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Current News and Analysis

Pulling US troops out of Syria will prove to be the right decision

By John R. Bradley | Spectator | October 15, 2019

Whenever neoconservatives and liberals chant in unison about American policy in the Middle East — as when they championed the Iraq invasion, for example, or the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, or the thwarted attempt to topple the Assad regime in Syria — it means we are being told a pack of lies. Par for the course is the hysterical response to President Donald Trump’s ‘betrayal’ of the Kurds in the wake of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria. … continue

Condemning Trump on Syria? It’s “buffet outrage”

By Stephen Kinzer – Boston Globe – October 17, 2019

Several years ago, the United States hired Kurdish fighters to be our mercenaries in Syria. This month we decided we don’t need them anymore, and abandoned them to their fate. Turkey, which considers Kurdish militancy a mortal threat, quickly began bombing them. This set off a veritable orgy of indignation in Washington. It is a classic example of “buffet outrage,” in which one picks and chooses which horrors to condemn.

Among those shedding crocodile tears, often accompanied by vivid threats against Turkey, are politicians and pundits who have never uttered a peep about American bombs laying waste to Yemen or American sanctions devastating lives in Iran. The United States deserves condemnation for abandoning its promise to the Kurds. Much of it, however, is a hypocritical blend of anti-Trump fanaticism and frustration over the emerging reality that we have lost the Syrian war. … continue

Truth Is A Kremlin Talking Point

By Caitlin Johnstone | October 17, 2019

In response to a statement during the Democratic primary debates by presidential candidate Andrew Yang that both Russia and the United States have engaged in election interference, liberal pundit Molly McKew tweeted, “I now retract any vaguely nice thing I ever said about Yang knowing technology things because he answered the question on Putin with moral equivalency and a Kremlin talking point.”

If you’re in the mood for some depressing amusement, just type the words “Kremlin talking point” without quotation marks into Twitter’s search engine and scroll through all the results which come up. Just keep on scrolling and observe how this label, “Kremlin talking point”, gets bleated by mainstream empire loyalists to dismiss subjects ranging from the rigging of Democratic primaries to criticism of US regime change wars to endless US warmongering to concerns about new cold war escalations to disliking John McCain to criticism of Nancy Pelosi. Any criticism of the status quo which cannot be labeled false or misleading gets labeled a “talking point” of Russia/Putin/the Kremlin by those who support and defend the status quo of US-centralized imperialist world hegemony. … continue

Israel Places Hunger-striking Palestinian Prisoner under Administrative Detention for 6 Months

Palestine Chronicle – October 17, 2019

An Israeli military court issued an administrative detention order against hunger-striking Palestinian detainee Musab al-Hindi today for a period of six months, the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Commission said.

Al-Hindi, from Tell town in Nablus district in northern occupied West Bank, was detained on September 4 and placed under administrative detention. He has been on an open-ended hunger strike for 24 consecutive days to protest his administrative detention without charge or trial.

He is currently held in isolation at Ohlikdar Israeli Prison after being moved several times by the Israeli prison service from one prison to another in an attempt to break his strike.

Al-Hindi is a former prisoner who was detained numerous times by Israeli forces. He spent around 11 years in Israeli jails, of which seven years were spent under administrative detention.

This is the second time he has embarked on an open-ended hunger strike to protest his detention without charge or trial. Last year he embarked on a 35-day hunger strike which he ended after reaching an agreement with the Israeli side to release him.

“Army Injures 51 Palestinians, Including Four Infants, In Nablus”

IMEMC News – October 17, 2019

After dozens of Israeli soldiers accompanied many buses and cars, loaded with illegal colonialist settlers, into Joseph Tomb area, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, leading to protests, medical sources said the soldiers have injured 51 Palestinians, including four infants, and one journalist. The soldiers also abducted several Palestinians in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the soldiers shot three Palestinians with live fire, 14 with rubber-coated steel bullets, and 34 who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

The PRCS added that the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs at random, causing many Palestinians, including four infants, to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in their homes. … Full article

Palestinian seriously injured by Israeli gunfire in Am’ari camp

Palestine Information Center – October 17, 2019

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – A Palestinian young man, from Occupied Jerusalem, was seriously wounded last night after Israeli soldiers opened fire at him on allegations that he carried out a car-ramming attack in Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah city.

A statement released by the Israeli border police claimed the young man deliberately rammed his car into a military vehicle and caused material damage to it during the presence of its forces in Am’ari camp.

Although no one of the soldiers was injured in the collision, they cold-bloodedly opened fire at him.

In order to justify their shooting of the young man, soldiers claimed the young man was carrying a knife and intended to kill soldiers with his vehicle

Later, the victim was transferred in critical condition to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. His identity is still unknown. … Full article

Soldiers Shoot Two Palestinian Workers Near Jenin

IMEMC News – October 17, 2019

Israeli soldiers shot two Palestinian workers near the military gate, which was installed on Barta’a town lands, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, as they were on their way to work on Thursday.

Mahmoud Sa’adi, the head of the Emergency Department at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society’s office in Jenin, said the soldiers shot Mohammad Ahmad Nawasra, 24, from Fahma town, and Omar Jamal Obeid, 23, from Arraba town, near Jenin.

Nawasra was shot with live rounds in his legs, while Obeid was shot in his left leg, before the soldiers interrogated them, and handed them to Palestinian medics. The two were trying to cross a gate of the illegal Annexation Wall in the area.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers have injured seven Palestinians in the last two weeks in the same area, and under similar circumstances.

Bedouin Mass Eviction is Part of Israel’s Efforts to Drive Palestinians off their Historic Lands

Tens of thousands are to be driven out of their homes because their numbers pose a major demographic threat to a Jewish state

By Jonathan Cook | The National | October 16, 2019

The decades-long struggle by tens of thousands of Israelis against being uprooted from their homes – some for the second or third time – should be proof enough that Israel is not the western-style liberal democracy it claims to be.

Last week 36,000 Bedouin – all of them Israeli citizens – discovered that their state is about to make them refugees in their own country, driving them into holding camps. These Israelis, it seems, are the wrong kind.

Their treatment has painful echoes of the past. … continue

Jeffrey Epstein Again Disappears From View, but What About Mossad?

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 17, 2019

I have long argued that pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was clearly an intelligence agent and that he was most likely working for the Israeli external service Mossad. My belief was based on the nature of his activity, which suggested that he was able to blackmail important Americans using the sex tapes that he had been able to make at his Manhattan mansion. Put that together with the existence of his fake Austrian passport, as well as former Miami federal attorney Alexander Acosta’s comments  and it would seem that an intelligence connection is a sine qua non. … continue

Norway’s F-35 Fleet Deemed Bad for Carbon Emissions Reduction – Reports

Sputnik – 17.10.2019

Norway’s first F-35 fighter jets landed at Ørland in 2017. By 2030, the fleet is expected to number 52, replacing Norway’s current fleet of 57 F-16s.

Norway’s new US-produced Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets will contribute to considerably higher carbon emissions in 2030, jeopardising Norway’s obligation to curb CO2 emissions to 60 percent of their 2005 level, the newspaper Dagsavisen reported.

Compared with the old F-16s, the F-35s are much heavier (31 tonnes fully loaded versus 13 tonnes), and have much more powerful engines, Dagsavisen stressed. Consequently, they burn 5,600 litres of jet fuel per hour, compared to only 3,500 litres for the old F-16s, which have been in use since 1980.

When the F-35 fleet is fully phased in 10 years from now, carbon emissions generated by the Norwegian air force will increase by a whopping 207 percent, the newspaper reported. By 2030, the air force alone will account for 56 percent of the armed forces’ total emissions. This will make it even harder for Norway to meet its climate goals, even though the military is generally granted a free pass for its heavy climate footprint.

“It’s a big problem that the military all over the world secures exemptions from reporting the effects on the climate and their climate measures”, Gaute Eiterjord, the leader of the environmental organisaton Nature and Youth, told Dagsavisen. “We can’t have that, when all parts of society are supposed to get down to zero emissions by 2050”. … Full article

Typhoon sweeps away bags full of radioactive Fukushima waste as authorities say nothing to worry about

RT | October 17, 2019

Tons of nuclear-contaminated debris were dumped into Japan’s Furumichi River when devastating Typhoon Hagibis washed away numerous bags of poorly-secured Fukushima waste – but the Environment Ministry won’t say how many.

An unknown number of bags, each holding up to one ton of contaminated soil and vegetation from the Fukushima site, were swept away from a storage site in Tamura when the river flooded under heavy rains caused by the typhoon over the weekend.

At least 17 bags have since been recovered – but 10 of those, found caught in trees along the river on Wednesday, had spilled their radioactive contents into the water – and the Environmental Ministry remains silent on how many bags are still missing.

Containing radioactive grass, leaves, dirt and wood, collected during decontamination efforts at the Fukushima site following the 2011 meltdown, some 2,667 bags were left out in the open without even a sheet placed over them for protection from the storm at the Tamura storage site, local media reported. The Environmental Ministry has not said how many bags remain, only that “most” of the bags stored there and at another outdoor site in Iitate remain in place. … Full article

Climate ‘limits’ and timelines

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | October 16, 2019

Some thoughts in response to a query from a reporter.

I received the following questions today from a reporter, related to climate change and ‘timelines.’ These questions are good topics for discussion. … continue

Rush hour rumble: Livid Londoners drag Extinction Rebellion protesters off Tube train roof

RT | October 17, 2019

Extinction Rebellion’s planned protest to disrupt public transport in London during rush hour took an unexpected turn when commuters dragged the activists off a train roof before staff came to their aid.

The scene unfolded at Canning Town Tube station on the Jubilee line, where the protesters were besieged on all sides of the trains before being unceremoniously dragged back down to Earth and dumped on the platform.

London Underground staff were forced to intervene to defend the protesters from the angry crowd.

Elsewhere, five activists blocked the Docklands Light Railway at Shadwell, climbing on board the trains, with at least one climate activist gluing themselves to the door. Commuters vented their frustration at the alleged hypocrisy of the protesters for blocking electric mass transit, as well as their perceived disregard for the wellbeing of the public. … Full article

Why Withdrawing US Troops from Northern Syria is GOOD

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | October 17, 2019

The foreign policy elite is in an uproar. They claim “we have abandoned our allies”. They question “how can America be trusted?” They say the decision to withdraw from northern Syria was a “gift” to Russia, Iran, and Assad, even ISIS. It is true that the policy of US/NATO interventionism is failing. But that has been true since the invasion of Iraq or earlier. After the disastrous invasions and attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and the 8 year undeclared war on Syria, isn’t it time to  question the foreign policy elite?

If one believes in restoring international law and the UN Charter, it is GOOD that US military forces have been withdrawn from  northern Syria. Here are some facts and history which explain why. … continue

Trump unchained: How the ‘God-Emperor’ is ending American Empire with Syria gambit

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | October 16, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of Syria is drawing fire from Democrats, media and some in his own party as well. He doesn’t seem to care, insisting on his 2016 campaign promise to end the endless wars.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Trump batted away every attempt at criticism – calling out the media for faking footage from Syria; describing the Kurdish militias that worked with US troops against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) as “no angels”; and demanding one good reason why the US should be involved in a centuries-long dispute between Syrians, Kurds and Turks when they could work that out themselves. None was forthcoming.

He even chided the US military-industrial complex that wants to “fight forever,” while making sure to note that he authorized a $2 trillion spending spree to rebuild the “depleted” US military. When reporters brought up the outspoken opposition by some Senate Republicans, Trump shot back that they ought to do their jobs, and he would do his. This was not a president worried about getting impeached, but someone confident in his position after 1,000 days in office. … continue

George W. Bush Brands Trump’s ‘Isolationist’ America as ‘Dangerous’ for Global Peace – Report

Sputnik – 17.10.2019

Former president George W. Bush has reportedly been reminiscing on his tenure amidst the current developments, following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from eastern Syria, which allegedly paved the way for Turkey to launch Operation Peace Spring against Kurdish forces in the region.

Former President George W. Bush launched a broadside at President Donald Trump on Wednesday night, reportedly claiming that “an isolationist United States is destabilising around the world”, according to the Washington Post‘s Josh Rogin.

Speaking during a panel alongside former president Bill Clinton at the Nir School of the Heart, Bush was said to have lambasted Trump for his recent decision to withdraw up to 1,000 American troops from northeast Syria as part of campaign promises to bring troops home after more than a decade of war, saying:

“An isolationist United States is destabilising around the world. We are becoming isolationist and that’s dangerous for the sake of peace.” […]

Today, an overwhelming majority of US veterans and voters believe Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were “not worth fighting”, according to the latest Pew Research Center survey.

Nearly six-in-ten voters say the US military intervention in Syria is not worth fighting or risking American lives on.

George W. Bush’s current statements come in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from eastern Syria, perceived as delivering on his campaign pledge to bring home US troops from Syria and to negotiate an exit from Afghanistan after almost two decades of war. He said in his State of the Union address in February 2019 that “great nations do not fight endless wars.”

Trump first announced in December 2018 that the more than 1,000 US troops in eastern Syria would soon be departing, claiming that Daesh had been defeated. … Full article

Media and politicians didn’t care about chaos the US caused in Syria for years, but now that Trump can be blamed, they’re outraged

By Danielle Ryan | RT | October 16, 2019

Mainstream US media has been the biggest cheerleader for Washington’s chaos production in Syria for years, but now, as Donald Trump pulls troops out of the northeast, they’re suddenly outraged. Spare us the crocodile tears.

“Plenty of reason here for the US possibly to become involved,” pleaded a horrified MSNBC correspondent this week, chastising Trump for ignoring “war crimes” and “human rights abuses” by Turkish forces.

Yet, while he and others cloak their demands for continued US military action in humanitarian concern for the Kurds in the face of Ankara’s onslaught, there is a more selfish reason for the media outrage. They are profoundly addicted to the bogus narrative of the US as the world’s savior, and worse, they crave the kind of dramatic TV footage and tales of military heroism that US forever wars offer. If that sounds a bit too cynical, recall MSNBC anchor Brian Williams close to weeping as he shared the “beautiful pictures” of American missiles raining down on Syria two years ago. … continue

And now, a message from our wannabe masters about Syria

The Saker | October 16, 2019

Dear The Saker,

The American Jewish Congress opposes the U.S. decision to withdraw troops from Syria and strongly condemns Turkey’s actions in Syria against the Kurds. In addition to endangering a U.S. ally, the Kurds, it also poses a great threat to Israel and to the region’s stability overall. Israel shares a border with Syria and is affected by what happens within Syria.

Syria has become a hotbed of Hezbollah and Iranian activity, which poses a direct threat to Israel; as a result of this decision, Turkey, Iran and Hezbollah win while Israel loses. Ultimately, the impact of this decision may come to outweigh President Trump’s historic actions in support of Israel. Regional stability and the security of our allies must be paramount for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Jack Rosen, President, American Jewish Congress

House of Representatives votes 354-60 against Trump’s withdrawal of US troops from Syria

RT | October 16, 2019

Democrats and 129 of the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to pass a non-binding resolution disapproving of President Donald Trump’s pullout of US troops from Syria – never authorized by Congress to be there.

The House Joint Resolution 77 describes the presence of US troops in northeastern Syria as “certain… efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces,” and formally voices opposition to their withdrawal, but does not offer an alternative. Instead, it demands the White House present a “clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat” of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

The IS “capital” of Raqqa was liberated by US-allied Kurdish militias in October 2017, and the last IS enclave was declared secured in December 2018, but traces of the presence of the self-declared “caliphate” remain in both Syria and Iraq, weakened by years of war and sanctions.

The House resolution asks the White House to continue providing “humanitarian support” to the Kurds and ensure that Turkey “acts with restraint,” while also demanding of Ankara to stop its “unilateral military action” in Syria.

Trump has maintained he never gave the “green light” to Turkey to invade Syria, and defended the withdrawal as protecting the lives of American soldiers in a region where they had no business being anymore. He has also threatened to “destroy” Turkey’s economy with sanctions and tariffs over the invasion. … continue

Illegal Colonists Injure Palestinians, Solidarity Activists, In Olive Orchards Near Nablus

IMEMC News | October 16, 2019

Illegal Israeli colonialist settlers attacked and injured villagers and international solidarity activists, while picking olive trees in Palestinian orchards in Burin village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday.

The colonists attacked locals, and the solidarity activists, in Palestinian orchards in the southeastern area of Burin.

Media sources in Nablus said the Israeli assailants injured several Palestinians, in addition to four international activists, who suffered cuts and bruises, and one Israeli peace activist, who suffered fractures.

They added that the colonists also set trees ablaze before leaving the area.

Also Wednesday, several colonists attacked many Palestinians, picking their olive trees in their orchards, in the al-Jab’a village, south of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.

Two days ago, the colonists attacked an elderly man from the same family, while he was working on his land.

Such attacks are frequent, and include cutting and uprooting trees, in addition to assaulting the farmers; they escalate during the olive harvest season.

Israel opens natural spring to visitors – except Palestinians

MEMO | October 16, 2019

Israeli authorities have opened a natural spring in southern Jerusalem to visitors, “but on the explicit condition that Palestinians not be allowed to enter the site”, reported Haaretz.

The decision by police yesterday meant that the Ein Hanya spring “was kept under heavy guard by the police and Border Police, which even closed the road leading to Palestinian towns”.

Meanwhile, “hundreds of Israelis visited the site”, said Haaretz.

As described by the paper, Ein Hanya “is one of the largest and most important natural springs in the Jerusalem area”.

While it is located within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, Palestinian residents of neighbouring village Al-Walaja “regularly visit it”.

Much of Al-Walaja’s land has been confiscated by Israeli authorities over the decades, with village land straddling the 1967 ‘Green Line’

The official opening of the spring as a tourism site was subject to repeated delays, thanks to “a dispute over whether entry fees should be charged”, as well as the “police’s demand that Palestinians not be allowed to enter”.

Police have also insisted that a checkpoint be relocated further south, “so that it would separate Palestinian towns from the spring”, at an estimated cost of 12 million shekels ($3.4 million). … Full article

Israeli occupation authority closes Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims for two days

Palestine Information Center – October 16, 2019

AL-KHALIL – The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on Tuesday announced the closure of the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil to Muslim worshipers for two days to allow Jewish settlers to celebrate a religious event.

Director of the Mosque Hafdi Abu Snaineh said that the IOA notified him about the closure of the Islamic holy site as of 10:00 pm on Tuesday until 10:00 pm on Thursday in order to allow settlers to perform their rituals inside it on the occasion of the Sukkot holiday.

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) also intensified their presence at the entrances and barriers outside the Mosque and set up more road barriers and checkpoints in the Old City of al-Khalil.

The IOF also obstructed the movement of Palestinian citizens living near the Mosque and made it hard for them to leave or enter their homes.

Following the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the Mosque by extremist Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein, the IOA imposed its control over the holy site.

Why Interventionists Won’t Help the Kurds

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | October 16, 2019

An interesting aspect of the controversy over Syria is the reaction of interventionists to what they call President Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds. They’re saying that Trump should have kept those 50 U.S. troops serving as a tripwire between Turkish military forces and the Kurds. Removing the tripwire, they say, enabled Turkey to attack the Kurds. … continue

The Russian Masterpiece in Syria: Everyone Wins

By Federico Pieraccini | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 16, 2019

“Moscow and Damascus have always maintained they are against any form of partition or illegal foreign presence in Syria.”

Moscow has managed to maintain contacts with all parties in the conflict, even in spite of its stance against partition and illegal foreign presence. Trilateral talks between Iran, Turkey and Russia occurred in Astana at Moscow’s urging. Putin managed to bring together in Sochi the Syrian government and opposition groups to discuss the future of Syria. In Geneva, Moscow mediated between Damascus and the international community, shielding Syria from the diplomatic skulduggery of the US and other enemies of Syria.

Turkey, solely as a result of its defeat in Syria, now finds itself in active dialogue with Moscow and Tehran. As Ankara experiences worsening relations with Washington and other European capitals, Moscow saw a great opportunity to bring Turkey closer to Damascus.

Russia’s operation was complicated and required a lot of patience; but thanks to negotiations supervised by Russia, together with the bravery and courage of Syrian soldiers, almost all of the terrorist pockets scattered around Syria have been progressively overcome.

Other than the Idlib province, the main problem for Damascus lay with the US occupation in the northeast of the country, under the pretext of protecting the Kurds (SDF) from the “Assad regime”, as well as to “fight Daesh”. … continue

US conducted cyber strike against Iran after Yemen raid on Saudi oil sites: Report

Press TV – October 16, 2019

The United States has reportedly carried out a secret cyber attack against Iran in the week following Yemen’s strikes on key Saudi oil facilities, which Washington blames on Tehran.

Two American officials, who were speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday that the operation took place in late September and targeted what they called Tehran’s ability to spread “propaganda.”

One of the officials claimed that the cyber attack had affected physical hardware, without elaborating.

The Pentagon declined to comment about the reported cyber strike, with spokeswoman Elissa Smith saying, “As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence, or planning.”

Tehran has not reacted to the report so far. … Full article

Ecuador’s Mobilisation Against Moreno’s Invitation to US and IMF Interference

By Ramona Wadi | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 16, 2019

In Ecuador, the recent indigenous revolt against President Lenin Moreno’s neoliberal policies was instrumental in the repealing of a law which would have terminated fuel subsidies and plunged the most vulnerable into additional deprivation. The Ecuadorean government’s announcement, however, must not be misread as victory. It is the beginning of a long struggle which the people will face as Moreno maintains his commitment to the $4.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, granted as he waived Julian Assange’s right to refuge at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

US influence at the IMF must not be underestimated. It owns 17.46 per cent of shares in the institution. Yet under the pretext of the institution being allegedly “governed by and accountable to the 189 countries that make up its near-global membership,” the US has another platform it can monopolise when it comes to foreign intervention tactics. Then, it can substantiate its IMF role with the country’s official foreign policy, as evidenced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s press statement over Ecuador’s violent repression of the recent protests: “The United States supports President Moreno and the Government of Ecuador’s efforts to institutionalise democratic practices and implement needed economic reforms.” In the words of Andres Arauz, a former Ecuadorean Central Bank official, “what the IMF does in Western hemisphere is US foreign policy.”

To safeguard his complicity with the US and the IMF, Moreno declared a national state of emergency, pitting the police and the military against Ecuador’s civilians. Thousands of protestors were met with state violence and an indigenous leader, Inocencio Tucumbi, was killed by government forces. An official statement brings the injured toll to 554 and 929 people were arrested. CONAIE President Jaime Vargas’s count of injured, killed, detained and disappeared, however, exceeds what has been reported by the government. … continue

The Excommunication of Susan Crockford

Polar bear expert purged from the University of Victoria

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | October 16, 2019

An accomplished scientist and role model for young women has been expelled from the academic community. Like geologist Bob Carter before her, Susan Crockford has been stripped of her Adjunct Professor status by a university with which she has a long history. Why? Because she promotes facts and eschews climate activism.

In May, Canada’s University of Victoria (UVic) advised Crockford that an internal committee had voted to end her 15-year stint as an Adjunct Professor. Having undergone hip surgery in the interim, only now is she going public.

When the matter was last considered, the committee voted unanimously in her favour. What changed? Talks she was invited to give to schools apparently “generated concern among parents regarding balance.” That concern was “shared with various levels of the university,” according to an April 2017 e-mail from Ann Stahl, then chair of the Anthropology Department.

These vague accusations, leveled by an unknown number of unknown individuals who may or may not have been garden variety climate activists, were first used to expel Crockford from the UVic Speakers Bureau. They then became the impetus to expel her from the UVic academic community altogether. … continue

Another climate scare debunked: Guatemalan coffee and migrants

By James Taylor | CFACT | October 14, 2019

The National Catholic Reporter has published an article claiming global warming is the reason Guatemalans are illegally enter the United States. The article claims climate change is decimating the Guatemalan coffee crop, which in turn leaves hungry and broke Guatemalans no choice but to flee to the United States. Objective data from the International Coffee Organization, however, show global coffee crops are benefiting as the world continues its modest warming. Also, Guatemalan coffee production just experienced its fourth consecutive year of increasing production.

The Reporter article, titled “As climate effects hit coffee crops, Guatemalan farmers become migrants,” claims:

Many Central Americans arriving at the U.S. southern border are escaping a toxic mix of gang violence, poverty and corruption. But for record numbers of Guatemalans deciding to emigrate more recently, the root cause appears to be climate change and the devastating effect it has had on that country’s coffee crop.

The Guatemalan coffee industry is the country’s largest rural employer. Farmers and agricultural laborers, once employed in the sector, now find themselves largely out of work. They are abandoning their plantations and joining the exodus north.

The article certainly is correct that gang violence and poverty may inspire Guatemalans to leave their country, but the asserted global warming causation is clearly false.

According to the International Coffee Organization, global coffee farmers produced their all-time record crop in 2017. Moreover, each of the eight highest record global coffee crops were produced during the past eight years.

If global warming or global climate change is responsible for declining coffee production, why is global warming bringing record global coffee crops? … Full article

It’s curtains for US in Syria. Russia, Iran owe big thanks to Erdogan

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | October 15, 2019

The scenario agreed on behind the curtains through months of confidential exchanges, often one-on-one, between the Russian and Turkish leaders regarding north-eastern Syria is entering a critical phase with the agreement between the Kurds and the Assad regime.

We have a complex scenario where on the one hand the Turkish army and the Syrian opposition units loyal to Ankara are relentlessly continuing their southward offensive expanding control over Syria’s border regions populated by the Kurds. According to Turkish President Recep Erdogan 1000 sq.kms. of territory previously under Kurdish control have been “liberated”.

On the other hand, following up on the agreement with the Kurds, the first columns of Syrian government forces have moved into the north of the country toward the Turkish border.

Prima facie, Damascus is challenging the Turkish offensive — as it should — and, in principle, a confrontation can ensue. But things are never really quite what they appear on the surface in Syria. … continue

Russia, Damascus Ensure Safe Pullout of Foreign Troops From Syria’s North-East

Sputnik – October 15, 2019

The Russian military and the Syrian authorities have taken the necessary measures to ensure the safe withdrawal of foreign troops from northeastern Syria as the evacuation of US servicemen continues, the Russian centre for Syrian reconciliation said Tuesday.

“The evacuation of US forces from the northeastern parts of the Syrian Arab Republic is continuing. US troops have left bases in Dadat and Umm-Mial locations in the Manbij district of Aleppo province and have departed towards the Syrian-Iraqi border,” Maj. Gen. Alexey Bakin, the head of the centre, said at a daily briefing.

“The Syrian authorities  and the Russian command are taking all necessary measures to ensure the safe withdrawal of foreign military personnel,” the general stressed.

Earlier, a senior US state department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that US troops had completely pulled out from the northern Syrian city of Manbij. … Full article

Terrorized, Traumatized and Killed: The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | October 15, 2019

Children learn what they live.

As family counselor Dorothy Law Nolte wisely observed, “If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.”

And if children live with terror, trauma and violence—forced to watch helplessly as their loved ones are executed by police officers who shoot first and ask questions later—will they in turn learn to terrorize, traumatize and inflict violence on the world around them? … continue

PA freezes accounts of NGOs, charities in Gaza

MEMO | October 15, 2019

The Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO Network) expressed “deep concerns” following the Palestinian Authority’s decision to freeze the accounts of scores of NGOs and charities in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, the PNGO Network warned of the negative consequences of this measure on the workflow of these NGOs and charities in the besieged enclave.

The PNGO Network said that it had received a number of complaints from NGOs and charities in Gaza regarding their inability to access funds as a result of the PA’s actions, stating this would undermine their ability to provide services to those in need and fulfil their mandate.

Banks, it explained, only open accounts for NGOs following approval from the PA.

Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinian Commuters on West Bank Roads

Palestine Chronicle | October 15, 2019

Jewish settlers today attacked with stones Palestinian vehicles traveling on roads in the south of the West Bank causing damage but no injuries, according to Palestinian security sources.

The settlers pelted the vehicles with stones on a road south of Bethlehem causing damage to at least one car, said the sources.

Settlers are never prosecuted for attacking Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories and often carry out their acts in the presence of soldiers.

Dem candidates mostly turn a blind eye to Israeli atrocities and Palestinian rights

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | October 15, 2019

On the critical issue of Israel/Palestine, Democratic presidential hopefuls reveal a strong pro-Israel leaning that does not match the sentiments of a huge swath of Democratic voters. If voters who support justice and human rights don’t speak up, we’re likely to get another leader who bows to Israel. … Read article

EVEN CNN hosts gasp at guest’s claim that Tulsi Gabbard is ‘a Russian puppet’

RT | October 15, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is no stranger to mainstream media smears, but even a panel of CNN hosts and analysts audibly gasped when one guest outright accused the Hawaii congresswoman of working for Russia.

What started off as a standard panel discussion on Tuesday’s upcoming Democratic debate quickly took a dark turn, as CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers accused Gabbard of foreign allegiances. As soon as Gabbard’s name was mentioned, Sellers took the opportunity to claim that there “is a chance that Tulsi’s not just working for the United States of America.”

The dramatic accusation prompted uncomfortable shuffling from the rest of the panel, with CNN contributor April Ryan asking “ohh, wait a minute, what?” Sitting opposite Sellers, commentator Angela Rye jumped in to stress that any accusations of Gabbard working for a foreign power are just “an allegation.”

Sellers was not content to quit, however, adding that it was “not just an allegation” — despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Gabbard is compromised by any foreign country. … continue

Another Interventionist “Success” Story

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | October 15, 2019

Not surprisingly, the interventionists are blaming their latest interventionist fiasco, this one in Syria, on President Trump. No, they say, the responsibility doesn’t fall on them and their morally bankrupt philosophy. The fault for their interventionist fiascos always lies with others.

If only President Trump hadn’t betrayed the Kurds. If only he had kept those 50 U.S. troops who were serving as a sacrificial tripwire to prevent war between Turkey and the Kurds there for the next 30 years. If only he had sent tens of thousands of more U.S. troops into Syria for a regime-change operation.

If only, if only, if only, the interventionists could finally have had a foreign intervention success story.

But now that Trump has acted “precipitously” by moving those 50 troops and announcing a withdrawal of the 1,000 U.S. troops in the country, he has eliminated any chance of an interventionist success story. It’s all his fault for the latest failure and fiasco. … continue

The New York Times’ Preemptive Reporting on James Comey

Consortium News • October 13, 2019

With the Justice Dept.’s coming inspector general report that could find serious wrongdoing by former FBI director James Comey and other senior officials the Times runs a glowing defense of Comey. – Read article

Bahraini courts issue life terms for 271 anti-regime activists since Jan. 2018: Rights group

Press TV – October 15, 2019

An independent human rights group says Bahraini courts have sentenced hundreds of anti-regime protesters to life imprisonment since the beginning of last year, as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed clampdown on political dissidents in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

The [Persian] Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights said in a report on Tuesday that the Bahraini regime’s courts handed down 271 life sentences to dissidents between January 2018 and May 2019, Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported.

The report added that a total of 130 life sentences were issued by Bahraini courts between January and December last year – at an average of 10.8 cases per month. May 2018 set a record high then, when 43 life sentences were issued in just one month.

It further noted that the frequency of life sentences increased significantly in 2019, and a total of 141 Bahraini activists were sentenced to life in prison between January and May at a rate of 28.2 cases per month. The process reached its peak in April, when 63 Bahrainis were sentenced to life imprisonment. All those people sentenced to life in 2019 were revoked of their Bahraini citizenship as well.

“The increasing harsh and tough judgments in politically-charged cases indicate the Bahraini authorities’ intransigence and unwillingness to ease tension and create a favorable climate conducive to national dialogue. Such an approach will deepen the human rights and political crisis in the country,” the Chairman of the [Persian] Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, Yahya al-Hadid, said.

He added, “We call on Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees, compensate the victims of torture, bring those involved in the violations to justice, and call for a serious national dialogue with all parties.” … Full article

Trump imposes sanctions on Turkey in response to Ankara’s “Operation Peace Spring” in Syria

By Sarah Abed | October 15, 2019

On Monday, after a weekend of bloody chaos in northeastern Syrian brought on by Turkey’s cross border military incursion “Operation Peace Spring” which included airstrikes, ISIS prison breaks, and a continuation of the exodus we’ve seen over the past few days of over a hundred thousand civilians fleeing their homes, President Trump signed an Executive Order authorizing sanctions against current and former Turkish government officials and anyone contributing to Turkey’s actions in destabilizing northeast Syria.

In a formal statement, published by the White House, President Trump went on to say that steel tariffs will be increased back to 50%, which is the level they were at prior to a reduction in May of this year. President Trump also said negotiations led by the Department of Commerce which include a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey, would cease immediately. … continue

US Working With Russia to Handover Patrols Between Turkish and Syrian Armies in Manbij

By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | October 15, 2019

This morning, Russian military officials announced they are now patrolling the region surrounding Syria’s northern town of Manbij, specifically in the areas which separate Turkish troops and the Syrian Arab Army soldiers.

According to a Russian Defense Ministry statement issued Tuesday, Russian military police are being positioned as a ‘buffer’ around the area northwest of Manbij, “along the line of contact between the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey.” Officials also indicated that they are in communication with the Turkish military leadership to ensure that patrols are observing necessary deconfliction protocols.

More interestingly, US reports suggest that the Pentagon has been working together with Moscow in order engineer a seamless handover to Russian military police of positions previously held by US forces. … continue

Forget privacy abuses, liberals call to DeleteFacebook after learning Zuckerberg met with conservatives

By Helen Buyniski | RT | October 15, 2019

Facebook’s history of abusing users’ trust by sharing their private data with corporate partners and government spooks pales in comparison to its CEO’s decision to sit down with prominent conservatives, for some.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been meeting with conservative commentators, journalists, and politicians in “small, off-the-record dinners” and “informal talks,” Politico revealed on Monday, sending shockwaves through the internet. He reportedly discussed “free expression, unfair treatment of conservatives, fact checking, partnerships, and privacy” with prominent right-wing critics of Facebook, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Washington Examiner correspondent Byron York, and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

This, the mainstream media and many liberals on social media have declared, is an outrage. The hashtag #DeleteFacebook was trending for most of Monday as Woke Twitter finally realized the fourth-richest man in the US, who infamously called Facebook users “dumb f***s,” was an unworthy trustee of their digital lives. Just kidding – they were upset that the platform had become yet another tool of white supremacy. … continue

UK under fire for compiling secret database on Britons

By Bianca Rahimi | Press TV | October 15, 2019

London – Human rights groups describe it as “utterly chilling” experts as a “trawling exercise”. The UK government is under fire for a secret database supposedly used to prevent radicalization and terrorism.

The personal details of thousands of people are recorded and can be accessed by any bobby on the beat. Rights groups say it’s purpose is not keeping Britain safe though.

If you live in the UK your most personal information, from what you do and who you associate with, to what you drew as a toddler in nursery, might be on a secret government database. One compiled by counter-terrorism police and fed into by the controversial anti-radicalization program called Prevent.

The police say recording referrals ensures accountability and allows forces to understand when vulnerabilities are increasing; but human rights campaigners say it is nothing more than a trawling exercise.

Schools now have a legal duty to act but experts warn that educators are poorly trained. Teachers are scrutinizing pupils as young as 4 for signs of radicalization but according to their unions, teachers feel burdened by this responsibility and may refer too often and arbitrarily to cover their backs.

These Scrubbed Reports Reveal New Secrets Into the Prince Andrew-Jeffrey Epstein Relationship

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | October 14, 2019

While the Jeffrey Epstein scandal has largely faded from media coverage in the United States, it has continued to attract attention abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom in connection with Epstein’s long-standing association with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and the Queen’s son.

The Epstein-Prince Andrew relationship has long been a fascination of the U.K. press, with numerous articles dating back to the early 2000s detailing the most outrageous aspects of their relationship. Prior to that, Epstein had also garnered attention from U.K. newspapers regarding his association with Ghislaine Maxwell, whose reputation in the U.K. is rather notorious, as was that of her father, Robert Maxwell.

Yet, since Epstein’s arrest in July, many of these older articles on Epstein and Maxwell, as well as those focusing on the Epstein-Prince Andrew relationship, have disappeared from the archives of several prominent U.K. media outlets that reported on these relationships years ago.  

Several of these articles, though largely scrubbed from the internet, were recently obtained by MintPress and a review of their contents makes the likely motive behind their disappearance clear: several articles not only reference Epstein’s connection to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence years before the first investigation into Epstein’s exploitation of minors had even begun, but also reveal surprising aspects of Prince Andrew’s involvement with Epstein that strongly suggest that the Prince partook in illicit sexual activities with minors to a much greater extent than has previously been reported. … continue

Several Areas in Syria’s North-East Declare Restoration of Sovereignty – Russian Military

Sputnik – October 15, 2019

A number of settlements in the provinces of Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasakah in Syria have announced the restoration of Syrian sovereignty on their territory due to the inability of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria to protect the population and solve humanitarian problems, the Russian Military said.

“The self-proclaimed Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, having not received support from the United States and other Western countries, was unable to take any effective measures to protect the population and resolve humanitarian problems,” Maj. Gen. Alexey Bakin, the head of the Russian centre for Syrian reconciliation said at a daily briefing.

“As a result, the self-governing authorities of the settlements in the Manbij district of Aleppo province, Tabka district of Raqqa province, Qamishli and Hasakah districts of Hasakah province announced the full restoration of the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic on their territory,” he added.

The general also said that in other settlements in Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa provinces, representatives of several tribal unions had held demonstrations against the foreign aggression and terrorism, and sent appeals to the Russian reconciliation centre to assist them in restoring the legitimate authority of Syria.