Trump’s “America First” Means We Have No Influence Anymore

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Syria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Donald Trump sure has made the rest of the world respect us: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected a U.S. offer to mediate a cease-firebetween Turkish forces and Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria….“The terrorists should drop their weapons and leave the area that we have identified as the safe zone,” he said in a speech Wednesday to the Turkish parliament. He vowed to press … Read More

Trump’s Inexplicable Turkey Policy Raises Questions Of Loyalty To America

Ken AshfordSyria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds will likely go down as the greatest American foreign policy disaster since the invasion of Iraq. While the cost, destruction, death toll and moral miasma of the invasion of Iraq are unparalleled, the Kurdish betrayal is uniquely bad in a key way: America’s imperialist misadventures against perceived enemies are sadly commonplace, but rarely have we … Read More

Turkey Bombs US Forces, Apparently By Mistake

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

War is messy. War is unpredictable. An unstable peace is prefereable to a war. And this is why: A contingent of U.S. Special Forces has been caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria. Newsweek has learned through both an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and senior Pentagon official that Special Forces operating in the Mashtenour hill … Read More

Yup. Sure Looks Like Trump’s Entire Ukraine ‘Anti-corruption’ Team Was Corrupt—And Funded By An Unnamed Russian Source

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Ukraine, Russia, Trump & Administration, Trump ImpeachmentLeave a Comment

It was already clear that the whole scheme that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani had cooked up in Ukraine was to extort an entire nation and grossly distort U.S. foreign policy merely for the purpose of smearing Joe Biden. But a series of arrests and grand jury indictments on Thursday drove home the point that Giuliani wasn’t alone in his shuttle-shakedown between … Read More

More Trump Crimey-ness

Ken AshfordIran, Political Scandals, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Having trouble keeping track: President Donald Trump pressed former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the Department of Justice to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader in a 2017 Oval Office meeting, Bloomberg reported Wednesday night.Tillerson reportedly refused, saying the move would constitute an interference in an active investigation. He repeated his objections to then-chief … Read More

Turkey Now Heading Into Syria

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Syria, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Sorry Kurds. A bad situation in Northeast Syria is about to get much worse. Sources say that US officials have just informed the Syrian Kurds that Turkey is likely to attack on air and ground in next 24 hours. The United States, per Trmp’s ill-advised pullout, will do nothing. Targets are Tal Abyad and Ras al Ayn. Ironically Tal Abyad … Read More

Document Dump: Senate Report On Russian Interference In 2016 Election

Ken AshfordCongress, Election 2016, L'Affaire Russe, RussiaLeave a Comment

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Russian ratfucking in the 2016 election was released today and it didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know, or hadn’t already intuited, but it told us a lot more about what we already knew or already had intuited. What is significant, of course, is that this comes from the Republican-majority Senate. From the report itself: … Read More

Putin’s Poolboy Reverses US Policy On Turkey

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Syria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

He didn’t consult allies. He didn’t consult Congress – even Republicans. I’m not sure he even consulted his advisers. But I’ll give dollars to donuts he talked to Putin about this. This morning, Americans woke to this… out of the blue: So President Trump has given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces … Read More

Document Dump: Senate Report On How NRA Became A Russian Asset

Ken AshfordGun Control, RussiaLeave a Comment

The National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election, according to a new investigation unveiled Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Drawing on contemporaneous emails and private interviews, an 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee’s Democratic staff found that the NRA underwrote political access for Russian nationals Maria … Read More

Our Next Conflict In The Middle East?

Ken AshfordIran, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Two oil fields in Saudi Arabia were attacked on Saturday. In short, A drone strike was said to have knocked out half of the Saudis’ daily oil production. The Houthi rebel group in Yemen assumed responsibility, but many were doubtful. Trump, exhibiting an embarrassing toadie-ism, tweeted: Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know … Read More

Trump Destroying National Security Apparatus As CIA Loses Critical Asset Due To Trump

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Russia, Trump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

The Washington Post has the goods on the spy who came out of the cold: In 2017, the United States extracted from Russia an important CIA source who had provided information about the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to current and former officials. The operation, known as an exfiltration, followed mounting concerns among U.S. officials that the individual could be … Read More

Hong Kong Heats Up

Ken AshfordChina, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Backgrounder: For the past several days, pro-democracy protesters have taken over the Hong Kong airport. There have been major scuffles with police. All departing flights have been cancelled. It's Hong Kong but the State thuggery could just as easily be in Paris. pic.twitter.com/wMZvLEvgB2 — David Vance (@DVATW) August 13, 2019 Then this morning… Our Intelligence has informed us that the … Read More

What’s Up With The Russian Explosions?

Ken AshfordDisasters, RussiaLeave a Comment

There have been two notable explosions in Russia this past week. First, an arms storage depot exploded at Achinsk, near Krasnoyarsk, in Siberia. Every summer, a couple of arms storage depots explode in Russia. They have a lot of them, and their safety measures leave something to be desired. Explosions have continued for a week. Once they start, it’s dangerous … Read More

Trump Administration Actively Rebuffed Intelligence Community Attempts To Prioritize Domestic Terrorism

Ken AshfordRightwing Extremism/Violence, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Jake Tapper at CNN has the exclusive: White House officials rebuffed efforts by their colleagues at the Department of Homeland Security for more than a year to make combating domestic terror threats, such as those from white supremacists, a greater priority as specifically spelled out in the National Counterterrorism Strategy, current and former senior administration officials as well as other … Read More

Trump Has A History Of Thwarting Law Enforcement Of Far Right Terrorism

Ken AshfordGun Control, Rightwing Extremism/Violence, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

If you want a quick rundown of some of the ways Donald Trump’s team of hard-right conservatives has sought not just to downplay far-right domestic terrorism threats but to weaken the ability of government to investigate them in the first place, the Los Angeles Times’ Molly O’Toole has you covered. From the beginning moments of Trump’s administration, his appointees moved to shift government … Read More