Russia has deployed an advanced anti-missile system to Syria for the first time, three US officials tell Fox News, the latest indication that Moscow continues to ramp up its military operations in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
It comes after Russia's actions led to the collapse of a cease-fire and the cut-off of direct talks with the U.S.
While Moscow’s motives are not certain, officials say the new weapon system could potentially counter any American cruise missile attack in Syria.
Components of the SA-23 Gladiator anti-missile and anti-aircraft system, which has a range of roughly 150 miles, arrived over the weekend “on the docks” of a Russian naval base along Syria’s Mediterranean coastal city of Tartus, two US officials said.
It is the first time Russia has deployed the SA-23 system outside its borders, according to one Western official citing a recent intelligence assessment.
While the purpose is not clear, one US official asked sarcastically, “Nusra doesn’t have an air force do they?” speaking about the Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria. The Islamic State also does not fly any manned aircraft or possess cruise missiles, in a sign that Russia is directing its actions to protect itself against any potential attack from the United States or its allies.
In what was a disappointment for anyone hoping for "devastating" disclosures, Julian Assange today held off releasing information about the US elections or Hillary Clinton, despite widespread expectation that he was poised to make a major release.
Speaking via video-link at a Wikileaks anniversary event, Assange burst the bubble of thousands of viewers who listened in hoping for a bombshell “October Surprise” that would hurt Clinton. He told an expecting worldwide audience that “there’s enormous expectation in the United States… some of that expectation will be partly answered. But you understand that if we’re going to make a major publication in the United States at a particular hour, we won’t do it at 3am.”
Instead he simply promised leaks on a weekly basis for the next ten weeks – starting in the next few days. He specifically promised that information would relate to the US elections – but did not mention Clinton by name. When asked directly about Clinton, he denied that he or Wikileaks “intend to harm” the Democratic nominee specifically, but insisted his revelations would be “significant” in relation to the election. He said: “There has been a lot of misquoting of me and Wikileaks publications.
“And in this particular case the misquoting has to do with that we intend to harm Hillary Clinton… All those are false."
“They come about as a result principally it seems [inaudible] trying to personalize our publications.... Our upcoming publications are significant in relation to the US elections. Do they show interesting features of US power factions and how they operate? Yes, they do.”
When she was secretary of state in 2010, did Hillary Clinton once suggest silencing WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange by executing him with a planned drone strike?
“Can’t we just drone this guy?” Clinton asked during a State Department meeting, according to a report from the True Pundit blog that was tweeted by the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks Monday.
“Clinton’s State Department was getting pressure from President Obama and his White House inner circle, as well as heads of state internationally, to try and cutoff Assange’s delivery of the cables and if that effort failed, then to forge a strategy to minimize the administration’s public embarrassment over the contents of the cables. Hence, Clinton’s early morning November meeting of State’s top brass who floated various proposals to stop, slow or spin the Wikileaks contamination. That is when a frustrated Clinton, sources said, at some point blurted out a controversial query.
“‘Can’t we just drone this guy?’ Clinton openly inquired, offering a simple remedy to silence Assange and smother Wikileaks via a planned military drone strike, according to State Department sources. The statement drew laughter from the room which quickly died off when the Secretary kept talking in a terse manner, sources said. Clinton said Assange, after all, was a relatively soft target, ‘walking around’ freely and thumbing his nose without any fear of reprisals from the United States.”
Aside from Clinton’s alleged suggestion to “drone” Assange, the report states, sources claim “another controversial remedy was floated in the State Department to place a reward or bounty for Assange’s capture or extradition to the United States … Numbers were discussed in the realm of a $10 million bounty.”
Aide Ann-Marie Slaughter, then-State Department director of planning, emailed Clinton less than three hours after the meeting began. Her subject line: “An SP memo on possible legal and nonlegal strategies re wikileaks.”
Assange has appeared to be concerned for the safety of WikiLeaks sources and himself on at least a few occasions. On Aug. 23, WikiLeaks tweeted that the U.K. police took more than two hours to respond to reports of an intruder at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Assange had been.
“UK police took 2h to respond to Assange Embassy intruder despite 24h covert op & police station 2 mins walk away,” the WikiLeaks tweet said.