Archive | January 1st, 2017

Zionist Kerry’s speech violates int’l law, Palestinian rights

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Kerry’s speech violates int’l law, Palestinian rights

Palestine Information Center

45885848LONDON – The Palestinian Return Center (PRC) slammed on Thursday a speech by the American Secretary of State, John Kerry, on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying his comments pose a danger for Palestinians’ rights, particularly the right of return.

According to PRC, the call of Kerry to resettle refugees in countries other than their homes is unacceptable and is a flagrant violation of the international law.

On the basis of its committed position in defending the rights of Palestinian refugees and as an organization in special consultative status with the UN ECOSOC, PRC confirmed that breaching the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees is against international law, UN resolutions, and the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, which all grant the right of return.

PRC added that ignoring the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees will indeed make attempts to achieve peace fail.

It noted that any discussions or negotiations should be based on and comply with international law. The right of return is well enshrined in international law.

PRC further stated that the reference of Kerry to the Nakba and Palestinian refugees’ plight is a new recognition of their suffering, adding that the only way to end it is to allow them to return to their native homes and villages.

On Wednesday, Kerry delivered a lengthy speech as part of his so-called “comprehensive peace vision.”

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German government says it has no proof Russia trying to hack upcoming elections

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RT

German government has officially admitted that it has no solid evidence that Russia is planning to interfere into the Germany’s upcoming federal parliamentary elections in 2017 as it answered a request from an MP amid ongoing anti-Russian hysteria.

All accusations against Russia concerning its potential meddling with the German parliamentary elections, which are due to be held in September 2017, are just “assumptions” based on the claims of the US politicians that Russian hackers interfered into the US elections via DNC email hacks.

“The federal government particularly refers to the fact that it was revealed in July 2016 that a successful hacking attack, which resulted in a subsequent data theft, was carried out on the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the central committee of the Democratic Party of the United States,” the German government’s official answer to the request filed by the German MP from the Left Party, Andrej Hunko, says.

At the same time, the answer, prepared by the German Interior Ministry, stresses that the government has no evidence of Russia’s meddling with the results of the Brexit referendum, in which slightly more than a half of the British citizens supported the idea of leaving the EU.

“The federal government has no evidence of the alleged Russian hacking attack aimed at influencing the results of the Brexit vote in the UK,” the statement says.

Hunko filed an official request to the government, asking it to explain “what shaky or solid evidence the government has that allow it to state that ‘Russian intelligence’ is allegedly planning to ‘interfere with’ the federal elections in the coming year ‘through cyberattacks.’”

“The answer of the Interior Ministry about the alleged Russian state-sponsored cyber-attacks shows that such accusations do not stand up to scrutiny,” the MP told RT Deutsch, adding that “no [Russia’s] plans to interfere into the parliamentary elections” are apparently known to the German government.

“The government is unable to prove [its claims concerning] the Russian ‘disinformation’ [campaign],” he added. Later, he said that his request was prompted by an ongoing massive anti-Russian campaign waged by the German politicians and the media.

“There are a lot of articles in the German media claiming that Russia will interfere into the upcoming federal elections next year. I asked the government … if there is any proof [of such allegations]. And the answer is that there is no real evidence [of that],” Hunko told RT.

“They did not get any proof but got only indications concerning the DNC leak. So, now, it is official that they do not have any proofs and this debate could be stopped in Germany,” he added.

Anti-Russian scaremongering campaign

German newspapers indeed repeatedly came out with provocative headlines that fueled anti-Russian sentiments. In December, a number of German media published articles speculating about possible Russian hacking attacks aimed at meddling with the German parliamentary election results.

Neue Osnabrueckener Zeitung posed a rhetorical question whether Russian hackers can manipulate parliamentary elections while Die Zeit daily reported about a German intelligence chief, who warned of sabotage attempts from Russia.

Meanwhile, the FAZ daily claimed that Russia had already hacked secret files from the Bundestag – the lower house of the German parliament – citing unidentified security sources. On Friday, Stuttgarter Zeitung raised the issue of “fear of falsifications” that could be a result of the Russian hackers’ attack on Germany.

In late November, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also implied that Russian hackers could be behind some attacks in Germany. Speaking about the hacking attacks on major German telecommunications group Deutsche Telecom, which hit some 900,000 of the company’s customers, she alluded to a link between the incident and Russia.

“Such cyberattacks, or hybrid conflicts as they are known in Russian doctrine, are now part of daily life and we must learn to cope with them,” she said at that time.

Earlier in November, she said that handling “internet attacks that are of Russian origin or with news which sows false information” has become a “daily task,” adding that “it may be that this could also play a role during the election campaign.”

Bruno Kahl, the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, then claimed that his agency has evidence that Russia may have manipulated the vote during the 2016 US election. “The perpetrators are interested in delegitimizing the democratic process as such, no matter who that subsequently helps,” he claimed, commenting on the issue.

However, even the US security services are still unable to provide any solid evidence of Russia’s hacking attacks on the US as the latest report on “Russian malicious cyber activity” mentions the actual words “Russia” and “Russian” only three times, with just 11 instances of “RIS” – a custom, catch-all acronym standing for “Russian Intelligence Services” without naming any.

It also provides no clear evidence of connection between the hacker groups allegedly involved in cyber-attacks in the US and Russian intelligence services. Instead, the document features a disclaimer saying that “the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

However, the fact that the evidence of Russia’s involvement in any cyber-attacks on US territory is still rather shaky did not stop the White House and Treasury Department from imposing new sanctions against Russia over the alleged hacking of US elections.

On Thursday, Obama issued sanctions against six Russian nationals and five institutions, including the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). At the same time, the US expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland.

In response, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “such actions of the US current administration are a manifestation of an unpredictable and even aggressive foreign policy” and expressed regret over the fact that “the fact that this decision was taken by the US administration and President Obama personally.”

Read more:

Berlin warns of ‘Russian hackers’ ahead of German 2017 election
‘Reflection of insecurity?’ Merkel claims ‘Russian hackers’ might derail German elections
Report on ‘Russian hacking’ offers disclaimers, barely mentions Russia
Obama vows ‘action’ in response to alleged Russian hacking

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Moscow blasts CNN’s ‘false’ US school closure report

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RT

The CNN is spreading ‘false information’ by reporting that Russia closed the Anglo-American School of Moscow in retaliation to a new set of US sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“It’s a lie. It appears the White House has completely lost its mind and is now coming up with sanctions against their own children,”  Zakharova commented on the report on her Facebook page.

“The CNN broadcaster and other Western media have again distributed false information citing official US sources,” the spokeswoman added.

The Anglo-American School of Moscow has also denied media speculation, with director Ian Forster writing on Facebook that the “school is planning to open as scheduled following the New Year’s break.”

Earlier, CNN cited an unnamed US official who claimed that the Russian authorities ordered the closure of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, attended by children from the US, UK, and Canadian embassy staffs, and a US Embassy vacation house in Serebryany Bor.

The report was quickly picked up by other Western media outlets, which came up with juicy, Star Wars-style headlines for their stories, including “Russia Strikes Back: Moscow Closes US School in Response to Obama Sanctions,” from ABC, and “Putin fires back by closing American school and embassy vacation home in Moscow…” from the Daily Mail.

The CNN source called the move a direct retaliation to the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York, which US President Barack Obama announced on Thursday as part of a set of new sanctions against Russian.

According to Obama, the countermeasures were introduced in response to what he called “the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the US election.”

Thirty-five Russian diplomats have been expelled from the US, and nine Russian entities, including the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) and the FSB (Federal Security Service), added to Washington’s blacklist.

The facilities in Maryland and New York, located in the coastal area, were used by Russian Embassy staff for recreational purposes. Many diplomats and their families who went there to celebrate New Year’s were forced to leave after the announcement of the sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will not respond in kind to the US restrictions.

“We won’t cause problems for American diplomats. We’re not going to expel anybody. We won’t forbid their families and kids from using familiar vacation spots during the New Year holidays,” he said.

“Moreover, I invite the children of all American diplomats with accreditation in Russia to New Year’s and Christmas festivities in the Kremlin,” Putin added.

Though the Russian leader expressed regret that President Obama is concluding his term “in such a way,” he added: “I still wish him and his family a Happy New Year.
“I also wish President-elect Donald Trump and the entire American people a Happy New Year!”

According to Putin, Russia will “take further moves on restoring Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of President-elect Donald Trump adopts.

READ MORE:

US expels 35 Russian diplomats, closes 2 compounds

Putin: Russia will not expel anyone in response to US sanctions

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The Information War on Syria and Beyond

NOVANEWS
By Rick Sterling 

The U.S. establishment is not happy. They are not content with largely dominating media narratives on Syria and other critical foreign policy issues; they want total dominance.

Thus we now have the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act signed into law on December 24 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017. The bill will mandate the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence and other federal agencies to “create a Global Engagement Center to fight against propaganda from foreign governments”.

The bill directs the future Center to be formed in 180 days and to share expertise among agencies and to “coordinate with allied nations”.

This bill was initiated in March 2016, before widespread allegations of “Russian hacking” began. Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for the bill: “It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives.”

Irony: USA is the Major Purveyor of Propaganda

This bill is remarkable because the US government and agencies appear to be major purveyors not victims of propaganda and disinformation.  A good recent example is the accusations of Russian hacking at the Democratic National Committee and Clinton private email servers to “influence’ the U.S. election. Despite the widespread accusations, here is little or no no public evidence in support of this and much to contradict the claims. An analysis by veteran intelligence professionals leads to the conclusion this was a leak, NOT a “hack”, and allegations of hacking the election are “baseless”. On top of that, there is now a credible source, a former UK Ambassador, who says he received the Clinton email data from a disgruntled DNC staffer and delivered the data to WikiLeaks. The accusation that the US election was influenced by Russian hacking appears to be an example of what they claim to oppose: fake news and disinformation for political purposes.

There is a long history of U.S. disinformation and propaganda. Former CIA agents Philip Agee and John Stockwell documented how it was done decades ago. For the past ten years there has been increasing emphasis on using supplied, trained and paid “activists” and “independent journalists” along with social media to spread false stories and news and to undermine or discredit journalists who challenge the orthodoxy. Disinformation, fake news and propaganda are no longer the province of the CIA; it’s managed by the State Department using staff and contractors. The new bill to “counter foreign propaganda” will provide tax payer money and escalate this aspect of the information war.

Propaganda and Disinformation on Syria

Syria is a good case study in the modern application of information warfare. In her book “Hard Choices”, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote that the U.S. provided “support for (Syrian) civilian opposition groups, including satellite -linked computers, telephones, cameras, and training for more than a thousand activists, students and independent journalists.”

A huge amount of money has gone to “activists” and “civil society” groups in Syria as well as in the USA and west. These groups have shaped and manipulated public opinion. The fact they are recipients or contractors of one or more governments directly involved in trying to overthrow the Syrian government has generally been ignored or hidden.

In North America, representatives from the Syrian Local Coordination Committees (LCC) were frequent guests on popular media programs such as Democracy Now. The message was clear: there is a “revolution” in Syria against a “brutal regime” personified in Bashar al Assad. It was not mentioned that the “Local Coordination Committees” have been primarily funded by the West, specifically the Office for Syrian Opposition Support which was founded by the United States Department of State and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

More recently, news and analysis about Syria has been conveyed through the filter of the White Helmets, also known as Syrian Civil Defense. The White Helmets were stated to be neutral, non-partisan, civilian volunteers courageously carrying out rescue work in the war zone. In fact, the group is none of the above. It was initiated by the US and UK using a British military contractor and Brooklyn based marketing company. While they may have performed some genuine rescue operations, the White Helmets is primarily a media organization with a political goal: to promote NATO intervention in Syria. The manipulation of public opinion using the White Helmets and promoted by the NY Times and Avaaz petition for a No Fly Zone in Syria is documented here. The White Helmets hoax continues to be widely believed and receive uncritical promotion but is increasingly being exposed as the creation of a shady PR firm. White Helmet individuals have been used as the source for important news stories despite a track record of deception.

Recent Propaganda: Blatant Lies?

As the armed groups in east Aleppo recently lost ground and then collapsed, western governments and allied media went into a frenzy of accusations based on reports from sources connected with the armed opposition. CNN host Wolf Blitzer described Aleppo as “falling” in a “slaughter of these women and children” while CNN host Jake Tapper referred to “genocide by another name”. The Daily Beast published the claims of the Aleppo Siege Media Center. They titled it Doomsday is held in Aleppo and claimed the Syrian army was executing civilians, burning them alive and “20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.” These sensational claims were widely broadcast without verification.

In fact, the news and reports on CNN and throughout western media were coming from highly biased sources and many of the claims can be accurately described as propaganda and disinformation. As one indication, the Aleppo Media Center was created by the Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO) based on K Street in Washington DC, the base of operations for Public Relations and Marketing firms.

In sharp contrast to the wailing and dubious reports of CNN and most western media, RT and other media outlets have broadcast videos and interviews showing popular celebrations at the “liberation of Aleppo”. Jan Oberg of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research has published a powerful photo essay describing his eye witness observations in Aleppo including the happiness of civilians from east Aleppo reaching the government controlled areas of west Aleppo. Dr. Nabil Antaki, a medical doctor from Aleppo, describes the liberation of Aleppo in an interview titled Aleppo is Celebrating, Free from Terrorists, the Western Media Misinformed.” The first Christmas celebrations in Aleppo in four years are shown here, replete with marching band members in Santa Claus outfits. Journalist Vanessa Beeley has published testimonies of civilians from East Aleppo. The happiness of civilians at their liberation is clear.

Contrary to the mythology of rebel “liberated zones” , there is persuasive evidence the armed groups were never popular in Aleppo. American journalist James Foley described the situation in 2012 like this:

Aleppo, a city of about 3 million people, was once the financial heart of Syria. As it continues to deteriorate, many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition — one that is hampered by infighting and a lack of structure, and deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups.

The rebels in Aleppo are predominantly from the countryside, further alienating them from the urban crowd that once lived here peacefully, in relative economic comfort and with little interference from the authoritarian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Overall Narrative on Syria

Analysis of the Syrian conflict boils down to two competing narratives. One narrative, pervasive in the West,  is that the conflict is a fight for freedom and democracy against a brutal regime. This description has been promoted in the West and Gulf, in those countries which have been fueling the conflict from the start. This narrative is also put forward by some self-styled “anti-imperialists” who seek a “Syrian revolution”.

The other narrative is that the conflict is essentially a war of aggression against a sovereign state. The aggressors include western NATO countries plus Gulf monarchies, Israel and Jordan.

Censorship and domination of western media is so thorough that one rarely hears the second narrative. This is true of much of the liberal and progressive media as well as mainstream. For example, listeners and viewers of the generally progressive TV and radio program Democracy Now have rarely if ever heard the second narrative described in any detail. Democracy Now news has frequently broadcast the explanations of Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and others associated with the US position. They have rarely if ever broadcast the explanation and viewpoint of the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, the Syrian Foreign Minister or countless analysts inside Syria and around the world who have written about and follow events there closely.

Democracy Now has done repeated interviews with proponents of the “Syrian revolution” and never with analysts who say this is a war of aggression. This, despite the fact that many prominent international figures see it as such. For example, the former Foreign Minister of Nicaragua and former President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, has said, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.”

In many areas of politics, the public affairs program Democracy Now is excellent and challenges corporate media. However in this area, coverage of the Syrian conflict, their broadcast is biased, one-sided and echoes the news and analysis of mainstream western corporate media. This shows the extent of domination of foreign policy news that already exists.

Suppressing and Censoring Challenges

One of the primary purposes of the new Global Engagement Center will be to “counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation.” This is another remarkable development because there is already widespread censorship and “countering” of alternative analyses of critical international issues. In an article titledControlling the Narrative on Syria,” Louis Allday describes the criticisms and attacks on journalists Rania Khalek and Max Blumenthal for straying from the “approved” western narrative on Syria. Some of the bullying and abuse has come from precisely those people, such as Robin Yassin-Kassab, who have been frequent guests in liberal western media.

Recently Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett returned to North America after being in Syria and Aleppo. She conveyed a very different image and criticized biased media coverage of the Syrian conflict. She pointed to western media broadcasting claims without credible sources or evidence. Bartlett appeared at a United Nations press conference and then did numerous interviews across the country during a speaking tour. During the course of her talks and presentation, Bartlett criticized the White Helmets and questioned whether it was true that Al Quds Hospital in opposition held East Aleppo was attacked and destroyed as claimed.

Snopes is a useful website which has exposed many urban legends and false rumors. Unfortunately they have many internal challenges and have become inconsistent in their investigations. In an examination titled White Helmet Hearsay Snopes writer Bethania Palmer says claims the White Helmets are “linked to terrorists” is “unproven”. She overlooks numerous videos, photos, and other reports showing White Helmet members celebrating Nusra/Al Qaeda battle victory, picking up the bodies of civilians executed by Nusra executioner, and alternatively being rebel/terrorist fighter with weapon but later wearing a White Helmet uniform. The “fact check” barely scrapes the surface of public evidence.

The same writer did another shallow “investigation” titled victim blaming regarding Bartlett’s critique of White Helmet videos and what happened at the Al Quds Hospital in Aleppo. Bartlett suggests that some White Helmet videos may be fabricated and include the same child at different times. Photographs appear to show the same girl being rescued by White Helmet workers at different places and times. While the similarity in appearance is clear, it is uncertain whether or not this is the same girl.

The Snopes writer goes on to criticize Bartlett for her comments about the reported bombing of the Al Quds Hospital in East Aleppo in April 2016. A statement at the website of Doctors Without Borders says the building was “destroyed and reduced to rubble”. This is clearly false since photos show the building with unclear damage. Five months later, the September 2016 report by Doctors Without Borders says the top two floors of the building were destroyed and the ground floor Emergency Room damaged yet they re-opened in two weeks. The many inconsistencies and contradictions in the statements of Doctors Without Borders resulted in an open letter to them. In their last report Doctors Without Borders (MSF) acknowledges that “MSF staff did not directly witness the attack and has not visited Al Quds Hospital since 2014”.

Bartlett referenced satellite images taken before and after the reported attack on the hospital. These images do not show severe damage and it is unclear whether or not there is any damage to the roof. This was the basis for Bartlett’s statement. In the past week, independent journalists have visited the scene of Al Quds Hospital and report that that the top floors of the building are still there and damage is unclear. The Snopes investigation about Bartlett’s statement is superficial and ignores much larger issues of accuracy and integrity. Instead it appears to be an effort to undermine the overall eye-witness observations and analysis provided by a journalist who is challenging the mainstream narrative.

The Coming New McCarthyism?

U.S. propaganda and disinformation on Syria has been overall effective in misleading much of the population. Most Americans are unaware how many billions of tax payer dollars have been spent on yet another “regime change” attempt. Many liberal and progressive news outlets have failed to challenge the propaganda and disinformation on Syria. It has been left to RT and a host of smaller media outlets to challenge the government and mainstream media.

The passage of HR5181 “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation”, suggests that the ruling powers seek to escalate suppression of news and analysis which runs counter to their narrative. Despite their current dominance in the media and information arena, that is not enough. They seek to further squelch opposing voices. The bill calls for “countering” and “refuting” what they deem to be propaganda and disinformation. A slush fund of $20M is provided to hire or reward “civil society groups, NGOs, journalists and private companies “ who participate in the campaign.

Progressives need to prepare for the escalation of the information war.

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Nazi regime grabbed over 13,000 dunums of Palestinian land in 2016

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uprooted-olive-tree-e1471332030329Nazi illegal occupation (NIO) have seized about 13,295 dunums of Palestinian land during 2016, according to a report released on Thursday by the Palestinian Land Research Center (LRC).

Nazi appropriation of Palestinian land increased by 43 percent during the current year compared to 2015, the report said.

During the reporting month, 9,700 fruitful trees, including 6,550 olive trees, were uprooted or sabotaged by the NIO and Nazi Jewish settlers.

The center also recorded 110 direct Nazi assaults on farmers and Bedouins and 195 attacks and violations on religious and historical sites, 100 of them occurred at the Aqsa Mosque.

The NIO also established 802 road barriers, most of them makeshift checkpoints, during the same year in different areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

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FBI-Homeland Security report fails to prove Russians behind Clinton leaks

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Joint FBI-Homeland Security report fails to prove Russians behind Clinton leaks
Image result for FBI-Homeland Security CARTOON
By Alexander Nercouris 

In conjunction with US President Obama’s announcement of new sanctions against Russia, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have published a 13 page report into the Russian hacking allegations.

I think it is fair to say that a mountain has moved and produced a mouse.  To get a sense of the absurdity, consider that the report actually begins with a Disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise. This document is distributed as TLP:WHITE: Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp. Reference Number: JAR-16-20296 December 29. (bold italics added)

After this unpromising beginning, the report – which goes by the frankly weird title “Grizzly Bear” – provides a summary that reads as follows:

Previous JARs have not attributed malicious cyber activity to specific countries or threat actors. However, public attribution of these activities to RIS is supported by technical indicators from the U.S. Intelligence Community, DHS, FBI, the private sector, and other entities. This determination expands upon the Joint Statement released October 7, 2016, from the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security. This activity by RIS is part of an ongoing campaign of cyber-enabled operations directed at the U.S. government and its citizens. These cyber operations have included spearphishing campaigns targeting government organizations, critical infrastructure entities, think tanks, universities, political organizations, and corporations leading to the theft of information. In foreign countries, RIS actors conducted damaging and/or disruptive cyber-attacks, including attacks on critical infrastructure networks. In some cases, RIS actors masqueraded as third parties, hiding behind false online personas designed to cause the victim to misattribute the source of the attack. This JAR provides technical indicators related to many of these operations, recommended mitigations, suggested actions to take in response to the indicators provided, and information on how to report such incidents to the U.S. Government.

Note that the report is solely concerned with hacking.  It does not discuss who provided the DNC or Podesta material to Wikileaks, it does not say that Russian Intelligence carried out the hacking to influence the outcome of the US Presidential election, and nor does it say that Russian intelligence did this in order to swing the election to Donald Trump – all questions concerning which the FBI is known to have doubts.  On the contrary, it is careful to say that it is the US government (ie. the Obama administration), not the US intelligence community or the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security, which assesses that the Russians passed the DNC and Podesta material on to Wikileaks for onward publication in the media

The U.S. Government assesses that information was leaked to the press and publicly disclosed. (bold italics added)

The report provides no evidence that the hacking was the work of Russian intelligence agencies.  It merely states it as a fact

The U.S. Government confirms that two different RIS actors participated in the intrusion into a U.S. political party.

The two “actors” in question are the two groups of hackers known as Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.  As I have pointed out previously, the claim that these two groups of hackers act for Russian intelligence has so far been based purely on inference, with no hard facts behind it.

There is nothing in this report that changes that, or which substantiates this claim, and nothing in the report that remotely resembles a hard fact to support it. On the contrary as the paragraph I have quoted above shows, the claim is still based purely on inference . That the claim is entirely inferential, and may be based on completely false reasoning, is it turns out also the opinion of an expert in this field.

The rest of the report  – which is to say nearly all of it – is taken up with technical information intended to confirm the existence of the hacking – something which no-one denies happened – and various suggestions for ways to mitigate against such hacking in the future.  Whilst this is no doubt helpful, it is hardly the issue under discussion.  Frankly it looks like padding, made to make the report look longer and more substantial than it actually is.

Even the Guardian has been forced to admit that this is thin stuff.

Security experts on Twitter criticised the government report as too basic. Jonathan Zdziarski, a highly regarded security researcher, compared the joint action report to a child’s activity center.

Tom Killalea, former vice-president of security at Amazon and a Capital One board member, wrote: “Russian attack on DNC similar to so many other attacks in past 15yrs. Big question: Why such poor incident response?”

If this is the sum total of the evidence upon which the Obama administration is claiming that the Russians were behind the leak of the DNC and Podesta emails, and that they did this to swing the election to Donald Trump, then this “evidence” in no way does that. Indeed if anything what the report shows is how confected this whole scandal actually is.

I would add that the complete absence of enthusiasm on the part of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for the Obama administration’s attempts to use the claims of Russian hacking for its own political ends shines through the whole report. Anyone with experience of such reports can spot it immediately. This is very much a report produced to order, which does the absolute minimum it can get away with in order to appear to comply with the order.

Interestingly the NSA, the branch of US intelligence which has presumably the greatest expertise in the area, and which has the most information about it, is not a co-author of this report. I wonder why?

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U.S.A: The Police State’s War on Dogs ‘VIDEO’

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The Rutherford Institute

“Law and Order” in the USA seems to be heavily enforced on the Poor and increasingly, the Middle Class, while the Rich can do whatever they like. It’s just crazy over there…..WHY???

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US Navy orders 214 Tomahawk cruise missiles worth $303 million

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Press TV 

The US Navy has put in a $303 million order for 214 Tomahawk cruise missiles and spares, a major contract that is likely to draw more fire over the force’s extravagant policies over the past years.

The contract for the long-range nuclear-capable Tomahawk Block IV missiles was granted to Raytheon, a major Pentagon contractor, UPI reported Thursday.

While the missiles will be chiefly used by the Navy, some of them would be sent to the UK as a foreign military sale.

The project is expected to finish by August 2018, according to the Pentagon, and the production work will be carried out in a variety of factories in Arizona, Michigan, Arkansas and other states.

Block IV is Tomahawk’s latest iteration and packs a two-way satellite data-link, which allows operators to reprogram the missile and change its target midflight.

Raytheon is also working with the Navy to enhance the missile’s capabilities by fitting in more powerful warheads, a targeting system for moving objects and better communication systems.

The order came at a time when the Navy was under heavy criticism for the failure of USS Zumwalt, one the most expensive American warships.

The $4.4 billion guided missile destroyer broke down while it was crossing the Panama Canal in late November.

Debuted in May, the futuristic-looking ship introduced a new class of warships that the Pentagon boasted were going to be the most advanced vessels ever built.

According to the General Accounting Office (GAO), the program is expected to cost more than $22 billion.

The force has also faced backlash over its other extravagant projects such as the USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier, which is projected to cost around $13 billion.

This is while, according to Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall, the new technologies fitted into the aircraft carrier are likely to fail to perform as promised.

The Tomahawk deal with the UK cements Washington’s standing as the top weapons merchant in the world. The US raked in around $40 billion from arms sales in 2015.

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Sputnik Reports From Terrorist Chemical Factory in Aleppo

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Sputnik – 29.12.2016

Recent search operations in eastern Aleppo have confirmed that chemical weapons were indeed used during the conflict – but by terrorists, not government forces

Sputnik correspondents managed to explore makeshift factories in eastern Aleppo used by terrorists to build bombs laced with poisonous chemicals.

A source in the Syrian military confirmed that this type of ordnance was used by the terrorists against the Syrian army; one such attack occurred in the southwestern area of the city in the vicinity of the al-Assad Military Academy.

Analyses indicate that chemicals used by the terrorists were made in the US while the bombs were manufactured on site.

Furthermore, the mark UN 3082 is clearly visible on the chemical canisters discovered at the terrorist factory.

Earlier this year Samer Abbas, spokesman for the Syrian National Authority monitoring the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, contacted the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and presented documented proof of terrorists using sulfur mustard ordnance against civilians in Syria.

OCPW declared that a special committee to confirm the veracity of these documents needs to be created, but so far have apparently refrained from pursuing this line of inquiry for reasons unknown.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry experts collected evidence of terrorists using chemical weapons in Marana Um Hosh village located to the south of Aleppo.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Sputnik Reports From Terrorist Chemical Factory in Aleppo

Why the West is Helping ISIS Spread Hysteria Post-Berlin Attack

NOVANEWS
Image result for ISIS FLAG CARTOON
By Tony Cartalucci 

The Washington Post – among others – hit the ground running in the wake of an apparent terrorist attack in Germany’s capital of Berlin before evidence was forthcoming and even before German police arrested a suspect.

A truck plowed into a crowded Christmas market, killing 12 and injuring many more in what resembled an attack in Nice, France where a truck likewise plowed into a crowd killing 86 and injuring hundreds more.

Spreading ISIS Propaganda

The Washington Post’s article and others like it followed the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) allegedly taking credit for the incident. Undeterred by a lack of evidence, the Washington Post and other media outlets – eager to capitalize on the attack to further Western narratives – concluded that the attack was aimed at “sharpening the divide between Muslims and everyone else.”

The Washington Post’s article,Truck attack may be part of ISIS strategy to sharpen divide between Muslims and others,” would claim:

The claim on the official Amaq media channel was short and distressingly familiar: A “soldier of the Islamic State” was behind yet another attack on civilians in Europe, this time at a festive Christmas market in Berlin.

The accuracy of the claim remained in question Tuesday as German authorities searched for both a suspect and a motive behind the deadly truck assault on holiday revelers. But already it appeared that the attack had achieved one of the Islamic State’s stated objectives: spreading fear and chaos in a Western country in hopes of sharpening the divide between Muslims and everyone else.

The Washington Post’s “analysis” fails to explain why ISIS would target a nation so far playing only a minor role in anti-ISIS operations or the logic in provoking a wider divide between Muslims and the West. At one point, the Washington Post actually suggests ISIS may be trying to hinder the flow of refugees away from their territory toward nations like Germany with open-door policies welcoming them.

In reality, the Washington Post and the “experts” it interviewed are merely attempting to perpetuate the myth of what ISIS is and what its supposed objectives and motivations are.

Understanding what ISIS really is, and what it is truly being used for, goes far in explaining why the incident has been so eagerly promoted as a “terrorist attack,” and why other incidents like it are likely to follow.

ISIS Was Created By and For Regime Change in Syria and Beyond  

The United States government in a leaked 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo would admit that “supporting powers” including “the West” sought the rise of what it called at the time a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria, precisely where ISIS is now currently based.

The leaked 2012 report (.pdf) states (emphasis added):

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

To clarify just who these “supporting powers” were that sought the creation of a “Salafist” (Islamic) principality” (State), the DIA report explains:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

In 2014, in an e-mail between US Counselor to the President John Podesta and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it would be admitted that two of America’s closest regional allies – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – were providing financial and logistical support to ISIS.

The e-mail, leaked to the public through Wikileaks, stated:

… we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to [ISIS] and other radical Sunni groups in the region.

While the e-mail portrays the US in a fight against the very “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) it sought to create and use as a strategic asset in 2012, the fact that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both acknowledged as state sponsors of the terrorist organization – and are both still enjoying immense military, economic, and political support from the United States and its European allies – indicates just how disingenuous America’s “war” on ISIS really is.

The scale of the relatively recent attack on Syria’s eastern city of Palmyra took place along a front 10’s of kilometers wide, involving heavy weapons, hundreds of fighters, and was only achievable through immense and continuous state sponsorship as have been all of ISIS’ gains across the region.

It and “other radical Sunni groups” remain the only relevant armed opposition on the ground contesting the Syrian government.

As early as 2007, as revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 article,The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” it was made clear that the US sought to arm and back Al Qaeda-linked militants to overthrow the government’s of Iran and Syria and to do so by laundering weapons, cash, and other forms of support through allies including Saudi Arabia.

ISIS is the full-scale manifestation of this long-documented conspiracy.

So What Did the Berlin Attack Really Seek to Achieve? 

Sidestepping verifiably false narratives surrounding the myth of ISIS’ origins and motivations, and recognizing it as a whole cloth creation of the West for achieving Western geopolitical objectives, indicates that attacks like those in Nice, France, and now apparently in Berlin, Germany are aimed at perpetuating a lucrative strategy of tension in which Muslims are increasingly targeted and isolated in the West, more readily recruited by terrorists allowed to operate under the noses of Western security and intelligence agencies, and sent to wage the West’s proxy wars in Syria, Iraq, and eventually Iran.

While the excuses made by newspapers like the Washington Post change with the wind on a daily basis to explain ISIS’ creation and actions, the West’s calculus – warned about by Seymour Hersh in 2007, documented in a 2012 US DIA memo, admitted to in a 2014 leaked e-mail, and evident amid ISIS’ current, wide scale operations in Syria only possible through substantial state sponsorship – has been singular in nature and evident for years – even before the Syrian conflict began.

As long as Washington and its allies believe it is geopolitically profitable to maintain the existence of ISIS – used as both a proxy mercenary force and as a pretext for direct Western military intervention anywhere the terrorist organization conveniently “appears,” attacks like those in Brussels, Paris, Nice, and now apparently in Berlin will persist.

At any time of Washington and Brussels’ choosing, they could expose Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s role in sponsoring ISIS. At any time of Washington and Brussels’ choosing, they could also expose and dismantle the global network of madrasas both nations – with the cooperation of Western intelligence agencies – use to fill the ranks of terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Instead, the West covertly assists Saudi Arabia and Qatar in expanding and directing these terrorist networks – using them as a proxy mercenary force and a ready-made pretext for military intervention abroad and as a constant means of dividing and distracting the public at home.

Were the state sponsors of terrorism fully exposed and removed from the equation, the United States and its European allies would find themselves deployed across the planet, engaged in regime change operations, invasions, and occupations without any credible casus belli.

With the US and its allies determined to reassert and maintain global hegemony everywhere from the Middle East and North Africa to Central and East Asia, the manufactured threat of state sponsored terrorism – sponsored by the West’s oldest and closest Arab allies and the West itself – will persist for years to come.

Posted in Middle East, GermanyComments Off on Why the West is Helping ISIS Spread Hysteria Post-Berlin Attack

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