handling of the Russia probe. The DOJ’s refusal to comply with congressional oversight requests to turn over documents related to the FBI’s spying on the Trump campaign also caused increasing frustration at the White House, prompting the president to declare at one point, “I have no attorney general!”

“I’m not happy at the border, I’m not happy with numerous things,” including the Russia probe, Trump told The Hill in September. “I’m very disappointed in Jeff. Very disappointed.”

Sessions has maintained his loyalty to Trump and the president’s law and order agenda, even in the resignation letter.

With Republicans picking up seats in the Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections, despite losing a majority in the House of Representatives, Trump was widely expected to reshuffle his Cabinet in the near future, though the speed with which Sessions was ushered out was unexpected in Washington.
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