Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Ankara Slams Trump’s Statement on Armenian Genocide as “Disinformation”

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On Thursday, US President Trump commemorated the anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide in a statement released by the White House, saying that the “Meds Yeghern”, a term used by Armenians to describe the 1915 events, was one of the worst atrocities in the history of the 20th century. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement:

We consider that the disinformation and false definitions contained in US President Trump’s written statement of 24 April 2017 regarding the 1915 events came from information pollution created over the years by some Armenian circles in the USA by means of propaganda. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the ceremony to commemorate the event at the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul on Monday. We expect that the new US Administration wouldn’t take credence in the one-sided historical narrative of these circles, known for their tendency to violence and hate speech, but that it should adopt an approach that takes into consideration the sufferings of all sides.

The Ottoman authorities killed about 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923; they also expelled hundreds of thousands out of their territory. Turkey disputed the figure and denied the genocide, blaming the deaths on wartime irregularities (it occurred during World War I and the following Greco-Turkish War of 1918-23: editor).

25 April 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201704251052958584-ankara-trump-armenian-genocide-misinformation/

Monday, 24 April 2017

Empty Threats: Why Trump’s Vow to Strike the DPRK Was a Bluff

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When the White House threatened Pyongyang with a potential strike if there was a new nuclear weapons test by the DPRK, the US task force was actually moving away from the Korean Peninsula. It appears that Donald Trump’s “armada”, led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, had only been approaching the DPRK figuratively. Trump told Fox Business Network:

We’re sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you. This deployment was part of our response to Pyongyang’s provocations.

Earlier, on 8 April, US Pacific Command stated that the Carl Vinson and its escorting task force would head to the Western Pacific in a “show of force” towards the DPRK. Predictably, the gesture prompted a fierce response from Pyongyang, which dubbed the supposed deployment of a task force in the Sea of Japan as a “reckless act of aggression”. A chain reaction of tough statements led to Pyongyang threatening the USA with a pre-emptive strike in the event of any US “political, economic, or military provocation” and prompted US Vice President Mike Pence to announce that “the era of strategic patience [towards the DPRK] is over”. Meanwhile, contrary to all expectations, the much-talked-about “armada” was heading toward Australia, far away from the Korean Peninsula. On Wednesday, Phil Stewart of Reuters noted:

It was even farther away over the weekend, moving through the Sunda Strait, and then into the Indian Ocean, as the DPRK displayed what appeared to be new missiles at a parade and staged a failed missile test.

On Tuesday, the US Pacific Command clarified that the flotilla needed to complete joint naval drills with Australia. The statement added that now the strike group was “proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered”. The paradoxical episode prompted a heated debate in the media, with some observers claiming that Trump’s empty threats have dealt a blow to the new administration’s credibility and others blaming the embarrassing situation on a miscommunication between the Pentagon and the White House. However, at the same time, some experts called attention to the fact that Trump somehow toned down his harsh rhetoric toward Pyongyang during his recent interview with TMJ4-TV in Wisconsin. Trump expressed hope that DPRK Kim Jong-Un wants to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula:

Hopefully, [Kim Jong-Un] wants peace, and we want peace. That’s gonna be the end determination. We’re gonna have to see what happens.

However, just a few days ago, US media circulated reports that Trump might order a strike against the DPRK if Pyongyang decides to carry out a new nuclear weapons test. Commenting on the matter, political scientist Aleksei Gusev told us:

It’s highly unlikely that the USA would engage the DPRK in a direct confrontation. There’ll be no strike against the DPRK, for the DPRK possesses not only nuclear weapons but also delivery vehicles… missiles with a range of about 5,000 kilometres. That’s enough to reach American territory. Therefore, it’s most likely that [the USA] wouldn’t launch a strike against the DPRK, for such an adventure could end very badly for the USA. Pyongyang remains a major irritant for the Trump administration. I don’t exclude a new nuclear weapons test on the part of the DPRK, as it has already conducted several nuclear weapons tests. Now, probably, there’ll be yet another atomic test… one can understand that Trump should issue a “serious” response [to it].

On Monday, Georgi Toloray, head of Korean studies at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, took a similar stance:

US threats toward the DPRK are a mere bluff. Now, Trump and his administration say that it’s necessary to act decisively and take measures against the DPRK, including military options. However, in my opinion, this is still a bluff. Primarily, this bluff has the aim of making China act more decisively towards the DPRK.

It seems that the Russian experts nailed it, given the fact that the Carl Vinson and its task force were heading away from the Korean Peninsula as Trump and Pence issued threats to Kim Jong-Un.

19 April 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201704191052780421-trump-strike-north-korea/

Sunday, 23 April 2017

By Going After Assange, Trump Will Alienate The Alt-Right Forever

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The cool thing about having a predominantly lefty readership is that when I want to criticise the Democratic establishment or the liberal mass media, the people who read my stuff tend to understand the history and nuances behind what I’m talking about. I don’t get a lot of rightwing idiots coming in calling Democrats “leftists” or saying, “Rachel Maddow looks like a dude, harr, harr, harr”; I get mostly intelligent responses and understanding, along with some fair and informed criticism of my own progressivism. The shitty thing about having a predominantly lefty readership is that when I try to talk about the Anti-Establishment Left’s counterparts on the political right, people have no idea what I’m talking about because we’ve got our own echo chambers just like other groups have. When I say the Alt-Right is overwhelmingly opposed to military interventionism and régime change wars, or that it was understandable for them to hope that Trump was going to drain the swamp, bitch-slap the globalists, and stand up to the Deep State, I get a lot of pushback from people who insist that they’re nothing but a bunch of stupid racist warmongering fascists who value nothing but power and money. Moreover, when I say that they’re mostly decent people with a solid moral code who wouldn’t hesitate to turn against Trump if he steps out of line, I’ll likely get people arguing that the Trumpsters will stay loyal to their God-Emperor no matter what. Those people will be wrong, and they should spend less time in the lefty echo chamber.

Say what you will about the Alt-Right, but there’s at least as much critical thinking and a healthy distrust of authority happening there as there is in the true progressive movement. Trump is already on thin ice with them due to his antics in Syria, which drew condemnation from many key leaders of the movement. If his administration tries to arrest Julian Assange, as anonymous sources allegedly within the US government have told CNN it is planning to do, there’s no coming back from that. You can’t build someone up as a hero and then execute him months later when he’s no longer useful to you. You can’t turn on the god of all computer nerds when a major part of your online support base had its roots in 4chan. The ultimate underdog who’s dedicated his life to standing up to the monolithic might of the Deep State is one of the few people Trump’s support base loves even more than Donald Trump, and they’re already letting him know they won’t stand for it.

I had a very interesting interview with Robert David Steele yesterday, who’s politically very different from myself and whose fan base is largely on the opposite end of the political spectrum, and while we didn’t agree on everything, we strongly agreed that the time has come for the Anti-Establishment Right and the Anti-Establishment Left and all the truth-tellers in between to unify against the Deep State, which I happened to have just written about in my last article. I may cringe at Steele’s language sometimes, and he and I may never agree about Bernie Sanders being a sheepdog who sold out for a beach house, but I’ll proudly set aside our differences and fight the manipulations of the Deep State by his side, because until we overthrow the unelected Power Establishment, our ideological differences are functionally irrelevant. Until election integrity is restored and the American people have a voice in what happens to their country that isn’t nullified and neutered by unelected oligarchs, the only fight that makes any sense is against those oligarchs, and if all Anti-Establishment factions come together and put everything they’ve got into that fight, we can win. In our conversation, Steele, an early outspoken Trump supporter, told me that he and others in his movement were giving Trump until 1 May to turn away from the Deep State agenda trajectory he appears to be on, and then will commence fighting him as one of them. This was before news broke about the administration’s alleged intention to prosecute one of the greatest heroes the world has ever seen in Julian Assange.

There are many arguments to be made for why arresting Assange would be catastrophic and criminal, from the fact that Ecuador is specifically sheltering him from US prosecution for his organisation’s leaks to very legitimate fears that it will lead to the prosecutions of other journalists who leak classified information, but from a simple strategic point of view it’d also be the stupidest thing that Trump could possibly do. His popularity is already hurting, and alienating the one group that truly adored him and stuck with him through thick and thin will leave him with no allies but the fickle Neocons he’s currently catering to, and they’d turn on him on a dime the second they can spill a little more blood on a little more sand by doing so.

However, the campaign promises keep falling away and long-held positions keep reversing to fall in line with America’s unelected Power Establishment, so it looks like that may be where we’re headed. This would be very bad for Trump and horrific for Assange. Nevertheless, it’d also spell death for the Deep State and victory for the 99 Percent as we the people rise up, and shrug them off like a heavy coat on a warm day. I promise anyone who’s involved in these plots against Assange… if you harm one silver hair on that man’s head, that’ll be the end of you. You’ll have overextended yourself, and we’ll all unite against you. This’ll happen. Don’t be stupid.

21 April 2017

Caitlin Johnstone

Medium.com

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/by-going-after-assange-trump-will-alienate-the-alt-right-forever-e2efd75a50ab

Syrian Forces Kill Terrorist Commander in Dara’a Governorate

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On Sunday morning, opposition activists reported that government forces killed another high-ranking commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the countryside of Dara’a Governorate. Reportedly, on Saturday, Syrian forces killed the deputy commander of the FSA’s al-Furqan Brigade whilst he was travelling with his brother near Kafr Shams in the northern part of the Governorate. According to local activists, an anti-tank missile fired by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) killed Jamal Abbas, his brother, and four other FSA terrorists. Recently, government forces increased their activity along several seasonal roads in Dara’a Governorate to halt jihadist movements across the Jordanian border.

23 April 2017

Leith Fadel

al-Masdar News

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/high-ranking-fsa-officer-killed-syrian-army-troops-daraa/

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