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“No One Has Suggested My Son Did Anything Wrong”: Joe Biden Doubles Down On Denial

By Jonathan Turley | January 24, 2020

We have previously discussed the denials of former Vice President Joe Biden that his son did anything wrong in Ukraine. As I have written, not only did Hunter Biden clearly enter into a corrupt (but arguably lawful) contract but Joe Biden did not do enough to confirm that his son was not engaging in influence peddling. Nevertheless, this week, Joe Biden continued this indefensible position and declared bizarrely that “no one has suggested my son did anything wrong.”

According to the Washington Post, Joe Biden declared on the campaign trail that “There’s nobody that’s indicated there’s a single solitary thing that he did that was inappropriate, wrong … or anything other than the appearance. It looked bad that he was there.” He then curiously added “He acknowledges that he in fact made a mistake going on the board.” So, in other words, he did nothing wrong but he apologized for it.

Joe Biden continues to maintain that “no one” has accused his son of wrongdoing when there is a chorus of such allegations. He seems to be drawing a distinction between what is criminal and what is not — as if the criminal code is the only measure of wrongdoing or unethical conduct. … continue

Iranian news agency says its website has GONE DOWN ‘due to US sanctions’

RT | January 24, 2020

The website of Iran’s Fars News Agency, often described as semi-state operator, has gone offline worldwide, with the agency claiming its server company blocked the site on orders from Washington.

Internet users trying to access on Friday found only a blank screen, along with a message stating “’s server IP address could not be found.” Fars News announced on Twitter that its server company had blocked the site because of US sanctions.

It is unclear where the server company is based, but several multinational tech firms have withdrawn service to Iranian users in the past, for fear of violating Washington’s ban on doing business with the Islamic republic. GitHub limited access to Iranian users last year, while Apple removed Iranian apps from its App Store two years earlier, as did Google.

Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have all removed accounts they claim were linked to the Iranian government.

As Fars News remained inaccessible through Friday evening, state outlets Mehr News Agency, Press TV, and Islamic Republic News Agency were seemingly unaffected, and were, at the time of writing, accessible.

Iran is not the only country whose state media have been affected by US sanctions. Economic penalties on Venezuela led the Latin American country’s TeleSUR network to cut back on its programming in 2018. TeleSUR’s Facebook page was also repeatedly taken offline that year, with the network accusing the Silicon Valley company of targeted censorship.

We have legal age limits for driving, voting, and having sex, why not for transgender treatment?

By Tomasz Pierscionek | RT | January 23, 2020

Vulnerable children and adolescents are being influenced by PC culture that elevates rights over responsibilities, teaches children there are over 100 genders, and where a fear of offending others trumps common sense.

Western democracies preach tolerance and require its citizens to accept progressive ideas; the more unconventional the better. A particular idea or course of action may even go against common sense and lead to harm, yet an overriding fear of causing offence or being labelled a [insert blank]-phobe thwarts open discussion about important issues.

There are, however, those who speak out and remind us to think carefully about embarking down a slippery slope from which it is difficult to return.

Susan Evans, a mental health professional and former employee of the UK’s only Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), is asking the High Court to undertake a judicial review and raise the age at which individuals can consent to receiving puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to 18. Ms Evans is joined by the parent of a 15-year-old adolescent on the GIDS waiting list.

Although individuals in the UK cannot undergo gender reassignment surgery until the age of 18, children and teenagers suffering from gender dysphoria (uncomfortable feelings brought on by a person’s gender identify differing from their birth sex) may receive medications to slow the onset of puberty and thus delay development of physical characteristics associated with their undesired sex. Later, from the age of 16, either testosterone or oestrogen (cross-sex hormones) are given to help an individual’s physical characteristics better align with those of their preferred gender identity. … continue

The Median Age of Wuhan Virus Fatalities Is 75

By Marko Marjanović | Anti-Empire | January 24, 2020

Full article

Syrians in Golan protest against Israeli plan for wind turbines

Press TV – January 24, 2020

The residents of Syria’s Golan Heights stage a protest against Israeli plans to install wind turbines in the occupied territory, on January 24, 2020.

The residents of Syria’s Golan Heights have staged a protest against Israel’s plan to install wind turbines in the occupied territory, which they say would pave the way for the seizure of more land from them.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that protesters took to the streets of Majdal Shams on Friday and reiterated that they would defend the right to their land.

Tel Aviv plans to install 46 wind turbines on an area of about 6,000 acres near the villages of Majdal Shams, Ein Qiniyye, Buq’ata, and Mas’ade in Golan, according to the report.

The protesters said the project aimed to steal more of the Syrian citizens’ property. … Full article

Rights group details Israel’s recent torture of Palestinian detainees

MEMO | January 24, 2020

A Palestinian rights group has published details of what it describes as “the systematic use of torture and ill-treatment” against Palestinian detainees in Al-Mascobiyya interrogation centre.

Prisoners’ rights organisation Addameer yesterday revealed “hard evidence” of the “crime of torture and ill-treatment” committed against Palestinians in recent months, describing “the cruel physical and physiological torture and ill-treatment” that a “number of detainees were subjected to”.

As reported by Addameer, towards the end of 2019 Israel’s Shin Bet “subjected a number of detainees at Al-Mascobiyya interrogation centre to severe physical and psychological torture”, in an attempt “to extract confessions and force them into self-incrimination”.

Addameer stated that it is the legal representative for around 50 cases of the detainees in interrogations, with the detainees including “university students” and “human rights defenders”.

Palestinian prisoners can be interrogated for up to 75 days without being charged, and also prevented from seeing a lawyer for up to 60 days.

According to the report, “the torture methods used against those detainees resulted in visible marks, and bruises on their bodies”, while several [detainees] “were not able to walk or even move due to the harsh beatings and stress positions they were subjected to.” … Full article

Voting for World Zionist Congress heats up

If Americans Knew | January 23, 2020

Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper reports that “the stakes are extremely high” in the current election for members of the World Zionist Congress (WZC).

Elections are held every five years. Voting began Jan. 21 and will end in two months.

The Jerusalem Post explains that the WZC is “the legislative body that determines the policies of the world’s leading Jewish organizations – the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency of Israel (JAFI), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Keren Hayesod.

“The WZC is the body that makes major policy decisions concerning the future of Zionism, Aliyah [‘ascending’ to Israeli citizenship] and absorption, Israeli advocacy worldwide, Jewish education and the war against antisemitism, settlement in Israel and other vital issues for Israel and the Jewish people’s future.” … continue

Israel soldiers raid house of Palestinian they shot and made disabled 4 years ago

MEMO | January 24, 2020

A Palestinian who was shot four years ago in the head by Israeli soldiers is being called in for interrogation with no reason provided, Haaretz reported yesterday.

The family house of 21-year-old Khalil Mahmoud from the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya was raided last Thursday by Israeli forces who tried to arrest him.

Khalil told Haaretz a large number of Israeli soldiers “maybe 30” wearing border force uniforms – crowded into the house while his father Ahmed, a house painter was at work. There were more soldiers in civilian clothes stationed outside, he added.

After ransacking his room, they confiscated four shield trophies made of olive wood, which Khalil had received from various Palestinian NGOs as tokens of esteem and solidarity with his suffering. … continue

Illegal Israeli Colonists Burn A Mosque In Jerusalem

IMEMC News | January 24, 2020

Illegal Israeli colonists, squatting on stolen Palestinian lands, burnt sections of a mosque in Sharafat Palestinian village, southwest of occupied East Jerusalem, after infiltrating into the village at dawn.

An eyewitness told the Palestinian Maan News Agency that, as he and around forty other Palestinians, headed to the mosque for dawn prayers, they were surprised to find many Israeli police officers around the mosque.

He added that the colonists burnt the inside of the mosque, such as its walls and carpets, before the locals rushed to it and managed to extinguish the fire, and the police were called to the scene.

The Israeli assailants also wrote racist graffiti on the walls of the defaced mosque.

Israeli police officers surrounded the mosque after closing it, and informed the villagers that the holy site is now closed as an investigation is underway.

It is worth mentioning that, several years ago, the colonists attacked the same mosque, and attempted to burn it. The Israeli police were then called to the scene and allegedly investigated the fire, but without any results. … Full article

American Zionists choose lies over children

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | January 23, 2020

A bill before Congress seeks merely to stop US aid dollars from subsidizing the incarceration and torture of Palestinian children.

Pro-Israel organizations would rather believe outrageous fallacies than stand up for these kids’ rights. …. continue

US to grant $35 million to promote its fake news bubble in Syria & control local media

By Eva Bartlett | RT | January 24, 2020

Although Western media has a shoddy track record of lying on Syria (and Libya, Iraq…), the US State Department will pump $35 million more into future war propaganda on Syria, under the guise of promoting honest reporting.

A US State Department grant, “Support for Independent Media in Syria,” is unabashed in stating one of its main goals is “to advance U.S. Government policy objectives in Syria.”

That is probably the sole honest clause in the grant description: that it is in the end about US self-serving, hegemonic objectives in Syria.

The description goes on to claim these goals include the defeat of ISIS—although the illegal US-led coalition has attacked Syrian army positions on numerous occasions, ensuring the advance (not defeat) of ISIS in those areas. … continue

Iraqis march in ‘millions’ to call for expulsion of US troops

Press TV – January 24, 2020

Iraqis have rallied in Baghdad in massive numbers to call for an end to US military presence in the country following high-profile assassinations and airstrikes targeting anti-terror forces.

Sayed Sadiq al-Hashemi, the director of the Iraqi Center for Studies, said more than 2.5 million took part in the demonstrations on Friday.

Since the early hours on Friday, huge crowds of men, women and children of all ages converged on the Jadriyah neighborhood near Baghdad University. … continue

Russia condemns US “unacceptable” threats to assassinate new Quds Force commander

Press TV – January 23, 2020

Russia has severely censured US threat to assassinate Brigadier General Esmaeil Qa’ani, the new commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), as “unacceptable.”

“I state once again that such statements are unacceptable for us. Such remarks have been made beyond rights and law, and representatives of world states are not entitled to utter them,” the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying at a news briefing in the capital Moscow on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi denounced Washington’s assassination threat against Brig. Gen. Qa’ani, stating that the latest remarks by US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook “are an official publicizing and blatant unveiling of targeted and state terrorism by the United States.”

“Now, after the Zionist regime [of Israel], the US is the second regime to officially announce that it has employed the resources of its government and armed forces for terrorist acts and that it will continue them in the future,” Mousavi added.

The Iranian diplomat further noted that Washington’s recourse to terrorist acts is a clear sign of “weakness, desperation, and confusion” among the officials of the American regime. … Full article

Aftermath: The Iran War After The Soleimani Assassination

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | January 23, 2020

“Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools.”Ayatollah Khamenei

The Killing

I’ve been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.

In June, in an essay entitled “Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back,” after the U.S. initiated its “maximum pressure” blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that “Iran considers that it is already at war,” and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that “Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance.”

In an October essay, I pointed out that Trump’s last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as “catastrophic” and “a big win for Iran” by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed in an important article, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran.” I said, with emphasis, “It always goes to Iran,” and underlined that Trump’s restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a “veteran political consultant” that “The price of [Lindsey] Graham’s support… would be an eventual military strike on Iran.”

And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it’s “necessary to take Iran down now,” in “the next six months,” before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason—behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment—that explains why Pelosi and Schumer “find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.” … continue

Soros pumps $1bn into ‘global education network’ to fight ‘climate change & dictators’ like Trump, Xi & Modi

RT | January 24, 2020

Billionaire George Soros has unveiled a new ambitious project: creating a global university network that would save the world from climate change and rescue democracy itself from ‘dictators’ like US President Donald Trump.

The 89-year-old grey eminence of liberal globalism announced “the most important project of my life” on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Describing the current state of the world as dire, with the strongest powers “in the hands of would-be or actual dictators,” Soros said he would put forth $1 billion towards the creation of the Open Society University Network, revolving around his own Central European University (CEU).

The announcement came as part of Soros’s meandering speech to the gathering of global elites, which painted a dire picture of the world in the hands of “would-be or actual dictators” – he singled out by name Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi – and paragons of “open society” such as the European Union defeated by the UK decision to vote in a pro-Brexit government. … continue

Russiagate Spy Paid $1 Million By Obama Was WaPo Deep Throat

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 01/23/2020

Stephan Halper, the longtime CIA and FBI operative who conducted espionage on the 2016 Trump campaign, was feeding information to Washington Post reporter David Ignatius through his handler, according to The Federalist, which describes his actions as “more evidence that the intelligence community has co-opted the press to push anti-Trump conspiracy theories.”

According to a court filing by Michael Flynn’s defense team, Halper’s ‘handler’ in the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), Col. James Baker, “regularly lunched with the Washington Post reporter.”

(Also leaking to Ignatius was Christopher Steele)

As we noted in May of 2018, Halper was paid over $1 million by the Obama administration through the Office of Net Assessment – nearly half of which came during ‘Russiagate’ – in which he not only surveilled multiple Trump campaign aides, he was involved in an effort to tie General Flynn to a Russian academic, Svetlana Lokhova, as part of a smear campaign. … continue

Defamation suit aims to stop Hillary and her ‘powerful elite friends’ from silencing patriotic Americans, Gabbard says

RT | January 23, 2020

Suing Hillary Clinton for defamation is necessary in order to keep the former first lady and her powerful allies from smearing Americans who seek “peace and freedom” for all, Tulsi Gabbard has argued.

The Democratic presidential hopeful released a scathing statement in defense of her suit against Clinton, noting that the former secretary of state’s attempt to smear her as “the favorite of the Russians” would have far-reaching consequences if left unchallenged.

“If Hillary Clinton and her allies can successfully destroy my reputation – even though I’m a war veteran and a sitting member of Congress – then they can do it to anybody,” Gabbard wrote. … continue

Hillary Puts Bernie Into Her Basket of Deplorables

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • January 24, 2020

“Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician.” So says Hillary Clinton of her former Senate colleague and 2016 rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders.

Her assessment of Sanders’ populist-socialist agenda?

“It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people get sucked into it.”

Does that assessment still hold with Sanders now running strong in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, and having emerged, according to The New York Times, as “the dominant liberal voice in the 2020 race”?

“Yes, it does,” said Clinton, who left open the possibility she might not support Sanders if he became the nominee.

In her interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote a documentary that premieres Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival, Clinton also tore into Bernie’s backers.

“It is not only him. It’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women,” said Clinton. “It should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted (he) seems to be very much supporting it.”

From her own words, Clinton regards Sanders as a nasty man running a misogynistic campaign and a political phony whose achievements are nonexistent and who lacks the temperament to be president.

As Clinton describes Sanders, he seems to fit nicely into her Trumpian “basket of deplorables.” Reflecting the significance of Clinton’s attack, The New York Times put it on Page 1. … continue

Putin Has Deprived the Children of the Elite of Their Political Future

Stalker Zone – January 21, 2020

Representatives of high-ranking Russian officials have amicably started to abandon their foreign citizenship and residence permits. One by one, officials disown foreign passports and property after Putin foretold a constitutional ban on second citizenship. But the question remains: what should the children of other officials who successfully study abroad do? After all, now they are effectively deprived of the chance to come to power.

Apparently, the highest executive authorities of the Russian Federation expect even greater caste and discretion. The reason for such assumptions was Vladimir Putin’s idea of slightly changing the Constitution of the country. Namely, in terms of civil-professional requirements for civil servants and the highest official – the President of the Russian Federation.

“Indeed, I believe that it is time to make some changes to the basic law of the country that explicitly guarantee the priority of the Constitution of Russia in our legal space,” announced the head of the country to elites and people through TV.

“What does that mean?” he asked. And he answered that question himself. Rather, he proposed innovations to the basic law of the country: heads of subjects, members of the State Duma, deputies of the State Duma, the head of the government and their offices, federal ministers, heads of federal bodies, and judges cannot have foreign citizenship, a residence permit, or other document that allows permanent residence on the territory of another state.

Putin proposed to impose even more severe restrictions on the future president: to establish the requirement of permanent residence in Russia for at least 25 years and the absence of foreign citizenship or residence permit in another state.

“… And not only at the time of participation in elections, but also at any time before,” he specified. … Full article

The oligarch behind today’s World Holocaust Forum, attended by presidents and kings

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | January 23, 2020

At least 45 world leaders have responded to a summons to attend the World Holocaust Forum in Israel to “fight antisemitism.”

The event is organized by a Russian-Israeli oligarch who considers support for Palestinian human rights “antisemitic.” He is promoting an Orwellian program that would criminalize “intolerance” and require re-education programs for anyone who strays beyond accepted views… continue

ICC delays, Israeli belligerence and PA complacency

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | January 23, 2020

As expected, the International Criminal Court has cranked its bureaucratic delays into motion over the proposed investigation into Israeli war crimes. The ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s statement was deemed to be “too long and exceeded the amount of pages allowed for filing” such a proposal. This has been cited despite a request for an extension of page length due to “the unique and complex factual and legal circumstances in this situation.”

Bensouda now has to file a new request, upon which judges are allocated 120 days to reach a decision about opening an investigation. For Israel, the delay is a first step in its campaign to discredit not just the ICC, which has attracted its fair share of criticism over the years, but also, and most importantly, to remove the possibility that the state will, at long last, face international accountability for its actions. … continue

Palestinian boy beaten by Israeli soldiers hours after prison release

MEMO | January 23, 2020

Ma’rouf Ahmad Al-Atrash, a Palestinian boy, was brutally beaten by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in Bethlehem on 22 January 2020Israeli soldiers have brutally beaten a Palestinian boy at a checkpoint north-east of Bethlehem, resulting in cuts and bruises across his body, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa has reported.

Ma’rouf Ahmad Al-Atrash, 15, is a resident of Beit Jala in Bethlehem. The boy was on his way home yesterday following his release from Damon Prison in the coastal Israeli city of Haifa after serving an eight-month prison sentence for allegedly throwing stones. Although he is just 15 years old, he was held alongside Israeli criminals guilty of crimes such as murder, robbery and drug trafficking.

The Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint stopped his family’s vehicle and interrogated him on why he was arrested before forcibly holding him, and beating him with their rifles. He told Quds News Network that the soldiers also pointed their weapons at his mother and another relative. … Full article

Canada: One-Third of Prison Population is Indigenous

teleSUR | January 22, 2020

Though Indigenous people account for only five percent of the general Canadian population, they represent more than 30 percent of the detainees in the country’s prisons, a report released Tuesday by a federal watchdog revealed.

The correctional investigator of Canada Ivan Zinger described what he called “the Indigenization of Canada’s prison population” as “nothing short of a national travesty.”

In the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the figures are the highest as Indigenous people make up 54 percent of the population in prisons. In Quebec too the group is still overrepresented with 15 percent of the inmates being Indigenous, though the province has the lowest rate.

The imbalance in convictions is due to various factors including poverty and racism in policing.

But the disproportion doesn’t end there. Once in detention, Indigenous people face other injustices. They are more likely to be sent in maximum-security facilities and are disproportionately subject to harm, whether it is self-induced or due to incidents involving “use of force”. They also face a much bigger probability to be placed in solitary confinement.

The report also found that the proportion of the incarcerated indigenous population has been steadily increasing over the past decade, reaching new historic highs.

Since April 2010, the rate of Indigenous individuals in jails rose by nearly 44 percent, while the number of non-Indigenous incarcerated people has declined over the same period by 13.7 percent.

The Correctional Investigator referred to these trends as “disturbing and entrenched imbalances,” adding that the numbers are even more troubling for Indigenous women, who now account for 42% of the women inmate population in Canada. … Full article

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Alleges Harassment by India’s Special Security Groups

Sputnik – 23.01.2020

Around 500 political leaders were detained as a precautionary measure in Jammu and Kashmir after the government revoked its special status. Anticipating protests and provocations at the hands of state politicians, many of them have been kept in their houses or guest houses.

Former Jammu and Kashmir state chief Mehbooba Mufti – who has been under house arrest since last August, and forbidden from meeting anyone or going anywhere as part of the political curbs imposed in the newly formed union territory administered by the Government of India – has claimed harassment by security forces.

Mufti, who is also the chief of the Peoples Democratic Party, through Twitter has alleged that she was harassed by the Special Security Groups (SSG), which report to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

She also mentioned being monitored by the SSG, Crime Investigation Department (CID) and Intelligence Bureau (IB). … Full article

‘Targeted and governmental terrorism’: Iran slams US for threat against Soleimani successor

RT | January 23, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Ministry slammed the US’ policy of “targeted and governmental terrorism” after an American diplomat threatened Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani with the same fate as his assassinated predecessor, Qassem Soleimani.

“These words are an official announcement and a clear unveiling of America’s targeted and governmental terrorism,” ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told Iranian state media on Thursday in response to threats made against Ghaani by US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook. Mousavi called on the international community to join him in condemning the thuggish statement from the American. … continue

Tehran open to dialog with all neighbors: Zarif

Press TV – January 23, 2020

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reaffirmed Iran’s readiness for talks with all its neighbors amid tensions in the Persian Gulf region.

“Iran remains open to dialogue with its neighbors, and we declare our readiness to participate in any complementary work that is in the interest of the region, and we welcome any step that restores hope to its people and brings them stability and prosperity,” Zarif said in a tweet in Thursday.

The tweet was in Arabic, which suggests it was addressed to the Persian Gulf littoral Arab countries. It came a day after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said Riyadh was ready for talks with Tehran “but it is really up to Iran.”

The top Saudi diplomat, however, repeated the baseless claims against Iran’s role in the region, adding that the precondition for dialog is for the Islamic Republic to accept it “cannot further its regional agenda through violence.” … continue

For Pompeo a “Normal Nation” Is an Attack Dog of the Empire

By Marko Marjanović | Anti-Empire | January 23, 2020

Night club bouncer Mike Pompeo has demanded Iran starts behaving “like a normal nation” just like “Norway”. continue

Big Tech joins up with Big Brother to turn your private health data into $38bn ‘public treasure’

By Helen Buyniski | RT | January 21, 2020

Big Tech is poised to rake in tens of billions of dollars from a new healthcare record keeping standard that scorns privacy for convenience, creating massive opportunities for extortion and other abuses by criminals and government.

“Wouldn’t life be easier if you could view your full medical history with a few taps on your smartphone?” an upbeat piece touting Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) – a new data standard for healthcare patient data – asked, somewhat rhetorically, on Tuesday in Kaiser Health News. This oversimplified, no-downside spin on a truly ominous technology neglects to warn anyone who’s ever used a health clinic that the medical details of their private life are about to get a lot more public, data-privacy laws be damned, and there will be no putting this particular genie back in the bottle. … continue

Bolivia: MAS Presidential Candidate Becomes Target of Lawfare

teleSUR | January 22, 2020

Bolivia’s Office of the Prosecutor expanded an investigation against Evo Morales’ former officials, among whom is Luis Arce, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) presidential candidate.

The announcement was made by prosecutor Heidi Gil one day after the MAS unveiled that Arce would be its presidential candidate in the upcoming elections in May. … Full article

Jewish Congress launches campaign against ‘antisemitism’ (aka support for Palestinian rights)

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | January 22, 2020

The European Jewish Congress has launched a worldwide social media campaign against “antisemitism” (which, in EJC eyes, includes opposition to Israeli human rights abuses)

The man behind the campaign, EJC President Moshe Kantor, is a Russian-Israeli oligarch known for “unscrupulous business dealings” who says BDS is antisemitic, calls for severe punishment of “intolerance,” and is the founder of numerous international pro-Israel entities… continue

UK mosque cancels event with pro-Israel group

By Nasim Ahmed | MEMO | January 22, 2020

The UK’s most high-profile pro-Israel group, spearheading the campaign to conflate anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel, has been forced to cancel an event with London Central Mosque following a letter of protest highlighting its anti-Palestinian views.

British Muslims expressed shock over the event organised by pro-Israel Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD), highlighting the plight of Uyghur Muslims in China, which was scheduled to take place at Regent’s Park Mosque later this month. But the Board, a proudly Zionist organisation, tweeted last week that the meeting would now take place on the same date at the House of Commons. There was no mention of London Central Mosque in the tweet or an explanation for why the venue had been changed.

The Board’s history of backing Israel even during its bloodiest massacre of Palestinians led many to question its motives. During the Great March of Return protests the BoD was condemned by prominent British Jews for what looked to be an endorsement of Israeli aggression towards peaceful protestors. Over 250 Palestinians were killed and a further 20,000 were injured.

The BoD issued a statement alleging that Israel was defending itself from “mass invasion” and a week later opposed the World Health Organisation fact-finding mission into the mental health needs of the occupied territories, which were stretched to breaking point by recent violence.

Their remark, which appeared to blame the victims for death, destruction and injury suffered at the hands of Israel, was met with strong condemnation.

“We are appalled that the Board of Deputies (BoD) which claims to be ‘the voice of British Jews,’ has once again attempted to justify the massacre of unarmed Palestinian people by the Israeli military,” a statement by members of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK said.

“This is not the first time the BoD has condoned murder, claiming to speak on behalf of Jewish people in the UK. The BoD publicly supported pro-Israel rallies during the bombing of Gaza in 2008/9 and 2014 that killed thousands of Palestinian women, children and men. It has consistently supported a regime that is widely considered guilty of war crimes and the racist crime of apartheid,” the letter argued.

BoD’s inconsistency over human rights and its selective outrage leads many to question its motives. … Full article

Israeli tanks execute three Gaza youths on border

PNN | January 21, 2020

Three Palestinian youth were killed by Israeli occupation forces, east of the central governorate of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening, after they allegedly infiltrated the Israeli border.

Israeli media reported that an army tank opened fire at three Palestinians who had infiltrated from the central Gaza Strip towards Israel.

A statement by the Occupation Army said that the army forces spotted three “suspects” who crossed the fence in the southern Gaza Strip and entered a rugged area of the border, where the occupation forces rushed to the place, cordoned it off and started searching for the three youths.

The army claimed that they had an explosive hand grenade that they threw towards the soldiers who immediately opened fire and killed them.

Israeli media reported that the occupation army is still inspecting the area by aircraft and helicopters, to ensure “that there are no other infiltrators.”

Meanwhile, a graphic video of the night execution was published on social media.

Consortium News Sends Libel Notices to Canadian Signals Intelligence Agency and Major Television Network

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | January 21, 2020

Consortium News has sent libel notices to the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s version of the U.S. National Security Agency, and to a major Canadian television network, Global News, for a report that said Consortium News was “part of a cyber-influence campaign directed by Russia” targeting Canadian leaders. … continue

‘Obvious malicious intent’: Tulsi Gabbard hits Clinton with defamation suit over ‘Russian asset’ smear

RT | January 22, 2020

Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard is suing two-time White House runner-up Hillary Clinton over her claim that Gabbard was a “Russian asset,” alleging that the lie hurt not just her campaign but the entire election.

Clinton “lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard… publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent” when she claimed Gabbard was “the favorite of the Russians,” the campaign alleges in the suit, filed on Wednesday in the federal Southern District of New York. While Clinton isn’t technically running against Gabbard in the 2020 contest, the filing drily notes that the role of president is “a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain.”

The filing alleges Clinton harmed not just Gabbard but also “American voters” and “American democracy” by pushing the baseless smear, citing “scientifically conducted opinion surveys” indicating that millions of potential voters believed Clinton’s claims due to her status as a political insider and authority figure with likely access to non-public information. Over 200 articles have been published amplifying the smear since Clinton first uttered it in an October episode of Democratic strategist David Plouffe’s ‘Campaign HQ’ podcast, and the campaign estimates the former secretary of state’s attacks cost Gabbard $50 million in lost donations, lost votes, and reputational damage. … continue

Hotter than the hottest thing ever

Climate Discussion Nexus | January 22, 2020

So 2019 was hotter than anything ever was hot, except 2016 which was itself the hottest thing ever. We’re all going to die! Unless we don’t because it wasn’t. As Anthony Watts observes, if you measure from the depths of the natural Little Ice Age you get an upward line. But if you take a longer perspective you get ups and downs, within which our era is not remarkable. Even worse, as Watts also shows on a graph, the most credible numbers from the United States, which has the best temperature measurements in the world, show 2019 as cooler than 2005… and 2006… and 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. But hey, who’s counting? … continue