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UK doubles arms deals with governments on its own rights blacklist: Report

Press TV – July 19, 2018

The UK has almost doubled its arms deals with governments that it has blacklisted as violators of human rights, figures show.

The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May approved some £1.5 billion in arms licenses in 2017, up from £820 million it did the year before, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) pressure group reported Wednesday.

The licenses allowed weapons sales to 18 countries on Home Office blacklist, which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Pakistan and the Israeli regime.

Arms deals with Saudi Arabia, which has been running a deadly military aggression against Yemen since March 2015, accounted for £1.13 billion of the total amount, the group said.

The ruling Tory government is “actively arming and supporting many of the regimes that even it believes are responsible for terrible human rights abuses,” CAAT’s Andrew Smith told The Independent. … continue

Buses Enter Village in Quneitra for Evacuation

Al-Manar | July 19, 2018

Ten buses entered a village in Syria’s Quneitra province in the southwest on Thursday night to start evacuating insurgents to terrorist-held territory in the north, state TV said.

Damascus is set to recover control of the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in a major victory over militants who have agreed to surrender terms, sources on both sides said.

Insurgents in Qunaitra near the Golan agreed to either accept the return of state rule or leave to militant-held Idlib province in the north.

Regional states muscle in to seek a bigger ‘say’ in Afghan conflict

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | July 19, 2018

A new strategic fault line appeared in the Afghan conflict last week when Islamabad hosted an unusual meeting of the heads of the intelligence agencies of Russia, China and Iran on July 11.

Moscow thoughtfully publicized the event both for its optics as well as to pre-empt misperceptions that some sort of zero-sum game might be afoot.

The focus was on joint measures to stop the terrorist group Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K) from threatening the territorial boundaries of the four regional states. In the Russian estimation, there could be up to 10,000 fighters in IS-K’s ranks already and the group is already active in nine of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan.

The four participating countries “reached understanding of the importance of coordinated steps to prevent the trickling of IS terrorists from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan, where from they would pose risks for neighboring countries.” But they also “stressed the need for a more active inclusion of regional powers in the efforts” to end the war in Afghanistan. … continue

Global Population Growth Ceased in 1988… Population Has Only Grown Older Since

Econimica | July 18, 2019

The world stopped growing about 1988… and has only grown older since.

Global births, per five year periods, according to the UN.

Births and UN medium and low variant estimates through 2040… plus my best estimate of the most likely births.  Despite the significantly larger (older) total population, births continue to languish and appear set to decline. Since 2000, total births are declining everywhere except Africa. … continue

FBI Chief Threatens To Quit If Trump Invites Russian Agents To US

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 07/19/2018

FBI Chief Christopher Wray dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer for US law enforcement agents to travel to Russia and interview the subjects of last week’s DOJ indictment, saying “that’s not high on our list of investigative techniques” during a Q&A with CNN’s Lester Holt at the Aspen Security Forum.

He also threatened to quit if President Trump were to override him and insist on indulging Putin’s request to have Russian agents interview Michael McFaul, the ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration – after Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was open to the request. … Full article

Aftermath of Helsinki summit: American ‘democracy’ in action

By Finian Cunningham | RT | July 19, 2018

After his landmark summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, US President Donald Trump was apparently forced into an embarrassing u-turn over allegations of Russian interference in American elections.

On returning to the White House from his summit in Finland, Trump read out a statement, saying that he “accepted” US intelligence claims that Russia had meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

He offered the explanation that he had “mis-spoken” during his press conference with Putin in Helsinki the day before, when he appeared then to accept the Russian president’s “powerful denial” that his country had not interfered in the race for the White House.

What to make of it? Was Trump correcting a glitch in his speech, or is there something more sinister at play? … continue

Trump’s Russian Meddling Reversal Suggests US Becoming ‘Authoritarian’

Sputnik – July 19, 2018

Both media and political backlash being thrown against US President Donald Trump for his flip-flopping antics on whether or not Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election suggests that the Land of the Free is heading toward an authoritarian route, historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter told Sputnik. … continue

Gallup Shows How Much Americans Really Care About The “Situation With Russia”

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 07/19/2018

While ever-hope-filled expectations among the left are for a ‘blue wave’ in the Mid-term elections, we suspect things may not turn out quite as planned given the last week’s “crisis”. Even before President Trump had set foot in Helsinki, the left and the media were banging the drums of war against “the thug” Putin and how he would trump Trump, and once the press conference furore was over, all hell broke loose as the left-leaning world attempted to out-signal one another’s virtue as to the “treasonous”, “surrender” that had occurred.

So much so – in fact – that the internet became ‘full’ of “Trump” and “Treason” chatter – more so even than when he joked in July 2016 about Russia having Hillary’s missing 30,000 emails.

Once again – the “Russia, Russia, Russia” cries drowned out any sane discussion of the end of cold war 2.0.

There’s just one problem with the Democrats’ unending focus on Russia and the media’s constant collusion chatter: few Americans care, because – drumroll – they have real lives in the real economy to worry about.

As the latest survey from Gallup shows: when asked what the most important problem facing the nation is, Russia did not even warrant a 1% – and worse still, it is declining in importance from there. … Full article

State Dept Fails to Find Precedent for Summoning Trump’s Interpreter to Congress

Sputnik – 19.07.2018

WASHINGTON – The US State Department has not found a precedent yet for calling a presidential interpreter to testify before Congress, department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

“That’s the question that I’ve asked, ‘Is there any precedent for this?’ We’ve not been able to find that just yet,” Nauert said. “I can tell you there is no formal requests to have the interpreter appear before any congressional committees at this point. Overall, as a general matter, you know, we always seek to work with Congress.”

Several US lawmakers want the individual who interpreted President Donald Trump’s recent talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to testify before US Congress.

Earlier in the day, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders told reporters that such a request would have to go through the State Department. … Full article

Maxine Waters: ‘Hustler of hate’ or Democratic nominee in 2020?

By Danielle Ryan | RT | July 19, 2018

Crazy. Unhinged. Un-American. Those are just a few of the adjectives used to describe Congresswoman Maxine Waters as she emerges as a star of the anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ and riles both Democrats and Republicans with her fervor.

The California Democrat has drawn sharp criticism even from her own party for what many interpreted as an incitement to ‘mob violence’ when she called on Americans to harass members of Donald Trump’s administration if they saw them in public — antics which led her to receive serious threats against her life.

While Democrats have tried to criticize Waters in a more diplomatic manner, appealing for calm in trying times, Republicans haven’t been holding back. One congressional candidate called her a “hustler of hate” who should be behind bars. … continue

Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | July 17, 2018

According to a new poll conducted by Ipsos  in partnership with the University of Virginia Center for Politics, 51% of respondents agree (15% “strongly” and 36% “somewhat”) with the statement “American elections are fair and open.”

The Ipsos headline characterizes that percentage as “only half.” That’s akin to noting that “only half” of Americans believe the Earth is a flat disc of provolone cheese, balanced atop the fingertips of seven celestial belly dancers. “Only” half?

Republicans, males, people over 55, people making more than $50,000 a year, and whites are more likely to believe this bizarre claim than Democrats, females, younger voters, the under-$50k crowd, and non-whites, but even among the latter buy-in is disturbingly high.

That over-55 demographic is plenty old enough to remember that after Ross Perot made it onto the presidential debate stage in 1992 (as an independent) and 1996 (as the Reform Party’s nominee), the Commission on Presidential Debates added a 15% polling bar to its rules to ensure that only Republicans and Democrats need apply.

Every four years, the CPD — established after the National Commission on Elections recommended  “[t]urning over the sponsorship of Presidential debates to the two major parties” — makes millions in illegal in-kind campaign contributions to Republican and Democratic presidential and vice-presidential candidates, and no others, in the form of joint campaign commercials falsely advertised as “debates.”

Most disturbing: 49% of self-described “independent” voters — voters deprived of choice by a tangled web of ballot access laws expressly designed to keep third party and independent candidates off the ballot and campaign finance laws that keep them marginalized if they get over those ballot access hurdles — still believe in the Fair and Open Election Fairy. … continue

We want to hear from Scotland Yard, not media reports on Skripals’ case – Russian envoy to UK

RT | July 19, 2018

Moscow is waiting for any official statement on the Skripal attack suspects, Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, has said in the wake of media reports that police identified some “Russians” as the culprits.

On Thursday, the Press Association reported that British investigators believe they identified “the suspected perpetrators” of the March poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. After analyzing CCTV footage, they reportedly came to the conclusion that some “Russians” are involved in the attack.

Commenting on the media claims, the Russian envoy said that official London remains silent on the issue, stressing that media reports often fail to find any confirmation.

“These are media reports, unfortunately there are no official statements from the British side. I want to hear from Scotland Yard, from the Foreign Office. Many versions [published] in the newspapers are not confirmed on the official level,” Yakovenko told journalists in Moscow.

The envoy also warned that Moscow “will exert pressure” on London, including through official requests and dialogue, over the Skripal case, as it is “a political issue.” He also plans to discuss the issue during the meeting with the UK’s new foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt. … continue

Henningsen: ‘US Can Help Refugee Crisis By Lifting Sanctions and Getting Out of Syria’

21st Century Wire | July 18, 2018

One potentially positive outcome from Monday’s Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, Finland was a clear signal that both leaders have talked about cooperating in Syria, rather than treating each other as geopolitical adversaries at the expense of Syria’s own welfare.

While this has been received with fury by the US mainstream corporate media, pro-war Democrats and Neocon Republicans – it has been seen by the rest of the world as a much-needed diplomatic overture which could help to stabilize the situation, rather than exacerbate existing problems across the country and the Middle East in general. Russia’s Defense Ministry announced it is already prepared to ‘boost cooperation’ with the U.S. military in Syria, saying in a statement Tuesday that it’s ready for “practical implementation” of any memorandums of understanding reached between Trump and Putin, including the extension of the START arms control treaty.

21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen spoke to RT International yesterday about what the US and its EU counterparts need to do to mitigate Europe’s Migrant Crisis as well as Syria and the Middle East’s refugee crisis – namely, lifting punitive joint US-EU economic sanctions on Syria, and also seeing the US end its illegal occupation with its Kurdish SDF proxy militias in northeastern Syria:

US arrest of Russian attempt to undermine Trump-Putin summit

Press TV – July 18, 2018

Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the arrest this week of a Russian national in the United States was a deliberate attempt to undermine a summit between President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland.

Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday the detention of Maria Butina, which took place on Sunday, a day before the summit, had no grounds and was meant to affect the positive outcome of the summit. … continue

I’m the Reporter Mentioned in Mueller’s Indictment. Why Hasn’t He Spoken to Me?

By Lee Stranahan | Sputnik | July 18, 2018

I was as surprised as anyone last Friday, when just days before US President Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, special counsel Robert Mueller dropped an indictment against 12 Russian nationals claiming that they were Guccifer 2.0, the entity that took credit on June 15, 2016, for the hack of the DNC and DCCC.

I was even more surprised to find that I was discussed in Mueller’s indictment.

Section 43c of the indictment says, “On or about August 22, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, sent a reporter stolen documents pertaining to the Black Lives Matter Movement. The reporter responded by discussing when to release the documents and offering to write an article about their release.”

I am that reporter.

Part of the reason I was surprised is that I have never been contacted by anyone from Mueller’s investigative team. That’s one reason I personally know that this is a shoddy investigation, but I’ll come back to that in a moment. … continue

Israel’s nukes, not Syria: Man kicked out from Trump-Putin summit says AP misquoted him

RT | July 18, 2018

Political activist and writer Sam Husseini, who was ousted from a joint media conference by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, accuses the media of lying about his goal at the event. He had a question about Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Husseini, a contributor to The Nation who also wrote for a number of major media outlets as well as the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), was evicted from a media conference held by the two presidents on Tuesday in Helsinki.

The news agency Associated Press (AP) quoted him as saying that he had a question “on Syria’s nuclear policy” and the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia.

Husseini says AP misquoted him and that he wanted to hear Putin’s and Trump’s opinion on Israel’s clandestine nuclear arsenal, the existence of which the Jewish state neither acknowledges nor denies.

In further tweets Husseini called the AP story by Jari Tanner a “piece of garbage” that has spread to other media outlets. He added his ousting from the event was falsely attributed by many to Russian officials, while in fact the decision was made by Finnish security. The statement even made it to his Wikipedia page.

Israeli Soldiers Abduct At Least Twenty-Seven Palestinians In The West Bank

IMEMC News – July 18, 2018

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted at last twenty-seven Palestinians in several parts of the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

The soldiers violently invaded and searched dozens of homes, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, before abducting twenty-eight, including a female photojournalist, identified as Ra’eda Sa’id, who was taken prisoner from the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem. … Full article

5 Palestinian workers injured in hit-and-run by Israeli settler

Palestine Information Center – July 18, 2018

Five Palestinian workers were wounded on Wednesday after they were hit by an Israeli settler driving in the southern occupied West Bank province of al-Khalil.

An Israeli settler driving a GMC car rammed his vehicle into five Palestinian workers in Yatta, south of al-Khalil.

The settler ran away. An Israeli ambulance rushed to the scene and evacuated the wounded workers to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheba.

A worker’s condition has been identified as critical. The other injuries are reportedly moderate.

Palestinian girl attacked by racist Israeli settlers in Jerusalem

Palestine Information Center – July 18, 2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Female Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian girl in Occupied Jerusalem after they heard her speaking in Arabic.

The victim Raghdeh Othman said she was physically and verbally assaulted by fanatic Israeli settlers in Occupied Jerusalem.

A settler used an electric shock device against the woman while another called her “an Arab prostitute.”

Raghdeh was transferred to a hospital so as to be treated for the wounds and bruises inflicted by the settlers.

Ocasio-Cortez “Evolves” Her Position on Palestine to Please Zionist Democratic Mega-Donors

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | July 16, 2018

NEW YORK – During a recent interview with PBS and just two weeks after her historic upset victory against 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seemed already to be walking back from at least some of her more “radical” positions voiced prior to her Democratic primary win.

While her primary victory has certainly made the young New Yorker a new “rising star” in the Democratic Party, all the new attention seems to have come at a price, particularly as she now aims to court major Democratic Party donors as the general election approaches. Many of those donors, such as the Zionist entertainment billionaire Haim Saban, are unlikely to be supportive of her past positions on key issues, particularly her prior statements on Israel and Palestine.

Appearing on PBS’ Firing Line on Friday, Ocasio-Cortez surprised many of her supporters as she toned down statements she had made earlier this year regarding Israel, particularly Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its brutal crackdown on demonstrators in the Gaza Strip. That crackdown saw over 6,000 unarmed protesters shot by Israeli Defense Forces and hundreds killed, resulting in international condemnation.

Though she had tweeted on May 14 that the Israeli crackdown in Gaza was a “massacre,” and expressed hope that her “peers have the moral courage to call it such,” Ocasio-Cortez distanced herself from that statement during her recent PBS interview, asserting that she had made that statement as an “activist” and not as a congressional candidate for the Democratic Party. … continue

Indictment of 12 Russians: Under the Shiny Wrapping, a Political Act

By Scott Ritter | TruthDig | July 15, 2018

… If this case were to go to trial, the indictment would be dismissed in the preliminary hearing phase for insufficient evidence, even if the government were willing to lay out the totality of its case—which, because of classification reasons, it would never do.

But the purpose of the indictment wasn’t to bring to justice the perpetrators of a crime against the American people; it was to manipulate public opinion.

And therein lies the rub. … Read full article

Conspiracy Humor and Irony in the Trump-Russia Brouhaha

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | July 18, 2018

New York Times : Mr. Trump raised a series of largely irrelevant conspiracy theories — none of which were directly related to the evidence of Russian hacking activity.

Washington Post : And with that, yet another President Trump conspiracy theory is thoroughly repudiated by the Russia investigation.

Chicago Tribune : On Monday, Trump also resurrected several debunked conspiracy theories about his opponent Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

Time: President Donald Trump gave a not-so subtle nod to an online conspiracy theory about the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

NBC: President Donald Trump on Monday promoted two conspiracy theories and raised questions about his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s email server.

CNN: Trump has made a lot of the conservative conspiracy theory that there’s an entrenched “deep state” out to get him even though he leads the government.

*****

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Indictment Against 12 Russians (which many in the mainstream media have accepted as gospel)

COUNT ONE: Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States).

COUNT TEN: Conspiracy to Launder Money.

COUNT ELEVEN: Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States).

Horror in Helsinki: Trumputin Strikes Again

By Michael Howard | American Herald Tribune | July 18, 2018

… All in all, the media delirium over Trump’s humdrum meeting with Putin pushes us ever further into the political Twilight Zone. Soon a fanatical opposition to all things Russian will serve as a litmus test for Democratic presidential candidates. Just as the GOP uses gays and guns to energize an otherwise disaffected base, so the Democrats will use this new and more dangerous form of McCarthyism. All this is by design: they understand they can’t rely on their actual policies, created for and by our corporate masters, to secure votes. Hence the diversionary tactics, all of which are beginning to merge into a rabid Russophobia—one that, if allowed to inform policy-making at the highest levels of government, may well get us all vaporized. In the words of Allen Ginsberg: America this is quite serious. – Read full article

While His Opponents Cry Treason Trump Sues for Peace

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.07.2018

For the second time in as many months President Trump went against the grain of US foreign policy.

I will not mince words. I was hoping for more from the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki; something concrete. Even a small agreement about a quid pro quo in Syria would have been welcome.

But, given the level of histrionics on display in the US media and on the left I guess I should have tempered my expectations. Cries of Trump being guilty of ‘treason’ and ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ are rampant.

And they aren’t going to stop.

Crying treason for opening up diplomatic contact with a foreign leader whom we are not at war with is beyond hyperbole. It is the height of insanity. And I don’t use that term lightly. … continue

US Senate Democrats Demand Probe of Putin-Trump Summit

Sputnik – July 18, 2018

Democratic leaders are demanding an open hearing in which Trump administration officials, including the American translator, would explain what transpired in Monday’s meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This is too important not to get the full story out before the Senate and the American people,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a press conference on Tuesday while flanked by senior Democratic lawmakers.

In addition, Schumer demanded that the administration turn over to Congress all contemporaneous notes from the summit. … continue

What did Trump promise Putin? Bring his interpreter to Congress & find out, Democrats insist

RT | July 18, 2018

Did Donald Trump secretly surrender America to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki? Suspicious Democrats want to know the truth by bringing the State Department interpreter to testify before Congress.

The first direct Trump-Putin talks on Monday were savaged by the critics. The US president was branded a “traitor” and “Putin’s poodle,” with political opponents and some members of his own party accusing him of “siding with the enemy.” … continue

Mexico: Indigenous Rights Leader Found Dead After Kidnapping

teleSUR | July 18, 2018

… The body of missing Salchi regional coordinator for social organization Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (Codedi), Abraham Hernández González, has been found in Cuatunalco.

Members of Codedi had reported the social leader had been kidnapped from a Pochutla district hotel at about 11:00 am where he worked as a manager, by armed individuals dressed in military fatigue, and stuffed in a vehicle which then fled the scene. …Full article

Colombian Community Mourns the Loss of Another Social Leader

teleSUR | July 17, 2018

Another Colombian social leader was reportedly murdered in the municipality of Caloto, Cauca, a national human rights network confirmed Monday.

The father of a former FARC soldier, an active participant in the Association of Pro-Constitution Workers Zones of the Caloto Campesina Reserves, Luis Eduardo Dague was a leader in his community. He assisted in founding the Carmelo of the Municipality of Caloto Cauca community and worked on the El Carmelo Action Board and various union, trade, and agricultural groups, the human rights network Francisco Isaías Cifuentes reported.

Dague’s remains were found in the El Carmelo Monday morning with marks consistent with torture across his body, face, and neck. Experts say Dague was most likely stoned or beaten to death.

According to local reports, a group of soldiers was camped on property owned by the victim near the crime scene. This is the second murder registered in Cauca this week. … continue

Nicaragua Defeats The Not-So-Soft Coup

teleSUR | July 17, 2018

On July 19, hundreds of thousands of people from across Nicaragua will converge on the capital Managua to celebrate the 39th anniversary of their historic 1979 defeat of the Somoza dictatorship. The event takes place as the authorities continue to liberate communities blockaded by roadblocks operated by armed opposition activists whose not-so-soft coup attempt against the Sandinista government, begun on April 18, has failed. Ever since April 21, when President Daniel Ortega called for a process of National Dialogue to peacefully resolve opposition demands, Nicaragua’s political opposition and their allies have worked to sabotage talks for a negotiated solution. They have regularly staged extremely violent provocations falsely seeking to portray the government as being wholly responsible for the crisis and demanding President Ortega’s resignation.

Early in July, the opposition reneged on an agreement to dismantle the roadblocks their armed supporters have used since late April to try to destroy the country’s economy and intimidate the general population. On July 9, the government declared it would no longer permit the opposition to abuse the population’s basic rights to peace and security, stating: “Faced with the daily suffering imposed on Nicaragua’s families, who since April 18 have suffered violence from terrorists who have murdered, tortured and kidnapped hundreds of citizens, the same terrorists that have burned and destroyed hundreds of families’ homes, public buildings, small- and medium-sized businesses, such that the state is bound to act in accordance with the law to guarantee the right of its citizens to live in peace, with security and respect for the human rights enshrined in our political constitution, in the charters of international organizations and in human rights conventions.” … continue

Lawyer who filed complaints to UN against Lithuania over CIA black sites wants leaders indicted

RT | July 17, 2018

A human rights lawyer, who sent complaints to the UN against Lithuania for allowing the CIA to host secret prisons on its soil, is sure he will see the country’s leadership indicted. He talks exclusively to RT.

In May of this year, Lithuania and Romania were found responsible for knowingly allowing the torture of prisoners at secret CIA facilities on their territories, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled. […]

Professor Stanislovas Tomas, a human rights lawyer, believes that then-Lithuanian president Rolandas Paksas was impeached back in 2004 only because he refused to host such CIA prisons on Lithuanian soil. His successor Valdas Adamkus who claimed to have been the moral authority in the state, gave the green light to such secret facilities.

The human rights lawyer states that both Adamkus and Arvydas Pocius, the current Chief of Defense of Lithuania, should be declared “suspects” in the case. … Full article

The Salisbury Poisonings: How the Ducks Led Down a Rabbit Trail, Then to Some Potentially Crucial Information

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | July 16, 2018

Nothing is simple in the Salisbury poisonings. Nothing makes much sense. The reason for this is not because no credible explanation exists which might make sense of it all. It is because the authorities have sold us a narrative which is not credible, which does not make sense, and they have done so whilst withholding crucial details about the case from the public. Here are three pieces of key information that they have withheld, which they could easily release, and which may well help with the investigation… continue

Psychoanalysing NATO: Gaslighting

By Patrick ARMSTRONG | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.07.2018

… We illustrate the eleven signs of “gaslighting” given in Psychiatry Today by Stephanie A. Sarkis with recent events. … Read full article

Lost in translation: CNN claims Putin admitted to election-meddling. He did not.

RT | July 17, 2018

The US mainstream media’s chorus condemnation of US President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki has gone so far that CNN claimed Putin had confessed to meddling in US elections.

CNN Newsroom anchor Poppy Harlow made the claim Tuesday while interviewing Marc Lotter, former press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence. Harlow played the clip of the Russian president responding to a question by Reuters reporter Jeff Mason at Monday’s press conference about wanting Trump to win the 2016 presidential election.

“Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” Mason asked.

“Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal,” was Putin’s response, as provided by the translator.

Harlow took the repetition to mean agreement on both questions, and she insisted on replaying the clip after Lotter said he wasn’t sure, and that Putin might have been answering just the first part.

While the translator most certainly said that, Putin did not. His full answer, accurately translated from Russian, was, “Yes, I wanted him to win, because he talked about the need to normalize US-Russia relations.” … Full article

Detente Bad, Cold War Good

By Craig Murray | July 17, 2018

… The war-hawks who were devastated by the loss of champion killer Hillary now see the prospect of their very worst fear coming true. Their very worst fear is the outbreak of peace and international treaties of arms control. Hence the media and political establishment today has reached peaks of hysteria never before seen. Pursuing peace is “treason” and the faux left now stand starkly exposed. – Read full article

US Media is Losing Its Mind Over Trump-Putin Press Conference

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | July 16, 2018

The media’s mania over Trump’s Helsinki performance and the so-called Russia-gate scandal reached new depths on Monday, says Joe Lauria. – Read article

Helsinki: What did Trump want from Putin, really?

By Denis Rancourt | Dissident Voice | July 16, 2018

I just did a live Sputnik International radio interview about the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki. This is the essence of my answers.

Trump is the USA and the USA mainly wants two things from Russia.

First, it wants Russia’s credibility. In the words of Trump: “I really think the world wants to see us get along.”

USA world credibility has crashed after Iraq-Afghanistan-Libya. The USA is known to abandon its allies and to work for gain even at the price of making long-term enemies.

The USA is habituated to being the most powerful and the most powerful can afford to make enemies. But the world is changing. The new multipolarity is accompanied by greater risks if the USA insists on maintaining the same degree of dominance.

In the words of Trump “We have a world to run”. This means the USA can gain much from collaboration with Russia. But, as usual, this does not mean that Russia can draw benefit from any such collaboration, only avoid some otherwise imposed punishment (sanctions, blockades, military pressures).

Second, the USA desperately “needs” to prevent democratization of effective weapons that can defend against its military intimidation and destruction campaigns. … continue

Trump-Putin Summit Meets Expectations: Reviving Hopes for Better Future

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.07.2018

There is no doubt that the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki is a significant step forward. As expected, there were no breakthroughs and the tide was not exactly turned but guardrails to the bilateral relationship were restored to pave the way for substantial progress.

Evidently, only a full-fledged summit could stop further deterioration of the bilateral relations and it happened. True, it was too brief to produce strides but it created a positive atmosphere for launching the process of repairing the damage. The meeting met the expectations of those who wanted the bilateral ties to improve.

The importance of cooperation between the militaries was emphasized. No doubt, it will become closer and more intensive from now on. National security teams will revive the much-needed dialogue on a range of burning issues, including separate talks on cyber security. The fate of the New START Treaty will be addressed to prevent the erosion of arms control. This is a very important and timely development. The parties will coordinate their actions in Syria. President Putin stressed the need to resume public diplomacy to boost contacts between the peoples. These are tangible results. As President Trump said at the news conference, the relationship was at the rock bottom but it has changed now.

The lawmakers’ support is a must for implementation of the president’s plans. Will Donald Trump have congressional backing for his “hit it off with Putin” policy? It brings to the fore the issue of GOP prospects for the US midterm elections on November 6, which are a kind of referendum on Donald Trump’s performance. On this date, Americans will answer the question whether they trust President Trump, including his Russia policy. … continue

Russian military ‘ready to work with US’ after Trump & Putin talk Syria, nuclear arms in Helsinki

RT | July 17, 2018

The Russian military is ready to work with the US colleagues on all the areas discussed by the two presidents during the Helsinki summit, namely cooperation in Syria and mutual reduction of the strategic nuclear arsenals.

“Russian Defense Ministry is ready to implement the agreements on the international security, reached by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump during the Helsinki summit yesterday,” Ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Tuesday.

On Monday, Russian and the US leaders agreed to revitalize the military cooperation in several fields. During the press conference in the aftermath of the summit, Trump stated that Russian and US militaries proved to actually get along better than the politicians of the two countries over the past few years, naming deconfliction communication in Syria as an example.

Putin and Trump agreed to work together on returning the people displaced by the Syrian conflict, since several million of refugees are still living in Turkey and Lebanon. … continue

The Helsinki Summit: Trying to Turn the Page on the New Cold War

By Max Forte | Zero Anthropology | July 17, 2018

Finally, on Monday, July 16, 2018, the Helsinki Summit bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump took place, despite shrill demands that it be stopped, canceled, or turned into a platform for more aggression. “President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections. Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. Yet there could never be any “proof” of someone not doing something in the future, and to implement the conditions for this specific case would require turning off all the electricity in Russia and seizing all computers everywhere on its territory. It is thus plainly an absurd, irrational, and unrealistic statement that is meant to satisfy partisan emotional needs. As a recipe for international relations, it would be a disaster of a policy. In a desperate effort to maintain the interests vested in the new Cold War, Democrats tried to elbow their way into the summit, to no avail. In the US today, “resistance” means continuing, even escalating, the fabricated Cold War against Russia—resistance has become the catchy buzzword for what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, updated to include billionaire tycoons funding “social movements” operating as part of “civil society”. … continue

Turkish journalist acquitted over exposing Ankara’s arms aid to Syria militants

Press TV – July 16, 2018

A court in Turkey has acquitted a journalist of the center-left and opposition daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, who was being tried for espionage in a case about revealing state secrets by publishing footage of a video showing weapons shipment to pockets of Syria held by foreign-backed terrorists.

On Monday, Istanbul’s 14th Heavy Penal Court dropped charges against Erdem Gul, who used to serve as the paper’s Ankara representative.

In May 2016, the 14th High Criminal Court in Istanbul convicted former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily Can Dundar and Gul following the publication of the video.

The two defendants were arrested and held in prison until Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that their rights had been violated and ordered their release.

Earlier this year, Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the Istanbul court’s previous ruling on the case, and ordered Gul’s acquittal over lack of evidence.

Back in May 2015, Cumhuriyet daily posted on its website footage showing Turkish security forces in early 2014 intercepting a convoy of trucks carrying arms for militants in Syria.

The paper said the trucks were carrying some 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons. … continue

Chief Rabbi Vs. Labour Party

By Gilad Atzmon | July 17, 2018

The BBC reports this morning that Britan’s chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said Labour will be “on the wrong side” of the fight against racism unless it toughens up its anti-Semitism code of conduct.

Rabbi Mirvis said Labour’s new anti-Semitism definition sent “an unprecedented message of contempt to the Jewish community”.

Apparently the Chief Rabbi is not alone. The J Post reports this morning that “Sixty-eight British rabbis signed an open letter decrying antisemitism in the country’s labor Party and calling on the party to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.”

Labour has defended its new code as the most “comprehensive” of any party.

But one may wonder, why do we need a special definition for antisemitsm? Is a general and universal denouncement of racism, bigotry and discrimination of all kinds not sufficient? Are Jews somehow special? … continue

Israel passes Facebook Bill which will authorise deleting content considered incitement

MEMO | July 17, 2018

The Israeli Knesset has passed the first reading of what is called the Facebook Bill which stipulates deleting content from social media, Quds Press reported. The law is to go for its second and third readings in the coming days.

The Knesset said in a statement that the bill, when it becomes a law, would authorise the court to issue orders to delete internet content “if it harmed the human safety, public, economic, state or vital infrastructure safety”.

According to the statement the law is to include the content of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other internet platforms.

It would also include search engines like google and it would block certain content from appearing in the search results.

Israel Blocks Fuel Shipment to Gaza

Palestine Chronicle | July 17, 2018

Israel has further tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing with the Palestinian besieged enclave a week after they announced the closure of the crossing.

The defense ministry announced late on Monday that fuel and gas deliveries will be suspended. The fishing zone enforced by Israel off the Gaza Strip will also be further reduced from six nautical miles to three.

The goods crossing, known as Karam Abu Salem, will remain open only for food and medicine on a case-by-case basis.

Hamas has denounced Israel’s latest punitive measure.

Israel’s latest measure comes following Israel’s initial closing of the Karam Abu Salem Crossing on July 9, when they announced only items deemed “humanitarian” by Israeli authorities will be allowed to enter Gaza including food, hygiene and medical supplies, fuel, animal feed and livestock.

Since then, 55 percent of goods can no longer enter Gaza under the new restrictions, exacerbating already dire humanitarian conditions.

Hamas called the initial closing last week a “crime against humanity”.

The UN and Gisha, the Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, called Israel’s latest measure an act of “collective punishment”.

A spokesperson from Gisha said: “There is no other way of describing this measure other than collective punishment. Pretending to know what Gaza needs and trying to ‘manage the situation’ harkens back to earlier iterations of the closure, is morally depraved and constitutes a willful act of hubris in a volatile situation.” … Full article

UK drone personnel could be liable for war crimes

MEMO | July 17, 2018

A two-year probe by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on drones claims that British military personnel could be prosecuted for murder and complicit in alleged war crimes, a report launched today reveals.

The inquiry – ‘The UK’s use of Armed Drones: Working with Partners’ – received 17 written evidence submissions and conducted six oral evidence sessions by experts in the field. Some 19 recommendations were put forward to “guarantee a solid foundation for UK drone policy and operations moving forward”.

The inquiry called upon the British government to immediately publish its “targeted killing” policy, just as the United States and Israel have done previously, but more importantly to establish “an independent scrutiny mechanism responsible to Parliament in the event that any UK drone (armed or unarmed) is used in an operation where lethal force is employed,” the report said.

Currently, all drone strikes involving civilian casualties and cases where British nationals have been killed go without any transparency or accountability.

The report raises concern that the ongoing uncertainty about government policy may leave front-line British personnel in considerable doubt about whether what they are being asked to do is lawful, therefore exposing them to the risk of criminal prosecution for murder or complicity in murder. … continue