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Human shield tactics again? ‘Israeli jets’ striking Syria force TWO civilian planes to change course

RT | March 5, 2020

Two civilian airplanes bound for Qatar were reportedly used as cover by Israeli jets launching missiles from Lebanese airspace against targets near the Syrian cities of Homs and Quneitra.

Syrian air defenses engaged incoming missiles shortly after midnight local time on Thursday, both near Homs in central Syria and Quneitra in the south, on the armistice line with Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Following the attack, reports appeared that at least two flights – one passenger, one cargo – had to change course to avoid getting struck by air defense missiles.

The flights were tentatively identified as a Qatar cargo flight QR8294, bound for Doha from Basel, Switzerland. The other was QR419, a passenger plane that had taken off for Doha from Beirut, Lebanon and made a loop around Tripoli before continuing course south of Homs.

Israel regularly strikes targets within Syria claiming that it is bombing “Iranian” targets. When asked about it last month, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said he knew nothing, wouldn’t comment on military operations one way or another, and laughed it off as maybe the work of the “Belgian Air Force.”

This is not the first time Israeli jets bombing Syria have endangered civilian airplanes. Most recently, an Airbus A320 flying from Tehran to Damascus was forced to make an emergency landing in early February, after a near-miss during an Israeli strike on the Syrian capital.

The Russian Defense Ministry afterward described it as “commonplace” for Israeli Air Force pilots to use civilian aircraft as a “shield” in their operations.

Russia has had bitter experience with the tactic, notably when a RUAF scouting plane was shot down in September 2018 during an Israeli strike on Latakia, and all 14 people on board were killed. It was later revealed that Syrian air defenses had struck the plane because an Israeli F-16 was using it as a shield. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu later traveled to Moscow to offer an apology.


Syrian air defenses engage ‘hostile targets’ over Homs & Quneitra

March 4, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

The Skripal Case – Two Years On

OffGuardian | March 4, 2020

It’s been two years to the day since disgraced former military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, were allegedly found on a park bench in Salisbury, near unconscious and apparently very unwell.

A lot has been said about the unanswered questions revolving around the incident. But perhaps the best of way of demonstrating the peculiarity of the alleged situation is to simply relate, in full, the “official version”.

Here it is:

  • Sergei Skripal, a Russian military intelligence officer, was found guilty of spying for the UK in 2006, and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
  • In 2010 he was released and traded to the United Kingdom as part of a spy swap. Having settled in the UK Sergei lived a quiet and comfortable life of retirement, so far as we know
  • Eight years later, in early 2018, with a Presidential election looming and just weeks before Russia was due to host the FIFA World Cup, Vladimir Putin decided to assassinate him for as yet obscure reasons.
  • The GU, Russia’s military intelligence unit, dispatched two of their elite officers, who proceeded to fly direct from Moscow under aliases they had allegedly already employed and using Russian passports.
  • These alleged assassins carried with them two perfume bottles full of “Novichok”, allegedly one of the deadliest nerve agents ever devised. This would be enough to kill around 800,000 people.
  • On arriving in the UK these highly-trained covert agents book a hotel with a CCTV camera on the front door, and the next day, March 3, they travel to Salisbury by train, allegedly to recon the area, then return to London. They are apparently observed by CCTV camera’s the entire time.
  • The day following, March 4, they again travel to Salisbury, this time the master assassins walk to Skripal’s house and somehow “smear” the liquid Novichok on the handle of his front door.
  • No eye-witness, photograph or piece of CCTV footage has ever been made publicly available to show either of these two men anywhere in the area of Sergei Skripal’s house.
  • The whereabouts of the opened bottle of poison have never been established.
  • Having applied the poison, the two highly trained assassins do two things before returning to London. 1) They drop their second, unopened, bottle of novichok (presumably enough to kill approx 400,000 people) in a charity donation bin, rather than destroying it or taking it back to Russia. 2) They stop by an antiques store to browse.
  • The two assassins leave the country that afternoon, flying direct to Moscow, without knowing if their alleged target is dead, and again making no effort to conceal their origins.
  • Despite both handling the poison, and somehow carrying enough of it back to contaminate their hotel room, neither of the men – nor any of the staff, train passengers or passersby who come into contact with them – ever become sick, even though only 0.2mg of Novichok is an allegedly lethal dose.
  • Later that afternoon, Sergei and Yulia Skripal are found “almost unconscious”on a park bench in Salisbury town centre. It is claimed this was due to contact with the Novichok smeared on Sergei’s door handle, though reports originally stated neither he nor his daughter had returned to the house, and the timing seems to make it unlikely they did
  • The person who found them was the most senior nurse in the British Army (likely in the area as part of Toxic Dagger, the British Military’s landmark chemical weapons training exercise which began Feb 20th and ran on until March 12th).
  • The nurse and her family administer “emergency aid” to the two alleged poisoning victims. Neither she nor anyone else on the scene, nor any of the first responders, ever experience any symptoms of nerve agent poisoning. Neither do any of the other people the Skripal’s came into contact with that day.
  • DS Nick Bailey, a CID officer is in contact with the Skripals or their home at this time and subsequently becomes ill. It has never been stated how exactly he was exposed. It was initially reported he was a first responder to the scene, but that story was changed and it was later claimed he visited the Skripal hpouse. Despite the alleged lethality of novichok in even very minute doses, Bailey is fit to return home after 18 days.
  • Porton Down, the British government’s chemical weapons research centre, is brought in to help identify what chemical – if any – the Skripals/Bailey were exposed to.
  • Within a month they release a statement claiming the poison was “a novichok like agent”, but that they could not pinpoint its origin. How they were able to test for a (at the time) theoretical chemical without having a sample to test against, has never been explained.
  • Porton Down is 8 minutes away from Salisbury by car.
  • Nearly four months later, in late June of 2018, Charlie Rowley finds the unopened perfume bottle a full of novichok (whether he bought it from a charity shop or found it in a bin is unclear, both stories have been reported). Upon using the perfume Rowley’s partner, Dawn Sturgess, falls ill. Later that day Rowley also falls ill. Sturgess dies in hospital two weeks later. But Rowley survives. Making him the fourth person in this narrative to survive exposure to an agent lethal in doses as small as 0.2mg.
  • Sergei Skripal and Julia both recovered and allegedly chose to live secluded lives. Sergei has not appeared in public at all since allegedly being found on that park bench. Yulia made one brief press statement. Their current whereabouts are totally unknown. Their family in Russia have apparently been denied all access to them. DS Bailey was initially also keen to maintain his privacy but has subsequently given at least one interview some while after the event.

This is the UK government’s version of what happened. Unvarnished and unsatirised. None of it is disputed, exaggerated or speculative.

If you can see any unanswered questions, logical gaps or peculiar coincidences…you are likely a Russian bot.

Interesting commentary

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Salisbury poisoning unleashed Russian bogeyman … but where are the Skripals 2 years on?

By Simon Rite | RT | March 4, 2020

Forget Where’s Wally, what we really want to know is where are the Skripals? It’s exactly two years to the day since the Russian spy and his daughter were novichoked in Salisbury, and we’ve still not seen hide nor hair of them.

Former double agent Sergei has been completely off-grid, while Yulia Skripal was seen in a highly staged video in 2018, filmed in an anonymous but pleasant leafy glade shortly after recovering from her poisoning ordeal; but, apart from that, there have been no statements or updates about them at all.

The most recent piece of ‘information’, and I use that term loosely, to leak out about their whereabouts came this weekend from Britain’s Mail on Sunday, courtesy of a source which became ubiquitous throughout the Skripal saga, the reliably unreliable “security insiders.” It’s always amazing how willing these apparent insiders are to release top-level secrets to the home of the “sidebar of shame.”

The latest speculation from ‘security insiders’ is that the Skripals are hoping to head for a new life down under in Australia after “effectively living under house arrest since the attack.” This means either those insiders are the leakiest spies in the world, or the Skripals are going to be nowhere near Australia anytime soon.

The house arrest must be at Julian Assange in Belmarsh levels of security, because even the Skripals’ family in Russia say they haven’t heard from them in months.

So all quiet on the Skripal front and, frankly speaking, it’s all quiet on the geopolitical front, too, and in the media. The disputed events of March 4, 2018, over poisoned spies and their aftermath formed the biggest story on the planet, and not just because the whole world finally started paying attention to the majesty of Salisbury cathedral’s glorious 123-metre spire.

This incident seemed like it might have genuine life-changing political consequences. Britain entered the phrase “highly likely” into the lexicon of geopolitics, and [then-PM] Theresa May’s declaration that it was “highly likely” that the Kremlin was to blame was deemed strong enough to see the West turn en masse against Moscow, and Russian diplomats and ‘diplomats’ were expelled by the dozen, by London and its allies across the world. It seemed the bar for state-to-state accusations had been lowered.

Russia to this day denies involvement in what happened in Salisbury.

So what has changed? If anything, all that has changed over the last two years is a desire to get back to business, to rebuild ties and move on. Some of those expelled diplomats have reportedly moved back.

French leader Emmanuel Macron is pushing hard for relations between the West and Moscow to be repaired, something Germany needs little encouragement for.

Britain is still pretending to be in a huff, but British imports of Russian oil were up 57 percent last year, so realpolitik reigns supreme in London, as ever.

Boris Johnson is now the prime minister and with a thumping majority doesn’t need to use bogeyman Russia as a tool to look strong quite as much as his predecessor did. Johnson and Putin even met in January and there are reports the prime minister is considering an invitation to attend a second world war commemoration parade in Moscow this May.

And as for the media, it’s all gone quiet there, too. Skripal coverage is about as common in the mainstream now as coverage of Julian Assange’s imprisonment. He’s a journalist whose supporters say is ‘highly likely’ a victim of a demonstrable state campaign against him because he attempted to uncover the misdeeds of power. However, a boring attack on free speech is nowhere near as exciting as a poisoned spy, is it?!

Simon Rite is a writer based in London for RT, in charge of several projects including the political satire group #ICYMI. Follow him on Twitter @SiWrites

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

On the ICC and Canadian Government Hypocrisy

By Yves Engler | Palestine Chronicle | March 4, 2020

Just when you think Canadian government hypocrisy could hit no greater heights, the Liberals launch a double standards rocket to the stars.

The Trudeau government recently pressed the International Criminal Court to stop investigating Israeli war crimes. Ottawa sent a letter to the ICC saying it didn’t believe the court had jurisdiction over Palestine.

Canada’s longstanding position is that it does not recognize a Palestinian state and therefore does not recognize the accession of such a state to international treaties, including the Rome Statute.

In the absence of a Palestinian state, it is Canada’s view that the Court does not have jurisdiction in this matter,” a Global Affairs official told the Jerusalem Post. But, it doesn’t matter if Canada recognizes Palestine. The vast majority of UN member states recognized Palestine and it joined the ICC in 2015.

In response to Ottawa’s letter to the ICC, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat tweeted that Canada supported “Israel’s campaign for impunity.” Erekat added, “it is not about jurisdiction: It’s about war crimes. This is an encouragement to continue the war crimes.”

Canada’s letter to the ICC implies it could sever funding if the ICC pursued an investigation of Israeli crimes. Reportedly, it reminds the court that Canada’s “financial contribution to the ICC will be $10.6 million this year.”

Ottawa’s letter was a response to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s statement in December that “I am satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.” At the time Bensouda called for a full-fledged investigation into Israeli war crimes, which could lead to arrest warrants being issued for Israeli officials.

Since then Tel Aviv has unleashed a vicious campaign against the ICC. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeled the court’s investigation “pure anti-Semitism”. Israel has pushed other countries to join their attacks. Netanyahu sent a letter to Justin Trudeau calling on Canada to condemn any ICC investigation of Israeli war crimes.

Trudeau’s willingness to bow to Israeli pressure on the issue is remarkable. Not only does it claim to support the ICC, but the institution is also closely linked to how it markets its foreign policy.

In his recent mandate letter to the foreign minister, Trudeau told Francois-Philippe Champagne to “reinforce international institutions like the International Criminal Court.” In March Global Affairs noted, “we are proud to support the International Criminal Court and the important work that it does.”

The press release boasted that Canada helped “bring the ICC into existence” and was “the first country in the world to adopt comprehensive legislation implementing the Rome Statute” that created the ICC. The statement adds that “Canada firmly supports the rules-based international order and the multilateral institutions that underpin it.‎

When Trudeau addressed the UN General Assembly in September 2018, the ICC was central to his talk. The government announced Canada was taking Venezuela to the ICC and the prime minister described the court as a “useful and important way of promoting an international rules-based order.”

On dozens of occasions, former foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, Trudeau and other Liberal officials have referred to the “international rules-based order”, “international order based on rules” or “international system based on rules”. The top stated “aim” laid out in Freeland’s major June 2017 foreign policy pronouncement was: “First, we will robustly support the rules-based international order, and all its institutions, and seek ways to strengthen and improve them.” The number one priority on Global Affairs website is “revitalizing the rules-based international order.”

By threatening the ICC on behalf of Israel the Trudeau government is not simply enabling Palestinian dispossession. The Liberals are also making a mockery of their foreign policy rhetoric.

 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books.

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Virologist Advises Belgium Health Minister Country Is Unprepared

Institute for Political Economy | March 2, 2020

I have been in communication with an experienced virologist in Belgium who worked for many years in the US on coronaviruses. Watching the inaction of the Belgium government, he has sent this letter to the country’s authorities. – Paul Craig Roberts

The new coronavirus, are the proposed public health measures adequate? 17/02/2020

What to do in Belgium about the new coronavirus epidemic that is spreading catastrophically in China?

Having led a small team of researchers for a dozen years in the United States on human coronaviruses, and in particular on SARS-CoV, I would like to share my perspective on the particular challenge that this new coronavirus poses for the population.

The new coronavirus is now called COVID-19 by the W.H.O., and SARS-CoV-2 by virologists to emphasize its genetic proximity to SARS-CoV. The commonalities and differences between the two, the lessons that can be learned from epidemics and the comparison with the flu virus shed light on the choices to be made for public health.

In addition, both the SARS epidemic and that caused in 2012 by another similar coronavirus, MERS-CoV, led only to a limited number of infected individuals and fatalities: SARS-CoV, 8,098 probable cases and 774 fatalities (9.6%); MERS-CoV, 2,492 probable cases and 858 fatalities (34.4%). In comparison, the influenza virus infects tens of millions each year and causes tens of thousands of fatalities worldwide (death rate ~ 0.1%).

We must recognize an essential difference between the flu with which we are all familiar and which causes severe complications only in people with weak immune systems (~ 0.2% of cases), and the atypical pneumonias at the center of the syndrome affecting individuals infected with SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2, i.e. the proportion of severe cases (~ 16% of cases for SARS-CoV-2, WHO February 10).

We have been officially in a flu epidemic for two weeks in Belgium, having passed the threshold of 132 visits to a doctor for 100,000 inhabitants. Surveillance of a fraction of influenza cases indicates a mix of different strains of the influenza virus, but in a fraction of these cases the virus causing the symptoms remains unidentified. We must determine in the coming months if this fraction contains cases due to COVID-19.

Each year, the flu virus typically infects between 2 and 8% of Belgians. A rate of 5% corresponds to 550,000 infections and with 0.2% of them presenting complications requiring hospitalization, this amounts to 1,100 hospitalizations for the country in this case.

There are 6.4 general purpose hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants in Belgium and with an occupancy rate that fluctuates around 80%, there remains an average of 1.28 beds per 1,000 inhabitants available, more than enough to accommodate flu cases with complications even when 10% of the population suffers from the flu. On the other hand, the complication rate requiring hospitalization is 16% for cases of symptomatic infection with these new coronaviruses, thus eighty times that of the flu!

Relatively few cases are enough for the hospital system to be overwhelmed: just ten cases of infection by COVID-19 per 1,000 inhabitants (1% of the population) would require 1.6 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants, at the threshold of a critical situation.

In cases requiring hospitalization, SARS affects more than the respiratory system, it is a systemic disease involving several organs: the coronavirus damages the lungs, intestines, small blood vessels and the central nervous system.

Coronaviruses antagonize the interferon system, our first line of defense against viruses, which allows them to replicate without break and also leads to an abnormal innate humoral immune response (these two factors explaining long incubation periods), with excessive production of some cytokines; death occurs in half of these severe cases, due to respiratory failure or multi-organ failure caused by these cytokines.

A cross-check of sources (scientific publications, press and internet) indicates that today, February 17, there are more than 800,000 probable cases of COVID-19 in China and well over 50,000 fatalities, figures much higher than those published by the Chinese government (71,335 cases and 1,775 fatalities). The city of Wuhan has 38 crematoriums which have been operating 24 hours a day since February 1 and collectively can incinerate 1,200 corpses per day.

The 2002-2003 SARS epidemic was controlled by elementary public health measures which consist of isolating infected patients, identifying the persons with whom each patient has been in contact, and monitoring or isolating these contacts in turn.

This epidemic almost escaped the control of the authorities on several occasions, in particular in Hong Kong and Toronto, because a large part of the medical personnel were also infected with this coronavirus.

The relatively small number of cases due to SARS-CoV has made it possible for basic public health measures to come to grips with this epidemic, [but] it is clearly no longer possible to identify and isolate the contacts of patients infected with COVID-19 when the number of patients is in the hundreds of thousands and the majority of them cannot be treated.

In Belgium, we are still at a stage where public health measures can make a difference and I am surprised at the timidity of the announcements made by the competent authorities in this regard; the message seems to be “we are ready”, which sounds a little hollow given the figures given above.

The key factor in epidemiology is R0, the basic reproduction number of the virus. A value of 2 indicates that an average patient infects two others. Any figure greater than 1 leads to an epidemic that spreads exponentially in a naive population. We are all completely immunologically naive for this coronavirus, while we are not naive for the flu.

Different authors calculate values between 2.2 and 3 for the R0 of COVID-19, values similar to those for influenza viruses, and may be influenced downward by quarantine procedures. In fact, a more recent study indicates that in the absence of quarantine, the R0 of COVID-19 is between 4.7 and 6.6; and yet another puts it at 7.

A complication in the transmission of COVID-19 compared to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV is that apparently it can occur even before symptoms appear. Japanese researchers calculate that half of the infections take place while the patient is still asymptomatic, while American researchers think that the proportion is lower, 10-20%.

This property, and the relatively long incubation time of coronaviruses before the onset of symptoms, makes the task of identifying contacts and isolating them much more difficult (incubation, typically 1 to 14 days but longer times are also observed; for influenza it is 1 to 4 days).

The doubling time of the number of infected individuals is estimated at 6.4 days by some, at 5 days, by others, and only 2.4 days in the absence of quarantine measures. So from a case today, we would arrive at 131,072 infected in 85 days in the least favorable scenario with quarantine measures, which brings us to the beginning of May. In the absence of quarantine measures, however, we top a million cases in 48 days.

Another complication which renders the usual public health measures ineffective are the “super-spreaders” who for misunderstood reasons are capable of infecting a large number of individuals; if they appear early, they can change the dynamics.

It is not possible to predict the number of cases in Belgium that will be caused by COVID-19, but everything must be done to minimize its transmission and stay below 10 symptomatic cases per 1,000 population, i.e. 110,000 cases for Belgium.

I would like to suggest several public health measures that are more aggressive than those proposed to date. The SPF health website recommends: “if you are sick and if you have been to China recently or if someone close to you is sick and has gone to China, call your general practitioner to report your trip and your symptoms. Do not go to his waiting room or to the emergency room. ”

Excellent suggestion that should simply be extended to anyone with temperature or other flu or enteric symptoms (diarrhea). These people, as well as those living under the same roof, should remain in isolation until the infectious agent has been identified in each case, and longer if necessary depending on the outcome.

We should remember that multiple infections with different viruses are possible and that the COVID-19 may not be immediately detectable when the patient is already very ill. For example, the virus could not be detected until a week after the hospital admission of the ophthalmologist who launched the alert in China on this epidemic. This could be attributed to defective detection kits and/or to a virus that replicates more efficiently in the lungs than the rest of the respiratory tract; it should be noted that even for CDC-produced kits, a substantial proportion of them were found to be defective.

In Hong Kong in 2003, a hospital well prepared for infectious disease had only one medical staff infected with SARS-CoV, while in another less well-prepared hospital, the admission of only one patient led to 136 cases, mostly medical staff. In 2003 in Toronto, 257 people were infected in several hospitals before the spread of the virus was controlled, but protective measures were lifted too quickly, resulting in a second wave of infection a month later!

We should remember that convalescent patients can sometimes be still contagious, especially through their stools, and that contaminated material can remain infectious for weeks. Despite all this knowledge, over 1,300 medical staff were reported to be infected in Wuhan as of today.

It is critical to keep medical personnel uninfected, both so that they can continue to treat and to prevent them from becoming vectors of spread themselves. As asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 seems likely, all patients, whatever the reason for their presentation, and all hospital staff, whatever their function, should all be considered as potentially contagious and treated as such.

A video was able to capture several transmissions of COVID-19 in a market in China and in one case it was enough to have an interaction of 15 seconds between two individuals wearing no mask and separated by a display of vegetables for the contamination to take place. In another market, the shortest transmission event was a 50-second interaction. While SARS-CoV transmission involved relatively large droplet and short distance, the evidence indicates that COVID-19 can be transmitted through aerosol.

Which brings me to my second suggestion. A place like a hospital with many and varied human contacts promotes the spread of viruses, this is certainly one of the lessons of coronavirus epidemics, including this one. A simple N95 type mask correctly positioned on a beardless face very effectively protects against the risk of infection and significantly limits transmission by infected people.

Wearing such a mask at work, as well as eye protection, is a constraint and tiring, but their immediate adoption by hospital staff is the surest way to limit the circulation of COVID-19 in Belgium and to protect those on the front lines to maintain the health of the population. Experience shows (MERS-CoV, in South Korea) that even when the nursing staff was adequately protected by their N95 mask, it was the auxiliary staff such as the receptionists who were infected and who contributed to the dissemination of the disease.

In all major respiratory epidemics, sooner or later we come to the situation where all hospital staff wear an adequate mask. Let’s be smart and put on these masks as soon as possible, let’s not wait for the first cases before acting!

Finally, we should be transparent with the Belgian public about the reality of the particular risk posed by COVID-19 and educate them on how they can best protect themselves and others. For example, the friendly gesture of kissing colleagues and friends can only encourage the spread of such a virus.

Instead of claiming, as a video on a mainstream news website does, that packages from China are safe, an unscientific and erroneous claim, it is more useful to represent the real situation: the risk is really very weak, but it cannot be overlooked given the possible consequences of contamination.

We must also give people the tools they need to protect themselves. For example, how do you clean a package, or a coat on which someone sneezed on in the tram? It turns out that coronaviruses are relatively fragile from a physicochemical point of view and can be inactivated by common household products, such as bleach, detergents and soaps in general, alcohol 70 %, even dry cleaning products, or a temperature above 60 °C.

And we must provide the public with a phone number that anyone with a symptom can contact to arrange for the testing of samples. Attending events with large crowds should also be discouraged until we have a better understanding of transmission dynamics in our country. There needs to be a very visible public information campaign as soon as possible.

Let’s all work together to eliminate this virus and stay healthy!

Marc G. Wathelet

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | Leave a comment

SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT: Koch/Soros Think Tank Isn’t Promoting World Peace After All


Daniel McAdams joins us today to discuss his recent article, “The Koch-Soros Quincy Project: A Train Wreck of Neocon and ‘Humanitarian’ Interventionists.” We talk about the Quincy Institute, its supporters, and how they are using phony opposition to keep “anti-war” advocates in service of the US empire’s “forever war” agenda.

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Koch and Soros Team Up For World Peace! WTF?

The Koch-Soros Quincy Project: A Train Wreck of Neocon and ‘Humanitarian’ Interventionists

Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Propserity

Ron Paul Liberty Report

Daniel McAdams on The Corbett Report


March 4, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Thousands of shekels stolen from Palestinian homes in occupied West Bank

Israeli forces steal money during raids into houses of Palestinian citizens in the West Bank. (Photo: via Twitter)
MEMO | March 4, 2020

Israel security forces stole thousands of shekels from Palestinians in Al-Zawiya in the Salfit district of the occupied West Bank last night.

According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, around 50,000 shekels ($14,500) were seized during raids that were carried out overnight in the houses of Palestinian citizens and former prisoners.

The Israeli authorities often claim that money has been “confiscated” because the Palestinians “supported acts of terror” and received the money from unknown sources. As a result, soldiers are rarely charged with such thefts.

This is not the first time that Israel has taken money from Palestinian homes during night raids condemned by the Palestinian Authority and international rights bodies.

Such accusations have been made on hundreds of occasions, with soldiers pocketing Palestinians’ cash and valuables during the raids that take place nightly across the West Bank.

A similar raid was carried out in December, for example, when Israeli soldiers used dogs to ransack the family home of Mohammed Rayhan in the town of Yabod, south-west of Jenin.

After the soldiers had left without making any arrests, the family realised that money and gold jewellery were missing, he told Wafa. The family accused the soldiers of stealing the money and valuables.

Heavily armed Israeli soldiers, often with large dogs, regularly raid Palestinian homes, wake the children and arrest one or more family members.

The occupation state’s policy of night raids against the people of occupied Palestine has been condemned repeatedly by international rights bodies as it leaves victims feeling unsafe in their own homes.

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 4 Comments

US, Israel pressuring IAEA to act outside its purview, warns Iran

Press TV – March 4, 2020

Iran says the US and Israel are seeking to undermine the “constructive cooperation” between the country and the UN nuclear agency by forcing the latter to act outside its purview.

“Unfortunately once again, the US and the Israeli regime are trying to sabotage the dynamic and constructive relations and cooperation between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran by exerting pressure on the agency to act beyond its functions enshrined in the [IAEA] Statute,” Kazem Gharib-Abadi, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations, told reporters on Wednesday in reaction to a recent report on Tehran’s nuclear program.

He said that Iran is trying to prevent bids by certain sides to set “an illegal and dangerous precedent” in the IAEA that would recognize fabricated claims by some intelligence services.

He added that such fabricated information will create no obligation for Iran to grant the IAEA access to certain sites inside the country.

“Making any request for further clarification or complementary access to [certain sites] by the IAEA based on fabricated information provided by espionage services, including that of the Zionist regime, is not only against the IAEA founding documents and its verification regime, but it does not also create any obligation for Iran to meet such demands,” the diplomat noted.

The envoy warned that countries will see their national sovereignty violated if they fail to take fundamental measures to foil such plots.

The remarks came a day after the IAEA issued two reports — one regular report on Iran’s current nuclear program and the other detailing what it claims to be Tehran’s denial of access to locations the agency says could be connected to the country’s nuclear program.

In one of its reports, the IAEA claimed that Iran had not answered questions about possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations.

The IAEA has not specified the origin of the allegation, but since April 2018, the US and Israel have been busy making a fuss about unsubstantiated Israeli-sourced allegations about undeclared nuclear activity by Tehran.

The IAEA is tasked with monitoring the technical implementation of a 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and six major world powers — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.

The future of the historic deal has been in limbo since the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the accord in 2018 and Washington’s re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran.

Iran gradually reduced its commitments to the accord in retaliation for the US move, but stressed that the measures were reversible upon effective implementation of reciprocal obligations by the other parties.

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

The West Ignores Turkey’s Illegal Deployment of Troops to Syria’s Idlib – Russian Military

Sputnik – March 4, 2020

MOSCOW – The West continues to ignore the deployment of troops by Turkey to Syria’s Idlib in violation of international law, spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

“No one in the West notices the actions of the Turkish side, which, in violation of international law, has deployed a strike force the size of a mechanised division to Syria’s Idlib in order to ‘enforce the Sochi agreements at any cost'”, Konashenkov said in a statement.

The spokesman stressed that public threats to destroy all units of the Syrian government forces and return the M5 highway to terrorist control are viewed by the United States and Europe as “Ankara’s legitimate right to defence”.

Meanwhile, Damascus has been unfairly accused by the West of alleged “war crimes”, “humanitarian catastrophe”, and “flows of millions of refugees” in Idlib, Konashenkov added.

The Russian Defence Ministry’s spokesman also slammed Western nations’ claims about their concerns over the humanitarian situation in the Syrian province of Idlib as “total cynicism”, adding that the Russian military is providing all the necessary assistance to Syrians.

“Amid the total cynicism and the West’s fake concerns over the humanitarian situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, only the Russian centre for reconciliation of the opposing sides and the legitimate Syrian government deliver to the liberated areas all the needed assistance for local residents daily”, Konashenkov said.

“Syrians, tormented by terrorists, were not even aware of the existence of numerous pseudo-protectors in Europe and the United States, and of the prodigal humanitarian assistance, which was allegedly delivered over the past years”, the Defence Ministry’s spokesman went on to say.

Under the 2018 agreements, also known as the Sochi accords, the Turkish military was given the right to establish a dozen observation posts in the militant-controlled Idlib region and obliged to separate jihadist militias from other armed anti-government groups willing to engage in peace talks with Damascus. The agreements also stipulated the need for Turkey to take “effective measures” to ensure a lasting ceasefire in the region. Russia has recently accused Turkey of failing to live up to these commitments.

Presidents Putin and Erdogan are expected to meet in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the Idlib crisis.

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

DNC Scrambles To Change Debate Threshold After Gabbard Qualifies

By Caitlin Johnstone | March 4, 2020

On a CNN panel on Monday, host John King spoke with Politico reporter Alex Thompson about the possibility of Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard qualifying on Super Tuesday for the party’s primary debate in Phoenix later this month.

“I will note this, she’s from Hawaii,” King said of Gabbard. “She’s a congresswoman from Hawaii; American Samoa votes on Super Tuesday. The rules as they now stand, if you get a delegate, you’re back in the debates. As of now. Correct?”

“Yeah, they haven’t, I mean, that’s been the rule for every single debate,” Thompson replied. “And the DNC has not released their official guidance for the March 15 debate in Phoenix, but it would be very obvious that they are trying to cancel Tulsi, who they’re scared of a third party run, if they then change the rules to prevent her to rejoin the debate stage.”

And indeed, as the smoke clears from the Super Tuesday frenzy, this is precisely what appears to have transpired.

“The Gabbard campaign said it was informed that it would net two delegates from the caucuses in American Samoa, which will allocate a total of six pledged delegates,” The Hill reports today. “However, a report from CNN said that the candidate will receive only one delegate from the territory on Tuesday evening.”

“Tulsi Gabbard may have just qualified for the next Democratic debate thanks to American Samoa,” reads a fresh Business Insider headline. “Under the most recent rules, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii may have qualified for the next televised debate by snagging a delegate in American Samoa’s primary.”

“If Tulsi Gabbard gets a delegate out of American Samoa, as it appears she has done, she will likely qualify for the next Democratic debate,” tweeted Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel. “We don’t have new debate rules yet, but party has been inviting any candidate who gets a delegate.”

Rank-and-file supporters of the Hawaii congresswoman enjoyed a brief celebration on social media, before having their hopes dashed minutes later by an announcement from the DNC’s Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa that “the threshold will go up”.

“We have two more debates– of course the threshold will go up,” tweeted Hinojosa literally minutes after Gabbard was awarded the delegate. “By the time we have the March debate, almost 2,000 delegates will be allocated. The threshold will reflect where we are in the race, as it always has.”

“DNC wastes no time in announcing they will rig the next debates to exclude Tulsi,” Journalist Michael Tracey tweeted in response.

This outcome surprised nobody, least of all Gabbard supporters. The blackout on the Tulsi 2020 campaign has reached such extreme heights this year that you now routinely see pundits saying things like there are no more people of color in the race, or that Elizabeth Warren is the only woman remaining in the primary. They’re not just ignoring her, they’re actually erasing her. They’re weaving a whole alternative reality out of narrative in which she is literally, officially, no longer in the race.

After Gabbard announced her presidential candidacy in January of last year I wrote an article explaining that I was excited about her campaign because she would severely disrupt establishment narratives, and, for the remainder of 2019, that’s exactly what she did. She spoke unauthorized truths about Syria, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, she drew attention to the plight of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden and said she’d drop all charges against both men if elected, she destroyed the hawkish, jingoistic positions of fellow candidates on the debate stage and arguably single-handedly destroyed Kamala Harris’ run.

The narrative managers had their hands full with her. The Russia smears were relentless, the fact that she met with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was brought up at every possible opportunity in every debate and interview, and she was scoffed at and derided at every turn.

Now, in 2020, none of that is happening. There’s a near-total media blackout on the Gabbard campaign, such that I now routinely encounter rank-and-file liberals on social media who tell me they honestly had no idea she’s still running. She’s been completely redacted out of the narrative matrix.

So it’s unsurprising that the DNC felt comfortable striding forward and openly announcing a change in the debate threshold literally the very moment Gabbard crossed it. These people understand narrative control, and they know full well that they have secured enough of it on the Tulsi Problem that they’ll be able to brazenly rig her right off the stage without suffering any meaningful consequences.

The establishment narrative warfare against Gabbard’s campaign dwarfs anything we’ve seen against Sanders, and the loathing and dismissal they’ve been able to generate have severely hamstrung her run. It turns out that a presidential candidate can get away with talking about economic justice and plutocracy when it comes to domestic policy, and some light dissent on matters of foreign policy will be tolerated, but aggressively attacking the heart of the actual bipartisan foreign policy consensus will get you shut down, smeared and shunned like nothing else. This is partly because US presidents have a lot more authority over foreign affairs than domestic, and it’s also because endless war is the glue which holds the empire together.

And now they’re working to install a corrupt, right-wing warmongering dementia patient as the party’s nominee. And from the looks of the numbers I’ve seen from Super Tuesday so far, it looks entirely likely that those manipulations will prove successful.

All this means is that the machine is exposing its mechanics to the view of the mainstream public. Both the Gabbard campaign and the Sanders campaign have been useful primarily in this way; not because the establishment would ever let them actually become president, but because they force the unelected manipulators who really run things in the most powerful government on earth to show the public their box of dirty tricks.

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism | | 1 Comment