Syrian Army takes control of oilfields

Oilfields and a natural gas-processing plant southeast of the Deir-ez-Zor airbase have come under the control of the Syrian Army, RIA Novosti reports.

It was also reported, that advance detachments of the Syrian Army have taken control of the strategically-important hills near the Karrum Mountain ridge to the southeast of the Deir ez-Zor air force base. An RT contributor on scene confirmed the information.

WATCH MORE: Syrian army secures full control of key highway linking Deir ez-Zor and Palmyra

The terrorists are resisting fiercely, bombarding the advanced detachments of the Syrian Army with mortars, heavy machine guns and sniper rifles, RIA Novosti reports.

The artillery of the Syrian Army is destroying the firing positions of Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL), supporting the advancement of the army and allied forces to Deir ez-Zor.

Last week the Syrian Army, supported by Russian forces from the air, finally managed to break the siege of an important airbase, Deir ez-Zor, retaking it from IS.

“On September 9, following a massive airstrike by the Russian Air Force, Syrian government forces overcame the fierce resistance of ISIL terrorists in the area surrounding an airfield to the southeast of Deir ez-Zor,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

Syrian state TV reported that the Teym oilfield was recaptured from IS. This eastern part of Syria is an oil-rich area. IS ammunition warehouses were identified by the Syrian Air Force during the operation, Syrian Army General Ahmad Sulaiman told RT, saying that the military also “listened in to meetings in which the terrorists planned attacks inside and around Deir ez-Zor.

“With the help of Russian air power, the Syrian Air Force struck these places ahead of the arrival of Syrian government troops. This weakened ISIL’s ability to attack and to call in reinforcements from Raqqa and Palmyra,” the Syrian Army commander said.

In June, IS controlled around a quarter of the country. In the past three months, IS has lost around half of those territories, however. It still partly holds territories near Hama and Homs in western Syria.

Some 40 IS terrorists, including the so-called “emir of Deir ez-Zor,” were killed as Russian warplanes struck and wiped out an underground command center and communication unit near the city, the Russian Defense Ministry said last Friday.

The Russian Air Force was acting upon the intelligence it received from several sources indicating that a meeting of senior IS militants was about to take place in one of the underground command centers on the outskirts of Deir ez-Zor.

“The effective actions of the Russian Air Force speeded up the lifting of a siege from the city of Deir ez-Zor and allowed the Syrian troops to begin liberating the city,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

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Abu-Muhammad al-Shimali © Rewards for Justice

Among the senior militants killed is internationally wanted Abu-Muhammad al-Shimali (also known as Tirad Al-Jarba), the self-proclaimed “emir of Deir ez-Zor,” the ministry said, adding that the militant’s death has been confirmed.

According to the ministry, the killed IS commander was involved, among other things, in transferring “IS terrorists through territories of Turkey, European, North Africa, Persian Gulf states and Australia.”

Apart from smuggling the recruits into Syria, al-Shimali was named by “several European intelligence agencies” as one of the organizers of the fatal November 2015 Paris attacks, the ministry added.

Syrian Army troops, backed by Russian air support, managed to break the three-year-long siege of the city of Deir ez-Zor on September 5, following fierce clashes with IS terrorists on its outskirts.

Deir ez-Zor Governor Muhammed Ibrahim Samra told RT’s Ruptly agency last week that the long-awaited lifting of the siege became “peak of excitement” for soldiers and civilians, suffering from shortage of water, food and electricity. It has also finally allowed Russia to send humanitarian aid convoys to the area, as previously all the aid was delivered by air.

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‘Emir of Deir ez-Zor’ among ISIS commanders killed in bunker by Russian airstrike

Some 40 Islamic State terrorists, including the so-called “emir of Deir ez-Zor” are said to have been killed as Russian warplanes struck and wiped out an underground command center and communication unit near the city, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Russia’s Su-34 and Su-35 fighter jets scrambled from Khmeimim Air Base in Syria’s Latakia province hit a high-profile gathering of Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) field commanders on September 5, the ministry said. It noted that the Russian Air Force was acting upon the intelligence it received from several sources indicating that a meeting of senior IS militants was about to take place in one of the underground command centers on the outskirts of Deir ez-Zor.

The militants were set to discuss ways to fend off the offensive by the Syrian forces, which were making rapid gains toward the city, which had been besieged by IS for three years.

As result of the airstrike at least 40 IS members, including four field commanders, were killed on the spot. An underground command center and terrorist communication hub were destroyed.

“The effective actions of the Russian Air Force speeded up the lifting of a siege from the city of Deir ez-Zor and allowed the Syrian troops to begin liberating the city,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Among the senior militants killed is internationally wanted Abu-Muhammad al-Shimali (also known as Tirad Al-Jarba), the self-proclaimed “emir of Deir ez-Zor,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that the militant’s death has been confirmed.    

 

Al-Shimali, an Iraqi-born Saudi citizen and a former Al-Qaeda member, pledged his allegiance to ISIS in 2015 and later became notorious for being the one in charge of smuggling foreign fighters into its territory.

In 2015, the US State Department offered a bounty of up to $5 million for information leading to al-Shimali’s capture and arrest, while describing him “a key leader in ISIL’s Immigration and Logistics Committee” coordinating “smuggling activities, financial transfers, and the movement of supplies into Syria and Iraq from Europe, North Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula.”

Apart from smuggling recruits into Syria, al-Shimali was also believed by “several European intelligence agencies” to be involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks, the ministry added. French investigators had previously determined, according to media reports, that at least three of the attackers arrived in France via migrant routes, with at least one of them getting a fake passport from his IS handlers.

Another top IS commander, Gulmurod Khalimov, IS “war minister” from Tajikistan, was either killed or heavily injured in the Russian sortie, conflicting reports indicate. It was reported that Khalimov managed to escape to an area some 20 kilometers to the southeast of Deir ez-Zor, the ministry said.

A former special forces chief in his native Tajikistan, Khalimov participated in several counterterrorism training courses organized by the US State Department in the US and Tajikistan up to 2014 before pledging his allegiance to IS the year later. In 2016, the US State Department offered a reward of up to $3 million for information on Khalimov.

It is not the first time Khalimov is reported to have been killed on the battlefield. In April, an Iraqi military source told The Times that the militant was slain in an airstrike in western Mosul.

Syrian Army troops backed by the Russian Air Force managed to break the three-year-long siege of the city of Deir ez-Zor on September 5, following fierce clashes with IS terrorists on its outskirts.

Deir ez-Zor Governor Muhammed Ibrahim Samra told RT’s Ruptly agency on Thursday that the long-awaited lifting of the siege became “peak of excitement” for soldiers and civilians, suffering from shortage of water, food and electricity. It has also finally allowed Russia to send humanitarian aid convoys to the area, as previously all the aid was delivered by air.

READ MORE: Russia rushes humanitarian aid to exhausted Deir ez-Zor after breaching 3yr ISIS siege

Earlier this week, the Russian Defense Ministry said that during the operation to reach Deir ez-Zor, the Syrian Army captured a strongly fortified sector on the outskirts of the city, held by IS terrorists originating from Russia and former Soviet republics. Ahead of the assault on the fortifications, the Russian Air Force and the Admiral Essen frigate performed strikes on the terrorist positions.

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Is Casual Sex as Fulfilling as imagined?

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by Mark Regnerus

Sarah is 32 years old and recently moved to Texas from New York, looking for a new start—in more ways than one.

Brooklyn had grown too expensive for her hipster pocketbook. A relationship she had hoped would blossom and mature there had instead withered. So to Austin she came, hoping she could improve upon her modest $22,000 annual earnings the previous year.

Her most recent sexual partner—Daniel—was not actually a relationship per se. He was not the reason she moved. Rather, he was a 23-year-old American she had met in China four years before during a three-week language immersion program.

The acquaintance and the sex were not that unusual for her, historically: “I meet people in strange places. … It just happens.”

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When they first met, and slept together, Sarah was in a relationship with David, the man for which she had moved to, and then away from, New York. She ended up “cheating on him,” that is, David, several times.

She felt guilty, because “I’d be heartbroken if someone was cheating on me, you know.” So she would stop.

If you’re having trouble keeping times, dates, and boyfriends straight, it’s understandable. Sarah herself laughs at the drama of it all.

Relational reality for very many young adults is not easily mapped today. There are fits and starts, flames and flame-outs.

Sarah conveyed an account replete with honest attempts at working it out with David, a musician who seemed more committed to making it in the industry than to making it work with her:

I’m like, ‘I want to get married. I want to have kids.’ And you know, he basically told me that I shouldn’t waste my time on him because he didn’t know. And I said, ‘All right then, I’m not gonna waste my time.’

David and Sarah were finally through. She plotted her move in part to make her decision stick.

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But then Daniel reappeared. He was not actually living in New York; he was in Rhode Island. But that did not matter so much, especially when on the rebound: “From then until three weeks ago we had this (arrangement), basically like whenever he came to town, we got together and dated and, like, slept with each other.

Getting serious was never much of an option. He was 23, and she was 32: “We both knew … he was graduating from college and, you know, like we both, at least I knew it was never gonna work out. I think he kind of felt the same way.”

Why? “He’s 23 and I didn’t want to be in New York … we had fun and everything but I was like, I don’t wanna marry the guy.”

Her mental age range for a mate is between 32 and 40.

Daniel and David were not Sarah’s only partners. She recounted “probably about 20” partners when asked about it. Most of them were during a several-year stint in Baltimore, before her time in New York. Four were one-night stands, the rest longer.

When asked how rapidly her relationships tend to become sexual, Sarah replied, “the first or second date.” That account did not stand out from those of many other interviewees.

The numbers are on her side, too. In the 2014 Relationships in America survey, sex before the relationship begins was the modal—meaning the most common—point at which Americans report having first had sex in their current relationships.

Is her timing of sex intentional? No. “It just happens,” she reasoned. Trained to detect unlikely passivity, I responded skeptically with a “Nothing just happens. Tell me how this works.”

Well, it happens if there’s really strong physical chemistry. If there’s physical chemistry then usually it’s gonna, the date’s gonna end with some kind of, like, physical (activity), at least for me in my experience. [Even date number one?] Oh yeah, (laughs). Date number one, like, kissing, and then I feel like the kissing always leads to something else. [You feel like it, or you make it, or …?] It just does, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s me, I think it’s more the guy, and then I’m just OK with it. And then a lot of times, though, I will say, like, there are times when I feel comfortable with having sex on the first date, and other times I don’t feel comfortable. [How do you discern those?] Depending on if I like the guy more or not. [So if you like the guy more which one happens?] I don’t want to have sex with him. [OK. Can you explicate that a little bit?] (Laughs) … Because I wanna see him again, and I don’t want it to just be about something physical.

She nevertheless often finds herself regretting “first-date sex,” she admits, but finds it difficult to predict beforehand: During the date itself “I feel like I get (sighs) … caught up in the moment.”

So waiting for the second or third date, she asserts, is a better strategy than first-date sex, because “he’s going to stay interested.”

This, she claims, is the standard approach to dating among her peers, if not necessarily the most optimal: “I don’t think it’s unusual, but I think that for a lasting relationship, it’s not the best approach.”

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encounters and infatuations at rendezvous

As noted above, Sarah was 32 years old when we spoke with her. The 30s are notorious for their association with women’s “ticking biological clock.” Sarah was well aware of her age and the fertility challenges it might soon present, but had grown ambivalent on the matter.

Did she want children, as she noted in passing when discussing the end of her relationship with Daniel?

I don’t know. I’ve always wanted, it’s interesting because I’ve always wanted children. It was like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a great mom,’ and, and umm, the last couple years, I, I don’t know. I definitely want to get married, like that, I definitely wanna get married and do that deal, but I don’t know if I wanna have kids or not. … [But you used to want them?] I used to want them.

Three years later, now 35, Sarah continues to live in Austin and continues to find commitment elusive. She does not dislike her life, but it is not the one she envisioned a decade earlier.

Her account is not unusual. In fact, the relationship histories that young Americans tell us about are growing increasingly predictable: plenty of sex, starting early (before expressions of love but not necessarily before feelings of and hopes about it), underdeveloped interest in sacrificing on behalf of the other (especially but not exclusively discernable in men), accounts of “overlapping” partners, much drama, and in the end nothing but mixed memories and expired time.

Valuable “experience,” many call it. Some have fulfilling careers to focus on, steering their attention away from other, less successful areas of their lives. Others, like Sarah, find themselves frustrated there as well.

Some are becoming jaded, skeptical. Others hold out hope or redirect themselves toward a different vision of the good life. While some observers are adamant that we are making progress in sex, sexuality, and relationships, others aptly wonder about the state of our unions.

In the end, many find themselves ambivalent about it all. There are personal and relational freedoms for which many fought hard. And there are certainly technologies that seem to boost equality and simplify our lives—including how people meet and evaluate each other—but somehow they have not spelled notably greater happiness and relationship contentment.

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Mark Regnerus is associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, research associate at its Population Research Center, and a senior fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

This modified excerpt was taken with permission from Mark Regnerus’ book, “Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy”  (Oxford University Press, 2017).

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U.S. President could use “space weapons against ISIS” or North Korea

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hinted at using a kinetic weapon on Tuesday while discussing tensions with North Korea when he made a Freudian slip.

Mattis was asked whether there was “any military option the US can take with North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk,” Mattis responded, “Yes, there are, but I will not go into details.”

Later during the press conference, another reporter questioned Mattis and caught him off-guard:

“Just to clarify, you said that there were possible military options that would not create a grave risk to Seoul,” a reporter asked. “Are we talking kinetic options as well?”

“Yes, I don’t want to go into that,” Mattis responded.

Previously, Mattis stated that a war with North Korea would “involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital, (South Korea) which is one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”

U.S. President Donald Trump in a speech to the United Nations on Tuesday threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if Pyongyang didn’t quit its nuclear testing and threats.

This also comes after the U.S. and South Korea wrapped up its annual military drill harassing of North Korea, reminding the dictatorship of its military presence at its southern border.

In 2015, the U.S. Air Force confirmed that military contractor Boeing has an electromagnetic pulse weapon, which is capable of targeting and destroying electrical systems without the collateral damage of killing people. It’s essentially an EMP that takes out the power grid of a given area.

The project is known as the “CHAMP,” or Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, and it already has been operational since 2015, according to Air Force Research Laboratory commander Major General Tom Masiello.

In January, Trump’s Air Force chief of staff revealed to USA TODAY that the U.S. President could use “space weapons against ISIS.”

“If we want to be more agile than the reality is we are going to have to push decision authority down to some lower levels in certain areas the big question that we’ve got to wrestle with … is the authorities to operate in cyber and space,” General David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, told USA TODAY.

However, the U.S. also has other kinetic weapons in its arsenal that would allow Trump to “totally destroy North Korea” — one of weapons system is the “Rods from God.”

What is the Rods from God? The “Rods from God” is a part of the directed energy weapon family; it’s a kinetic energy weapon.

The rods are directed munitions, the higher you are (the greater your distance from the planet), the greater the kinetic energy you have.

In 2004, published in Popular Science, Eric Adams writes:

A pair of satellites orbiting several hundred miles above the Earth would serve as a weapons system. One functions as the targeting and communications platform while the other carries numerous tungsten rods–up to 20 feet in length and a foot in diameter–that it can drop on targets with less than 15 minutes’ notice. When instructed from the ground, the targeting satellite commands its partner to drop one of its darts. The guided rods enter the atmosphere, protected by a thermal coating, traveling at 36,000 feet per second–comparable to the speed of a meteor. The result: complete devastation of the target, even if it’s buried deep underground. The two-platform configuration permits the weapon to be “reloaded” by just launching a new set of rods, rather than replacing the entire system.

A space weapons agreement was proposed by Rep Dennis Kucinich called the “Space Preservation Treaty”  in 2005 which states that countries won’t seek to weaponize space. However, that bill never made it past the introduction stage. Another House of Representatives bill known as the H.R.2977 “Space Preservation Act” was proposed in 2001 to ban the use of “exotic weapons” listing the following:

(B) Such terms include exotic weapons systems such as —  (i) electronic, psychotronic, or information weapons; (ii) chemtrails; (iii) high altitude ultra low frequency weapons systems; (iv) plasma, electromagnetic, sonic, or ultrasonic weapons; (v) laser weapons systems; (vi) strategic, theater, tactical, or extraterrestrial weapons; and (vii) chemical, biological, environmental, climate, or tectonic weapons.

Obama violated this agreement under the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act before leaving office, and no one noticed that the legislation he signed is essentially the Star Wars Defense Initiative II that his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, signed calling for a space-based missile system

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Unmasking the leftist Antifa movement

Unmasking the leftist Antifa movement

Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT) August 22, 2017

On the morning of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Keval Bhatt hunted through a closet in his parents’ Virginia home for the darkest clothes he could find.

The 19-year-old didn’t own much in black, the color he knew his fellow protesters would wear head to toe on the streets of Washington that day.
As Bhatt drove into the city for his first-ever protest, he hesitated.
“I thought, there’s a very good chance that I might get arrested, that my whole life could be radically altered in a negative way if I kept driving, and I was really close to turning around,” Bhatt told CNN. “But I think the rationale is that even if it did negatively affect my life, I had still contributed to this movement that was necessary. I was still making an effort to make other people’s lives better, even if it made my life worse, and once I realized that, I had no regrets.”Bhatt joined protesters dressed completely in black, some with their faces covered by masks — a tactic known as “black bloc” that aims to unify demonstrators’ efforts and hide their identities.And with them, Bhatt got arrested.
He was rounded up with more than 200 other people and charged with a felony for inciting a riot. He has said he didn’t engage in any violence and has pleaded not guilty. A federal indictment charges individuals in the group with starting fires, property destruction and physical violence that erupted on the streets as the 45th President of the United States took his oath of office.
Many of those arrested identified themselves as part of the Antifa movement. Its name derives from “anti-fascist,” and it has come to represent what experts who track these organizations call the “hard left” — an ideology that runs afield of the Democratic Party platform and supports oppressed populations as it protests the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites.
Antifa activists, who operate without any centralized leadership, told CNN that their goal is peace and inclusivity. They often denounce capitalism and government. Since Trump entered the world stage, they’ve condemned his push to tighten immigration rules and what some view as his tendency toward racism.
While Antifa members don’t fit a single category, they say many are millennials and many live on society’s fringes: undocumented immigrants, transgender people, low-wage workers, those who don’t conform to the traditional 9-to-5.
And their methods are often violent. Antifa leaders admit they’re willing to physically attack anyone who employs violence against them or who condones racism — as long as force is used in the name of eradicating hatred.

From Oregon to Germany

Anti-fascists and the black bloc tactic originated in Nazi Germany and resurfaced in United Kingdom in the 1980s. Large numbers of Antifa activists first appeared in the United States at anti-World Trade Organization protests in 1999 in Seattle, and then more recently during the Occupy Wall Street movement.
But their profile has been rising.
Antifa demonstrators have marched in more than a half dozen protests since Election Day in Portland, Oregon, according to police.
Earlier this year, Antifa activists were among those who smashed windows and set fires during protests at the University of California, Berkeley, leading to the cancellation of far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and withdrawal of Ann Coulter as speakers.
Antifa activists were in New York City on May Day.
When the son of Sen. Tim Kaine, the 2016 Democratic nominee for vice president, was arrested in Minnesota in March after protesting at a pro-Trump rally, he was dressed in black bloc alongside a group of Antifa supporters. He faces misdemeanor charges and has not yet entered a plea but will be in court next month. A Kaine spokesperson said he was peacefully protesting, and wasn’t disruptive.
And white nationalists, neo-Nazis and others — who have been blamed for provoking violence at last week’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — claim it was Antifa groups that first got aggressive. A 20-year-old man who had attended the rally later used his car to ram a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one of them.
Though counterprotesters deny they are to blame for violence, Trump this week declared “blame on both sides” — and has drawn intense criticism for his view.
Indeed, over the past year, Antifa members have been involved in clashes across the country and the world, including in Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Alabama and Nebraska, and at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
“Anti-racists or anti-fascists are not a new phenomenon,” said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “What I think is new is that they’re more active both in making themselves prominent at violent rallies and also trying to bridge into the disenfranchised peaceful progressive movement.”
Bhatt went in Charlottesville, too, and was just about five feet away from the car that drove through the crowd, killing protester Heather Heyer, he said.
Before that, he said, Antifa protesters were cheering in celebration for having disrupted the neo-Nazi message.
“We were marching down one of the streets, and energy was ecstatic,” Bhatt said. “We were marching and chanting and engaged in this huge act of solidarity. There was a moment I was at the front of this huge line of people, and we see this other huge group of people marching down another way, and when the two groups met, it felt like the entire city just erupted in cheers and roars.”

Spurred to action by Trump

Antifa is impossible to track. It isn’t united through a national organization, and it cloaks itself in anonymity.
In speaking to Antifa leaders across the country, CNN found very few who would take off their masks. Indeed, it took months to track down members willing to share their stories.
Many are like Bhatt, a self-described government skeptic with liberal views who didn’t find mainstream politics a good fit for him.
So, he weighed his options.
“Before J20 (January 20, Inauguration Day) happened I was convinced I’d go to NASA or some university to research,” Bhatt said.
Police and demonstrators clash in downtown Washington, on January 20, 2017, following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Now facing a criminal record, “I don’t know,” he said. “My efforts might be better suited by an organization that helps communities.”
The son of parents who immigrated from India, Bhatt is sure of one thing: He has no plans to stop protesting.
“There are people who were energized by Bernie (Sanders) that now are anarchists,” said an organizer of the website It’s Going Down, a newsblog for Antifa. “People are freaked out by a Trump regime, freaked out by the far-right. A lot of people saw neo-Nazi symbols. There’s a reason why people are becoming polarized. It’s real-life stuff that’s happening.”
Sanders, for his part, has disavowed violence and is not connected with Antifa efforts. A self-described democratic socialist, Sanders has come out against “hard-left” violence, saying of protests over Coulter’s UC Berkeley appearance, “I don’t like this.”
“Obviously, Ann Coulter’s outrageous — to my mind, off the wall,” Sanders said. “But you know, people have a right to give their two cents’ worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation.”
The organizer of It’s Going Down said his website traffic has grown from a few hundred daily hits to between 10,000 and 40,000 hits on its best days.
“There’s a crisis among the left,” he said. “And they’re looking for alternatives outside of party structures. The anarchist movement is one that’s working outside structures. … People are excited about that.”
Like many young Antifa members who spoke with CNN, the turning point for Bhatt was when Trump in late 2015 ad-libbed a campaign remark toward a Black Lives Matter protester, saying he “should have been roughed up.”
In another moment that has catalyzed Antifa members, Trump in February 2016 told a campaign crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to “knock the crap out of” protesters holding tomatoes, adding, “I will pay for the legal fees, I promise, I promise.”
“There was a normalization of political violence which first started with regard to the Trump rallies,” Levin said.
“Indeed, we saw alt-right people manhandling African-American protesters,” he said, using a term many white-rights activists use to describe themselves. “Then what happened is these fiery embers crossed the fire line, so now on the far-left they say the best way to resist is violence because they’re out-gunned in this new era of President Trump.”

‘This is self-defense’

For almost three decades, Scott Crow was part of the Antifa movement.
“I fought (against) Nazis. I’ve had death threats. I’ve had guns drawn on me. I’ve drawn guns on fascists. I’ve been in altercations. I’ve smoke-bombed places,” he said. “I’ve done a myriad of things to try and stop fascism and its flow over the years.”
Activists don black bloc, Crow said, as a means to an end.
“People put on the masks so that we can all become anonymous, right? And then, therefore, we are able to move more freely and do what we need to do, whether it is illegal or not,” he said.
And that means avoiding police, whom many Antifa members see as an enemy, as well as skirting the scrutiny Antifa activists often get from alt-right trolls on the Internet. Black bloc, one member told us, also unites the movement.
“Even though it only takes one person to break a window, it doesn’t matter because the bloc moves together,” said a 26-year-old named Maura, who wouldn’t give her last name.
In New York’s Union Square on May Day, a masked member of the Antifa group Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council told CNN why he wore black bloc and waved a black flag.
“We cover our face because the Nazis will try to find out who we are. And that is a very bad thing because they harass people,” he said. “We’re trying to stop them from organizing. … When they organize, they kill people, they hurt people, they fight people. And we’re the ones who are fighting back.”
It’s a position taken by many Antifa activists: “This is self-defense.”
Antifa activists often don’t hesitate to destroy property, which many see as the incarnation of unfair wealth distribution.
“Violence against windows — there’s no such thing as violence against windows,” a masked Antifa member in Union Square told CNN. “Windows don’t have — they’re not persons. And even when they are persons, the people we fight back against, they are evil. They are the living embodiment, they are the second coming of Hitler.”
Crow explained the ideology this way: “Don’t confuse legality and morality. Laws are made of governments, not of men,” echoing the words of John Adams.
“Each of us breaks the law every day. It’s just that we make the conscious choice to do that,” he said.
Antifa members also sometimes launch attacks against people who aren’t physically attacking them. The movement, Crow said, sees alt-right hate speech as violent, and for that, its activists have opted to meet violence with violence.
Right or wrong, “that’s for history to decide,” he said.
But Levin argues the violence is giving ammunition to racists — and is anathema to the Antifa mission.
“It’s killing the cause — it’s not hurting it, it’s killing it, and it will kill it,” Levin said. “We’re ceding the moral high ground and ceding the spotlight to where it should be, which is shining the spotlight on the vile.”
Levin, who for decades has attended rallies at both extremes to study radical groups, said he put his own body between an Antifa member and a Klan member when Antifa protesters attacked with knives at a February 2016 a rally in Anaheim, California.
“No, it’s not OK to punch a Nazi,” Levin said. “If white nationalists are sophisticated at anything, it’s the ability to try to grasp some kind of moral high ground when they have no other opportunity, and that’s provided when they appear to be violently victimized. That’s the only moral thread that they can hang their hats on. And we’re stupid if we give them that opportunity.”

Rubber bullets and pepper spray

Nearly seven months after Trump’s election, police in Portland, Oregon, geared up for the 10th protest since Election Day pitting the alt-right and “hard left.”
On that day, June 4, police were coming off a violent May Day protest in which they watched Antifa activists run through the business district, destroying storefronts and setting fires.
Several arrested in Portland May Day protests

Several arrested in Portland May Day protests 02:37
Before the June event, “we saw on social media that there was a lot of threats being put back and forth that gave us a lot of concern about physical violence,” Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson said.
Hoping to keep June 4 from becoming another May Day, police created a human barricade. Officers stood shoulder to shoulder between two city squares — one filled with alt-right groups, the other with Antifa activists.
After a few hours, it seemed peace had won the day. But then police caught whispers that Antifa members were planning to push past police into the alt-right rally square.
Officers moved in with rubber bullets, pepper spray and smoke bombs. They pushed the masked Antifa activists into a corner and detained them. Many shed their black clothing and left it on the streets as police decided whom to arrest.
“We did seize a large number of weapons or things that could be used as weapons,” Simpson said. “Everything from knives to brass knuckles to poles and sticks and bricks and bottles and road flares and chains. One hundred percent, they came geared up to fight if it would be allowed.”
Police arrest a demonstrator during a protest on June 4, 2017, in Portland, Oregon.

Despite Portland’s liberal reputation, it has a history of clashes between extreme groups on the right and left. Residents have gotten fed up with the escalating violence, Simpson said.
“It is new, and this, like, this rumble mentality of, ‘I’m going to bring my friends, you’re going bring your friends, and we’re going to fight it out in the park’ — it’s not something we’ve seen here,” Simpson said. “It’s not good for the city. People are just frustrated by it. It’s affecting their livability. It’s affecting their business. It’s affecting their commute.”
Law enforcement in several cities told CNN there’s no excuse for the violence.
“The fires starting — that we saw on May Day — is something we haven’t really seen much of in the past,” Simpson said. “The running through the street, breaking windows and everything in sight, we haven’t seen it as consistently as we’ve seen it in the last eight months.”
In that time, more than 150 people have been arrested. They range in age from 14 to 66, police records show, and include several students, a cook, a franchise restaurant owner and a retail manager, a CNN review of arrestees’ social media accounts found.
On social media, many of the arrestees have posted anti-police messages and anarchist views. Some write that they feel disenfranchised in the current political climate, the CNN review found.
In Berkeley, Antifa and alt-right activists have clashed several times since Election Day. Police say they haven’t seen anything like this since the ’60s.
And in jurisdictions across the country, police told CNN they’ve started enforcing with new vigor laws that bar people from wearing masks during gatherings. For that reason, many Antifa members in Charlottesville did not wear masks, Bhatt said.
“It feels to me like there’s a struggle in the country … of the different kinds of speech and what’s OK to say and what’s not OK,” Simpson said. “But one thing is very clear is that free speech and protected speech can be very offensive and very hateful, but it’s still not a crime.”

‘Put your body in the way’

With no central leader, Antifa adherents have found each other in local communities. They communicate and recruit largely through social media. Their protests are organized via Facebook.
And of late, in active areas, monthly meetings have increased in frequency to several times each week. Activists take martial arts classes together and strategize about how to achieve their main goal: taking down fascists.
Anti-fascist demonstrators confront pro-Trump demonstrators during a protest on June 4, 2017, in Portland, Oregon.

In Portland, where the Rose City Antifa has been active for a decade, members focus on outing people they believe are neo-Nazis, even trying to get them fired and evicted from their homes.
“We’ve done mass mailings. We’ve even gone door to door before in communities,” said the group’s leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We’ve gone out to areas that we know that a lot of Nazis live with, like, ‘wanted’ posters, like, ‘Do you have any information on this person?’ and put them up in the area, and we usually get a flurry of tips like, ‘Yeah, this person works here,’ and so on and so on.”
But like other Antifa groups across the country, the Portland sect gets the most attention when violence explodes at its rallies.
And for that, its members don’t apologize.
“You have to put your body in the way,” the group’s leader said, “and you have to make it speak in the language that they understand. And sometimes that is violence.”
It’s a perspective several Antifa activists shared with CNN, even knowing that violence has led to hundreds of arrests across the country.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that counterprotesters say they are not to blame for violence at the Charlottesville protest. The story’s headline has also been updated.

Black bloc are an international gathering of anti-capitalist activists, prepared to give as good as they get with militarized police

black bloc is a name given to groups of protesters who wear black clothing, scarves, sunglasses, ski masks, motorcycle helmets with padding, or other face-concealing and face-protecting items. The clothing is used to conceal marchers’ identities, and hinder criminal prosecution, by making it difficult to distinguish between participants. It is also used to protect their faces and eyes from items, such as pepper-spray, which law enforcement often use. The tactic allows the group to appear as one large unified mass. Black bloc participants are often associated with anarchism and they use multiple forms of violence when they gather at a protest.

A black bloc group took part in a feeder march near the World Bank, in Washington, D.C. in 2009. Some black bloc protesters wear hoods, allowing their faces to be viewed, while others use such items as scarves, dark sunglasses or masks to conceal their faces as much as possible.

West German origins

An anti-fascist black bloc in Germany

This tactic was developed in response to increased use of police force following the 1977 Brokdorf demonstration.

On 1 May 1987, demonstrators in Berlin-Kreuzberg were confronted by West German police.After this, thousands of people attacked the police with rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails. The riots at the May Day in Kreuzberg became famous after the police had to completely pull out of the “SO 36” neighborhood in Kreuzberg for several hours, and rioters looted shops together with residents.

When Ronald Reagan came to Berlin in June 1987, he was met by around 50,000 demonstrators protesting against his Cold War policies. This included a black bloc of 3,000 people. In November 1987, the residents were joined by thousands of other protesters and fortified their squat, built barricades in the streets and defended themselves against the police for nearly 24 hours. After this the city authorities legalised the squatters residence.

On 1 May 1988, radical left groups organised a May Day demonstration through Berlin-Kreuzberg, ending in riots even heavier than the year before. The police were attacked with steel balls fired by slingshots, stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails. On 2 May, headline of the Berlin newspaper BZ was “Beirut?? Nein, das ist Berlin!” (Beirut?? No, it’s Berlin!). The riots finally became a tradition in Berlin-Kreuzberg and have recurred every 1 May since, but never as fatally as in the first two years. When the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund met in Berlin in 1988, the autonomen hosted an international gathering of anti-capitalist activists. Numbering around 80,000, the protesters greatly outnumbered the police. Officials tried to maintain control by banning all demonstrations and attacking public assemblies. Nevertheless, there were riots and upmarket shopping areas were destroyed.

In the period after the Berlin Wall, the German black bloc movement continued traditional riots such as May Day in Berlin-Kreuzberg, but with decreasing intensity. Their main focus became the struggle against the recurring popularity of Neo-Nazism in Germany. The “turn” came in June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit. A black bloc of 2,000 people built barricades, set cars alight and attacked the police during a mass demonstration in Rostock. 400 police officers were injured, and also about 500 demonstrators and activists. According to the German Verfassungsschutz, the weeks of organisation before the demonstration and the riots themselves were amounted to a revival for the militant left in Germany. Since the “Battle of Rostock”, traditional “May Day Riots” after demonstrations every 1 May in Berlin, and since 2008 also in Hamburg, became more intense, and violence of the autonomen against police officers and political enemies at demonstrations of radical left groups have dramatically increased.

On the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, black bloc groups were present among other protests in Washington D.C. and other places. The groups engaged in vandalism, rioting, and violence. At least 217 were arrested and six police officers sustained minor injuries, and at least one other person was injured.

Hundreds of anarchists and black bloc activists have spurred unrest at the Austrian-Italian border storming the train station, throwing stones, flares and smoke bombs at riot police, who used batons and tear gas against protesters.

The demonstration on Saturday at the Brenner mountain pass between Italy and Austria came in response to the enforcement of stricter border control measures to tackle the influx of refugees.

About 500 activists gathered in front of the main entrance to the train station, holding banners that read “Close the door to fascism,” “Time to launch social revolution,” “Borders down,” “Destroy barriers” and others.

At least 4 officers and several protesters were injured in the unrest, according to La Repubblica.

 

Italy: Clashes erupt at pro-refugee demo on Austrian border – YouTube

07/05/2016 – Carregado por Ruptly TV

Clashes erupted between riot police and pro-refugee demonstrators during a rally at the Brenner Pass on the .

Hundreds of members from the so-called anarchist black bloc who came to Brenner from other Italian regions as well as from Germany, Italy and Spain to take part in the demonstration are supposedly those responsible for the clashes with riot police, Italy’s Ansa news agency says.

Austria: Police clash with pro-refugee demonstrators at Italian border …

03/04/2016 – Carregado por Ruptly TV

The Austrian police blocked 100 metres (328 feet) of road at the Italian borderand, as a result, clashes ..

 

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The group of nine is multi-racial and comes from varying economic backgrounds and regions of the country, although most claim Pacific Northwestern roots. Most seem to be in the millennial age range, although they tell me the organization has “tons of old heads” working with them. Some came into the anarchist movement after Occupy Wall Street, which one called “protest school.” Others were introduced to anarchism at punk shows, or were seeking out something more extreme than “typical American liberalism,” which they all reject. They all have jobs, but refuse to describe them for fear of being identified—they’ve all been involved in various illegal protest-related activities, and only agreed to speak to me on conditions of anonymity. (All names have been changed.)

They see their brand of anarchism as an evolution of an international movement that has been standing up for the disenfranchised for decades. That mission goes beyond the tactics that have caused so much controversy. The group told me about the classes local anarchists provide in first aid, self-defense, and other topics; the left-wing community outreach group Portland Assembly; and the anarchist effort to fill some of Portland’s many potholes after the government failed to do so. (That last item represents probably the only good bit of mainstream press the anarchists have gotten as of late).

Portland has been dealing with a homeless crisis for years, and during an abnormally bad storm this January, four homeless adults and a newborn baby died. The local government’s approach to the storm was seen by many in Portland as insufficiently urgent, and the anarchists joined with homeless advocates and went out into the streets with blankets, sleeping bags, coffee, and soup for those living without shelter.

Still, when I asked them if it’s fair to say they represent the weaponized wing of the resistance movement (literally weaponized in the case of the black bloc), they said it was—but were quick to point out their motivations extend well beyond opposition to the current president.

“The narrative that this fight is pro-Trump against anti-Trump is wrong. This is about ultra nationalism,” Victor, a mountain of a man who is clearly wary of saying too much, told me. “We have people working in France; we have people like the Zapatistas… We are all fighting in defense of our communities, but we have the capacity, skills and courage to be offensive. We will not bow down to fascists in the street, to a cop in uniform, or to those in the White House.”

Clay, a skinny, intense man whose voice quivers and rises with passion when he speaks, told me anarchist beliefs “are rooted in the desire for a stateless and fascism-free society, and are defending marginalized communities from a long history of white supremacy asserting itself. We want to destroy the status quo and are willing to do so by any means necessary—whether it’s teaching communities to be self-reliant or something extreme like blocing up.”

They all have stories of mistreatment by police. Blair, who sat quietly, librarian-like, for most of our conversation, told me she was once detained in a West Coast city she doesn’t want to name after a confrontation between the black bloc and police. She said she was shown a massive book with files on her and her associates and was told, “We’re watching you and your friends.” (She told me she wasn’t charged with a crime.)

Victor added, “We operate under the assumption that we have already been infiltrated by right-wing groups and undercover cops, and that we’re being illegally monitored by law enforcement just as Black Lives Matter and Occupy were by the NYPD.”

It sounds, frankly, like an exhausting way to live, but to Victor the struggle with Trump supporters and what he sees as a fascist movement taking hold in America is “quite literally a war… for us, resistance is intuitive and something wehave to do.”

A protester throws a brick at police during Inauguration Day protests. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

These anarchists think the mainstream left has never taken the rise of the alt-right and white nationalism seriously enough. They see their destructive acts in the streets as a wake-up call for the left and a warning to the extreme right—as a call to arms and an example of how to fight what they see as fascism.

Victor laughed when I asked about if they’re worried about their more controversial actions turning people off to the movement, telling me that “mainstream liberals cling to institutions like the police and elected officials that time and again have let them down—yet they continue to return to their abuser like a battered spouse.”

“We’re willing to put ourselves on the line for this. ‘By any means necessary’ is something we take very seriously.”

As for the debate over whether political violence can be justified, to them it’s not a debate. “I abhor violence against people for the most part—but these aren’t people, they’re Nazis,” said an anarchist I’ll call Sean, to laughter from the group.

A man who goes by Rip described how it felt to be in the bloc, charging into literal battle. “I feel more logical than emotional,” he said. “There are so many things going on, from the cops, to making sure your people in the bloc are OK, to staying vigilant for a crazy Trumper with a gun… Adrenaline is definitely running high, but the result isn’t so much excitement of exhilaration as it is closely observing and calculating the risks. It’s a strange calmness in the chaos that’s born out of vigilance and trust in your people.”

When I mentioned the bad press black bloc tactics got both the election and recent May Day protests here in Portland (both devolved into violence and destruction and were declared riots by police), Clay snorts and said, “Yeah? Nobody was paying attention to the Portland protests until we made them. Suddenly the whole world’s eyes were on Portland. We’re willing to put ourselves on the line for this. ‘By any means necessary’ is something we take very seriously.”

I asked the group to respond to criticism that its tactics may turn people away from the causes it endorses, and Clay, speaking with such fervor the tables behind us looked over, noted that other political parties in Germany attempted to reason with Adolf Hitler during his rise. “The neoliberals may not know it yet, but the militant anti-fascists are the ones that history will remember as fighting the rise of fascism in this country—not them.”

What about the property damage done by the black bloc? When a business’s window is broken, that’s not violence against a state but violence against that window’s owner, and in Portland odds are good that the owner is anti-Trump.

The group nodded approvingly as Clay drained his beer and coolly told me they feel no pity for “a bougie boutique that has participated in the displacement and ‘death by gentrification’ of neighborhoods that used to be inhabited by families from already marginalized communities.”

Norm Stamper was the Seattle police chief during those famous 1999 WTO protests, which led to his resignation. “It’s a mistake to underestimate the anarchists as unthinking people bent only on destruction, they’re actually usually some of the most organized protesters,” he told me. More than almost anyone else, he understands the difficult position police are in when confronted by violent protests, and the lack of viable options.

Though he has been open about regretting the decision to use tear gas on the protesters, Stamper says that he “was shocked by the inaction the police” in Berkeley in April when anarchists and the alt-right clashed in the street. “If they don’t act, then they have abdicated their responsibility. You’ll be criticized either way, and it doesn’t matter which side is to blame, you must act.”

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Fema declared Major Disaster Declaration for September 20, 2017

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Incident period: September 16, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 20, 2017
Incident period: September 17, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 20, 2017
Incident period: September 16, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 18, 2017
Incident period: September 17, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 18, 2017
Incident period: September 07, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 15, 2017
Incident period: August 25, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 12, 2017
Incident period: September 08, 2017 to September 14, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 11, 2017
Incident period: August 30, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 10, 2017
Incident period: September 10, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 10, 2017
Incident period: September 04, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 10, 2017
Incident period: September 05, 2017 to September 07, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 10, 2017
Incident period: September 09, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 09, 2017
Incident period: September 09, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 09, 2017
Incident period: September 09, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 09, 2017
Incident period: September 04, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 08, 2017
Incident period: September 07, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 08, 2017
Incident period: September 06, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 07, 2017
Incident period: September 05, 2017 to September 07, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 07, 2017
Incident period: September 04, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 05, 2017
Incident period: September 05, 2017 to September 07, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 05, 2017
Incident period: September 05, 2017 to September 07, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on September 05, 2017
Incident period: August 29, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 05, 2017
Incident period: September 05, 2017 to September 08, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 05, 2017
Incident period: September 04, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 04, 2017
Incident period: September 02, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 03, 2017
Incident period: August 29, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 02, 2017
Incident period: September 01, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 02, 2017
Incident period: September 02, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 02, 2017
Incident period: August 30, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on September 01, 2017
Incident period: August 27, 2017 to September 10, 2017
Emergency Declaration declared on August 28, 2017
Incident period: May 06, 2017 to June 16, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 27, 2017
Incident period: July 19, 2017 to July 23, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 27, 2017
Incident period: August 23, 2017 to September 15, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 25, 2017
Incident period: August 19, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on August 20, 2017
Incident period: July 28, 2017 to July 29, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 18, 2017
Incident period: July 15, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on August 17, 2017
Incident period: August 16, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on August 17, 2017
Incident period: June 29, 2017 to July 01, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 16, 2017
Incident period: July 01, 2017 to July 02, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 09, 2017
Incident period: January 07, 2017 to January 10, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 08, 2017
Incident period: June 07, 2017 to June 22, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 05, 2017
Incident period: August 04, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on August 04, 2017
Incident period: June 22, 2017 to June 27, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 02, 2017
Incident period: June 12, 2017 to June 17, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 01, 2017
Incident period: July 20, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on July 27, 2017
Incident period: May 16, 2017 to May 20, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on July 25, 2017
Incident period: July 24, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on July 25, 2017
Incident period: July 17, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on July 17, 2017
Incident period: July 17, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on July 17, 2017
Incident period: July 14, 2017 to July 15, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on July 14, 2017
Incident period: March 23, 2017 to April 29, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on July 12, 2017
Incident period: March 14, 2017 to March 15, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on July 12, 2017
Incident period: July 09, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on July 09, 2017
Incident period: July 08, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on July 08, 2017
Incident period: June 27, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on June 28, 2017
Incident period: April 29, 2017 to May 03, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on June 26, 2017
Incident period: June 24, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on June 25, 2017
Incident period: May 27, 2017 to May 28, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on June 23, 2017
Incident period: June 18, 2017
Fire Management Assistance Declaration declared on June 18, 2017
Incident period: April 28, 2017 to May 03, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on June 16, 2017
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just a bit strange eh?
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