Jason Ditz at Antiwar
US Has Nearly 30,000 Defense Contractors in Afghanistan
Over Three Times as Many Contractors as Soldiers Remain
While the Obama Administration has presented its (already-stalled) drawdown in Afghanistan as “ending” the war and bringing the number of US forces down in the country to very small levels, they rarely discuss the substantial number of American defense contractors still in the country.
While the US officially has just 9,000 troops in Afghanistan, they also have some 29,000 contractors stationed around the country. Two-thirds of the contractors are said to be foreign nationals, with the Pentagon saying they are mostly involved in logistics and maintenance for the ongoing war.
The US has long used large numbers of contractors as a way to have more boots on the ground than the officially publicized figures. This has tended to be rough parity between the two forces, however. At the peak of the Afghan War, the US had 88,000 troops and 117,000 contractors....
Soros Hack Reveals Plot Behind Europe's Refugee Crisis;
Media Manipulation; Cash For "Social Justice"
In the two days since the Soros Open Society Foundation hack by the DCLeaks collective, several notable revelations have emerged among the data dump of over 2,500 documents exposing the internal strategy of the organization, which expose some of Soros' tactics to influence and benefit from Europe's refugee crisis, the opportunistic funding and influence of media organizations, providing cash for assorted "pro-democracy" groups including the infamous La Raza, Soros' funding of various "social justice" organizations while paying to track unfavorable media coverage including that of Pamela Geller.
One particular leaked memo, profiled earlier by the Daily Caller, argues that Europe’s refugee crisis should be accepted as a “new normal,” and that the refugee crisis means “new opportunities” for Soros’ organization to influence immigration policies on a global scale. OSF program officer Anna Crowley and program specialist Katin Rosin co-authored the May 12 memo, titled “Migration Governance and Enforcement Portfolio Review.”
The nine-page review makes three key points: OSF has been successful at influencing global immigration policy; Europe’s refugee crisis presents “new opportunities” for the organization to influence global immigration policy; and the refugee crisis is the “new normal.”
As the authors write in the introduction, one of the purposes of the review “consider the effectiveness of the approaches we have used to achieve change at the international level.” A section of the review titled “Our Work” describes how America’s least transparent think tank has worked with “leaders in the field” to “shape migration policymaking and influence regional and global processes affecting the way migration is governed and enforced.”
This may be of particular interest to Germans, the majority of whom are displeased with Merkel's "open door" policies in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks on German soil....
...More importantly, the memo explains how Europe’s refugee crisis is opening doors for Soros’ organization to further influence global immigration policy....
...They also explain that the current crisis provides “new opportunities” for influencing immigration policy on a global scale....
...The review states, “The refugee crisis is opening new opportunities” for “coordination and collaboration” with other wealthy donors....
...One memo, which is an overview of the "Ukraine Media Project" exposes how Soros influences media coverage of events in Ukraine...
From AntiMedia ... Source:MintPress
Native Americans Successfully Block Oil Pipeline Construction — Media Silent
Lakota Sioux protesters blockading the planned route of a $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline won a short-term victory on Wednesday, when the project’s developer, Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas, agreed to halt construction near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota for at least a week.
“The decision was made at this time to have the pipeline company workers pull out, for the safety of everybody,” Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier told journalists. “They’ll stop until we can get this resolved.”.....
Ramzy Baroud at Antiwar
War To ‘Stop’ War: Libya’s ‘Operation Odyssey Lightning’
The Obama Doctrine Is Ravaging the Middle East
Everyone seems to have a theory on how to obliterate ISIS, or “Daesh”. However, two points are rarely raised: one, concerning the origins of the group and the second, on whether there are genuine intentions to defeat it, in the first place.
We must boldly address the first to unravel the enigma behind the rise and growth of “Daesh” – otherwise, how else can the group be dismantled. ....
....Now that the Americans have launched yet another aerial war against Libya, purportedly to target “Daesh” positions there, the discussion is being carefully geared towards how far the US must go to defeat the militant group?
In fact, “can airstrikes alone win a war without ‘boots on the ground’?” has morphed, somehow, to become the crux of the matter, which has engaged a large number of intellectuals on both sides of the debate. ....
Yemen's ex-president: We are ready to work with Russia
A newly-formed governing council in Yemen could work with Russia to "fight terrorism" by allowing Moscow use of the war-torn country's military bases, Yemen's former president said on Sunday.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former counter-terrorism ally of the U.S. who was toppled by mass protests in 2011, told state-owned channel Russia 24 that Yemen was ready to grant Moscow access to air and naval bases.
"In the fight against terrorism we reach out and offer all facilities. Our airports, our ports... We are ready to provide this to the Russian Federation," Saleh said in an interview in Sanaa.
The ex-strongman may lack the clout to implement such an offer. But officials from the party he heads now run a political council that controls much of the country along with the Houthi movement allied to Iran. ....
Mourners in Gaziantep Shout "Murderer Erdogan!"
Members of the Justice and Development (AKP) Party government were protested and expelled today from the funeral of 42 people that were massacred in Gaziantep by a suspected Islamic State suicide bombing yesterday.
Participants chanted the slogan ‘Murderer Erdoğan’ and expelled the AKP Mayor and parliamentarians from the funeral.
The corpses of 50 of the 51 people (29 children) who lost their lives in the bomb attack on a Kurdish wedding in the Beybahçe neighbourhood of Gaziantep’s Şahinbey district were brought to Yeşilkent cemetery morgue. ....
Update: Death Toll in Twin Blasts in Somalia Town Rises to 25 #Galkayo #Somalia #alShabaab https://t.co/sSiq1uQuYf— armedpolitics.com (@armedpolitics) August 21, 2016
Honduras Is a Giant Graveyard for Human Rights Defenders
Honduras has become one of the most hostile and dangerous countries for human rights defenders.
Honduras has seen at least eight human rights activists killed in 2016, making it one the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights defenders, the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) warned Friday....
....In March Goldman Environmental Prize winner Berta Caceres, an Indigenous rights and land defender who tirelessly campaigned against a widely unpopular dam, was assassinated in her home, prompting international outrage. According to Global Witness, at least 109 environmental defenders were killed in Honduras between 2010 and 2015.....
Alex Christoforou at TheDuran
Leaked memo proves George Soros ruled Ukraine in 2014,
minutes from “Breakfast with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt”
The power and control that George Soros held over Ukraine after the Maidan is beyond belief.
This is too funny!
The Fed Launches A Facebook Page... And
The Result Is Not What It Had Expected
While it is not exactly clear what public relations goals the privately-owned Fed (recall Bernanke's Former Advisor: "People Would Be Stunned To Know The Extent To Which The Fed Is Privately Owned") hoped to achieve by launching its first Facebook page last Thursday, the resultant outpouring of less than euphoric public reactions suggest this latest PR effort may have been waster at best, and at worst backfired at a magnitude that matches JPM's infamous #AskJPM twitter gaffe.
Here are some examples of the public responses to the Fed's original posting: they all share a certain uniformity...
Lee Fang at RonPaulInstitute
US Defense Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business
The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the US presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries.
Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.
In particular, the arms industry — both directly and through its arsenal of hired-gun, think-tank experts and lobbyists – is actively pressuring NATO member nations to hike defense spending in line with the NATO goal for member states to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.
Retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest US defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity. Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”....
Update for Sunday, August 14, 2016
Maybe it's hot where you are, but Iraq and much of the Middle East are broiling in unprecedented heat. Baghdad has topped 109 Fahrenheit every day since June 19. Consider how many displaced people lack shelter. Climate change is devastating agriculture in the region -- which by the way was a contributing cause to the dissolution of Syrian society. One has to wonder whether the region, including Iraq, can sustain its current population in coming years.
Peshmerga continue to capture villages near Mosul.
In disturbing news, the fire that killed 13 babies in Yarmuk hospital is now said to have been arson, contrary to earlier reports that it was caused by an electrical fault.......
From Sott.net Source: Alexander Mercouris of TheDuran
Here's what you need to know about 'The Great Battle of Aleppo'
The fighting in Aleppo, which the rebels call 'The Great Battle of Aleppo', is not in stalemate. The rebel counter-offensive has stalled leading to a battle of attrition the rebels cannot afford.
The recent fighting in and around southern Aleppo has attracted an enormous amount of attention, with those fascinated by military affairs now familiar with places like the apartment building complex 1070, the cement factory, Al-Ramousseh roundabout, the "artillery base" (actually a complex of military schools and technical colleges) etc. Scholars of the fighting in Stalingrad in 1942 will be very familiar with this sort of thing.
Whenever battles like the one currently being fought in and around Aleppo are discussed it is essential however to keep in mind the big picture and to focus too much on the fighting for particular strongpoints.
Briefly, by the middle of last year the rebels controlled roughly a quarter of Aleppo, had captured the thermal plant cutting off electricity to most of the city, and had cut the city off from the rest of the government controlled areas of the country by cutting the roads leading to it.
A series of government offensives, which began in the autumn of last year, and which relied heavily on Russian air support, gradually reopened the roads. Progress was slow because the Syrian army lacks manpower. Also the offensives had to repel repeated rebel counter-attacks and were interrupted by ceasefires negotiated by the US and the Russians. ...
...As for the claim that the seizure by the rebels of their narrow corridor means that the government controlled areas of Aleppo are cut off from resupply, that is simply untrue.
With the government in control of all of the main roads leading to Aleppo - including the Castello road where the Syrian army's best units continue to be concentrated - the Syrian government can still send supplies by road to the city, and is in fact doing so. ...