“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, December 07, 2015

A senior U.S. official said radar tracked a dozen Russian TU-22 bombers that left Mozdok, Russia, traveled over the Caspian Sea, across portions of Iran and Iraq, and launched airstrikes in Raqqa, Deir el-Zour and Al Bukamal, Syria. Radar shows Russian bombers making seven passes over the city of Deir el-Zour dropping munitions, the official said, adding that one of the TU-22s made a pass over the area of the army camp within one minute of the explosion that killed the Syrian troops. Overall, the Russian bombers launched strikes in four locations around Deir el-Zour.

 WAPO - The U.S. military alleged Monday that Russian warplanes were responsible for an attack on a Syrian army position in eastern Syria, an airstrike that Syria blamed on the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State militant group in the country.
The Syrian government issued a statement earlier in the day accusing coalition aircraft of carrying out the overnight attack in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour. The government said three Syrian soldiers were killed and 13 injured in the strike.
It was the first such allegation by Syria since the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State began in the country 14 months ago, and it sent tensions soaring in Syria’s crowded skies.
A U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said later in the day that the Pentagon is “certain” that a Russian warplane carried out the attack. There was no response to that assertion from either Syria or Russia.
The finger-pointing illustrated the danger that a misunderstanding, mistake or misinformation could trigger a wider conflict as Russia and the United States lead rival air campaigns to combat the Islamic State.
U.S. warplanes did conduct overnight strikes in the province of Deir al-Zour on Sunday, but the targets were oil wells at least 34 miles from Ayyash, the location the Syrian government said was hit, according to Col. Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry called the attack on the army post an act of “heinous aggression.” It said it sent letters of complaint to the U.N. secretary general and the U.N. Security Council, calling for the United Nations to take “urgent measures” to prevent a recurrence of such an incident.
“The aggression on the military post hinders the efforts aiming to fight terrorism and reiterates that the U.S.-led coalition lacks seriousness and credibility in the fight against terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.
It said four coalition warplanes struck a Syrian army post with nine rockets late Sunday, killing three soldiers and injuring 13. The strike also destroyed three armored vehicles, four military vehicles, two heavy machine guns and a depot of arms and ammunition, the ministry said.
In Moscow, President Vladi­mir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said he could not confirm the information provided by the Syrian government.
Most of the province of Deir al-Zour is controlled by the Islamic State, but the Syrian government has held onto a portion of the city of Deir al-Zour since the conflict began in March 2011. 
British warplanes last week joined French and American aircraft in conducting strikes against the Islamic State in eastern Syria under the umbrella of the U.S.-led coalition.
Russian warplanes, meanwhile, have been striking targets across Syria since late September, alongside the Syrian air force — although the U.S. military says the Russian strikes mostly target opposition rebels and not the Islamic State.
Opposition activists said eight civilians were killed in a strike carried out Monday on the Sukkari neighborhood in the rebel-held northern city of Aleppo by either Russian or Syrian planes. The victims were among dozens of people reported killed Monday across the country.
Israel also occasionally carries out strikes against Syrian military facilities to prevent the transfer of weaponry to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that is an ally of the Assad government, and Turkey has conducted a handful of strikes against Islamic State militants.
So busy are the skies in some parts of the country that Syrians frequently do not know who is bombing them. An airstrike that killed 15 civilians over the weekend in Raqqa, the north-central city where the Islamic State is headquartered, was attributed to the U.S.-led coalition by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
But another activist group, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, said the strike was carried out by Russian warplanes.
“It’s very confusing and hard to know” which airstrike is being carried out by which country “with all [these] warplanes and airstrikes above our heads,” the group said on its Twitter account.
Lamothe reported from Washington.


  1. I believe the American radar operators. :)

  2. I can't concentrate. I'm afraid Herr Trump has put me into shock.


    The number of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq has more then doubled since the United States launched its military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in June 2014, further evidence that rolling back ISIL’s territorial gains and enhancing border security cannot alone stop the flow of recruits.

    According to a report published on Monday by Soufan Group, a New York-based security consultancy, between 27,000 and 31,000 people have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIL and other “violent extremist groups.” The last time these fighters were tallied, in June 2014 — the same month the group staged its dramatic surge across Western Iraq and declared its “caliphate” — there were only about 12,000 foreign fighters in the two countries.

    As the U.S. and its European allies intensify their campaign of airstrikes on ISIL’s vast, if slowly shrinking stronghold across Syria and Iraq, the increase in fighters suggests that “efforts to contain the flow of foreign recruits to extremist groups in Syria and Iraq have had limited impact,” Soufan concluded.

    The findings underline that the group’s appeal remains global, with foreign fighters from at least 86 countries represented in Syria and Iraq, according to official government estimates and other credible reports. In part, this influx is due to the infamous social media outreach and propaganda of ISIL, which downplays any territorial losses, and continues to offer an open-arm welcome to all Sunni Muslims — or willing converts — who wish to declare their allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    But Soufan also found that deeper involvement in ISIL — namely, the decision to take up arms abroad — tends to come through interpersonal networks. Hence, the alarmingly high concentration of recruits from certain “hotbed” countries, cities and towns.

    The highest per capita rate of fighters and greatest overall number continue to come from tiny Tunisia — 6,000 individuals, as of last count, or more than from the entirety of Western Europe — a high percentage of whom are natives of just two cities: Bizerte and Ben Gardane. As Soufan pointed out, these Tunisian towns exhibit a dangerous combination of poverty, high rates of criminality and other anti-government activity, plus easy access to cross-border travel. But they also show that the strongest draw to "jihad" in Syria and Iraq is a friend or family member who has personally made the trip.

    The stream of fighters from Western Europe, which has doubled since June 2014 to approximately 5,000, is also highly concentrated in a few pockets. Three-quarters of Western European fighters come from just four countries: France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium, each of which contains a handful of isolated hotbed communities that have contributed disproportionately high rates of fighters. The Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, from which several of the Paris attackers came, is perhaps the best-known.


  4. I can't concentrate. I'm afraid Herr Trump has put me into shock.

    1. Hmmm, it looks like blogger can't concentrate, either. :)

  5. Please, you’ll stir someone up because you have TDS.

  6. OOPS

    ANKARA, December 7 /TASS/.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday received explanations from Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov over an incident involving a Russian sailor who allegedly held a man-portable air defense system on his shoulder when his warship was sailing through the Bosphorus, a diplomatic source said.

    The ministry expressed the hope that no such incidents, which contradicted the letter and spirit of international laws and the Montreux Convention, would recur in future. The source also said that the Russian side had promised to convey in full measure the official stance of the Turkish Foreign Ministry to the Russian agencies concerned.

    The Russian embassy in Turkey confirms that Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov has been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the embassy’s spokesman, Igor Mityakov, told TASS on Monday.

    "We confirm that a meeting has taken place. The ambassador met department head Burak Ozugergin (responsible for political, maritime, aviation and border affairs). We are not giving any comments on the content of their conversation," the spokesperson said.
    A photograph of allegedly Russian sailor who was standing on the deck of a Russian warship with a man-portable air defense system on his shoulder appeared in Turkish newspapers last Sunday. The Turkish side described the incident as an "open provocation.".

  7. Four nations, five if you include Israel that gets over that way once in a while, are now flying around in Syria. Plus, come to think of it, the Syrian air force too.

    On a busy day that makes six.

    What's needed is some American airport air traffic controllers from Chicago, New York, LA to keep it safe for those in the air.

  8. Russians are fighting Russians in Syria -

    Vlad’s New Problem

    Russians Are Joining ISIS in Droves

    Jihadists from Russia and Central Asia are pouring into the caliphate, four times more than a year ago.

    Across the globe, the number of foreign fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria continues to climb, but Russia and Central Asia have experienced the most dramatic change over the past year, with some estimates suggesting a 300 percent increase.

    Russia, with an estimated 2,400 fighters, is now believed to be the third biggest supplier of foreign fighters to radical Islamist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria, according to new analysis from the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm based in New York.

    In June 2014, it was estimated that Russia had around 800 foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria.

    “Comparatively speaking, this increase is far more substantial proportionately than that seen in Western Europe over the same time span,” the Soufan Group says in a report it plans to release tomorrow. The Daily Beast obtained an early copy.

    The only two countries who currently supply more fighters are Tunisia, with an estimated 6,000, and Saudi Arabia, with 2,500. Jordan also continues to rank among the top nationalities fighting with the so-called Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise, with somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 Jordanians leaving home to fight in Iraq or Syria.

    The majority of Russia’s foreign fighters is coming from the North Caucasus—Chechnya and Dagestan, areas with long histories of Islamic extremism.

    “Local grievances have long been drivers of radicalization in the Caucasus, and as the strong centralized security apparatus of the Russian government limits the scope for operations at home, the Islamic State has offered an attractive alternative,” the Soufan Group report says.

    But news investigations have also revealed that Russian authorities have encouraged local jihadists to travel to Syria. The logic being: better terrorists fight abroad than make trouble in Russia. According to a report in Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s domestic intelligence agency—the Federal Security Service or FSB—facilitated the travel of Russian fighters headed to Syria.

    With the terrorist attacks in Paris carried out by French and Belgians who’d traveled to Syria to fight, and with the Islamic State claiming responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt in October, Russia may be rethinking its strategy to export local fighters. Rather than guaranteeing more safety at home, Russia could be sending men and women off to collect valuable combat skills on the battlefield that can be brought back home to carry out attacks.

    Addressing the threat in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said a task force would be established to strengthen the borders of former Soviet republic states, who have also seen its foreign fighter numbers quickly climb over the last year. The Soufan Group has identified credible reports of foreign fighters in Syria from 12 of the 15 former Soviet states.

    Approximately 2,000 militant fighters hail from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, according to the report.

    Putin said between 5,000 to 7,000 people from Russia and the former Soviet states had joined the Islamic State. The Soufan Group report says that number is likely closer to 4,700. Either way, an alarming number of people are leaving the region to join the Islamic State, and did so before Russia began its bombing campaign in September against groups that oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad......

  9. These two 'lone wolves' may not have been so lonely, but part of a larger pack -

    Bank records show $28,500 deposit to Syed Farook's account two weeks before the shooting, source says
    Catherine Herridge

    By Catherine Herridge, Pamela Browne
    Published December 07, 2015

    EXCLUSIVE - A $28,500 deposit was made to Syed Farook’s bank account from on or about Nov.18, some two weeks before he and his wife Tashfeen Malik carried out the San Bernardino massacre, a source close to the investigation told Fox News Monday.

    Investigators are exploring whether the transaction was a loan taken out by Farook, who with his wife killed 14 and wounded 21 when they opened fire at a holiday lunch. He earned $53,000 a year with the county as an environmental health inspector.

    On its website, the Utah-headquartered describes itself as “a leading provider of national consumer and commercial private-label and bank card financing programs” on a nationwide basis.

    On or about Nov.20, Fox News is told Farook converted $10,000 to cash, and withdrew the money at a Union Bank branch in San Bernardino. Afterwards, in the days before the shooting, there were at least three transfers of $5,000 that appear to be to Farook’s mother.

    The loan and large cash withdrawal were described to Fox News by the source as “significant evidence of pre-meditation,” and further undercut the premise that an argument at the Christmas party on Dec. 2 led to the shooting.

    Fox News is also told that investigators are exploring whether the $10,000 cash withdrawal was used to reimburse Enrique Marquez, the man who bought the two semiautomatic rifles used in the San Bernardino shootings. Marquez is now reportedly answering investigators’ questions.

    “Right now our major concern at the FBI, the ATF, and the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) is determining how those firearms, the rifles in particular, got from Marquez to Farook and to Malik,” assistant special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, John D’Angelo, told reporters in California Monday.........

  10. Video

    0:01 / 3:38
    Hillary Supporters Hope She'll LOWER the STANDARD of LIVING if Elected President!!
    Mark Dice

    Published on Dec 7, 2015

    When Hillary Clinton supporters were asked if they hope she'll lower the standard of living if she's elected President of the United States, many of them thought it was a great idea. Their blind support for Hillary's bid for the White House is demonstrated by person after person who is so clueless, they'd probably support Hillary 2016 no matter what! Produced by Mark Dice.

    Bunch of nice and friendly folks though. None look as if they'd shoot up the Christmas Party.

    And, Hillary just might come through for them too.



    Peak oil.

  12. Quirk-O, what's your take on this ? (this is not AT but Breitbart) --

    Trump 100% Vindicated: CBS Reports ‘Swarm’ On Rooftops Celebrating 9/11
    Ty Wright/Getty Images
    Ty Wright/Getty Images

    by John Nolte2 Dec 201538,398

    The DC Media has spent the last two weeks attempting to destroy Donald Trump with lies. Outright lies, and they are doing so in order to protect a 14 year-old cover up. Not only have eyewitnesses and contemporaneous reports proven Donald Trump 100% correct about Muslims celebrating 9/11, a just-uncovered local CBS News (WCBS-TV in New York) report completely vindicates Trump’s claim of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center.

    The video below is from a September 16, 2001 news report:


    Just a couple of blocks away from that Jersey City apartment the F.B.I. raided yesterday and had evidence removed, there is another apartment building, one that investigators told me, quote, was swarming with suspects — suspects who I’m told were cheering on the roof when they saw the planes slam into the Trade Center. Police were called to the building by neighbors and found eight men celebrating, six of them tenants in the building.

    The F.B.I. and other terrorist task force agencies arrived, and the older investigators on the task force recalled that they had been to this building before, eight years ago, when the first World Trade Center attack led them to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, whose Jersey City mosque lies between the two buildings getting attention today. And the older investigators remember that the suspects that eventually got convicted for the first Trade Center case … lived in the building where these same eight men were celebrating the destruction that they saw from the roof. Calling this a hot address, the task force investigators ordered everyone detained.




    ADDED: People are arguing falsely that the fact that only 8 suspects were apprehended contradicts the “swarm” claim. Read it again. An “investigator” told CBS about the “swarm.” The fact that a certain number were brought into custody does not change the fact that there was a “swarm.” The obvious impression is that of the “swarm,” only eight were brought into custody. Eight people do not swarm on all those rooftops. They “gather.” Look at the video of the rooftop and picture “swarming.”

    You want to get into semantics about how many people make up a swarm?

    But that’s not all.

    You have to add up all of the contemporaneous news reports. You are Donald Trump. You are taking in all the news during that awful week. You are told by the media that “swarms” of Muslims in a known terrorist’s neighborhood were seen on rooftops celebrating 9/11. Just two days earlier you have read this in the New York Post:

    Here in New York, it was easy to get angry listening to Egyptians, Palestinians and the Arabs of nearby Paterson, N.J., celebrate as they received word of the murderous attack in New York and Washington. But Mayor Giuliani (who has been tireless and magnificent in this crisis) rightly warned New Yorker-ers that is would be wrong to take their anger our on the city’s Arab and Muslim residents. Attacks on Arab-Americans in Paterson or elsewhere are utterly indefensible.

    You hear radio news reports about Muslims celebrations.

    MTV runs a news report about Muslim celebrations.

    From all of those news reports, it is perfectly reasonable and nothing close to lying to put together a picture of “thousands”.

    FACT: Donald Trump is now 100% vindicated.

    If these celebrations did not occur, the only thing Trump did wrong was to believe the same media that is now calling him a liar — and doing so to cover up the truth about American Muslims celebrating 9/11 and their own covering up of that fact.

    Numerous times I’ve suggested Trump exaggerated the “thousands” claim, and for that I apologize.


    See comment above.

  14. December 7, 2015
    Terrorism and the Multiculturalism Experiment
    By Malcolm Unwell

    In a sinister maneuver, the media moved the goal post, first claiming this to be a total fabrication, then demanding that Trump prove there were thousands celebrating as opposed to, say, hundreds. Nonetheless, as Breitbart declared, Trump has been 100% vindicated by documentary evidence as well as hundreds of eyewitnesses, both in the past and recently, recalling the event.

    Multiculturalism has failed in many facets and to many degrees. It has become a question of whether we'll awkwardly coexist as estranged neighbors, as Robert Putnam described in Bowling Alone, or whether it will turn to outright violence. Either outcome is not ideal. This is despite the image of an alternate reality presented on TV in ads, mindless television shows, and other narrative perpetuators. Those who lead sheltered lives are content to believe in this alternate reality, undisturbed by the more sinister, actual sociological circumstances, which from time to time cannot be ignored even by the most disengaged Americans.

  15. (Ash a little more, Quirk a little less)

  16. Massive worldwide support for sharia law among global Muslim community - 12/8/15 Have a look at these numbers. More

    Trump (and now Cruz) recognizes the truth about religious Muslims in America - 12/8/15 A former FBI counter terrorism official said that American Muslims have provided practically zero support in hunting down radicals in their communities. More

    American Thinker