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Butina Pleads Guilty After Being ‘Sexually Assaulted’ & ‘Abused’ In DC Jail

Sputnik – December 14, 2018

Russian national Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent at a federal court in Washington, DC, on Thursday. But she only did so after authorities “broke her,” argues human rights attorney Dan Kovalik.

Rather than acting as a “spy” for Russia, as the mainstream media — and only the mainstream media — has alleged, what Butina “was doing looks more like a cultural exchange,” Kovalik, the author of the book “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia,” told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear. … continue

Federal Judge Orders Mueller To Turn Over Flynn Material

By Jonathon Turley | December 13, 2018

In a surprising move, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Mueller late Wednesday to turn over all of the government’s documents and “memoranda” related to Flynn’s questioning. This follows a Flynn filing that described an effective trap set by agents who encouraged him not to bring a lawyer and left inconsistencies unaddressed in what has been described by critics as a “perjury trap.” I have practiced in front of Judge Sullivan for years and he is a respected judge who has a keen eye for prosecutorial and investigative abuse. That does not mean that he will find such abuse here and could ultimately make a finding that nothing improper occurred. Yet, despite a recommendation of no jail time, Sullivan wants to review the entire record before deciding on the issue.

Sullivan’s order gives Mueller a 3:00 p.m. EST Friday deadline for the special counsel’s office to produce the FBI documents. Those include 302 field reports that have been widely discussed in the media, including one which reportedly shows then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pushing Flynn not to have an attorney present during the questioning. McCabe of course was later fired from the Justice Department and is viewed by critics as someone who had an anti-Trump agenda. Many however have defended his actions and denounced efforts, including President Trump, to make him a villain without any clear evidence of political bias. The scene however is made all the more suspicious for Trump supporters with the involvement of Peter Strzok, who was also later fired.

Some have also noted that McCabe never warned Flynn that false statements to investigators are crimes or that this was not some routine sit-down during the very busy opening days of the Administration. The fact is however that Flynn was not in custody and thus was not guaranteed a Miranda warning.

On the other hand, the false statement that Flynn allegedly made was not reportedly viewed by the agents as an intentional lie. His meeting with the Russians was not illegal or even unprecedented as the incoming National Security Adviser. He did not deny the meeting but a memory of sanctions being discussed. Robert Mueller however decided to reexamine the statement and charge it as a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. … continue

Averting World Conflict with China

The PRC Should Retaliate by Targeting Sheldon Adelson’s Chinese Casinos

By Ron Unz • Unz Review • December 13, 2018

As most readers know, I’m not a casual political blogger and I prefer producing lengthy research articles rather than chasing the headlines of current events. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the looming danger of a direct worldwide clash with China is one of them.

Consider the arrest last week of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer. While flying from Hong Kong to Mexico, Ms. Meng was changing planes in the Vancouver International Airport airport when she was suddenly detained by the Canadian government on an August US warrant. Although now released on $10 million bail, she still faces extradition to a New York City courtroom, where she could receive up to thirty years in federal prison for allegedly having conspired in 2010 to violate America’s unilateral economic trade sanctions against Iran.continue

Israeli Colonists Invade Village Near Ramallah, Shoot A Palestinian

IMEMC News – December 14, 2018

A group of armed extremist Israeli colonialist settlers invaded Beitin Palestinian village, north of the al-Biereh city, in the Ramallah and al-Biereh Governorate in central West Bank, and shot a young man on Thursday evening.

Media sources in Ramallah said the settlers invaded the village, fired many live rounds and hurled stones at homes and cars. They added that dozens of locals tried to fend the attack off, before one of the armed colonists shot a young man with live fire.

Medical sources said the young man, identified as Raed Hamed, was shot with a live round in the arm, and suffered a moderate injury.

Israeli soldiers also invaded the village after the colonists infiltrated into it, and fired many live rounds, and gas bombs, at Palestinians protesting the invasion.

AIPAC takes newly elected Congress members, CNN’s Setmayer on propaganda trips to Israel

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | December 13, 2018

The Israel lobby has been busy taking a wide variety of government officials and opinion makers on fully expense paid trips to Israel this month. The trips cost in the range of $10,000 per person.

Six newly elected House members are on a 5-day visit to Israel, a delegation of northern California “progressive leaders” are on a week-long trip, media commentator Tara Setmayer has just returned from such a trip, and a delegation of southern California progressive leaders returned from their trip earlier this month.

The House participants include liberals and conservatives, Jewish representatives and Christian fundamentalists, Trump supporters and Trump opponents: Tim Burchett (R-TN), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Susie Lee (D-NV), Elaine Goodman Luria (D-VA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA) and David Trone (D-MD).

The California participants are County Supervisors John Gioia and Joe Simian, California Democratic Party Executive Committee Member Andrea Beth Damsky, and unknown others. The delegations are named “Northern Pacific Progressive Leaders” and “Southern Pacific Progressive Leaders,” but no one will divulge the rosters.

The trips are organized and funded by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), the nonprofit arm of the powerful Israel lobbying group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). AIEF was founded in 1989 “to advance the purposes of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”

AIPAC is widely believed to be the most powerful organization in the US lobbying Congress on behalf of a foreign country. An outgrowth of the 1939 organization “American Zionist Emergency Council,” AIPAC’s annual convention is attended by ambitious politicians from across the political spectrum (see this example; for more on AZEC, read my book on the history of the Israel lobby).

The goal of AIPAC – and of its trips – is to promote American support for Israel despite Israel’s violations of human rights, international law, U.S. law, and discrimination against Christians and others.

In particular, AIPAC is working to keep the over $10 million per day of American tax money going to Israel. While most Americans feel Israel already gets too much money, Congress is about to pass legislation that will increase the gift even further. This will be the largest military aid package in US history; it works out to about $23,000 for each Jewish Israeli family of four, or $7,230 per minute.

While an individual has recently been charged with acting as a foreign agent over her activities with Russia and the NRA, the Israel lobby has worked to influence U.S. policies on behalf of a foreign country for many years, with very few legal consequences. Even when top AIPAC officials were found to have handed over classified documents, the case was dropped (a Pentagon analyst was jailed for 12 years). … continue

Dahlan slams US ‘deal of the century’, prefers one-
state solution

MEMO | December 13, 2018

The Palestinian Authority (PA)’s ex-Security Chief Mohammed Dahlan has criticised the US’ “deal of the century” claiming he would prefer to see a one-state solution prevail in Israel-Palestine. … continue

Israel’s Executions Can’t Kill Palestinian Resistance

Remembering Ashraf Na’alwa, Saleh Barghouthi, Majd Matir and Hasan Arda

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | December 13, 2018

On 13 December 2018, Israeli occupation forces shot down four Palestinians, including several resistance fighters who had evaded their pursuit for months. Ashraf Na’alwa, 23, was killed by occupation forces who attacked the home where he was staying in Askar refugee camp near Nablus. He had been pursued by occupation forces since he carried out an armed resistance operation on 7 October in the illegal colonial settlement of Barkan in the northern West Bank of occupied Palestine in which two settlers were killed.

Na’alwa, a Palestinian worker at a factory in the colonial settlement, evaded occupation forces for months. During that time, his entire family was repeatedly harassed and attacked by occupation forces. His mother, sister, brother and father were all repeatedly detained and interrogated, while his home village of Shweika near Tulkarem was subjected to ongoing attacks, raids and intensive surveillance. Many of his family members remain behind bars as we remember him today. Occupation forces ordered his family home demolished, a tactic of collective punishment that the Israeli occupation continued from the former British colonial mandate over Palestine.

Israeli sources reported that Na’alwa’s location was finally revealed under “harsh interrogation,” usually a euphemism for torture under interrogation. The occupation forces deliberately aimed to kill Na’alwa, who resisted until the last moment; indeed, Israeli headlines bragged about “eliminating” the “terrorist.” Occupation forces reportedly chased Na’alwa through the camp for hours before surrounding him in the building. Around the bloody scene, occupation forces seized more Palestinians, accusing them of “providing aid” to the “wanted” resistance fighter.

The extrajudicial execution of Ashraf Na’alwa did not come alone today. … continue

The slow genocide of Palestinians continues in Asira Al Qibliya

International Solidarity Movement | December 13, 2018

Asira Al Qibliya, Nablus, occupied Palestine – “This is the line,” Oussam Khalifa Ahmad illustrates as he takes us on a tour of his threatened land. “We are now passing into (Area) C.” Depending on where you look, some of the land has already been stolen. We can only observe for a limited amount of time. If we stay too long, we’re told that we will be attacked by the settlers, who’s housing we can see not far above us. … continue

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Deep State…

… and Bob Parry Exposed It

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | December 13, 2018

A year ago yesterday, it became fully clear what was behind the feverish attempt by our intelligence agencies and their mainstream media accomplices to emasculate President Donald Trump with the Russia-gate trope.

It turned out that the objective was not only to delegitimize Trump and make it impossible for him to move toward a more decent relationship with Russia. … continue

Goodyear Shutters Venezuela Operations, Blames Sanctions

By Ricardo Vaz | Venezuelanalysis | December 12, 2018

Multinational tire producer Goodyear announced Monday that it was closing down its operations in Venezuela.

“Goodyear-Venezuela has made the difficult decision to stop producing tires,” the Ohio-based company said in a statement. “Our goal had been to maintain its operations, but economic conditions and U.S. sanctions have made this impossible.”

US-led financial sanctions have severely constrained Venezuela’s ability to service and refinance both government-held debt and bonds held by state oil company PDVSA. In addition, international banks have become increasingly reluctant to serve as intermediaries for financial transactions, hindering transnational firms from operating in the country. … Full article

U.N. trots out phony sinking island claims after rejection of it’s exaggerated climate alarmist report

By Larry Hamlin | Watts Up With That? | December 13, 2018

The United Nations trotted out phony claims of sinking pacific islands after the COP24 climate conference failed to adopt the IPCC grossly exaggerated October climate report alleging global impacts from a 1.5 degree C temperature rise.

The L. A. Times published a story presenting scientifically disproved claims of sinking island assertions which were supposed to show the terrible consequence of rejecting the exaggerated IPCC climate report which was based on flawed and failed climate models. […]

The Times ignored the results of scientific studies which clearly showed that Pacific island groups are not sinking and in fact are growing in stark contrast to the phony alarmist claims of sinking islands. […]

Other additional scientific studies have also shown that Pacific islands groups are not sinking but climate alarmist continue to misrepresent and conceal the fact that such claims are unsupported by scientific data.

This latest article from the L. A. Times is just another example demonstrating that the paper is conducting a scientifically unsupported politically contrived climate alarmist propaganda campaign devoid of any connection to scientific reality. – Full article

The War Against Globalism

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 13.12.2018

Belgium has joined the list of countries that are rebelling against their elected leadership. Over the weekend the Belgian government fell over Prime Minister Charles Michel’s trip to Morocco to sign the United Nations Migration Agreement. The agreement made no distinction between legal and illegal migrants and regarded immigration as a positive phenomenon. The Belgian people apparently did not agree. Facebook registered 1,200 Belgians agreeing that the Prime Minister was a traitor. Some users expressed concern for their children’s futures, noting that Belgian democracy is dead. Others said they would get yellow vests and join the protests. … continue

Tale of two uprisings: Ukraine’s Maidan got McCain & cookies, French Yellow Vests get shunned

By Robert Bridge | RT | December 13, 2018

Unlike the 2014 Ukraine uprising, which witnessed invasive meddling on the part of US politicians and diplomats, Western support for the French Yellow Vest protests has been conspicuously missing in action.

With the streets of Paris ablaze for a fourth weekend in a row, as a swarm of Yellow Vests assert themselves against a French government which, they argue, has become increasingly detached from the cares of ordinary citizens, support among Western capitals for the protesters is nowhere to be found. … continue

Egypt arrests lawyer for wearing ‘yellow vest’

MEMO | December 12, 2018

An Egyptian prosecutor in Alexandria has ordered human rights lawyer Mohammed Ramadan to be detained for 15 days for sharing a picture of himself wearing “a yellow vest” in solidarity with French protests on Facebook.

Human rights activist and lawyer Mahinour Al-Masri said on Facebook that Ramadan has been accused of “spreading false news” and “spreading the ideology of a terrorist group”.

Ramadan’s family and friends reported him missing after being unable to contact him. Many held the Egyptian security services and authorities fully responsible for Ramadan’s safety and called on the Bar Association to carry out its duties in protecting and defending one of its members. … Full article

Pentagon: Turkish Unilateral Action in Northeast Syria Would Be ‘Unacceptable’

Sputnik – 13.12.2018

WASHINGTON – A Turkish unilateral military operation in northeast Syria if launched would be unacceptable and Ankara should consult with the United States to address the security situation, Defense Department spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson told Sputnik.

Earlier, Ankara announced that the Turkish military would launch an operation against Kurdish forces.

“Unilateral military action into northeast Syria by any party, particularly as US personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern,” Robertson said on Wednesday when asked about Turkey’s announcement. “We would find any such actions unacceptable… coordination and consultation between the US and Turkey is the only approach to address issues of security concern in this area.” … continue

Crying Wolf Over The Great Barrier Reef

By Dr Peter Ridd | The Global Warming Policy Forum | December 12, 2018

Scientists from James Cook University have just published a paper on the bleaching and death of corals on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and were surprised that the death rate was less than they expected because of the adaptability of corals to changing temperatures. It appears as though they exaggerated their original claims and are quietly backtracking. To misquote Oscar Wilde, to exaggerate once is a misfortune, to do it twice looks like carelessness, but to do it repeatedly looks like unforgivable systemic unreliability by some of our major science organisations.

It is a well-known phenomenon that corals can adapt very rapidly to high temperatures and that if you heat corals in one year, they tend to be less susceptible in future years to overheating. It is the reason why corals are one of the least likely species to be affected by climate change, irrespective of whether you believe the climate is changing by natural fluctuations or from human influence.

Corals have a unique way of dealing with changing temperature by changing the microscopic plants that live inside them. … continue

George H.W. Bush’s Bitter Legacy in the Middle East

By As`ad AbuKhalil | Consortium News | December 12, 2018

Any sober assessment of late President George H.W. Bush’s political legacy was drowned last week by the avalanche of hagiography by the mainstream media. This served, in part, the role of catharsis. The more loudly the members of the media praised Bush, whose family has testy relations with President Donald Trump, the more it helped them vent their animosity towards the current president.

Lost in this anti-historical, fact-free binge was any possible discussion of Bush’s most important legacies, one of which is certainly his great fake-out of Arab interests in the Middle East. … continue

Israeli forces raid al-Quds University

Ma’an – December 12, 2018

JERUSALEM- Israeli forces raided the al-Quds University, on Wednesday, in Abu Dis village, southeast of the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem.

Local sources confirmed that a large number of heavily armed Israeli forces raided the campus, ransacking several faculties and offices, causing material damages.

Israeli forces searched student bloc offices, damaged the students’ personal belongings, and seized surveillance camera recordings. … Full article

Israel to build ‘Embassy Quarter’ in occupied Jerusalem

MEMO | December 12, 2018

Israel is to build an embassy complex in occupied Jerusalem, a year after US President Donald Trump announced his plans to relocate the American Embassy to the city. Israel’s Construction and Housing Ministry announced today that it plans to build a complex with space for nine separate embassies in occupied East Jerusalem, in the belief that more countries will follow the US lead and move their diplomatic missions from Tel Aviv, Arutz Sheva reported.

The complex is to be built on a 25-acre plot of land in East Talpiot, a southern neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Following the Nakba of 1948, East Talpiot became part of no man’s land, next to the 1949 Armistice Line – sometimes known as the Green Line – observed by Israel and Jordan. During the Six Day War of 1967 Israel occupied the neighbourhood, establishing an illegal settlement there in 1973.

The plan to build the complex in East Talpiot is therefore in contravention of international law. As such, any country which chooses to move its embassy into the complex upon its completion would also be violating international law. … continue

Kushner: ‘Peace plan to provide safety to Israelis, hope to Palestinians’

Ma’an – December 12, 2018

BETHLEHEM – The much-anticipated Middle East peace plan, also known as “Deal of the Century,” will be released in the next couple of months, according to Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and son-in-law of the United States President Donald Trump.

Kushner spoke to Fox News, on late Monday, mentioning that the deal includes serious concessions from both sides, however, would protect Israeli security, while improving the living conditions of Palestinian Authority (PA) residents.

Kushner said, “We’re hopeful in the next couple of months we’ll put out our plan which not every side is going to love, but there’s enough in it and enough reasons why people should take it and move forward.” … continue

U.S. Muslim Leaders Headline UAE Conference at Expense of American Muslim and Palestinian Rights

American Muslims for Palestine | December 12, 2018

Last Wednesday, a group of prominent and select American Muslim leaders traveled to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the fifth annual conference of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies (FPPMS), which is sponsored by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed, and headed by Mauritanian Islamic scholar, Abdullah bin Bayyah. Despite the country’s appalling human rights record, US Muslim leaders present praised the country for being “committed to tolerance … and civil society.”

During the conference, the same Muslim figures were photographed in a meeting with several leading members of the Zionist-Jewish American community including representatives of the American Jewish Committee  (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a powerful pro-Israel lobby organization whose dark history of domestic spying and investment of millions of dollars to extinguish all criticism of Israel is documented in a 2014 report  by AMP. The photo, which was widely tweeted  on Friday by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, features Sh. Hamza Yusuf, a California-based scholar who has been described by the Guardian as “arguably the West’s most influential Islamic scholar,” and Imam Mohamed Magid, the former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), who serves as the Executive Imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Virginia. … continue

Shocking testimonies released about Israeli crimes at Gaza border

Palestine Information Center – December 12, 2018

On the 70th anniversary of UN resolution 194, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) issued a new report entitled “Voices of Return: Documenting Israel’s Repression of the Great March of Return.”

The new report is based on a PRC submission to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests that began on March 30th in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip. The series of demonstrations named the “Great March of Return” called on Israel to end the ongoing siege and implement the refugees’ collective right of return to the lands from which they were displaced in 1948.

The demonstrations have been widely covered in the mainstream media, in particular around May 14th, when the Israeli military killed 52 Palestinians and injured over 2,400 in one single day. Yet, beneath the headlines and numbers of casualties, detailed witness accounts of the events remain underreported. PRC’s investigation seeks to fill this gap by bringing to light the voices of Palestinian protesters and victims injured during the demonstrations.

The testimonies and other information gathered in the report show in detail how Israeli soldiers shot unarmed protesters, bystanders, journalists and medical staff approximately 100-400m from the fence, constituting extrajudicial executions and deliberate maiming of civilians. Prima facie evidence and testimonies show that none of the Palestinians victim included in this report were endangering Israeli forces, who remained located on the other side of the fence. … continue

As Israel crimes on Gaza border hit zenith, US backs bill targeting Palestinian anti-occupation leaders

Palestine Information Center – December 12, 2018

RAMALLAH – The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would target for sanctions Hamas resistance movement and Hezbollah over allegations of using civilians as human shields, guaranteeing that it will become law, JTA reported.

The bill describes Hamas and Hezbollah groups as “repeated” practitioners of an action that violates international law, claiming that Hamas routinely launches missiles at Israel from densely populated areas.

The US Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan bill in October.

The bill was authored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and was co-sponsored by 50 other senators. It was first introduced this past summer. … continue

Entire Syrian family dead as US-led coalition jets bomb Dayr al-Zawr

Press TV – December 12, 2018

More than a dozen civilians have lost their lives as the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group carried out airstrikes on Syria’s troubled eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

Local sources told Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency on Wednesday that the airstrike targeted a residential building in al-Kashmah neighborhood of al-Shaafah town, which lies in Abu Kamal district of the province, the previous night, leaving 15 people dead.

Sources noted that the victims were all members of the same family. … Full article

US erects ‘observation posts’ on Syria-Turkey border despite Ankara’s dissent

Press TV – December 12, 2018

The US military says it has established “observation posts” in northern Syria with the purported aim of preventing clashes between Turkish forces and US-backed Kurdish militants, despite Ankara’s strong opposition to the plan.

“At the direction of Secretary (James) Mattis, the US established observation posts in the northeast Syria border region to address the security concerns of our NATO ally Turkey,” Department of Defense spokesman Rob Manning said in a press release on Tuesday.

This is while Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had, during a Friday meeting with US Special Envoy to Syria James Jeffrey in Ankara, called on Washington to lift the so-called observation posts in northern Syria, along parts of Turkey’ border.

Akar also said earlier that Turkey had expressed its concerns about US plans to set up several observation posts in Syria, a move, which according to him, could lead to a perception that Washington is “somehow protecting terrorist YPG [Kurdish People’s Protection Units] members.”

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu this month lambasted as a “big mistake” the US support for the YPG militants in Syria, a thorny issue in ties between the two allies. … continue

Presence of Foreign Forces in Yemen Unjustifiable: Ansarullah

Al-Manar | December 12, 2018

Spokesman for Yemen’s revolutionary Ansarullah movement Mohammad Abdulsalam, who heads a delegation in the ongoing peace talks in Sweden, said the presence of foreign forces in the Arabian Peninsula country cannot be justified.

Speaking to the Arabic-language al-Masirah TV on Tuesday night, Abdulsalam said the foreign troops’ presence in Yemen is contrary to the country’s constitution and UN Security Council resolutions.

“The presence of foreign forces in Yemen is not justified as long as our approach is political settlement (of the crisis),” he said.

Yemen’s occupied areas are now controlled by foreigners such as British, Saudi and Emirati forces, not a group that calls itself “legitimate”, he added, referring to the Yemeni exiled government which claims legitimacy. … continue

Houthis, Saudi-backed groups agree to reopen Sana’a airport as talks continue

Press TV – December 12, 2018

Yemen’s warring parties have reportedly agreed to reopen the airport in the capital Sana’a, which was shuttered last year after numerous attacks by Saudi Arabia.

The Houthi Ansarullah movement and the country’s former Saudi-backed regime agreed Wednesday to resume domestic flights in the airport, sources familiar with ongoing UN-led peace talks in Sweden stated.

International flights would stop at one of the two government-held airports in Aden or Sayun for inspections before flying in or out of Sana’a.

Saudi Arabia had attacked the airport November last year, damaging its ground navigation tower and parts of its runway.

The international airport is in Houthi territory but has been rendered useless by an aerial blockade imposed by the Saudi-led military coalition, which has been pounding Yemen since March 2015. … Full article

Afghan forces abandon western district after Taliban pressure

RT | December 12, 2018

Afghan forces have abandoned a remote district in the west of the country, leaving the area to Taliban insurgents. The government had failed to re-supply dozens of troops stationed there, provincial officials said on Wednesday.

The Shebkoh district of Farah province, bordering Iran, has been under Taliban siege for months.

Mosa Nazari, deputy governor of Farah, said Afghanistan’s military leadership faced difficulty reinforcing the troops and it had been decided to withdraw in order to avoid casualties.

“The plan to leave the district was there for months and it was finally decided,” Nazari told Reuters.

The forces withdrew all ammunition and vehicles to the provincial capital of Farah, he said.

The Taliban said in a statement the government abandoned the district after a heavy firefight overnight, and the group seized an amount of ammunition.

MSM Trying to Call Routine US Black Sea Activity ‘Strategic Manoeuvre’ – Admiral

Sputnik – 12.12.2018

In an interview with Sputnik, Retired Rear Admiral of the Turkish Navy Cem Gürdeniz has commented on CNN reports that the US is preparing to send a warship to the Black Sea. The message emphasises that the US may require Turkey to allow its military ships to pass through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea under the Montreux Convention.

According to Gürdeniz, with such messages, American media outlets are trying to portray usual, routine US activity in the Black Sea as a kind of a “strategic manoeuvre”.

“Ukraine made a series of efforts in order to win over NATO after the incident in Kerch. But the Alliance did not take any concrete steps to ensure the security of Ukraine in the event of a possible future crisis with Russia in the region. Therefore, the purpose of such statements is to try to calm the Ukrainian authorities and the public. In this regard, the American press represents the standard activity of NATO ships in the Black Sea related to exercises or port visits as a “new diplomatic and strategic manoeuvre”, he stressed.

Emphasising that the current situation in the region complies with the provisions of the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits, Gürdeniz added that NATO ships were present in the waters of the region for 120 days a year, and this corresponds to the provisions of the Montreux Convention. … continue

If a death threat isn’t a ‘violation’ of Twitter’s rules on abuse, what is?

By Neil Clark | RT | December 12, 2018

Yesterday, I received a death threat. I reported it to Twitter Support, but they said there was no violation of its rules on abuse.

It’s another example of the double standards of the social media giant and how, if you don‘t have officially-approved ‘victim’ status, you won’t get protection.

The account’s name is ‘ironstowe’. His Twitter title is ‘Not My President.’ At 22.40 on December 10, he sent me the following tweet from New York, USA. … continue

Robber barons kidnap Chinese princess for ransom

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | December 12, 2018

The best thing about US President Donald Trump is his transparency. It immensely helped the world community through this past two-year turbulent period to see America’s real face. Behind the veil of ‘exceptionalism’, the US statesmen right down to Barack Obama took care to camouflage American intentions and motivations. But Trump doesn’t waste breath making false pretensions about American exceptionalism and rule of law.

Trump’s latest remarks during an interview with Reuters testify to this. He is frank about the sensational case of the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the deputy chairperson of the Chinese smart phone giant Huawei, in Vancouver, Canada, on December 1, where she was on a 12-hour transit, on charges brought by US prosecutors of violating American sanctions against Iran and calling for her extradition to the US.

The Reuters quoted Trump as saying that he could intervene in the case against Meng, who is also the Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer and the daughter of the owner of Huawei, the flagship hi-tech company with an annual revenue of $92.55 billion in 2017, linked to the Chinese communist party. Trump said, “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do. If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.”

Trump also told Reuters that the White House has spoken with the Justice Department about the case, as well as Chinese officials. “They (Chinese) have not called me yet. They are talking to my people. But they have not called me yet,” he said when asked if he has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the case. In effect, Trump has brought in the Art of the Deal by linking the Meng case with the ongoing US-China negotiations over a trade dispute. This linkage demolishes the stance by the US officials that the Meng case is not political and has “nothing to do with a trade war.” … continue

‘Foreign agent’ Butina has no ties to Russian intel, was jailed for nothing – Putin

RT | December 11, 2018

Maria Butina, a Russian national arrested in the US on charges of failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, has no ties to Russian intelligence services and the whole case against her was thin, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“This poor girl is jailed … faces 15 years in prison… and for what?” the president asked rhetorically about Butina’s case at a meeting of the presidential council for civil society and human rights. Putin also said he asked all the heads of the Russian intelligence and security services about who she is and whether she had any links to their work. “No one knows anything about her at all,” the president added. … continue

Mueller’s Investigation is Missing One Thing: A Crime

If he had something on Trump, we would have been watching impeachment hearings by now.

By Peter Van Buren • The American Conservative • December 10, 2018

A baby born when Robert Mueller started his investigation would be talking by now. But would she have anything to say?

We last looked at what Mueller had publicly—and what he didn’t have—some 10 months ago, and I remained skeptical that the Trump campaign had in any way colluded with Russia. It’s worth another look now, but first let’s give away the ending (spoiler alert!): there is still no real evidence of, well, much of anything significant about Russiagate. One thing that is clear is that the investigation seems to be ending. Mueller’s office has reportedly even told various defense lawyers that it is “tying up loose ends.” The moment to wrap things up is politically right as well: the Democrats will soon take control of the House; time to hand this all off to them.

Ten months ago the big news was Paul Manafort flipped; that seems to have turned out to be mostly a bust, as we know now he lied like a rug to the Feds and cooperated with the Trump defense team as some sort of mole inside Mueller’s investigation (a heavily-redacted memo about Manafort’s lies, released by Mueller on Friday, adds no significant new details to the Russiagate narrative.)

George Papadopoulos has already been in and out of jail—all of two weeks— for his sideshow role. Michael Avenatti is now a woman beater who is just figuring out he’s washed up. Stormy Daniels owes Trump over $300,000 in fees after losing to him in court. There still is no pee tape. And if you don’t recall how unimportant Carter Page and Richard Gates turned out to be (or even who they are), well, there is your assessment of all the hysterical commentary that accompanied them a few headlines ago. … continue

‘Full Extent’ of Russian Meddling on Google in 2016? $4,700 Spent on Ads

Sputnik – 11.12.2018

Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that the “full extent” of so-called Russian meddling activity that took place on the platform during all of 2016 was $4,700 spent on some digital advertisements.

“Does Google now know the full extent to which its online platforms were exploited by Russian actors in the election two years ago?” Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, asked the search engine’s chief executive during Tuesday’s hearing.

​”We have — we undertook a very thorough investigation, and, in 2016, we now know that there were two main ad accounts linked to Russia which advertised on Google for about $4,700 in advertising,” Pichai responded.

“A total of $4,700?” Nadler asked to confirm. “That’s right,” the Google executive replied.

Google employees and executives contributed $1.6 million to 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Egypt bans yellow vests fearing copycat Gilets Jaunes protests

MEMO | December 11, 2018

The Egyptian authorities have quietly clamped down on the sales of reflective yellow vests fearing that they could prompt copycat protests inspired by the Gilets Jaunes demonstrations taking place in France. The measure was taken as a precaution as Egypt approaches the seventh anniversary next month of the revolution that toppled the dictator Hosni Mubarak after a 30-year rule. Any form of public gatherings are banned.

According to testimonies from industrial equipment dealers in Cairo, retailers have been instructed not to sell yellow vests to walk-in buyers and to restrict business to wholesale deals with verified companies, but only after obtaining permission from the security forces.

“They seem not to want anyone to do what they are doing in France,” said one retailer. Another added that, “The police came here a few days back and told us to stop selling them. When we asked why, they said they were acting on instructions.” Both spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, for fear of reprisals from the authorities.

Security officials confirmed that the restrictions would remain in place until the end of January, but the Interior Ministry refused to comment on the issue. Over the past two years, hundreds of police officers and soldiers have been deployed across the country to quash any protests or commemorations of the revolution. … continue

Argentine Court: Ex-Ford Execs Guilty of Kidnapping, Torture During Dictatorship

Telesur | December 11, 2018

The Federal Oral Court of San Martín ruled that ex-directors of the Ford multinational Pedro Müller and Hector Sibila were found guilty in connections with the kidnapping and torture of workers at the plant that the carmaker had in General Pacheco city during the last military dictatorship.

It is the first sentence against directors of the multinational company, not as accomplices, but as direct participants in crimes against humanity. They received penalties of 10 and 12 years in prison.

The case details collusion between the two businessmen and the security forces during the country’s 1976-1983 dictatorship, DW reports. According to the prosecution, the men are accused of conspiring against union workers at the Ford factory, providing names, ID numbers, photographs and home addresses to military officials. … continue

Israeli forces fatally shoot Palestinian in southern West Bank

Press TV – December 11, 2018

Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian man, alleging that he attempted to ram his car into the regime’s policemen in the southern West Bank.

The incident took place in the Palestinian town of Idhna near al-Khalil (Hebron) on Tuesday morning.

The Palestinian Red Crescent identified the victim as Omar Hassan al-Awawdeh, 27.

Witnesses told the Wafa news agency that Awawdeh had been shot by several bullets in the back and left on the ground bleeding until a Palestinian ambulance transported him to hospital, where he was proclaimed dead. … Full article

Jewish temple activists set up altar for animal sacrifice in Jerusalem

Palestine Information Center – December 11, 2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Jewish activists, who hope to see the temple mount built in place of the Aqsa Mosque, unveiled a new altar in Occupied Jerusalem Monday, which they say is intended to be placed in the future on the mount after removing the Mosque and used to offer animal sacrifices.

According to Haaretz newspaper, these activists, who are preparing for a rebuilt temple by recreating some of the ancient tools used in temple rituals, have been practicing, for the past decade, the offering of sacrifices in the days before Passover. … continue

Israeli forces shoot, injure 3 Palestinian youths in Tubas

Ma’an – December 11, 2018

TUBAS – Three Palestinians were injured with live Israeli fire, during clashes that erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces in Tubas City in the northern occupied West Bank, on predawn Tuesday.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers opened live fire, injuring three youths in the extremities.

The three injured youths were transferred to a hospital for treatment, where their injuries were reported to be between light and moderate.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained four brothers from the city after raiding and searching their family home.

The detained brothers were identified by locals as Ahmad, Mahmoud, Muhammad and Yaqoub Radwan Daraghmeh.

Israeli raids into Palestinian towns and villages are near daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian home, detain owner

Palestine Information Center – December 11, 2018

JORDAN VALLEY – The Israeli occupation forces on Tuesday demolished a Palestinian home in the village of al-Jiftlik, in the Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank.

According to local sources Israeli forces raided the village at daybreak and proceeded with the demolition of a home owned by Omar Rahaila after they violently beat him up and opened fire at the vehicle which transported him to the demolition scene as soon as he received the news.

Rahaila was left with bruises before he was detained by the occupation forces. He was denied field treatment.

Israeli Colonists Puncture Tires Of Palestinian Cars, Write Racist Graffiti Near Ramallah

IMEMC News | December 11, 2018

A number of fanatic illegal Israeli colonialist settlers infiltrated, on Tuesday at dawn, into Beitin Palestinian village, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, punctured tires of parked cars and wrote racist graffiti.

Media sources in Ramallah said the assailants came from Beit El illegal colony, which was built on lands owned by the villagers.

The sources added that the attackers punctured the tires of many cars, and wrote racist graffiti on several walls and cars, before fleeing the area.

The assault came just hours after the colonists attacked dozens of Palestinian cars, near an Israeli military roadblock in the area, causing damage.

Seeking protection for the Palestinians at the UN empowers the criminals

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | December 11, 2018

The debate on whether Palestinians should be granted international protection continues. Adalah’s November 2018 Report to the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territories says that, since Israel “failed to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for the violation of such serious crimes”, thus upholding impunity, there is a “pressing need for international actors to take action to provide remedies and accountability for Palestinian victims of the 2018 protests.”

As Israeli snipers killed and maimed Palestinians participating in the Great March of Return protests, calls for international protection increased. In June, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on protecting Palestinian civilians which required the UN Secretary General to submit a report within 60 days with proposals on how to implement the resolution. Much more than 60 days have passed and the Palestinians still have neither António Guterres’s proposals nor international protection.

While the theory might sound in order, the reality reveals how macabre it is to trust in UN institutions. … continue

Israeli settlers hang posters calling for killing Palestinian President

Ma’an – December 11, 2018

NABLUS – Israeli extreme Jewish groups hung posters of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Huwwara crossroads in southern Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank, on Tuesday, calling for his assassination.

Locals reported that the Israeli army, deployed in the area, did not remove these posters.

The posters read “supporter of terrorists” and called for killing (assassinating) the Palestinian President.

The incident comes as member of the Likud party at the Israeli Knesset, Oren Hazan, had called for imposing closure on the Ramallah and al-Bireh district until the suspect of an attack carried out in the Ofra illegal Israeli settlement, two days ago, is detained.

Seven Israeli settlers were injured in the attack.

Israeli forces had raided Ramallah, on Monday, and were deployed just meters away from the Palestinian President’s house.

Israeli forces raided several institutions in Ramallah, including the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News and Information Agency, allegedly searching for the suspect.

The Bowdlerized Bush Obituaries

Something is missing

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • December 11, 2018

When George H.W. Bush died on November 30th, America’s two self-proclaimed newspapers of record The Washington Post and The New York Times were both quick off the mark in publishing what appeared to be definitive obituaries of the former president and statesman that had clearly been prepared in advance. The obit by The Times and that by The Post differed little in substance but they had one curious omission, i.e. President G.H.W. Bush’s eighteen month confrontation with Israel and its powerful domestic lobby.continue

US, EU Hindering Global Ban on Malicious Software – Russian Cyberthreat Centre

Sputnik – December 11, 2018

The deputy head of Russia’s National Cyberthreat Response Centre has said that an international ban on malicious software would be a major step in boosting security for ordinary users, but suggested that the US and Europe were dragging their feet on the issue.

Nikolai Murashov, deputy director of Russia’s National Cyberthreat Response Centre, has charged the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union with hampering efforts to introduce an international ban on the creation of malicious software. At the same time, he said, statistics on the geographical distribution of cyberattacks between 2016 and 2017 show that locations in the US and the EU are global cyberattack source hotspots.

Speaking at a cybersecurity briefing in Moscow on Tuesday, Murashov pointed out that the Russian criminal code already has an article categorising the creation of computer viruses as a crime.

“But not many states have followed suit. Almost everywhere [else], there is no ban on the development of similar software. Moreover, officials in the US, UK, and the EU do everything to hamper the approval of any recommendations on the criminalisation of such activities at forums where global information security is discussed”, the official said, clarifying that such resistance has included foot dragging at the UN. … continue

War Over Ukraine?

By Sheldon Richman | The Libertarian Institute | December 7, 2018

Today, the United States and Allies conducted an extraordinary flight under the Open Skies Treaty. The timing of this flight is intended to reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations.‎

The United States is resolute in our support for the security of European nations.

–Department of Defense news release, Dec. 6, 2018

Who wants to go to war against Russia in defense of Ukraine over the Kerch Strait, which lies between the Black and Azov seas and between Russia’s Taman Peninsula and Russian-annexed Crimea?

A show of hands, please.

But careful: don’t misconstrue my question. I’m not asking who wants the “United States” to go to war. I’m asking, rather: who is personally willing to fight the Russian military over the strait? Or: who is willing to see his or her sons and daughters fight, kill, and die in that cause?

Now, again, a show of hands, please. Anyone? No one? I didn’t think so. … continue

Sputnik Shown Never-Before-Seen UN Report on Kosovo Organ Harvesting Campaign

Sputnik – 10.12.2018

For decades, Serbian investigators and a few Western officials including ex-Hague Tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte have accused Kosovar Albanian officials of presiding over a gruesome campaign to harvest the organs of Serbian POWs. Now, for the first time, Sputnik has been shown excerpts from a UN report investigating the matter.

Milovan Drecun, chairman of Serbia’s parliamentary committee on Kosovo-Metohija, has shown Sputnik Serbia never-before-seen papers from a 2004 UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) report on the so-called ‘Yellow house’ in northern Albania, a site alleged to have been at the heart of the illegal organ harvesting operation run by Albanian Kosovar mafias between 1998 and 2001. A copy of this report was obtained by a Serbian parliamentary working group collecting evidence of alleged war crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army against the Serbian people. … continue

Kremlin blasts Pompeo’s ‘squandering’ remark, says US military budget ‘enough to support all Africa’

RT | December 11, 2018

Mike Pompeo is in no position to claim that sending two strategic bombers to Venezuela was a “squandering” of public funds, Moscow countered, saying half of the US military budget is enough “to support all of Africa.”

The US Secretary of State produced a lengthy tirade on Twitter on Tuesday, claiming the arrival of two Russian Tu-160 bombers was an example of “two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.” Later in the day, the remark was met with a sharp rebuke from the Kremlin. … continue

Syrian govt. forces discover US-made TOW anti-tank missiles in militant redoubts in Dara’a

Press TV December 11, 2018

Syrian government forces have discovered considerable amounts of munitions, as well as US-built anti-tank missiles at weapons depots of Takfiri terrorist groups in the country’s southwestern province of Dara’a.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Syrian army troopers launched a clean-up operation near Nasib village, which lies about 12 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital city ​​of Dara’a, on Tuesday and uncovered huge caches of ammunition and explosives.

The report added that the weapons included 14.5mm heavy machine guns, mortars, tank shells, American BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices, detonators, automatic assault rifles as well as infantry combat vehicles.

On December 6, Syrian government forces discovered Israeli-made weapons as well as a considerable amount of Israeli- and US-made medicine and medical supplies from two positions of foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in the country’s southwestern provinces of Rif Dimashq and Quneitra. … Full article

The gulf within GCC is only widening

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | December 10, 2018

The annual summit meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh on Sunday was particularly important for Saudi Arabia as a display of its regional leadership. But the short meeting of the GCC leaders behind closed doors, lasting for less than an hour, ended highlighting the huge erosion of Saudi prestige lately.

The litmus test was the participation by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. King Salman’s letter of invitation to the emir was perceived as some sort of an olive branch for reconciliation. But Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi represented the country at the summit.

The calculation by the hot headed crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE that Qatar would pack up is turning out to be a historic blunder. Qatar had some trying times but it has successfully weathered the harsh embargo by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the boycott is now hurting its enforcers. Qatar “celebrated” the anniversary of the boycott in June by banning the import of goods from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt (which had cut diplomatic and transport ties on June 5, 2017.) Ironically, Iran has been a beneficiary as Qatar established diplomatic relations with Tehran and began importing Iranian products. … continue

The EU and the warning signs of Fascism

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | December 10, 2018

Things are spiralling out of control in Europe, faster than many predicted. Outside of Brexit, there is strong anti-EU feeling in Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece and France.

The EU is in danger of crumbling, and people afraid of losing power are prone to extreme acts of dictatorial control.

How long before the EU truly becomes the authoritarian force that people from both ends of the political spectrum have always feared? … continue

French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

RT | December 11, 2018

Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

“I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.” … continue