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Current News and Analysis

Lebanon ‘willing’ to set maritime border with Israel under UN supervision

MEMO | April 25, 2019

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said his country is prepared to demarcate its maritime border with Israel through the same mechanism used to draw the Blue Line under the supervision of the United Nations, the Anadolu Agency reported.

“We are ready to draw Lebanon’s maritime borders and those of the Exclusive Economic Zone using the same procedure that was used to draw the Blue Line under the supervision of the United Nations,” Berri said during a meeting with Major General, Stefano Del Col, head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

General Del Col said the UN could use the same mechanism to demarcate the maritime border.

The Blue Line refers to the land border between Lebanon and Israel which was drawn under the UN supervision to facilitate Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanon and Israel have an unresolved dispute over the ownership of a nearly 860 square kilometre zone which extends along the edge of three of Lebanon’s energy blocks in the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Syria sit on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean where a number of big gas fields have been discovered since 2009.

Media trust ranker NewsGuard launches in UK by greenlighting tabloids, adding ex-NATO chief to board

RT | April 24, 2019

NewsGuard, the trust-rating outfit that continues to approve of US media that spread the Russiagate conspiracy theory, has expanded operations to the UK and added a former NATO chief to its advisory board.

Announcing its UK debut on Wednesday, NewsGuard bragged about including Anders Fogh Rasmussen to their advisory board, describing him only as “former prime minister of Denmark.” While he did serve in that capacity between 2001 and 2009, his most recent public office was secretary-general of NATO (2009-2014), which NewsGuard omits from their tweet – but not from the Advisory Board page.

Rasmussen’s colleagues on NewsGuard’s board include former US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, as well as the self-described former “chief propagandist” for the US government Richard Stengel. … continue

Another climate lie bites the dust: 2018 Florida Red Tide caused by ocean circulation, not climate change

From the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA and the Gilda Radner School of Universal Climate Blame comes this “never mind” moment. You may recall that last year, blaming Florida’s red tide event was the low-hanging fruit for journos, like Angela Fritz of the Washington Post “Capital Weather Gang” who, without any direct evidence, speculated breathlessly: How climate change is making ‘red tide’ algal blooms even worse continue

Rising electricity prices are forcing Britain’s poorest to underheat their homes

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | April 24, 2019

According to the fuel poverty report recently released by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), nearly 70% of UK households are heating their houses less than is required to meet the levels thought necessary to deliver comfort and health.

Those on lower incomes are “under-consuming” by a larger margin than those on higher incomes, with only the top richest decile consuming more than the estimated requirement.

The poorest households were under-consuming by the largest margin, and it is in this category that those most vulnerable to policy costs, the 2.2 million UK households using electric heating, are concentrated, particularly in rented accommodation.

The findings call into question the Chancellor’s recently announced decision to begin phasing out gas fired central heating in the UK from 2025. … Full article

Peter Ridd vs The Dishonourables

A powerful bureaucracy bullies, berates, isolates, and intimidates a lone critic.

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | April 24, 2019

The Peter Ridd court ruling, released last week, is a re-telling of David and Goliath. This is a story about a bureaucratic in-group persecuting a dissenting voice. It’s also a story about widespread dishonourable conduct.

Ridd formerly ran the physics department, and managed James Cook University’s marine geophysical laboratory for 15 years. He was fired in May 2018, after alleging that Great Barrier Reef research affiliated with his university was misleading politicians and the public.

When Ridd first reached out to journalist Peter Michael at the Courier-Mail about his concerns, Michael didn’t protect his source by shielding Ridd’s identity. Instead, he betrayed Ridd by forwarding the full e-mail, accompanied by a few questions of his own, to one of the organizations being criticized – the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. … continue

Japan extends apology & restitution to victims of forced sterilization law

RT | April 24, 2019

The Japanese government apologized to thousands of people forcibly sterilized under a now defunct eugenics program, and offered the victims money in compensation.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe devoted 3.2 million yen (US$28,000) to all surviving victims of the program, while Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga extended “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology.” … continue

‘I Was Set Up’: Papadopoulos Tells Sputnik He Was Target of US, UK Intelligence

Sputnik – 24.04.2019

George Papadopoulos, former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the first person to plead guilty in the Russiagate investigation, told Sputnik Tuesday that he was targeted by UK and US intelligence to serve as a “patsy” who would ease their targeting of the Trump campaign.

“I was set up to become some sort of patsy in this conspiracy, which I believe was designed for two reasons: one was to initially cover up that I was being spied on for other reasons,” Papadopoulos told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Tuesday, “and two, to then use me and frame me to eventually undermine the Trump presidency and use me as some sort of conspiracy person that connects all the dots that never existed in the first place.” … continue

Top 51 Fake News Russiagate ‘Bombshells’ Spread By The MSM

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 04/23/2019

Following the release of the Mueller report, the mainstream media tried to pull a fast one – absurdly claiming that their reporting for the last 2.5 years has been largely vindicated.

Except, they weren’t vindicated at all. In fact, they lied through their teeth, peddling falsehood after falsehood.

To that end, Breitbart‘s John Nolte isn’t about to let them get away with peddling even more fiction about their reporting, and has compiled a list of 51 instances where the MSM flat out lied, borrowing from the work of Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari. … continue

Iran Is No One’s Colony

By Christopher – New Eastern Outlook – Black 24.04.2019

The American aggression against Iran is escalating to a level that threatens world war. On Monday April 22, the USA declared that it has withdrawn “waivers” given to China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, under the illegal US economic warfare campaign being conducted against Iran under the name of “sanctions.” The stated objective is to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero, crippling the Iranian economy, damaging the economies of countries that purchase Iranian oil and raising the price of oil for the rest of the world suppliers, including of course the US and Saudis, that have pledged to fill the gap, at a higher price of course. … continue

‘Lift sanctions & apologize if you want to talk,’ Iran’s Rouhani tells Washington

RT | April 24, 2019

The US should first drop sanctions and apologize, if it wants to sit down for negotiations, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, after Washington stepped up “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

“Negotiation is only possible if all the pressures are lifted, they apologize for their illegal actions and there is mutual respect,” Rouhani said on Wednesday.

He stated that Tehran is open to talks with Washington, but the US is simply “not ready for any dialogue” and only seeks to “subdue the people of Iran.” … continue

Modi government caves in to US diktat on Iran oil

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | April 24, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels around the country every day claiming to be the defender of national interests in Pulwama, Balakot, ASAT and so on. But he’s keeping deafening silence on the one issue that has come up in the foreign policy that is going to have devastating impact on the Indian economy and affect the lives of common people — US diktat to India to stop oil imports from Iran.

The White House diktat is certain to lead to a spike in India’s oil bill. And, yet, only the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has voiced concern. If foreign policy is about enabling the country’s development, Modi government should show the political courage to tell the Trump administration that its attempt to hurt India’s economic interests will be resisted.

Instead, alas, the media reports suggest that the government is meekly caving in to the White House decision on Monday to block other countries from trading in Iranian oil. Most regrettably, what we see here is an abject surrender of national interests by our government, which is completely contrary to Modi’s claims of being the custodian of India’s development and prosperity. … continue

Right On Cue, Indian Media Blames Pakistan For The Sri Lankan Terrorist Attacks

The Cheap Shot That The Whole World Saw Coming

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-24

It was only a matter of time before Indian media predictably blamed Pakistan for the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks, which just happened earlier this week in a piece by Vicky Nanjappa for “Oneindia” about “How ISI radicalised Sri Lanka through the Pakistan High Commission“. The writer wasted no time in reminding the reader about a years-long scandal in Sri Lanka initiated by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) and claiming that a Pakistani diplomat on the island nation was responsible for plotting a Mumbai-style attack in South India, never mind the fact that the allegedly masterminded incident that this was being based on was actually a false flag. In fact, it can be argued that one of the consequences of the Mumbai attacks is that India capitalized on the manufactured notion that Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency was behind it in order to portray its rival as a regional bogeyman who all of South Asia had to be suspicious of from then on out, so it’s logical in hindsight why India’s RAW intelligence agency would also cook up a conspiracy about this in Sri Lanka in an attempt to weaken historically strong Pakistani-Sri Lankan relations. … continue

From the Folks Who Lie, Cheat and Steal for a Living — Project Fake Duck

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | April 24, 2019

Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director and now chief diplomat of the United States, made the following remarks in a recent interview:

“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s — it was like — we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

That perhaps won’t come as too much of a surprise to many people, but it is nonetheless welcome to have it admitted by no less a person than the former director of that organisation.

However, in the light of the stunning, albeit unwitting, revelation in The New York Times, that the then deputy director of the CIA (now director), Gina Haspel, used pictures of sick children and dead ducks allegedly from the Salisbury poisoning to persuade Donald Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats — even though no children became ill and no ducks died — one wonders whether those entire training courses Mr Pompeo refers to include modules on “How to lie to the President,” and “The use of fowl play to manipulate the Commander-in-Chief”.

But there is, I think, even more to the duck story than meets the eye. … continue

US Army Turned Rukban Into Prison, Prevents People From Leaving It – Damascus

Sputnik – 24.04.2019

Damascus has repeatedly criticized Washington over its reluctance to allow people to leave the Rukban camp.

The US army has turned the Rukban refugee camp into a prison and prevents people from leaving it. This demonstrates that the US government is violating the international laws, Syrian Deputy Defense Minister said during a conference on international security in Moscow.

He added that Damascus is against the US intention to leave some of its troops in Syria and will consider it as aggression.

The Rukban refugee camp is part of the US-controlled zone around its base in At-Tanf.

Russia and Syria have repeatedly tried to draw the attention of the international community to the deplorable conditions at the camp, which houses more than 40,000 internally displaced people, mostly women and children.

Gitmo Destroyed Our Constitutional Order

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | April 23, 2019

Sunday’s Washington Post carried an article about the suicide of former Peruvian President Alan García, who Peruvian officials had charged with official corruption while he was in office. The article posited the possibility that García committed suicide because under Peru’s judicial system, he would have faced up to three years in pretrial detention without actually being indicted, which the Post said was “a term unthinkable in many democracies, even for suspects facing overwhelming evidence of the most heinous crimes.”

What the Post did not point out is that indefinite detention without a trial is not unthinkable in the United States. Instead, thanks to the Pentagon and the CIA, indefinite detention has now become a core feature of America’s criminal-justice system. As the Post implies, it is also a hallmark of tyranny.

Among the potential acts of tyranny with which our American ancestors were most concerned was the power of the federal government to keep people in jail indefinitely without a trial. That was why the Constitution, which called into existence a government of limited powers, did not delegate such a power to federal officials. It’s also why the American people enacted the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments, which expressly guaranty the rights of trial by jury, a speedy and public trial, bail, and protection from cruel and unusual punishments.

The Pentagon and the CIA destroyed those rights with the establishment of their prison, torture program, and “judicial” center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today, there are people at Gitmo who have been languishing for more than a decade, denied the benefits of trial by jury, a speedy and public trial, and bail. … continue

‘We don’t have hate for anyone’: Nigerian brothers sue Jussie Smollett’s lawyers for defamation

RT | April 23, 2019

Two Nigerian brothers who say actor Jussie Smollett paid them to beat him up as part of an elaborate hoax are suing his lawyers for defamation over allegations made about them, including that one engaged in sex acts with Smollett.

In late January, Smollett claimed he had been attacked by two masked men who made racist and homophobic slurs during the assault, and tied a rope around his neck. He also claimed they had made reference to Donald Trump’s famous slogan, ‘Make America great again’.

The incident sparked a public outcry and was investigated as a hate crime. However, Chicago police found that Smollett himself had orchestrated the attack as an elaborate hoax and indicted him for disorderly conduct for allegedly paying two men to help him stage the entire thing. The charges were dropped by Chicago prosecutors, but the FBI and Department of Justice are reviewing that decision.

Brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo are now suing Smollett’s attorneys for making what they say are defamatory statements falsely claiming the two men launched a “criminally homophobic, racist and violent attack against Mr Smollett,” their suit says. … continue

Earth Day, 2019: Fifty Years of Apocalyptic Global Warming Predictions and Why People Believe Them, Part 1

By Peter Baggins, Ph.D. | Occidental Observer | April 19, 2019

Two of the most important problems that the so-called Green New Deal will attempt to solve at the cost of incalculable trillions are global warming and its consequences, including drought, famine, floods and massive starvation. You may recall that Obama in his 2015 State of the Union speech declared that the greatest threat facing us was neither terrorism nor ISIS. It wasn’t nuclear weapons in rogue states either. “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” said Obama.

His entire administration including Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State John Kerry, frequently repeated the claim that climate change was the greatest threat facing the world. It was a sentiment Obama stressed again during an Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades where he said, “This is not a problem for another generation. It has serious implications for the way we live right now”.

More recently, presidential hopefuls like Beto O’Rourke, along with most Democrat candidates, declared their zealous support for the Green New Deal in forecasting that the world will end in 12 years if nothing is done. “This is the final chance, the scientists are absolutely unanimous on this — that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis. Not to be melodramatic, but the future of the world depends on us right now here where we are.”

This leads to the question I pose in this brief, data-driven, essay: What kind of track record do the politicians and their experts have in their climate predictions? After all, some of these predictions were made 10, 20 or even 50 years ago. Can’t we now look back at their predictions and begin to hold them accountable?

As others have done, I have chosen to begin with the first Earth Day “Celebration” in 1970. Now who can be against Earth Day? It’s a charming idea, and I have been an enthusiastic supporter since my college days in Ann Arbor, when we celebrated the event on the campus of the University of Michigan.

Here’s what the experts were saying almost a half century ago on Earth Day, 1970continue

Netanyahu ordered Trump to end sanctions waivers on Iranian oil: Analyst

Press TV – April 22, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered US President Donald Trump to end exemptions from sanctions for several countries buying oil from Iran, says an American political analyst

Rodney Martin, a former congressional staffer based in Scottsdale, Arizona, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV after Netanyahu praised Trump for not renewing waivers that allowed eight countries to buy oil from Iran without getting sanctioned.

Last November, the US enforced sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s banking and energy sector. However, it agreed to grant waivers to China, India, Japan, Turkey, Italy, Greece, South Korea and Taiwan, allowing them to continue buying Iranian oil.

Netanyahu said on Monday that Trump’s decision “is of great importance for increasing pressure” on Iran. … continue

US Iran sanctions amount to aggression against entire world: Nasrallah

Press TV – April 22, 2019

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has denounced US economic sanctions against Iran, describing the punitive measures as “an act of aggression” against all world nations.

“US efforts to increase economic pressure on Iran, especially its pledge to drive the country’s oil exports to zero, will have negative repercussions and will affect the entire world, including the US itself,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday evening.

He then called on world nations to stand up against “US arrogance,” pointing out, “The tyrannical US government has no respect whatsoever for international law and regulations.” … continue

Maximum Pressure on Iran Still Isn’t Working

By Paul R. Pillar | LobeLog | April 2, 2019

Almost a year after President Trump reneged on U.S. commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, there is not the slightest sign that this move is achieving the declared objective of Iran crawling back to the negotiating table to negotiate a “better deal.” Tehran instead has been exuding perseverance and hardline resistance. The most recent high-level Iranian statement, a speech by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei marking the Persian new year, was full of recalcitrance. Khamenei’s themes included self-sufficiency and boosting Iran’s defense capabilities.

It is not surprising that determined opponents of the JCPOA—the most vocal of whom are determined opponents of any agreement with Iran—have been trying hard to spin this situation to make it look as if something positive is being accomplished. Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, for example, suggests that the new year’s speech was “not the confident Khamenei of days past” and that the speech indicated that “the Trump administration has had considerable success convincing Khamenei that the pressure will continue, and that Iran cannot count on outlasting U.S. hostility.” … continue

US Sanctions Got India To Ditch Iran, Will They Get It To Ditch Russia Too?

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-23

The “Indian Illusion” has been shattered after India’s Oil Minister tweeted that his country will replace US-sanctioned Iranian oil imports with those from “major oil-producing countries” such as the Islamic Republic’s hated GCC foes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE that America said will step up their exports in order to stabilize global prices after Washington announced that it won’t renew its anti-Iranian oil sanction waivers. New Delhi made a dramatic Bollywood-like show over the past year out of “defying” US sanctions, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announcing last May that India will only obey UNSC sanctions and not those unilaterally imposed by the US in contravention of international law.

The Oil Minister himself said back in October before the waivers were issued that India will continue buying Iranian oil in spite of the US sanctions, later crediting Prime Minister Modi a month later when the US eventually granted it the waiver. Adding “credibility” to the illusion that India’s perception managers were masterfully creating, it was then reported that the country will use rupees instead of dollars when trading with Iran, a bold move that even fooled an RT columnist who headlined his op-ed on this development as a “response to US global bullying“. As is now known, however, appearances can be very misleading, and in actuality the same country that was vowing to “defy” the US actually ended up quietly implementing its new patron’s will.

This proves that senior Indian officials such as the Minister of External Affairs and Oil Minister were lying to the world this entire time, publicly claiming to oppose the US while secretly working in coordination with it behind closed doors to ensure that their country doesn’t suffer from Trump’s sanctions. The over-hyped “oil-for-rupee” payment plan was ultimately nothing more than a temporary workaround that New Delhi evidently didn’t care too much about to continue in truly opposing the US following the expiration of its sanctions waiver early next month. It can therefore be said that India was relying on multipolar/”multi-alignment” rhetoric in order to disguise its secret subservience to the unipolar hegemon.

This stunning realization has major implications for Russian-Indian relations because the US is considering sanctioning the South Asian state for its planned purchase of the S-400s, a threat that still hangs over New Delhi’s head like a Damocles’ sword over half a year since the original agreement was signed during President Putin’s visit to the country. Judging from the Iranian precedent, India will probably pull out of the S-400 deal if the US does indeed impose CAATSA sanctions against it over this purchase, which Washington might seriously pursue in order to deal a deathblow to Russian-Indian relations just like it recently did to Iranian-Indian ones through the latest oil sanctions.

The argument against sanctioning India over the S-400s is that it needs these systems in order to “defend” against China and Pakistan, but the latest Indo-Pak dogfight ended in a total humiliation for India and exposed it as an aggressive rogue state instead of the peaceful one dutifully following international law to a tee like it had meticulously misrepresented itself as being up until that point. Recognizing the truth that India won’t fall victim to regional aggression but is actually the state initiating hostilities in the first place, the US might no longer consider the S-400s to be of primary national security concern for the South Asian state enough to warrant a sanctions waiver for them.

In the event that the US sanctions India for this purchase, it would be doing so as part of a power play to “poach” this lucrative arms market from Russia and replace the country’s wares with Western ones from its own military-industrial complex and that of its French and “Israeli” partners’ too. … Full article

India sponsoring terror activities in Balochistan: Pakistan FM

The Frontier Post | April 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that India is trying to destabilize Pakistan and sponsoring the terror activities in Balochistan.

FM Qureshi said this on Tuesday while talking to a private news channel; Qureshi said that India is behind the terror activities in Balochistan province.

Regarding the Ormara terror incident, he said that Pakistan has already shared the details of the incident with Iranian authorities, adding that Afghanistan and Iranian territories are being used for carrying out terror acts in Pakistan. … continue

Why the US & Saudi Arabia fear Iran-Pakistan cooperation

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | RT | April 23, 2019

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Tehran has been marred by two recent deadly attacks. Despite an apparent willingness to cooperate, there remain many outside players who will push for this alliance to fail.

Someone clearly hates the idea of peaceful dialogue between Iran and Pakistan. Whether a coincidence or not, the timing of an attack in Pakistan within barely a day or two of a planned visit to Iran’s capital by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is certainly perfect timing for those who view an increasing relationship between the two nations through negative terms. The attack in question saw at least 14 Pakistani security forces personnel killed in a bus ambush. Not helping the issue, is the fact that Pakistan’s foreign office instantly blamed the attack on Iran, accusing Iran of inaction against ethnic Baloch separatist groups, even as Khan was set to visit Tehran.

In February, there was similarly an attack in eastern Iran that killed at least 27 Iranian security personnel. Tehran warned Islamabad it would “pay a heavy price” for allegedly harboring the militants who planned the suicide bombing, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish al-Adl group.

Now, I am not saying that there is any conspiracy behind the attacks. I mean, why would I need to bother? Whether there are attacks or not, the media and a handful of notable leaderships will continue to portray Iran-Pakistan relations as the worst possible form of détente imaginable.

All this being said, the two countries were able to have a somewhat fruitful and productive engagement during Khan’s visit. The news that is likely to infuriate some other major players on the world stage is the announcement of a creation of a joint rapid reaction force along the shared border of Iran and Pakistan. … continue

British Think Tank Reportedly Offered to Spy on Right-Wing Swedish Politicians

Sputnik – April 23, 2019

Not only has the Institute for Strategic Dialogue smeared a senior Sweden Democrat as a “far-right extremist”, it also offered the Swedish authorities its help in gathering data on him and his associates abroad through “investigative work”.

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a British think tank which had previously called for financial sanctions against Sweden’s alternative media, also offered the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) the ability to spy on Sweden’s right-wing politicians, the news outlet Samhällsnytt reported. … continue

The Conspiracy Against Trump

The Deep State plot to undermine the president

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • April 23, 2019

The real “deplorable” in today’s United States is the continuation of a foreign policy based on endless aggression to maintain Washington’s military dominance in parts of the world where Americans have no conceivable interest. Many voters backed Donald J. Trump because he committed himself to changing all that, but, unfortunately, he has reneged on his promise, instead heightening tension with major powers Russia and China while also threatening Iran and Venezuela on an almost daily basis. Now Cuba is in the crosshairs because it is allegedly assisting Venezuela. One might reasonably ask if America in its seemingly enduring role as the world’s most feared bully will ever cease and desist, but the more practical question might be “When will the psychopathic trio of John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Elliott Abrams be fired so the United States can begin to behave like a normal nation?”continue

Facebook hires ‘co-writer’ of the pro-surveillance Patriot Act amid growing concerns over privacy

RT | April 23, 2019

As Facebook is facing more pressure over its handling of user data, the embattled social media giant has hired Jennifer Newstead, widely regarded as a co-author of the Patriot Act, to deal with its legal woes.

Facebook announced on Monday that Newstead would be replacing Colin Stretch as the company’s general counsel. COO Sheryl Sandberg touted Newstead as a “seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience” would help the company “fulfill its mission.” While Newstead might boast vast experience in the legal field, having worked in both private and public sectors, her government record is not without controversy. … continue

Pakistan And Iran Enter New Era of Anti-Terror Cooperation

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-22

Just as the PKK and its sister organisation PJAK are a mutual threat to both Turkey and Iran’s western frontier, so too are terror groups active on the Iran-Pakistan border a mutual threat to both countries that are best neutralised through joint efforts. This was proved beyond a shadow of a doubt when in February of this year a suicide bomber from Pakistan’s Balochistan frontier with Iran took the lives of 27 Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) soldiers and likewise the message was made doubly clear when last week, terrorists based in the neighbouring Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan crossed into Pakistan disguised as soldiers and martyred 14 innocent people at point blank range after boarding a bus on the Makran Coastal Highway.

As the Makran Coastal Highway attack came days before Pakistani Prime Minister’s first visit to Iran, it may well have been a calculated provocation designed to inflame Pakistan’s relations with Iran during a season when both countries had already experienced a degradation in relations due to Iran’s hyperbolic reaction to the 13 February attack. Mohammad Ali Jafari, at the time the commander-in-chief of the IRGC made inflammatory remarks about seeking “revenge” on Pakistan for an atrocity committed by a non-state terror group proscribed as an enemy of Pakistan. Jafari’s unambiguous comments which blamed Pakistani state institutions for the attack on the IRGC cast a new narrative over the region which lead one to logically conclude that India’s investments in the Iranian port at Chabahar combined with a misunderstanding of Pakistan’s partnership with Saudi Arabia, led Iranian officials into saying things that should not have been said about a potentially strategically important neighbour.

By contrast, after the Makran Coastal Highway attack, Pakistan launched a formal diplomatic complaint to Iran and the Foreign Minister stated that the issue would be a top priority during Imran Khan’s meeting with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

News has now broken that a breakthrough has in fact been reached as Pakistan and Iran have agreed to form a joint border patrol “reaction force” that will see Pakistani and Iranian soldiers police an erstwhile porous border that has led to deeply unfortunate attacks on both countries from terrorists who have no regard for either Pakistani nor Iranian national sovereignty and territorial integrity. … continue

Sri Lankan Authorities May Have Fallen Into a Trap Set by a Foreign Power

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-22

The entire world remains confronted with the horrors that unfolded yesterday throughout Sri Lanka. Whilst the country remains under curfew, the authorities have pinned the blame for the attack on an obscure group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ). NTJ is reportedly an Islamist terror group that as noted by Sri Lankan authorities, has multiple links to foreign countries. The links to foreign countries appears to hold the key to determining who is really behind the attacks. Notably, it has been confirmed by journalists that the group trains in Chennai in Tamil Nadu – the same location where LTTE had previously trained.

As the Muslim population of Sri Lanka is less than 8% of the country’s entire population, it is difficult to conceive that any genuine local Islamist group would seek to stage such massive attacks when the possibility of any material gain would be limited by the fact that not only is Sri Lanka’s Muslim population at harmony with the Buddhist majority, but the population of Muslims is incredibly small. This contrasts sharply with the situation in Syria where a Sunni Muslim majority was weaponized against a leadership comprised of the minority Alawite faction. … continue

The Strategy of Controlled Chaos

By Manlio Dinucci | Global Research* | April 18, 2019

Everyone against everyone else – this is the media image of chaos which is spreading across the Southern shores of the Mediterranean, from Libya to Syria. It is a situation before which even Washington seems powerless. But in reality, Washington is not the sorcerer’s apprentice unable to control the forces now in motion. It is the central motor of a strategy – the strategy of chaos – which, by demolishing entire States, is provoking a chain reaction of conflicts which can be used in the manner of the ancient method of “divide and rule”. … continue

Combatting Anti-Semitism: Washington Goes to War for World Jewry

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | April 21, 2019

One of the most extraordinary displays of Jewish power in the United States took place in the State Department press briefing room on April 11th though it went virtually unreported in the mainstream media. It involved the introduction to the media of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan S. Carr, who had been sworn in earlier that day by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Carr, who will “lead United States policies and projects aimed at countering anti-Semitism throughout the world,” is a former Los Angeles prosecutor, who is, of course, Jewish, and ran for Congress in 2014 declaring that he was a “reliable vote for Israel.” He believes U.S. support for Israel should be “constant, unequivocal and bipartisan.” Carr speaks Hebrew, boasts about his visits to Israel every year and is a protege of GOP casino magnate and mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

The State Department already has an Office of International Religious Freedom which inter alia seeks to “Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries” while also “identify[ing] and denounce[ing] regimes that are severe persecutors on the basis of religious belief.” It would seem that the International Religious Freedom office has all the bases covered, but there is apparently the Jewish exception rule that operates across the federal government and even at state levels. Jews, definable both as a religion and an ethnicity, clearly require more protection from government than other groups even though they are the most wealthy and politically powerful segment of the population both in the United States as well as in numerous European and Anglophone countries where they have a significant presence. … continue

Beijing Vows to Defend Business Amid US’ Reported Plans to End Iran Oil Waivers

Sputnik — 22.04.2019

Beijing stands against the United States’ unilateral restrictions against Iran and will take every effort to defend interests of national companies doing legal business with the Islamic republic, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday, commenting on Washington’s reported plans to scrap oil sanctions waivers.

“China opposes unilateral sanctions. Cooperation between China and Iran is open, transparent and legal. This must be respected. The Chinese government will do its best to protect the legitimate interests of its companies,” Geng said at a briefing, commenting on the possible US actions. … Full article

Anti-Russian sanctions benefit only US firms at Europe’s expense, says German politician

RT | April 22, 2019

Economic penalties against Russia target the European Union and are only beneficial to US corporations, according to Stefan Keuter, a German lawmaker from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

“Sanctions against Russia do not serve the interest of German companies, such [as] Siemens or pharmaceutical firms. Did they benefit from the penalties? What’s the use of the measures?” the politician said at the Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) in Crimea.

“They [sanctions] help exceptionally the US companies, which are trying to expand their presence at the European market,” Keuter said. “The strategy doesn’t target Russia alone, but the EU and Germany as well.” … Full article

Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | April 22, 2019

April 26 marks the 33rd anniversary of the 1986 radiation disaster at Chernobyl reactor Number 4 in Ukraine, just north of Kiev the capital. It is still nearly impossible to get scientific consensus on the vast extent of the impacts. The explosions and two-week long fire at Chernobyl spewed around the world something between one billion and nine billion curies of radiation — depending on whose estimates you choose to believe. The accident is classified by the UN as the worst environmental catastrophe in human history. … continue

The Splendid Peter Ridd Court Judgment

James Cook University took 28 separate actions against Professor Ridd. Each of them, including his termination, has been declared unlawful.

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | April 22, 2019

Few victories are as complete as the one achieved last week by Peter Ridd in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. … continue