The Syria Thread 2011 - Present

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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Belligerent Savant » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:33 pm

^^^
Despicable. Shameless imperialists.


seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:27 pm wrote:I started this thread 7 years ago


Back when I was posting RT and Ben was linking to Huffington Post


So, carte blanche, then. No need for discourse.

Got it.
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Burnt Hill » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:07 pm

Belligerent Savant » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:33 pm wrote:^^^


seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:27 pm wrote:I started this thread 7 years ago


Back when I was posting RT and Ben was linking to Huffington Post


So, carte blanche, then. No need for discourse.

Got it.


I took it more as you should get where slad is coming from after 7 years on the topic.
I share the desire for conversation and explanations but I also don't mind stand alone articles.
In a very true sense the article posted is the discourse, the response then depends on the reader.
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby DrEvil » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:14 pm

Elvis » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:57 pm wrote:If you didn't watch it, I recommend having a look at this video posted above by BenD.

RT fills in some blanks, critical background info conveniently not provided by the usual MSM:


https://youtu.be/LKE6YKw5Y40


Just a small note: Russia's idea of "irrefutable evidence" is at times laughable and obvious lies. They haven't published any of this evidence, and in the past they have presented screenshots of video games and footage from the wrong war zone as "irrefutable evidence".

They're engaged in a propaganda war with the west and I don't see any reason to believe what they say any more than I believe Trump or May.

The Intercept has a nice summary of some of this:
https://theintercept.com/2018/04/13/rus ... -lets-see/
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:15 pm

Macron: France Convinced Trump to Maintain Troops in Syria
'We convinced him it was necessary to remain there,' Macron said as he defended France's participation in joint Syria airstrikes
https://www.haaretz.com/amp/middle-east ... ssion=true

Well this is quite coincidental speaking of the king
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Elvis » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:46 pm

DrEvil wrote:
Elvis » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:57 pm wrote:If you didn't watch it, I recommend having a look at this video posted above by BenD.

RT fills in some blanks, critical background info conveniently not provided by the usual MSM:


https://youtu.be/LKE6YKw5Y40


Just a small note: Russia's idea of "irrefutable evidence" is at times laughable and obvious lies. They haven't published any of this evidence, and in the past they have presented screenshots of video games and footage from the wrong war zone as "irrefutable evidence".

They're engaged in a propaganda war with the west and I don't see any reason to believe what they say any more than I believe Trump or May.

The Intercept has a nice summary of some of this:
https://theintercept.com/2018/04/13/rus ... -lets-see/


But did you watch the video? The broad claim of "irrefutable" evidence is not the main point, it's the context.

The Intercept article starts right out referring to "Volunteer rescue workers and antigovernment activists in Syria"—which means the White Helmets, which means USUK's propaganda arm in Syria.

Referring to 'screenshots of video games and footage from the wrong war zone as "irrefutable evidence",' that's exactly what the U.S. has done—even showing footage of Russian jets bombing ISIS convoys while pretending it was U.S. jets (on PBS News Hours, no less).

In short, I think the Russian FM is pointing out some critical contextual facts that are ignored or given short shrift in the Western media.
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:54 pm

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

@gaylelemmon
As folks read story about #France convincing US to keep US forces in #Syria, would urge to read both the readout from Trump-Macron call & Kurdish media coverage of France visit to N #Syria a few weeks back. This is not a dialog occurring in a vacuum:




Trump allies are helping Russia spread lies about brutality in Syria
https://shareblue.com/disinformation-ca ... ssion=true
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:36 pm

Caroline O.


So, where are the most popular/most shared 'fake news' articles about Syria coming from?

A lot of places... but HOLY HELL Alex Jones.

Image
Breitbart London is also pushing out a lot of the most popular/most shared 'fake news' articles about Syria.

Image
Veterans Today is also pushing out a lot of the most popular/most shared 'fake news' articles about Syria. They are a known source of Russian propaganda that I have written about previously.

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Here's my piece on Veterans Today & other sources of Russian propaganda targeting U.S. military veterans and troops on social media.

STUDY: Russian Propaganda Targeted U.S. Military Veterans and Troops on Social Media

Russia exploited social media to target veterans and active duty military personnel — and pro-Trump users helped facilitate it.

Caroline O.Oct 9, 2017

Image

Russia exploited social media platforms to target and engage U.S. military veterans and active-duty troops with anti-government propaganda, conspiracy theories, and other disinformation, according to a new study.

The research, published Monday by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project, traced the reach of three websites with clear links to the Russian government. The content produced by the websites targeted veterans and troops on both sides of the political spectrum and included everything from disinformation about national security and international affairs to Russia-focused propaganda and anti-government conspiracy theories aimed at sowing discord and undermining trust in U.S. democracy.

The study found that the targeted content succeeded in achieving “significant and persistent interactions” between Russian-linked accounts and U.S. military personnel on Twitter, indicating that the messages are being noticed and reaching their targets — and that they may be having an impact. Importantly, the analysis also revealed that pro-Trump users (both human and automated “bot” accounts) often functioned as a sort of middleman in the interactions on Twitter, either wittingly or unwittingly connecting the Russian-linked accounts to the accounts of U.S. veterans and active duty personnel.

“We’ve found an entire ecosystem of junk news about national security issues that is deliberately crafted for U.S. veterans and active military personnel,” Philip Howard, the study’s lead author, told McClatchy News. “It’s a complex blend of content with a Russian view of the world — wild rumors and conspiracies.”

Tracking The Spread of Russian Propaganda Targeting US Military

The study looked at how social media was used to amplify the content from three websites, all of which have clear ties to the Russian government and specialize in producing propaganda and disinformation targeting current and former U.S. military personnel:

veteranstoday.com, which in 2013 started publishing content from New Eastern Outlook, a geopolitics journal of the Kremlin-charted Russian Academy of Sciences.
veteransnewsnow.com, a “sister-site” of Veterans Today that in 2013 began publishing content from the Strategic Culture Foundation, a Moscow think tank run by Yuri Profokiev, a former head of Moscow’s Communist Party and member of the Soviet Politburo.
southfront.org, which was registered in Moscow in early 2015 and partnered with Veterans Today later that year.

To see how social media helped amplify the content from the Russian-linked websites, the researchers used network mapping to analyze the activity of 12,413 Twitter users and 11,103 Facebook users whose accounts engaged with (followed, mentioned, “liked”, retweeted, etc.) and/or shared content from one or more of the websites between April 2 and May 2, 2017.

Based on content-related activity patterns and social network associations, the study categorized the accounts into eight groups, or “communities” that overlapped on key characteristics. The categories used to identify communities of Twitter users were similar, though not exactly the same, as the categories used for Facebook users.

Image
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Twitter (L) and Facebook (R) users who engaged with the three Russian-linked websites were categorized into eight groups based on network association and content-related activity patterns. (Image credit: Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project)
Key Findings

Twitter More Influential Than Facebook

While Russia’s use of Facebook has gotten most of the attention thus far in the ongoing investigation into election interference during the 2016 campaign, this study found that Twitter was a much more influential platform for spreading propaganda from the three Russian-linked websites targeting veterans and troops.

“There are significant and persistent interactions between current and former military personnel and a broad network of Russia-focused accounts, conspiracy theory focused accounts, and European right-wing accounts” on Twitter, the researchers concluded. However, Russia’s efforts to connect with the U.S. military community were not as successful on Facebook.

Pro-Trump & Far-Right Twitter Accounts Were The “Network Bridge”

One of the study’s most notable findings was that pro-Trump users and accounts that identify with the far-right appear to function as a “network bridge” between Russian networks and the U.S. military community on Twitter. The researchers found that pro-Trump and far-right Twitter users helped facilitate the flow of information and communication between Russian-linked accounts and U.S. military accounts.

“These interactions [between Russian networks and U.S. military personnel and veterans] are often mediated by pro-Trump users and accounts that identify with far-right political movements in the U.S.,” the researchers wrote.

Image
Pro-Trump and far-right twitter accounts served as a “network bridge” that helped facilitate interactions between Russian-linked accounts and the U.S. military community. This relationship can be seen in the visualization above (note how the bright green nodes are situated in the center and appear to connect the Veterans/Military community with the Russia-Focused, Euro-Right, and International Conspiracy groups). (Image credit: Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project)

Themes of Russian Propaganda Targeting US Military

To get a better understanding of the propaganda Russia is using to target and engage U.S. military personnel and veterans, I looked at over 200 articles published between January 2017 and October 2017 on Veterans News Now (veteransnewsnow.com), one of the three websites identified in the Oxford University Study. I also reviewed the site’s ten most recently published articles and the current top ten articles (listed under “What’s Hot”), as well as the 36 most recently published articles under the categories “Foreign Policy,” “Legislation,” and “Lobbyists.” This represents only a small fraction of the articles published by the Russian-linked website, but the content provides insight into how Russia is using their propaganda machine to target the military community.

The homepage of Veterans News Now features a rotating selection of the site’s latest articles, as well as several different lists of recent and top articles on a variety of topics and subject areas, ranging from foreign policy and legislative news to “in-depth exposés” of lobbyists and deep dives into the culture wars. As you can see from the screenshots below, several featured articles focus on criticizing the investigation into Russian interference, while others promote conspiracy theories about the “deep state” (aka, the US intelligence community), feeding into a narrative often pushed by Trump and his supporters. Other articles currently featured on the site promote conspiracy theories about the Las Vegas shooting, while others fan the flames of the controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling in protest (an issue that Russia was quick to exploit on social media). Antisemitism, anti-liberalism, and anti-government sentiment were common themes on the website
https://arcdigital.media/study-russian- ... f50e7486a5
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:24 pm

Belligerent Savant » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:33 pm wrote:

seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:27 pm wrote:I started this thread 7 years ago


Back when I was posting RT and Ben was linking to Huffington Post


So, carte blanche, then. No need for discourse.

Got it.



seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:09 pm wrote:meanwhile as he sits with his war cabinet he takes 15 minutes to discuss his personal attorney Michael Cohen being investigated for bank fraud .....wired fraud and multiple campaign finances violations.......Cohen's office...house...hotel raided today ...knocked down door raided.....by the FBI


I wonder what he'll do next


Today on Faux News, Bassam Rifai of the Syrian American Council looked directly into the camera to address trump and plead with him to take out Assad's Air Force. Is this how trump make foreign policy decisions A guest on Fox News giving the President of the United States military advice

The US is being run by FauxNews


Bassam Rifai: I would be surprised if I didn't see any strikes. The president needs to take swift and decisive action right now. President Trump, I'm speaking to you directly. Do not take the same mistake that President Obama had made. The action that you had taken to take out the air base, that was important. That was strong. That was a very strong message. What we need to do right now is to take out the Assad's air force. If we ground all of his air force, he won't have the capability to attack Syrians by the air anymore.
https://crooksandliars.com/2018/04/full ... t-would-be

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=38295&start=285


seemslikeadream » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:03 pm wrote:Day 5 Bolton

Air strikes with France and Britian


seemslikeadream » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:53 pm wrote:get ready trump giving a speech in a couple minutes

god help us all

it would be an illegal strike ....but something being illegal never stopped him before


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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Belligerent Savant » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:34 pm

.
I must be a dense reader, because I remain confused as to the thrust of your point. Are you suggesting that TRUMP bombed Syria as a misdirection away from the recent Cohen investigation? Nah, that would be an absurd supposition.

The juxtoposition with the warmongering quote from Bissam Rifai doesn't help.

Perhaps Burnt Hill can chime in and help translate? He seems to have a direct line to your inner thoughts.
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:36 pm

seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:22 am wrote:In 2016, the year before Trump became President, the United States accepted 15,000 Syrian refugees.

This year we have accepted 11.





Friday at 6:30 she tweets FAKE NEWS

Sarah Sanders

Last night the President put our adversaries on notice: when he draws a red line he enforces it. (Inside the Situation Room as President is briefed on Syria - Official WH photos by Shealah Craighead)
Image
https://twitter.com/PressSec





trump did bomb Syria to distract from Cohen scandal

photographic evidence that trump had not originally been planning the bombing run on Friday night

Mike Pence sitting next to trump, even though Pence was in Peru at the time

If trump had spent the week planning to bomb Syria on Friday night, there is no way that Pence would have taken off for Peru, and Haley would have taken off for New York

Image



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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:38 pm

seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:05 pm wrote:
Seth Abramson

In 2012, George NADER was brokering a weapons deal in which Russian arms would go to Iraq. In 2013, Trump NatSec adviser Joe SCHMITZ was brokering a weapons deal in which Russian arms would go to Syria. I hope Mueller's looking at any possible connections.

How Ukrainian arms-dealing connects to Syria’s bloody civil war

Written by Tim Fernholz
All the ingredients are there for a proper arms deal: A former government official with connections to the military-industrial complex. A stockpile of Soviet arms in Ukraine. Soldiers in Syria with a yen for ammo and cash to burn. The biggest problem? Getting the arms from eastern Europe to the battleground without alerting international authorities or tipping off your enemies.

The story isn’t about Russia or the United States. It’s about Russia and the United States.

This week, the Wall Street Journal shone a light (paywall) on one American’s thwarted effort to run guns into Syria for the anti-regime Free Syrian Army. Last fall, analysts at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) in Washington assembled public data to identify a network of businesses (pdf) in Ukraine and Russia at the heart of Russia’s efforts to arm the Syrian regime. The two stories have a lot in common, with a key difference being that Russia’s government is a lot more invested in arming its side of the conflict.

The guns of Odessa

While weapons of all kinds have cropped up throughout the Syrian conflict, from the chemical weapons that made president Bashar Al-Assad an international pariah to homemade rockets, the rebels have two main problems: Getting enough rifles and ammunition to give them a basic infantry force, and—the bigger problem—countering the regime’s vast military advantage, especially as it has aircraft and the rebels don’t.

Many weapons in the conflict hail from the former eastern bloc, according to surveys of small arms in Syria (pdf) that are admittedly unscientific. There’s a reason for this: The Soviet Union cranked up a massive arms machine, and when it collapsed, the combination of chaos, weapons stockpiles and criminal entrepreneurship gave men like Viktor Bout and Leonard Minin careers as arms dealers.

When it comes to recent arms deals to Syria, though, the C4ADS analysis sees a a new evolution in arms transit.

Using software developed by Palantir, the secretive Silicon Valley big-data firm, C4ADS tracked an interconnected network of businesses, often hidden behind shell companies, who handle most Russian arms shipments. The “Odessa network” it describes is centered on politically-connected Russian and Ukrainian businessmen and the Ukrainian seaport of Oktyabrsk, a former Soviet military base. At least 10 ships in the network visited Syria in 2012, while dozens of Syrian vessels have traveled back and forth to Oktyabrsk, according to C4ADS.

The most prominent firm discussed is the Kaalbye shipping group. It was founded by Igor Urbansky, a former Soviet naval captain who was a Ukrainian government deputy minister from 2006 to 2009, and Boris Kogan, whose business connections tie him to Russia’s defense industry. Kaalbye-operated vessels have shipped all kinds of cargo, but they have also have an important business transporting weapons to conflict zones on Russia’s behalf.

At least one of Kaalbye’s ships, the Ocean Voyager, took a shipment from Russia’s arms export agency to Syria’s ministry of defense in 2012, according to a cargo manifest obtained by C4ADS. The manifest (below) lists the contents of the shipment as only “equipment.” Kaalbye’s representatives at the law firm Patton Boggs declined to comment to Quartz, but the company has acknowledged this delivery to Syria and says it is the only one that occurred that year.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.31.30 AM
A cargo manifest detailing the shipment of “equipment” from Russia’s arms export agency to Syria’s defense ministry.
The C4ADS report also notes that other Kaalbye vessels dropped out of sight of global ship-tracking databases at the same time that Russia increased weapons deliveries to Syrian ports in 2012 and 2013. While it’s possible that this is a coincidence, and the innocuous product of less-than-perfect infrastructure, C4ADS suggests the timeline could point to Kaalbye ships shutting off transceivers while making weapons deliveries.

It’s likely not illegal for Russian ships to deliver such cargos, depending on the jurisdictions they pass through en route. But delivering weapons to Syria would violate Western sanctions. Kaalbye, presumably concerned that other lines of business—including potential US government contracts—might be affected by the C4ADS allegations, threatened to sue the think tank for defamation and hired a public relations firm to challenge its findings. Kaalbye also provided evidence to the Washington Post that one of the missing ships was in fact using its tracking system and did not stop in Syria.

But in April, the think tank preemptively sued the shipping firm for interfering in its business. The back and forth between the company’s American representatives and C4ADS is a saga in itself, and more may be revealed in early June, when Kaalbye must respond to the suit in court.

Kaalbye’s role aside, Western intelligence agencies are confident that Russian (and, to a lesser extent, Iranian) supplies—from helicopters to tanks to ammunition and diesel—have allowed the Assad regime to wage war despite not having much of an industrial base or support from other nations.

This analysis of Russia’s arms shipment logistics also, incidentally, helps explain president Vladimir Putin’s interest in influencing or annexing eastern Ukraine. Yes, it’s a former part of the Soviet empire where a lot of ethnic Russians live; but it’s also vital infrastructure for Russia’s efforts to project power abroad today—and a profit center for the Russian defense industry.

And that’s why it’s interesting that a stockpile of weapons a group of Americans sought to provide to Syrian rebels also hails from Ukraine.

There’s something about Schmitz

About a year ago, according to the Journal’s story, a former US defense department official named Joseph Schmitz approached the leader of the rebel Free Syrian Army. He offered to give them 70,000 assault rifles from Ukraine and 21 million rounds of ammunition, for which an unnamed Saudi prince would foot the bill. Given that the fighting force of the Syrian rebels is estimated at perhaps 100,000 strong, it would have been a substantial injection of firepower—though it would not solve the air superiority problem. At the time, the US government was dithering over whether to provide much in the way of weapons at all, given the risks that they might reach anti-American groups or fail to change the dynamics of the conflict.

Schmitz, who had worked as the independent auditor for the US Defense Department, left that job in 2005 after coming under Congressional criticism for close relationships to contractors he supervised; no wrong-doing was ever identified. He became the the general counsel for Blackwater, the notorious US mercenary firm, before going into private practice as an attorney. Last year, the Journal reports, he somehow arose as the middleman between the unnamed Saudi benefactor, two unnamed US weapons brokers, and whoever owned those weapons and the capacity to transport them to Syria.

This all came to a halt, according to the Journal, when a US spy in Jordan apparently told one of Schmitz’s partners that the US government didn’t want any freelance arms dealing in Syria. This was before Schmitz had applied to the State Department for an official license to broker such weapons sales overseas, which he said he intended to do all along, though both arms trafficking experts and members of the Syrian opposition were skeptical of his approach. Soon, evidence that Syria had used chemical weapons against civilians in rebel-held areas loosened US restrictions. Now, the US is directly supplying training and an unknown amount of small arms and anti-tank weapons to select Syrian rebels across the border from Jordan—but still no anti-aircraft missiles.

How much do weapons cost?

The more the war in Syria drags on, the higher the demand for weapons. Here’s a chart from the Small Arms Survey (pdf) looking at the correlation between increases in casualties and the cost of weapons:

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 2.31.48 PM

In 2012, rebels seeking armaments in Turkey found that just one cartridge for a machine gun or assault rifle cost $2-$4, while a common assault rifle cost upward of $2,000. That puts some perspective on the value of Schmitz’s offer; at those prices, that much weaponry would have cost the rebels perhaps a quarter of a billion dollars. Presumably, the wholesale cost to Schmitz’s group would have run cheaper.

But those numbers also underscore that the conflict can be a boon for defense contractors. Russia exported some $17.6 billion in weapons in 2012 alone, and that’s just the arms transfers it reports; even if the government is underwriting most of those costs, it’s still promoting its industrial base. When it comes to arms sales, the US is it’s only rival, exporting perhaps $60 billion worth of military goods in 2012, although that’s an unusually high number driven by advance sales. Here’s a more representative picture of the global arms market:

download (1)

What’s most worrisome is that these data are mostly focused on large armaments—planes, tanks, ships and bombs—and not small arms. While the dangers of mechanized inter-state warfare are well known, small-arms trafficking is harder to spot, and that has people worried, since it increasingly fuels destabilizing conflicts from Africa to Latin America. Last year, the UN passed a treaty in part designed to create more transparency around arms trading and urge countries not to send weapons knowingly to places where they’re likely to be used in genocide, terrorism, and the like. The US has signed the treaty; Russia has not.

As the world’s top arms dealers square off in Syria, the situation looks to be approaching a stalemate. Fractured rebel groups retreating in the face of pressure from a regime confident in its ability to consolidate power and wait its enemies out. That’s not likely to change unless the US or someone else decides to send anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels. But as long as the steady migration of weaponry from eastern Europe to the Middle East continues, the suffering isn’t liable to stop anytime soon—the latest count by activists attempting to track the disaster is is that more than 160,000 people have been killed, and many more have been turned into refugees, with the UN claiming that Lebanon alone will hold 1.5 million by the end of the year.
https://qz.com/211603/how-ukrainian-arm ... civil-war/

6:20 PM - 4 Apr 2018

2/ Note that, per the New York Times, the NADER deal was cancelled and was going to be "renegotiated" at exactly the same time Schmitz starting trying to get Russian weapons (stored in the Ukraine) to Syria. Is there any chance these were the same weapons?

Witness in Mueller Inquiry Who Advises U.A.E. Ruler Also Has Ties to Russia

By MARK MAZZETTI, DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, BEN PROTESS and SHARON LaFRANIEREAPRIL 4, 2018


An adviser to the leader of the United Arab Emirates, George Nader, who is cooperating in the special counsel investigation, also has previously undisclosed links to Russia. Ron Sachs/Picture-Alliance, via Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A witness who is cooperating in the special counsel investigation, George Nader, has connections to both the Persian Gulf states and Russia and may have information that links two important strands of the inquiry together, interviews and records show.

Mr. Nader’s ties to the United Arab Emirates are well documented — he is an adviser to its leader — but the extent of his links to Russia have not been previously disclosed.

Mr. Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, has a catalog of international connections that paved the way for numerous meetings with White House officials that have drawn the attention of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. For example, Mr. Nader used his longstanding ties to Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund, to help set up a meeting in the Seychelles between Mr. Dmitriev and a Trump adviser days before Donald J. Trump took office.

Separately, investigators have asked witnesses about a meeting Mr. Nader attended in 2017 with a New York hedge fund manager, where he was joined by Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, who at the time were both senior advisers to Mr. Trump.

The investigative trail even led Mr. Mueller’s team to stop an Australian entrepreneur with ties to the U.A.E. after he landed at a Washington-area airport, according to people briefed on the matter. The investigators questioned the entrepreneur about Mr. Nader, including Mr. Nader’s relationship with Russia and his contacts with Mr. Trump’s advisers, as well as the movement of money from the U.A.E. into the United States.

Mr. Nader has received at least partial immunity for his cooperation, and it appears unlikely that Mr. Mueller is trying to build a case against him. Instead, it is common for prosecutors to interview as many people as possible to corroborate the testimony of a key witness like Mr. Nader.

Mr. Nader’s dealings with Russia date at least to 2012, when he helped broker a controversial $4.2 billion deal for the government of Iraq to buy Russian weapons. At the time, he was an informal adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, and he accompanied Mr. Maliki to Moscow in September 2012 to sign the arms deal at a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Mr. Nader’s role in the deal was earlier reported by Al-Monitor.

The deal was canceled shortly after because of concerns about corruption, and a spokesman for the prime minister said it would be renegotiated.

Earlier that year, Mr. Nader also attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an invitation-only conference organized by senior officials close to Mr. Putin that Russia presents as its answer to the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. Mr. Nader is on a list of participants from 2012. Representatives of the St. Petersburg forum did not respond to inquiries about his attendance in subsequent years.

Since then, according to people familiar with his travels, Mr. Nader has returned frequently to Russia on behalf of the Emirati government. He even had his picture taken with Mr. Putin, according to one person who has seen the photograph, although it is unclear when the picture was taken.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, the de facto ruler of the U.A.E., is a close ally of the United States and a frequent visitor to the White House. He has also visited Moscow and met with Mr. Putin several times in recent years. One person briefed on the matter said Mr. Nader had accompanied the crown prince to Moscow on numerous occasions.

Last year, days before Mr. Trump took office, Mr. Nader helped set up a meeting at a Seychelles resort between Mr. Dmitriev, Emirati officials and Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater Worldwide and an adviser to Mr. Trump’s transition team. The meeting, at the bar of a Four Seasons Hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean, was brokered in part to explore the possibility of a back channel for discussions between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the meeting.



Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund, met with Mr. Nader and an adviser to the Trump campaign days before Donald J. Trump took office. Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik, via Associated Press
Such contacts are at the heart of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, and his investigators have repeatedly used aggressive tactics to press witnesses. About four weeks ago, F.B.I. agents working with Mr. Mueller’s team stopped a Russian oligarch at a New York-area airport, questioned him about his dealings with Mr. Trump and seized his electronics, according to a person familiar with the matter, which was first reported by CNN.

Mr. Mueller’s investigators have asked multiple witnesses about the Seychelles meeting, part of a broader line of inquiry surrounding contacts between Emirati advisers and Trump administration officials. They have also pressed for details about a meeting Mr. Nader attended in New York in early 2017 with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Bannon with the hedge fund manager Richard Gerson, a friend of Mr. Kushner’s and the founder of Falcon Edge Capital.

Mr. Mueller’s particular interest in that meeting is unclear, although Mr. Gerson has had business dealings with the court of the U.A.E.’s Prince Mohammed. Mr. Gerson has developed relations with several senior Emirati officials over the years, including with Prince Mohammed himself, and he has often sought investments from Emirati state funds.

Mr. Gerson’s family also has business and philanthropic ties to the Kushners. Mr. Kushner has been friends for more than a decade with Mr. Gerson’s brother Mark, a founder of the specialized research company Gerson Lehrman Group. Mark Gerson was also an early investor in Cadre, a real estate technology company founded by Mr. Kushner and his brother, Josh.

Jared Kushner’s family foundation has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to an Israeli medical aid group led by Mark Gerson.

A lawyer for Mr. Nader and a spokesman for Rick Gerson declined to comment. Mark Gerson did not reply to requests for comment.

Mr. Mueller’s investigators have also questioned Joel Zamel, an Australian entrepreneur who has an office in Tel Aviv and knows Mr. Nader, according to people briefed on the matter. Mr. Zamel has had contacts with senior U.A.E. officials close to its ruler since at least 2014.

In February, federal agents working for Mr. Mueller stopped Mr. Zamel at Reagan National Airport outside Washington and briefly seized his electronic devices, the people said. Mr. Zamel later appeared before a grand jury and was questioned about Mr. Nader, though it was unclear whether Mr. Zamel had any information about Mr. Nader’s ties to Russia.

Mr. Zamel is a witness in Mr. Mueller’s investigation and is not suspected of any wrongdoing, according to Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for Mr. Zamel and his crowdsourced consulting firm, Wikistrat. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Mr. Zamel informally met with Mr. Mueller’s team.

“Joel and Wikistrat have not been accused of anything, have done nothing wrong and are not the focus of the special counsel,” said Mr. Mukasey, a global chairman of Greenberg Traurig’s white-collar defense and special investigations practice. “Prosecutors like to question as many people as they can — even if they have tangential involvement and limited knowledge.”

Mr. Zamel briefly met last spring with Jared Kushner at the White House, another person said, though that meeting does not appear to be a focus of Mr. Mueller’s inquiry.

Wikistrat, which pays security experts around the world for their insights, has landed several government contracts, according to databases and news reports. Its website says the firm can draw from a group of more than 2,200 analysts worldwide who share their thinking on an interactive platform.

Some well-known experts serve on Wikistrat’s advisory council, including Michael V. Hayden, a former head of the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, and Dennis Ross, a former United States diplomat with deep expertise in the Middle East.

Correction: April 4, 2018
An earlier version of this article misstated the value of a deal George Nader helped broker in 2012 for the government of Iraq. It was $4.2 billion, not $4.2 million.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/us/p ... ation.html

3/ If both NADER and SCHMITZ came into Trump's orbit having tried to aid Putin—implicitly—by getting Russian weapons to the Middle East, is it possible that Schmitz somewhat randomly ending up on Trump's NatSec team was no more a coincidence than was Nader entering Trump's orbit?

4/ This matters, given that SCHMITZ ends up taking a mysterious trip to Hungary during the presidential campaign—we *think* shortly before Hungary's Prime Minister, a Putin ally, made a highly unusual endorsement of Trump. Hungary is also where Putin's FSB has its headquarters.

5/ My point: PAGE went to Hungary and met with a Russian. SCHMITZ also had a Russian nexus; did he, too, meet a Russian in Hungary? What (if anything) was offered to Hungary by the Trump campaign in order to get the in-kind donation of a high-profile endorsement on July 23, 2016?

6/ If NADER was dealing Russian arms in 2012-13, is it too much to wonder whether he crossed paths with SCHMITZ, who was dealing Russian arms in 2013? Especially given that both men ended up in the orbit of the same pro-Russia politician, Donald Trump? Was that mere coincidence?

7/ MUELLER has NADER in his back pocket. But we've heard nothing about SCHMITZ for a very very long time—even though he was named to Trump's NatSec tiny team at the same time as PAGE and PAPADOPOULOS, who were both, apparently, hired in part in consideration of their Russia ties.

8/ Don't forget: saying PUTIN wanted Russian arms in Syria (which SCHMITZ was assisting with) is another way of saying that PUTIN wanted America out of the picture in Syria. And guess what Putin ally Donald Trump has just announced? Premature withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria.

9/ My point is NADER—we learned today—has UAE and Russia connections (as, by the way, does PAGE, who was, for reasons unknown, in the UAE on the very night Trump gave his now-infamous, pro-Russia "Mayflower Speech"). So it's worth imagining all the Trump people NADER came across.

10/ I've periodically made a short-list of people who we have heard little about and will soon hear much more about. Felix SATER has made that list. So has J.D. GORDON. So has Sam CLOVIS. And so too has Joseph SCHMITZ. I suspect NADER crossed paths with at least one of these men.

PS/ If you read the New York Times and Quartz articles in this thread, you will find it *very* hard to believe that NADER and SCHMITZ did not cross paths as they both tried to aid Putin in getting his weapons into the Middle East—at the same time.

It'd be a near-miracle, really.
https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status ... 2120897536

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40179&p=654936&hilit=syria#p654936
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby liminalOyster » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:57 pm

SLAD, have you considered maintaining a running executive summary of all the material you post and what you've found? I am interested but I really don't follow a lot of what you post.
"It's not rocket surgery." - Elvis
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:07 pm

I am sorry you can not follow it ....I try to put information in the appropriate threads that's all I can do at this point

you do understand this is the biggest political scandal in American history ....there is a whole lot is going on

it's a crime in progress

big day in court tomorrow for trump's fixer

si vous êtes témoin d'un crime, appelez la police
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Burnt Hill » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:46 pm

Pretty simple comment, no mind meld, though that is interesting for you to say!

Burnt Hill wrote:I took it more as you should get where slad is coming from after 7 years on the topic.
I share the desire for conversation and explanations but I also don't mind stand alone articles.
In a very true sense the article posted is the discourse, the response then depends on the reader.


Belligerent Savant wrote:Perhaps Burnt Hill can chime in and help translate? He seems to have a direct line to your inner thoughts.


Besides it is the same approach I take to everyone here.
It is my way of understanding and furthering discussion.
I try not to bring preconceived bias to the situation.
Also I like the info both of you provide so I suppose it is an attempt at mediation.
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:52 pm

Russian reinforcements head for Syria: Warships laden with tanks, military trucks and armoured patrol boats sail towards the Middle East as the world awaits Putin's response to airstrikes

Project 117 Alligator-class landing ship was spotted at Bosphorus, Turkey en-route to Syria on Sunday
The Russian vessel was laden with tanks, ambulances and IED radar after Friday's US-led Syrian air strikes
A RoRo Alexandr Tkachenko was also seen carrying high-speed patrol boats, temporary bridge and trucks
US, UK and French forces backed strikes that obliterated three targets in response to chemical weapon attack
Vladimir Putin warned there would be 'consequences' to military action against him and Bashar al-Assad


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z5CnQSVYMW
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