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November 17, 2018

Syria Sitrep - Army Wins Al-Safa Battle - More Troops Move Towards Idelb

Today the Syrian army won the al-Safa battle. Al-Safa is a barren area around an old volcano southeast of Sweida where in July ISIS abducted dozens of hostages. The last of those hostages were freed in a commando raid ten days ago.

With the hostages out of the way the Syrian army could finally use heavy weapons against ISIS which hid in the caves of the al-Safa field. Under heavy artillery cover the troops made good progress (video). Then came three days of unprecedented rain fall. ISIS fighters drowned in their caves and fighting positions. The commander of ISIS in the area, a Chechen, was killed. Those ISIS fighter who were left fled towards the al-Tanf area, which is under U.S. control, and into the desert in east Homs. The Syrian army is now in full control al-Safa.


Map via South Front - bigger

The situation in the U.S. controlled northeast is complicate. The Kurdish YPG/PKK forces the U.S. allied with do not get along with the Arab fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces and vice versa. Isolated attacks on Kurdish SDF units happen each day. It is unknown if these are by ISIS sleeper cells, local Arabs who despise the new Kurdish overlords, or some third party under Turkish direction.

Cont. reading: Syria Sitrep - Army Wins Al-Safa Battle - More Troops Move Towards Idelb

Posted by b at 12:43 PM | Comments (5)

November 16, 2018

The White House Spat With Jim Acosta Is Not A First Amendment Issue, Julian Assange's Indictment Is One

U.S. media support a questionable First Amendment case when one of the network reporters was rebuked by the White House. They are quiet on another case where the danger to the rights of a free press is much more serious.

On November 9, during a White House press conference with U.S. president Donald Trump, CNN reporter Jim Acosta staged a confrontation. His 'questions' to Trump during the press conference amounted to political statements and personal accusations. The situation escalated when Acosta insisted to make more statement while the president invited other reporters to ask their questions.

The first Acosta statement/question was about the so called caravan of immigrants that traveled through Mexico to the U.S. border. Trump had used it as a boogeyman during the midterm election campaign and had called it an "invasion". Trump answered the question by explaining that he wants immigrants to go through the legal immigration process and to not pass the border illegally. Acosta interrupted Trump's answer and asked a follow up, again in an accusing tone. Trump also answered that second question.

Acosta made another attempt to involve Trump into a political discussion about the issue. The president rejected that by telling Acosta to do his job as reporter while he, Trump, would do his as president. He moved on to the next reporter.

A White House aid got up to fetch the mobile microphone Acosta held in his hand. He more or less pushed her away and tried to ask another question, this time on the "Russian investigation". Trump told him "That's enough. That's enough." Acosta continued to ask. Trump relented and answered the question by saying that the whole "Russia investigation" is a hoax. Acosta tried another question, number five, asking if Trump was worried about indictments in the case. Trump turned away.

Acosta finally gave up the microphone. Trump then told Acosta that he is a "rude, terrible person" and that CNN "should be ashamed" to have him as a reporter.

Trump turned to another reporter to continued the press conference. While the next reporter asked his question Acosta got up again, interrupted the other reporter and again tried to get Trump into a discussion. He failed.

A video of the full exchange is here.

When I watched that segment on that day I found the behavior of Acosta obnoxious and primitive. He, and a few other reporters, did not ask questions to elicit answers, but tried to provoke Trump by making partisan political statements which were only superficially framed as questions. Acosta's behavior was impolite and disrespectful not only towards Trump but also to fellow reporters.

Later that day the White House revoked Acosta's White House 'hard pass' which gives the holder expanded access to the White House. CNN went to court claiming that the revocation violated Acosta's first and fifth amendment rights.

The First Amendment is about free speech. It has nothing to do with a 'right' to enter the White House. Neither does the right to free speech include a 'right' to get invited to press conferences. The Fifth Amendment is, among other things, about due process.

CNN asked the court for a preliminary restraining order against the White House revocation of Acosta's 'hard pass'. It was granted today based on case law related to the Fifth Amendment due process argument. Preliminary orders are not final judgments. They are granted to prevent potential additional damage while a legal case goes on. The court seemed to disagree with the underlying precedence the CNN lawyers had cited:

As [judge] Kelly began to offer his view on the components of CNN's request, he said that while he may not agree with the underlying case law that CNN's argument was based on, he had to follow it.

"I've read the case closely," he said. "Whether it's what I agree with, that's a different story. But I must apply precedent as I see it."

He left open the possibility that the White House could seek to revoke it again if it provided that due process, emphasizing the "very limited" nature of his ruling and saying he was not making a judgment on the First Amendment claims that CNN and Acosta have made.

The judge seems to thinks that the White House was justified but acted in a too chaotic manner when it revoked Ascota's 'hard pass' without citing rules or regulations. It is most likely that the White House will now create such rules pertaining White House access and press conferences. It will then use those to again limit Acosta's access.

I would be fine with that. The news value of White House press conferences has steadily been going down. That's to some part the fault of the White House press secretary. But it is also to a large part the fault of the press corps and the media who do not ask real questions but are unreasonably hostile and seem to be more interested in creating political strife than in facts. Some disciplinary measure may help to change that.

The Trump administration is doing some horrible stuff in dismantling environmental and legal regulations. Its foreign policy is devastating whole countries. Its fiscal policies are catastrophic. There are many good question that could be asked about these issues, but they no longer come up. Instead the press corp, especially the network reporters, play gotcha and use the press conferences for political stunts.

A number of other media organizations supported the CNN case by filing amicus briefs. That is probably a mistake. The legality of Acosta's case is quite dubious. The more the media engages on his site, the more will the White House push back by creating stricter regulations. These regulations, once they are laid out, will be used against all media. If not by this administration then by the next one.

It would also be nice if these first amendment defenders would take up a real first amendment case instead of the phony Acosta issue.

Julian Assange, the publisher of Wikileaks, has been indicted by the Justice Department for publishing truthful information about illegal and outrageous behavior of the U.S. government and U.S. politicians.

I don't see any of those who defend the obnoxious behavior of Acosta, taking a first amendment stand in the case against Wikileaks and Assange. None of those media, who all reported on and profited from the material Assange published, has filed an amicus brief to his case. The indictment of Assange is a grave threat to press freedom. Where are the editorials defending him?

 

Posted by b at 02:43 PM | Comments (94)

November 15, 2018

U.S., Saudis Fight Over Crown Prince Advisor - White House Tries To Appease Erdogan

The chief prosecutor of Saudi Arabia cleared his boss, clown prince Muhammad bin Salman, of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. A number of easily replaceable people were indicted. In a coordinated move the U.S. Treasury sanctioned a number of the people who played a role in the Khashoggi case. There is an interesting difference between the Saudi and the U.S. list of the involved people. Meanwhile the White House is looking for ways to induce Turkey to finally settle the case.

The Saudi prosecutor indicted eleven people and demands the death penalty for five of them. It is not yet known under which article of Saudi law the people were indicted. Death penalties under some articles often end with pardons. Ten other persons are still under investigation.

The story told in the briefing of the Saudi investigation results gives a new version of the events. (No names are given in the briefing. They were added below based on earlier reports.) The briefing says:

  • The former Deputy President of the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Major General Ahmed al-Asiri, issued an order to the mission leader Maher Mutreb to bring Kashoggi back to Saudi Arabia by means of persuasion or by force.
  • ‏The leader of the mission formed a 15-member team that consisted of three groups (negotiations/ intelligence/ logistics) to persuade and return the victim. Mutreb consulted with the now fired advisor to MbS, Saud al-Qahtani, because Qahtani knew Khashoggi.
  • A forensic expert was included in the team "for the purpose of removing evidence from the scene in the case force had to be used to return the victim."
  • The mission leader contacted a collaborator in Turkey "to secure a safe location in case force had to be used return the victim."
  • "After surveying the Consulate, the head of the negotiation team concluded that it would not be possible to transfer the victim by force to the safe location in case the negotiations with him to return failed. The head of the negotiation team decided to murder the victim if the negotiations failed."
  • The investigation concluded that the crime was carried out after a physical altercation with the victim where he was forcibly restrained and injected with a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose that led to his death.
  • The bod was dismembered. Five people carried the parts out of the consulate and one of them later handed them over to a collaborator.
  • One member of the mission put on Khashoggi's clothes, walked outside for a while and disposed them in a trash can.
  • The leader of the mission agreed with the leader of the negotiation team to write a false report which claimed that that Khashoggi had left the consulate.

So far the story the Saudi investigation tries to sell.

It effectively absolve the clown prince. It absolves his media advisor Saud al-Qahtani and MG Ahmed al-Asiri. The leader of mission will probably be sentenced for falsifying his report, while the head of the negotiation team and some of his helpers will take the brunt of the penalties. They are commoners, three or four levels below the top, and of no further value.

The story is of course not believable. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. No low level employee would dare to decided to kill a person of higher interests when the order says to bring the person back alive. Neither the mission leader nor the negotiation team leader would take such a step without consulting with Riyadh.

The murder was clearly planned at a higher level and well before the team landed in Istanbul. One does not bring a person that looks like the victim to make it look like the victim walked out 'just in case' something bad happens. If an abduction is planned one does not bring a 'forensic expert' -who in reality is a well known doctor specialized in autopsies- to 'cleanup' the scene.

The Saudi release was coordinated with the White House. Shortly after the Saudi prosecutor went public, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned several persons under the Global Magnitzky Act over the case:

Cont. reading: U.S., Saudis Fight Over Crown Prince Advisor - White House Tries To Appease Erdogan

Posted by b at 02:41 PM | Comments (90)

November 14, 2018

Netanyahoo's Likely Fall Destroys Trump's Middle East Strategy

The political upheaval in Israel is a problem for the White House and its Middle East plans.

Today Israel's defense minister Avigor Lieberman resigned and called for new elections. He disagreed with prime minister Netanyahoo over the renewed ceasefire in Gaza.

Netanyahoo had worked towards the earlier ceasefire to split Gaza under Hamas from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank under Mahmoud Abbas. That split is along the ideological line of the larger split in the Middle East between Qatar and Turkey as the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the absolute rules like the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Qatar is now financing Hamas in Gaza while the Saudis prop up Abbas.

This splitting up of the Palestinians is an intended part of the Jared Kushner 'peace' plan for the Middle East. The Palestinians shall no longer be recognized as a people but must be splintered into small local groups without a common identity who can then be more easily suppressed.

Lieberman seems to disagree with this plan. He wants to wage war against Hamas and defeat it. Any such attempt would of course reunite the Palestinians. But there is a loud constituency in the Zionist population that supports Lieberman's way.

This photo was taken today shortly before Lieberman resigned. Netanyahoo was not happy about the dilemma he is now in.


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He wanted to avoid an early election. His Likud party just lost seats in local elections and he is afraid of a campaign that would play out over Gaza and his 'dovish' stand in the latest conflict.

But with only a two seat majority and an unstable coalition Netanyahoo will have trouble to hold on.

Cont. reading: Netanyahoo's Likely Fall Destroys Trump's Middle East Strategy

Posted by b at 03:23 PM | Comments (106)

November 13, 2018

The Short War With Gaza Exposed Israel's Weakness - Updated

Updated below
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Last week a ceasefire was agreed upon between Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel:

The aim of the change, in a plan mediated by Egypt and with money supplied by Qatar, is to provide much-needed relief for Gaza, restore calm on the Israeli side of the border and avert another war.

On Sunday night Israeli special forces broke the ceasefire by invading Gaza under disguise. Such incursions happen quite often but are usually left unreported. The invaders wore civilian clothing and some were cloaked as women. Their cars arrived at the house of a local Qassam commander but suspicious guards held them up. A firefight ensued in which 7 Palestinians and 1 Israeli officer were killed. It is not clear what the intent of the Israeli raid was. A car left behind held what appeared to be surveillance equipment. The intruders fled back to Israel.

It is likely that rivalry within the Israeli government was behind this provocation:

[T]he perception that Israel, by allowing the fuel and cash shipments into Gaza, was paying off Hamas set off acrimonious wrangling between two rival right-wing members of Israel’s security cabinet.

Earlier Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett called the cash infusion “protection money.” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused Mr. Bennett of having supported such payments and of having opposed in recent weeks the more aggressive military reprisals against Hamas that Mr. Lieberman favored.
...
By night’s end Mr. Netanyahu had cut short his trip [to Paris] and was flying back to Israel in response to the Gaza hostilities.

Did Lieberman order the incursion to undercut Netanyahoo ceasefire and his rival Bennet?


Map via SouthFront.org - bigger

The breach of the ceasefire by Israel set off another round of tit for tat strikes. A commando unit of Hamas' Qassam brigade launched an attack against a bus that had carried Israeli soldiers to the border. To avoid further escalation the shooter waited until the soldiers were out of the way before hitting it. Only the driver was injured. Then the Israeli air force destroyed the al-Aqsa TV station in Gaza city after notifying the Palestinians of its intent. It also damaged a university building. Rocket volleys from Gaza followed and the Israeli air-force hit several buildings. After 48 hours the ceasefire was renewed.

During the conflict the Palestinian side demonstrated a series of new capabilities:

Cont. reading: The Short War With Gaza Exposed Israel's Weakness - Updated

Posted by b at 02:52 PM | Comments (104)

November 12, 2018

False Reports In U.S. Media Suggest A Great Deception

The New York Times is lying to its readers about the commitments of an adversarial state. It did not learn a single lesson from its fake reporting that led the Iraq War. It again furthers hostile aggression.


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In a piece published today, In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception, the paper lies about North Korea's commitments:

North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat.

The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.

There is no North Korean deception. It agreed to dismantle a missile test site, not an operative "launching site", and it agreed to a moratorium of nuclear and missile testing. Nowhere has it made any commitment to stop productions or deployments of missiles.

The Singapore Declaration Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump signed says nothing about ballistic missiles. It agrees on four step to be taken in sequence: 1. establish new US-DPRK relations, 2. build a lasting and stable peace regime in all of Korea, 3. support of the Panmunjom Declaration between North and South Korea, 4. North Korea commits "to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

There is no public or secret commitment by North Korea to stop its production of ballistic missiles just as there is not commitment by the United States to stop its continuing arms buildup.

There is in fact the opposite. North Korea openly said multiple times that it would increase its ballistic missile capacity. In May 2017 Chairman Kim Jong-un ordered to start mass production of the medium range Pukguksong-2 (Poseidon-2) missile:

Cont. reading: False Reports In U.S. Media Suggest A Great Deception

Posted by b at 01:42 PM | Comments (67)

November 11, 2018

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2018-60

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

Other stuff:

Syria Comment has a good piece on the situation of the Druze in Sweida, south Syria. The fight against the ISIS holdout in the nearby volcanic al-Safa hills was handicapped as ISIS still held Druze women and children as hostages. The Syrian army could not use heavy weapons for fear of killing the them. Last week the last hostages were freed in a commando raid. The battle against ISIS in the southeastern semi-desert can now recommence with full air and artillery support. Then comes Idleb ...

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A longread I enjoyed: Cesspools, Sewage, and Social Murder - Environmental Crisis and Metabolic Rift in Nineteenth-Century London. How a change in fertilizer usage and urbanization developed into a social crisis from human waste.

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Last week a suddenly stiff shoulder due to a pinched nerve disabled my capability to type. Resting the arm and some mild medication helped. But I also changed the mouse I use from a conventional type to a more ergonomic (and expensive) one. The more natural positioning of the hand is one advantage. The other is the (adjustable) higher resolution that allows me to use a big screen with very little movement. It took a few days to get used to it by I would not want to miss it.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 11:04 AM | Comments (130)

November 10, 2018

Yemen - Holding Hodeidah Is The Houthi's Last Chance

From last weeks MoA review:

The UAE and its mercenaries have renewed a large attack on Hodeidah. Should they capture it they will control all supplies to the Houthi areas. The Saudis and the UAE seem to use the 30 days Trump has given them for maximum gain.

The attack led by the United Arab Emirates has nearly achieved to surround Hodeidah. The city and its port are the only way left to provide food to some 20 million people living in the capital Sanaa and the northern highlands. Should Hodeidah fall, the Houthi and their allies will have to submit to the Saudis or see their people die of starvation.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which works in Hodeidah, notes:

There is now only one viable overland route from Hodeidah city to Sana'a, and a very high risk that further aerial or land attacks on roads or bridges could sever access roads between the cities entirely, cutting the last remaining supply route for food, fuel and medicine to many of the estimated 20 million Yemenis who depend on imports through Hodeidah to meet their basic needs.

Currently the Houthi try the same tactic that broke earlier UAE attempts to conquer Hodeidah (upper left). They cut the long UAE supply line coming from the south along the western coast over which the attacking force (red) is provided with food, fuel and ammunition. If the latest news is correct they achieved that in two places.


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Cont. reading: Yemen - Holding Hodeidah Is The Houthi's Last Chance

Posted by b at 02:30 PM | Comments (69)

November 09, 2018

ISIS Again Claims Cyber Attacks Which Were Falsely Blamed On Russia

Since late 2014 the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had its own hacking group. It waged cyber attacks against media and military targets. The group became known as United Cyber Caliphate (UCC).

Later on some "experts" attributed the UCC attacks to Russia. They claimed that the Cyber Caliphate did not exist but was a Russian false flag operation. There is now new evidence such claims are nonsense.

The attacks claimed by the Cyber Caliphate included:

  • Jan 2015 - Twitter and Youtube account of the U.S. CentCom taken over and filled with pro-ISIS messages.
  • Mar 2015 - United States Air Force's pilots list with detailed personal information posted online.
  • Apr 2015 - French TV5Monde live feed and social media hacked and defaced with the message "Je Suis ISIS".
  • Apr 2015 - Australian airport website defaced with ISIS message.
  • Aug 2015 - United States' military database hacked and data of some 1400 personnel posted online.
  • Sep 2015 - British government emails hacked. Email addresses of top cabinet ministers published.
  • Apr 2016 - UCC successfully hacks 20 Australian business websites, redirects them to ISIS content.
  • Apr 2017 - UCC released a kill list of 8,786 people.

ISIS delivered flawless propaganda material with well edited videos and created its own glossy magazines. Producing these required computer expertise. It was thus not astonishing to learn that some hackers had joined ISIS and worked with its media team. From an ISIS perspective the above listed targets all made sense. There was no reason to doubt the ISIS claims.

But then the 'Russia scare' nonsense took over. Suddenly each and every assumed computer attack, including those by the Cyber Caliphate, were attributed to Russia:

Cont. reading: ISIS Again Claims Cyber Attacks Which Were Falsely Blamed On Russia

Posted by b at 03:33 PM | Comments (44)

November 08, 2018

Two 'Russian Influence' Campaigns Claim Victory - One Is Real, The Other One Fake

Two new 'Russian' campaigns claim victory in their disinformation acts against the 'west'. One is real and the other one is fake. But - as usual by now - 'western' media mistake one for the other. For them the real one is fake and the fake one real*.

Proud Bear, a collective of GRU spies, celebrates its success in arranging Britain's exit from the European Union. It rented billboards in London to claim victory.


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Last night the GRU agents launched their @Pr0ud_Bear Twitter account and their webpage proudbear.ru to proudly confess their deed and to celebrate success.

Cont. reading: Two 'Russian Influence' Campaigns Claim Victory - One Is Real, The Other One Fake

Posted by b at 05:17 PM | Comments (79)

November 07, 2018

A Short Take On The Midterm Elections

The midterm elections in the United States had mixed results. Both sides will claim victory. There was no landslide in either direction.

The Republicans extended their majority in the Senate while the Democrats took the House of Representatives.

My hunch, that the Republicans would keep a majority in the House, was wrong. I underestimated the turnout for the Democrats. Some 114 million people voted yesterday compared to 88 million in the 2014 midterms.

The Democrats won at least 26 additional seats in the House. They needed 23 seats to gain a majority. Republicans increased their majority of 51 seats in the Senate to at least 54 seats.

The Democrats will chair all House committees and will run dozens of investigations against President Trump and his administration. They will subpoena his tax records, launch more 'Russian collusion' investigations and will question the ethics of Trump administration members. It will be a lot of political theater with little value. With a solid Republican majority in the Senate there is no chance that Trump will be impeached.

Trump's domestic agenda will be hindered by the new House majority. He may well compensate for that with a more aggressive foreign policy.

With more than $5 billion spent on midterm election campaigns the elected people are more indebted to their rich donors than ever before.

Florida passed an amendment that will restore the voting rights of some 1.4 million people with past felony convictions. This will change the political landscape. Most of the felons are people of color, often convicted for very minor crimes. In 2016 Trump carried the state by 100,000 votes.

Brothel owner Dennis Hof, who died on October 16, defeated Democrat Lesia Romanov and wins a Republican seat in the Nevada state assembly.

The campaign for the 2020 election has begun.

Posted by b at 03:04 AM | Comments (200)

November 06, 2018

Open Thread 2018-59

News & views ...

Posted by b at 01:18 PM | Comments (134)

November 05, 2018

This NYT Cartoon Helps Trump To Win

The New York Times cartoonist claims that:

  • Protecting U.S. borders from illegal entry by foreigners is not a valid mission for the U.S. military.
  • Illegally invading and destroying countries in the Middle East, to the benefit of the Zionist entity, is a valid mission.

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It is highly doubtful that U.S. voters agree with that take. Most of them seem to believe in the "Defense" moniker of the War Department.

Cartoons like the above can only help Trump win the midterm elections. One wonders why the NYT is willingly playing into his hands with this.

Posted by b at 07:44 AM | Comments (174)

November 03, 2018

The MoA Week in Review - OT 2018-58

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

The SDF is very much in trouble. ISIS is still attacking. There is trouble between the locally recruited Arab footsoldiers of the SDF and the Kurdish command. The U.S. is again bombing but the defense front of the SDF has largely broken down.

The UAE and its mercenaries have renewed a large attack on Hodeidah. Should they capture it they will control all supplies to the Houthi areas. The Saudis and the UAE seem to use the 30 days Trump has given them for maximum gain.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 10:19 AM | Comments (195)

November 02, 2018

The Film The Israel Lobby Doesn't Want You To See

Today The Electronic Intifada published the first two parts of "The Lobby – USA", a four-part undercover investigation by Al Jazeera into Israel’s covert influence campaigns in the United States.

The planned broadcast of the film was prevented by Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera, on behalf of Israel.

From EI's description:

To get unprecedented access to the Israel lobby’s inner workings, undercover reporter “Tony” posed as a pro-Israel volunteer in Washington.

The resulting film exposes the efforts of Israel and its lobbyists to spy on, smear and intimidate US citizens who support Palestinian human rights, especially BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

It shows that Israel’s semi-covert black-ops government agency, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is operating this effort in collusion with an extensive network of US-based organizations.

These include the Israel on Campus Coalition, The Israel Project and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

It is amazing that Israel gets away with such spying and intelligence operations against U.S. citizens and within the United States.

Israel and its lobby did a lot to suppress the movie and its wider distribution. That can only mean that it is good and deserves a large viewership.

Watch it here.

Posted by b at 03:28 PM | Comments (61)

November 01, 2018

By Way Of Deception - False Flag Terror Acts Press Europe To Sanction Iran

Israels secret service Mossad, with the CIA behind it, is framing Iran with alleged assassination plots in Europe.

In September a terror attack killed some 30 people in Iran. Two entities, an Arab separatist movement as well as the Islamic State terror group ISIS, took responsibility. After an investigation Iran found that it was ISIS which was responsible. It took revenge against the identified culprits.

Six weeks later Denmark claims, without providing evidence, that Iran tried to assassinate a leader of the Arab separatist movement over the incident. Iran denies any such attempt. The right wing Danish government uses the claim  to urge other European countries to sanction Iran.

It is unlikely that Iran would take action in Europe, which it urgently needs to reduce the damage of U.S. sanction, over an incident for which it already punished the Islamic State.

The Danish claims are allegedly based on information provided by Mossad. That only increases the suspicion that the assassination plot is a false flag operation similar to a recent one in Belgium. More likely though is that the CIA is behind such false flag incidents.

The details:

On September 22 gunmen killed 29 and wounded more than 70 participants and onlookers of a veterans day parade in Ahvaz, Iran:

Cont. reading: By Way Of Deception - False Flag Terror Acts Press Europe To Sanction Iran

Posted by b at 10:30 AM | Comments (93)

October 31, 2018

Yemen - After 200,000 Died An Embarrassed U.S. Finally Calls For Negotiations

Isa Blumi writes:

The war on Yemen today is a brutal example of how the expansion of global capitalist interests destroys nations.

It first takes the form of neoliberalism (often innocently labeled as globalisation) and then, as the inevitable structural collapse of the targeted country begins, (with its inevitable popular resistance undermining the political order), a more overt form of violence is introduced.

The war on Yemen moved towards the most violent form of war. A siege on a whole country with the obvious intent to cause a genocidal famine of the resisting population.

The attacking nations, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Britain and the UAE, planned to grab Yemen's resources but failed in their war. They are now making first moves to end the war. They finally recognized that they are unable to win while the financial and reputational costs of the stalemate steadily increases.

It is not by chance that this move comes after clown prince Mohammad bin Salman's recent Khashoggi disaster. It was that murder that moved the attention to his leading role in the genocidal war on Yemen.

A recent large reportage by the New York Times drew attention to the war induced famine. It includes haunting pictures of starving small children. In another censorship idiocy Facebook removed mentions of the piece that included pictures because they showed 'naked' dying children with no flesh on their bones. That might have been a friendly gesture by Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg to his chap Mohammad bin Salman, but it only increased the coverage of the issue.

More reports about the true casualty numbers of the war on Yemen emerge. A year ago Moon of Alabama criticized the often quoted "10,000 dead" that the media continue to repeat as the official casualty count of the war:

Up to July 2017 the U.S.-Saudi coalition had flown more than 90,000 air-sorties over Yemen. Most of those will have involved weapon releases. Are we to believe that only 10,000 civilians have been killed by all these bombs and the additional artillery, sharpshooters and suicide attacks? That would be inconsistent even with western reports of the known mass incidents during the war. 100,000 dead civilians caused by the war so far is a more likely number than the never changing 10,000.

Since then the numbers increased due to continued fighting but even more due to the raging famine.

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The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a group formerly associated with the University of Sussex, estimates that since March 2015, when the Saudis launched the war, 70,000 to 80,000 were killed due to combat. That estimate is conservative based on documented death as a result of fighting. The Save the Children NGO estimated in late 2017 that 50,000 children died that year for lack of food and from a ravaging Cholera epidemic.

The famine only increased since then. By the end of this year another 50,000 children will have died. The total number of dead caused by the war and blockade since March 2015 has thus likely exceeded the 200,000 mark.

Cont. reading: Yemen - After 200,000 Died An Embarrassed U.S. Finally Calls For Negotiations

Posted by b at 01:34 PM | Comments (143)

October 30, 2018

How Trump Is Winning The Midterm Elections

What are the chances that the mid-term elections in the United States, one week from now, will change the majority in the House or Senate?

The Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in the House to gain a majority. Of the 48 seats that are in play only 16 seem likely to change in their favor. In the Senate they need to take gain two seats to become a majority, but at least one of the Democrats' current seats is endangered and polls for the other 9 seats that potentially might change show a tossup.

My personal hunch is that the Republicans will keep both houses and may even gain a few seats.

The U.S. economy is doing relatively well. The recent drop in share prices points to a more mixed outlook from here on, but so far everything held up.

The Democrats have neither a program nor a leadership that incites to vote for them. They wasted two years with hyping a non-existent Russiagate that no one but Washington insiders and the media cares about. Did they actually oppose anything Trump did? They tried a #metoo stunt around a Supreme Court nomination but how effective was that?

The Democrats also failed to get rid of Hillary Clinton, or at least to shut her up. How can she, the most hated woman in the U.S.,  suggest to run again for president just a few days before the mid-terms? (Her candidacy would give Trump the easiest re-election ever.)

Trump continues to be an excellent salesman. He knows how to get and maintain attention. Each day he makes some outrageous claim or acts on some hot button issue. This has two effects: it is red meat for his base, and it gives major media attention to his politics.

Over the last days he offered a 10% tax cut for the middle class, bashed the media, suggested that house of worship should have armed guards, bashed the media more, sent troops to the border to stop a migrant caravan, bashed the media again, and attacked birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants. He surely has a list of seven other issues to fill the daily news cycles until the election.

All of the above lets me expect a higher turnout of voters who lean Republican than of those who lean towards Democrats. The higher turnout wins.

With a continued majority in both houses Trump should have an easy run during the next presidential elections.

In international politics many hoped they could wait out Trump, and that by 2021 everything would go 'back to normal'. That was always the wrong strategy. Unless something unexpected happens Trump is here to stay. When he leaves a new 'normal' will have evolved and the 'normal' of 2016 will no longer exist.

Posted by b at 03:22 PM | Comments (127)