New Cold War.org Information Bulletin, Vol 2 #80, June 8, 2017
Situation report in Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, by Irina Burya, Novorossia Vision, June 8, 2017
Contact Group commences new talks in Minsk, Belarus, Donetsk News Agency, June 7, 2017
Donetsk republic officials expect prisoner verification to resume within next two days, Donetsk News Agency, June 8, 2017
Turkey-Syria-Middle East and Caucasus:
U.S.-led coalition interferes in Syrian government’s fight against terrorism, says Russian Ministry of Defense, RT.com, Friday, June 9, 2017
The air forces of the U.S.-led coalition are working to undermine the anti-terrorist efforts of the Syrian government, Colonel General Sergey Surovikin of the Russian ground forces has said. “Despite promoting the aim of fighting international terrorism, the coalition is striking the Syrian military, allowing IS militants to leave encircled areas unhindered, thus strengthening the terrorist groupings near Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor,” Surovikin said.
“The coalition air forces and the strongholds of the forces of New Syrian Army [now known as the Revolutionary Commando Army] have blocked the way of government forces tasked with defeating IS [Islamic State] groups,” he said at a briefing on Friday.“This is a violation of the sovereign right of Syria to protect it borders,” he said.
The statement comes after U.S. warplanes stuck pro-government forces near At Tanf on Thursday, the third such incident in the space of several weeks…
U.S.-led coalition colluding with IS instead of fighting terrorism – Russian defense ministry, TASS, June 9, 2017
Lavrov says ‘deconflict zones declared by U.S. in Syria are illegal, RT.com, June 7, 2017
Russia considers the U.S.-led coalition airstrike on June 6 against pro-Damascus fighters near the Syria/Iraq border an act of aggression and rejects the justification for the attack issued by the Pentagon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
The airstrike near the town of At Tanf in eastern Syria “was an aggressive act, that violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and – deliberately or not – targeted the forces which are most effective in fighting terrorists on the ground,” the minister said on Wednesday…
The Pentagon justified the attack by saying that the pro-government forces “advanced inside the well-established deconfliction [sic] zone in southern Syria.”…
Russia’s reading on what’s at stake in Qatar crisis, by Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor, June 8, 2017
After rushing to Qatar’s aid, Turkey may have to rethink its Mideast ties, by Timur Göksel, Al-Monitor, June 8, 2017
The only firm opposition to the “Let’s Teach Qatar a Lesson” operation currently underway in the Middle East is coming from Turkey. Even US President Donald Trump initially loudly applauded the campaign led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — though he has since taken a more conciliatory tone.
Ankara, fearing it could be next on the Arab hit list, hastily approves sending troops to Qatar despite Turkey’s poor history when intervening in Arab affairs…
Trump ‘may not have known’ U.S. has 11,000 troops in Qatar when he bashed country on Twitter, by Elizabeth Preza, Raw Story, June 8, 2017
Donald Trump “may not have known” that Qatar is home to the biggest U.S. military base in the Middle East when he praised Gulf nations for severing diplomatic relations with the nation, MSNBC reports…
UAE threatens Qatari sympathizers with jail terms up to 15 years after diplomatic rift, RT.com, June 7, 2017
New York Times’ April 2017 Syria-Sarin video report challenged by Theodore Postol, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, June 7, 2017
Theodore Postol, a national security scientist at MIT, says in a report on May 29 that the New York Times pushed a “fraudulent” analysis of the “sarin” incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria on April 4 as part of a troubling pattern of “groupthink” and “confirmation bias”
A long battle for Raqqa, Syria may lie ahead – but even defeat will not mean the end for ISIS, by Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, June 8, 2017
The bloody battle for Mosul has tempered any thoughts of an imminent victory in Raqqa if Isis decides to defend the city
German minister informs Turkey of pullout from Incirlik, Turkish Minute, June 7, 2017
Jailed HDP deputy Ferhat Encü given 55-month prison sentence on terror charges, Turkish Minute, June 9, 2017
Iraqi and foreign reactions to Kurdish referendum plan, Rudaw news agency (Erbil, Iraq), June 9, 2017
The Kurdish government [in northern Iraq] will hold an historic referendum on statehood on September 25, despite opposition to independence from the central government of Iraq…
Half a century after the euphoria of the Six-Day War, some Israelis are wondering if it was a victory, by Joshua Mitnick, LA Times, June 8, 2017
Tamar Zandberg, one of the Meretz party’s parliament members, complained that the celebrations ignored the fact that the West Bank has lived under military rule for 50 years. “This casts the biggest shadow over Israel’s democracy in its history — and for its continued existence,” she said on the parliament television channel. “This reality is really abnormal — it’s distorted, and we need as quickly as possible to reach a solution to this in the form of an agreement.”
In a late May survey by the Israel Democracy Institute released this week, about 62% of Jewish Israelis disagreed with the idea that control over the West Bank constituted a military occupation…
The occupation at 50: No end in sight for Palestinians, by Daoud Kuttab, Al-Monitor, June 8, 2017
The 50 years since Israel defeated three Arab armies in the 1967 war and seized control of Palestinian, Syrian and Egyptian lands can be characterized in two words: occupation and settlements. Both are illegal, and both have been denounced by the international community, but it seems nonetheless clear that they will be around for years to come…
Ex-FBI chief Comey: Many news stories about Russia are ‘just dead wrong’, RT.com, June 8, 2017
… When asked whether he believes Trump colluded with Russia, Comey said he doesn’t think he should answer that in an open setting. “That’s a question that will be answered by the investigation, I think.”
Comey admitted, however, that it was fair to say that a February 14 New York Times article which alleged that Trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with Russians was “almost entirely wrong.” He also said there have been many stories about Russia which are “just dead wrong,” but failed to elaborate…
Russia-gate’s mythical ‘heroes’, by Coleen Rowley, Consortium News, June 6, 2017
The mainstream U.S. media sells the mythical integrity of fired FBI Director Comey and special Russia-gate prosecutor Mueller, but the truth is they have long histories as pliable political operatives
The militarization of air travel continues: United Airlines supervisor assaults violinist who wouldn’t surrender her 17th century instrument to luggage conveyor, report in Washington Post, June 6, 2017
Philippines: Marawi future uncertain as troops battle jihadists, eyewitness report by Charlotte Dubenskij, RT.com, June 8, 2017
As the Philippines’ army continues to flush out ISIS-linked militants from Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered troops to ‘crush’ them. More than 220,000 evacuees now face weeks, if not months of living in make-shift camps or with relatives. Trends Islamic State
For more than two weeks the Philippines army has been battling Islamist militants in Marawi, the capital of the country’s second largest island, Mindanao. So far, the conflict has killed at least 175 people, including civilians, and more than 220,000 residents have fled. The noise of helicopter blades is deafening at times, especially when they whiz by close overhead in convoy…
Venezuela sets date for constituent assembly elections, by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Venezuela Analysis, June 8, 2017
Venezuela’s electoral authority formally set a date for constituent assembly elections Wednesday, as the country’s highest court dismissed a challenge to the process to draft a new constitution for the South American nation.
Once formed, the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) will have the power to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution. The assembly itself will be comprised of elected delegates, who will be chosen based on their municipalities as well as social sectors, including workers, students, indigenous people, among others. These elections will take place on July 30, according to the head of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena…
A response to Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi on Venezuela, by Joe Emersberger, TeleSUR English, June 7, 2017
In an op-ed for Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro “the infamous left-wing dictator of Venezuela.” To back up his case, Taibbi cited Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly and a leading opposition figure and Henrique Capriles, the opposition governor of the state of Miranda. Didn’t Taibbi notice a huge contradiction in his piece right there? How does the opposition win major elections in a dictatorship?
It gets worse…
‘Burn her alive’: U.S. reporter tells RT about death threats from Venezuela opposition protesters, RT.com, June 8, 2017
A U.S. journalist covering mass opposition protests in Venezuela told RT she received numerous death threats during her work on the ground. She says protesters threatened to lynch and burn her alive if she tried to contradict their narrative.
Abby Martin, the host of the ‘Empire Files’ investigative program on the pan-Latin American TeleSUR TV network has been reporting on the events of the opposition riots in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas…
Memo reveals scope of gathering of metadata on Canadians by Canada’s spy agency CSIS, report by Alex Boutilier, Toronto Star, June 8, 2017
Top secret memo suggests large scale for CSIS metadata program; in 2016, federal court ruled storing the data on third parties indefinitely is illegal
Global warming and climate change:
UN oceans conference: Plastics dumped in oceans could outweigh fish by 2050, UN Secretary-General says, by Pam Wright, The Weather Channel, June 6, 2017
Americans ‘under siege’ from climate disinformation – former NASA chief scientist, by Hannah Devlin, science correspondent, The Guardian, June 8, 2017
Fake news spread by those with a profit motive is leaving many people oblivious to the threat of climate change, says former head of U.S. space agency
Americans are “under siege” from disinformation designed to confuse the public about the threat of climate change, NASA’s former chief scientist has said.
Speaking to the Guardian, Ellen Stofan, who left the U.S. space agency in December, said that a constant barrage of half-truths had left many Americans oblivious to the potentially dire consequences of continued carbon emissions, despite the science being unequivocal. “We are under siege by fake information that’s being put forward by people who have a profit motive,” she said, citing oil and coal companies as culprits. “Fake news is so harmful because once people take on a concept it’s very hard to dislodge it.”
During the past six months, the U.S. science community has woken up to this threat, according to Stofan, and responded by ratcheting up efforts to communicate with the public at the grassroots level as well as in the mainstream press…
Oil trains remain industry’s long-term plan for shipping to U.S. west coast, by Justin Mikulka, Desmog Blog, June 7, 2017
Despite a string of recent successes by West Coast communities to block the construction of oil-by-rail facilities, the oil industry has no plans to give up using rail to move oil to the West Coast. And it isn’t hard to understand why. There are no plans for oil pipelines from North Dakota to California or Washington. And with indications that the Bakken field may already be declining, any investment in such a project is highly unlikely.
And unlike at East Coast refineries, those in the west don’t have the option to buy light crude from Africa, delivered via tanker, which is a better option than buying Bakken oil from North Dakota or Montana, delivered by rail, when oil prices are low. That’s why the oil industry continues to pursue its long-term plans to move oil west via train.
Amid dwindling community-level support for fossil fuel infrastructure and after the U.S. lifted a 40-year old oil export ban, Cherry Point in northwest Washington state has been flooded with export permit applications for LNG, propane, coal and bitumen.
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