Archive | March 15th, 2020

Erdogan must end support for terrorists before restoring ties with Syria

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad sat down for an interview with Russia 24 TV this week to discuss a number of topics, including the ongoing Turkish military campaign in northwestern Syria.

The Syrian President told his interviewer that his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is unable to tell his army why they are in Syria.

“Erdogan is unable to tell the Turks why he is sending his army to fight in Syria and why his soldiers are killed in it because the issue has nothing to do with Turkish high interests but with his [Muslim] Brotherhood ideology,” Assad said.

In regards to ever restoring ties with Turkey, Assad said Erdogan must stop supporting terrorism inside Syria before any rapprochement can be made.

“Erdogan must give up supporting terrorism before relations between our two countries are restored,” Assad said, pointing out that “the Muslim Brotherhood movement has no political, social, or even religious ethics, and this is Erdogan’s approach.”

He would conclude by stating that his government and Russia are working to block Turkey from supporting terrorists inside Syria.

“Our common goal with Russia has always been to keep Turkey away from the approach of supporting terrorists and to bring them back to their normal place,” he added.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Erdogan must end support for terrorists before restoring ties with Syria

Court approves statue of Soviet leader Lenin in Germany

Court approves statue of Soviet leader Lenin in Germany

A court has given the go-ahead for the installation of a statue of Vladimir Lenin in a city in western Germany, following a row over whether the monument to the Soviet leader should be allowed.

The City of Gelsenkirchen’s administration had tried to stop the construction, put forward by the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLDP), citing the possibility the statue would affect the appearance of a neighbouring property, a three-story former savings bank.

The administrative court of Gelsenkirchen dismissed this claim, saying the statue’s moderate size and distance from the property meant it would not affect the view of the building.

The court found that the historical and political aspects of Lenin, also cited by the city, were irrelevant under monument protection law.

Statues of Lenin were common in the old East Germany when it was under Soviet rule, but would not be expected to be seen in the west. Lenin is seen by many socialists and communists as a hero, whereas those on the other side of the political spectrum would point to the repressive nature of the Soviet regime under the rule of him and his successors.

The MLPD celebrated the decision, saying in a press release: “A few weeks before his 150th birthday, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin has once again won a great victory.”SPONSORED CONTENTWhat will be the new face of European agriculture in the coming years?As Europe’s climate gets warmer and seasons are shifting, agriculture needs to adapt: climate data might be part of the answer. #ClimateNowAd By Copernicus

The statue may be erected from March 14, the court said, adding an appeal can be lodged with the Higher Administrative Court for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Posted in GermanyComments Off on Court approves statue of Soviet leader Lenin in Germany

Ansarallah forces announce the capture of Al-Jawf province

Brigadier General Yahya Sare’a, spokesman for the Ansarallah-aligned Yemeni Armed Forces, announced the liberation of all directorates in Al-Jawf Governorate except for some areas in the Khub, Al-Sha’af and Al-Hazm desert districts during the operation.

The Yemeni military spokesman revealed the details of the extensive military operation, pointing out that the entire governorate has nearly been captured after a few weeks of battle.

In addition to their ground advance, the Anarallah forces have been able to prevent Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Coalition airstrikes on Al-Jawf, thanks in large part to their new air defense systems.

The Ansarallah forces are also in position to capture the strategic city of Marib after advancing west towards this provincial capital in northern Yemen.

The collapse of the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi backed forces in the northern part of the country has been the main story of the Yemeni conflict this year, as the Ansarallah forces have captured large swathes of territory over the last two months.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Ansarallah forces announce the capture of Al-Jawf province

More militant groups reject Idlib ceasefire, push reinforcements to front-lines

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00) – The leaders of several militant groups have unanimously rejected the agreement to stop hostilities in Idlib, Sputnik Arabic reported on Tuesday, citing sources in the governorate.

According to the publication, the militant groups have responded to the ceasefire by pushing reinforcements to the front-lines in Idlib, as they prepare to take on the Syrian Armed Forces.Quinton Millionaire Reveals His £88,960 Bitcoin Hack Anyone Can DoDaily NewsAds by Revcontent

Furthermore, the publication said the militants have threatened to attack the Russian Armed Forces if they attempt to carry out patrols near their lines.

Citing local sources in Idlib, Sputnik Arabic said Ansar Al-Tawhid, a terrorist group part of the jihadist coalition “Incite the Believers”, has rejected any agreement to cease hostilities.

Sputnik Arabic said the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham have also rejected the ceasefire, despite the fact they have yet to release any statements regarding the agreement.

They added that Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham has instructed its fighters to target the Russian military in Idlib.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on More militant groups reject Idlib ceasefire, push reinforcements to front-lines

Aussie SAS Faces War Crime Arrest for Murders in Afghanistan

A soldier points out the way.

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor 

ABC Australia: Extraordinary footage captured on the helmet camera of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan could result in charges of war crimes.

  • Key points:
  • The video shows the SAS soldier shooting the man dead at close range
  • The video is at odds with what soldiers told investigators, who ruled the killing was self-defence
  • Another SAS soldier who served in the same squadron has described it as a “straight-up execution”
  • Four Corners has obtained video which shows a Special Air Service (SAS) operator shooting an unarmed Afghan man three times in the head and chest while he cowers on the ground.

His death took place within three minutes of the soldiers arriving in the village.

An Australian Defence Force (ADF) investigation later ruled the killing was justified because it was in self-defence.

The killing was one of a series of cases uncovered by Four Corners that may constitute war crimes.

A former member of the same SAS squadron, who was on the 2012 deployment to Afghanistan and has been shown the vision, described the killing to Four Corners as a “straight-up execution”.Video Player00:0000:24

The deadly three minutes

The video, taken by the helmet camera of the patrol’s dog handler, shows the SAS patrol disembarking from one of two Black Hawk helicopters before fanning out near the village of Deh Jawz-e Hasanzai.

It is a bright day in May 2012, and 3 Squadron SAS is looking for an insurgent bombmaker.

The handler, with his dog, follows the patrol scout, who Four Corners has called Soldier C, through a field towards a mud compound.

The helicopters are guiding them to a person who has been spotted in a wheat field ahead.

A soldier points out the way.

PHOTO: SAS soldiers during the raid. (Supplied)

Amongst the wheat, the dog handler and Soldier C come across a bearded man in his 20s being mauled by the dog, called Quake.

“Quake, leave!” yells the dog handler.

As the dog lets go, Soldier C trains his M4 assault rifle on the man from a range of between 1 and 2 metres.

Video still of a man in the tall wheat fighting off a dog.

PHOTO: The man tries to fight off the dog as Soldier C arrives. (Supplied)

The man rolls onto his back, his legs drawn up. In his right hand is what appears to be a set of red prayer beads.

He is still, as the soldier keeps the weapon pointed at his head.

After more than 20 seconds the soldier turns to the dog handler.

“You want me to drop this c***?”

“I don’t know mate. Hit ***** up,” replies the dog handler, referring to the patrol commander, who has taken up a position nearby.

The soldier turns to the commander.

“You want me to drop this c***?”

The soldier asks the commander a second time: “You want me to drop this c***?”

The patrol commander’s response is inaudible on the video.

Soldier C fires the first shot into the Afghan man on the ground.

As the dog streaks towards the prone man, and the handler calls for him to come back, the soldier pumps two more bullets into the victim.

The Afghan man is dead.

Fewer than three minutes has elapsed between the SAS landing their chopper, and the killing in the wheat field.

The dead man’s name was Dad Mohammad, and he was thought to be 25 or 26 years old.

Obscured body seen through the crop.

PHOTO: Moments after an Australian soldier shot an Afghan man. (Supplied)

‘It’s just a straight-up execution’

Braden Chapman was a signals intelligence officer with 3 Squadron SAS on that 2012 deployment, but was not a witness to the killing.

Four Corners showed him the footage.

“It’s just a straight-up execution really,” he said.

“He’s asked someone of a superior rank what he should do, but it comes down to the soldier pulling the trigger. It’s a straight-up execution.”

Mr Chapman said he was shocked by what he saw on the video.

“That soldier there is not someone I saw do anything like that, and he didn’t usually act like that either,” he said.

Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on Aussie SAS Faces War Crime Arrest for Murders in Afghanistan

President Kushner, the Corrupt Leading the Stupid-a Failure of Power

By VT Editors 

Daily Beast: So at least now we know where he was getting his misleading information from. Jared Kushner repeatedly advised President Donald Trump that the media’s coverage was exaggerating the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report from The New York Times. In the early days of the outbreak, Trump downplayed the threat from the virus, and publicly accused the “Fake News Media” and Democrats of trying “to inflame” the situation.

The Times reports that Kushner, who was tasked with carrying out research into the coronavirus to help Trump decide what to do next, privately told Trump what the president then repeated publicly. Kushner has reportedly sought out a bigger role for himself in the coronavirus task force despite his lack of knowledge on the topic. He is said to have urged his father-in-law to go ahead with his European travel ban and declare a national emergency, both of which were announced last week.

From the NY Times: “Senior aides battling one another for turf, and advisers protecting their own standing. A president who is racked by indecision and quick to blame others and who views events through the lens of how the news media covers them. A pervasive distrust of career government professionals, and disregard for their recommendations. And a powerful son-in-law whom aides fear crossing, but who is among the few people the president trusts.

The culture that President Trump has fostered and abided by for more than three years in the White House has shaped his administration’s response to a deadly pandemic that is upending his presidency and the rest of the country, with dramatic changes to how Americans live their daily lives.

It explains how Mr. Trump could announce he was dismissing his acting chief of staff as the crisis grew more severe, creating even less clarity in an already fractured chain of command. And it was a major factor in the president’s reluctance to even acknowledge a looming crisis, for fear of rattling the financial markets that serve as his political weather vane.

“What begins every kind of mobilized response by the president — clear assignments and some sense that this is an absolute priority — none of that seemed to be a part of the president’s discussion,” said Kathleen Sebelius, who served as the health and human services secretary under President Barack Obama. “The agencies were kind of left to their own devices.’”

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on President Kushner, the Corrupt Leading the Stupid-a Failure of Power

Too Much Bull: 60% of Americans Think Trump is “Full of it” on CV19


copyright Carol Duff

NPR/PBS: Americans have little trust in the information they are hearing from President Trump about the novel coronavirus, and their confidence in the federal government’s response to it is declining sharply, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just 46% of Americans now say the federal government is doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, down from 61% in February.

Just 37% of Americans now say they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they’re hearing from the president, while 60% say they had not very much or no trust at all in what he’s saying.

The president rates worst of all groups tested, be it public health officials, state and local leaders or the news media. And more Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the pandemic than approve by a 49%-44% margin. But that does not differ greatly from his overall job approval rating, which stands at 43%.

That’s largely unchanged from the last survey in February, and 51% still said they approve of the president’s handling of the economy, despite the massive slides in the stock market of late related to the coronavirus.Public health officials got the highest level of trust at 84%, followed by those state and local leaders (72%). Americans were split 50% to 47% on whether they can trust information coming from the news media or more…

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COVID-19 Update: ‘Try Getting It Yourselves’; Vaccine Trial Underway; FDA Steps Aside

MedPage Today

by Ian Ingram, Deputy Managing Editor, MedPage Today

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” President Trump tells the nation’s governors, when asked if the federal government would dip into its stockpile. (Business Insider)

Meanwhile, China’s production of masks rose 20-fold since the beginning of February, but they’re “surprisingly hard to make,” NPR reports.

Moderna said dosing has begun in the phase I trial of its investigational coronavirus vaccine.

The current case count in the U.S. (as of 8:00 a.m. EDT Tuesday) stands at 4,661 — a 24% increase since Monday. With 18 new deaths, the most in a single day, fatalities now total 85, including the first at a VA facility. (

The $1 billion offer for exclusive rights to CureVac’s developmental COVID-19 vaccine reportedly came from President Trump himself. (Ars Technica)

Canada joins the dozens of countries closing their borders to most if not all foreigners. (The Guardian)

How long will social distancing in the U.S. last? That depends on several factors. (Washington Post)

France’s health minister stirred up controversy when he tweeted that NSAIDs like ibuprofen were linked to worse COVID-19 outcomes and suggested patients opt for acetaminophen instead. (CNN)

The Supreme Court announced it was postponing oral arguments over coronavirus concerns, noting the move isn’t unprecedented — it did the same during the 1918 flu pandemic and shortened its calendars during yellow fever outbreaks in 1793 and 1798.

Monday was the worst day yet this month (in more than 30 years, in fact) for the stock market, with the S&P 500 diving 12% and the Dow Jones average down 13% on concerns that COVID-19 may last through the summer.

But Congress and the White House aren’t done trying to prop up the economy — both have proposals for more stimulus with price tags approaching $1 trillion. (Business Insider)

U.S. airlines are requesting more than $50 billion in federal aid as travel grinds to a halt, and carriers around the globe are considering the once unthinkable — halting flights to the U.S. (Washington PostCNBC)

FDA announced “regulatory relief” to increase testing capacity — i.e., that it would get out of the way and give state health agencies authority to approve tests from laboratories and commercial manufacturers.

In a 37-minute YouTube video, JAMA Editor-in-Chief Howard Bauchner, MD, chats with CDC’s deputy director, Jay Butler, MD, about using and interpreting COVID-19 tests.

Are COVID-19 protocols in place at your medical center? Here’s what the University of Washington Medical Center has been doing.

Along with everything else, elective surgeries across the country are being cancelled. (Reuters)

One police department in Oregon is asking residents to stop calling 911 when they’ve run out of toilet paper.

To help stop spread of the virus, Google is pushing the World Health Organization’s “Do the Five” campaign.

“I thought COVID-19 was going to be another overblown SARS or MERS or even H1N1,” one physician writes on KevinMD“I was wrong.”

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on COVID-19 Update: ‘Try Getting It Yourselves’; Vaccine Trial Underway; FDA Steps Aside

COVID-19: Survival Guide

Why Coming Economic Collapse Won’t be Caused by Coronavirus PART 2 – Veterans Today | Military Foreign Affairs Policy Journal for Clandestine Services

By Carol Duff, MSN, BA, RN –

The COVID-19 situation is changing quickly.  Now for some medical facts about the virus that has taken a prominent place in the news as it has moved from China to other countries.  This is a new virus thus people do not have any immunity to it. There is no vaccine for COVID-19 although one is being developed.  A usable, safe vaccine may be many months away.

COVID-19 has an incubation period of at least 14 days. Influenza has an incubation period far shorter, one to four days.  This means that a person who is infected with COVID-19 will spread the virus for at least 14 days without appearing to be ill.

That is a long time in which to pass on the virus. Many, many people can be infected by one person and depending on the environments surrounding the viral shedding person, such as in a plane, prison, nursing home, etc. the amount of spreading can be ridiculously high.

With influenza, the infected person feels sick quickly and has less time in which to spread the influenza virus. Even with the shorter incubation period for influenza, the numbers of infections are very high, higher than with COVID-19.

So, what can we do to prevent getting COVID-19, novel coronavirus 2019, and quite frankly also the regular yearly influenza?  There are measures you can take to help you to avoid getting ill. It is not a given that you cannot fight back against COVID-19.

The earliest data for COVID-19 viral infections is that it quickly affects older adults with pre-existing/underlying medical conditions of the heart, lungs, and kidneys. The immune system in older adults is less robust than when they were younger, so they have a decreased ability to fight off infections and diseases. This is the group that is dying from COVID-19 infections.

Since the older age group is at increased risk to be infected with COVID-19, there are certain precautions they can take to protect themselves.

  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • When you have to be in public or travel, stay away from anyone who may be sick and wash, wash, wash your hands with soap and water and keep hands away from your face: nose, eyes, mouth.
  • Keep enough of your medications and any medical supplies you will need for several weeks on hand.
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid plane travel due to planes being poorly ventilated
  • If you rely on anyone for support, be sure you have backups if he or she becomes ill.

What about the rest of us? Let’s start with the very obvious. Do not kiss or hug people when greeting them.

Also, avoid polite handshake for now. No high fives that involve touching another person’s hand.  Simply go with the “no” touching approach.  100% of not making physical contact.  Viruses are passed by physical contact, but also by other measures such as droplets of virus floating in the air, even after the infected person has left the area.

Scrub and wash your hands with soap and water. Use soap and lots of water and rub between your fingers, backs of hands, wrists, tips of fingers, all over and do this for at least 20 seconds. This beats using hand sanitizers when eliminating germs that have gotten onto your skin. If you are leaving a public bathroom, use the paper towel to open the door for your exit.

If it was one of those places that only have a blow dryer, I hate these, use the sleeve of whatever you are wearing to grab the doorknob.  No need to take extra germs with you. Just do not touch any doorknob, in a public place, with your bare hands.

Hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes are okay if you do not have access to soap and water. They are easy to carry with you but really are not as effective as soap and water hand washings. The alcohol content in hand sanitizers varies and can be irritating to your skin. You should use a sanitizer with at least 60% or higher alcohol content, rub hand together for at least 20 seconds and let the skin air dry.

I cannot stress this important anti-virus measure enough. Refrain from touching your face, mouth, nose, and eyes.  You will not believe how many times during the day you will unconsciously bring your fingers up to your face, mouth, and eyes.  Just stop touching your face! “No touching face” will be something you will have to remind yourself of all day long. Wash your hands before touching your face at all times.

Do you know those plastic collars that pets have to wear to keep them from licking, chewing on an area of their body that has recently been operated on or being medicated? A plastic cone/collar placed around the neck would be perfect for keeping our hands off of our faces, but alas are probably considered inappropriate. They do come in different sizes.

For heaven’s sake, stay home if you are sick. Not only will you infect others, even if you do not have COVID-19 which is the most likely cause at this time, but you also run the risk of picking up another infection since your immune system is already being attacked. It would be helpful and ethical for employers to made adjustments for workers so they will feel free to remain home if ill.

Cover your nose and mouth with the inside elbow area of your arm when sneezing or coughing. This will prevent some of the aerosol sprayings of viral droplets from being jettisoned into the air for others to inhale but will also leave viral droplets, perhaps in the form of mucous, on your clothing which will need to be removed and laundered.

Removing your shoes which you were wearing outdoors is a good practice. You will not only avoid bringing viruses into your home but will also avoid fecal-borne bacteria that will give you diarrhea which is not a symptom of COVID-19 viral infection but should be avoided none the less.

Only wear a face mask, there is already a shortage of these in some areas if you are sick. But then again, how about the stay at home rule if you are ill?  Healthcare professionals will be wearing the masks to keep them from contracting the virus from the ill patients they are treating. Plus wearing a mask may give you a false sense that you can 100% protect yourself.

Go ahead and get that flu shot, the one for influenza that is not COVID-19, but is making far more people sick and causing far more deaths than we are currently seeing with COVID-19. Vaccines are being developed for COVID-19 but none are available at this time. When the vaccine becomes available, it is a good idea to get one if you are considering traveling on planes.

Points to take away are;

  • COVID-19 is currently killing the elderly with underlying medical issues prior to viral infection. If possible, the elderly with coexisting medical problems should not go into public areas.
  • COVID-19 does not seem to be harming children. Children had not died from COVID-19 and the only children infected with the virus have received it from a family member. Children are dying from regular influenza.
  • Practice aggressive handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, many times a day and certainly before eating and when being out in public.
  • Do Not Touch Your Face without first completing the above handwashing.
  • As of today, March 06, influenza is making far more of an impact on Americans than COVID-19. Novel coronavirus 2019 is now called severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS CoV- 2.
  • Tiny droplets of COVID-19 virus can remain in the air after the infected person has left the area.


  • COVID-19: Approximately 101,781 cases worldwide; 260 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 6, 2020.
  • Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year.


  • COVID-19: Approximately 3,460 deaths reported worldwide; 14 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 6, 2020.
  • Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on COVID-19: Survival Guide

No, President Trump, the Never-ending War in Afghanistan Is Not Ending

Trump is wrong to pretend he’s bringing the troops home from Afghanistan. All he’s agreed to do is bring them back down to the level they were at when he took office.

byJesse Jackson

U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, 2001. (Photo: Sergeant Joseph R. Chenelly / United States Marine Corps)

U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, 2001. (Photo: Sergeant Joseph R. Chenelly / United States Marine Corps)

Don’t fall for the hype.

That is the one lesson that we all should have learned about President Donald Trump. He’s a salesman, not a statesman. He offers up fantasies, not facts.

The most recent agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan is a clear example of this.

In the 2016 campaign, Trump had the good sense to promise to end America’s forever wars and bring the troops home. Afghanistan, our longest war now in its 19th year, is a classic example.

We invaded Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden and punish his forces for their attack on America on 9/11. We threw the Taliban out of power. Under Obama’s watch, bin Laden was found and killed.

Yet we didn’t get out.

We have squandered trillions of dollars and lost thousands of American lives in an unending war in an impoverished nation on the other side of the world. We don’t care enough to send the troops and invest the trillions needed to occupy the country.

Yet no president has had the courage to get the troops out and end the folly.

Trump promised that he would do it. Now, he’s cut a deal with the Taliban that he will use to claim that he’s fulfilled his promise. Don’t fall for the hype.

The deal Trump made with the Taliban will bring U.S. forces down — but only to the approximate level that existed at the end of the Obama administration. He’s essentially agreed only to reverse the buildup that he had ordered over the last three years.

Further reductions are said to be dependent on the Taliban making a deal with the existing government. But the Afghani government already objects to the agreement that Trump made. It doesn’t want to face the Taliban without U.S. soldiers.

After nearly two decades, it has been unable to create a legitimate government and a coherent military that can consolidate its position.

If we wait for the Afghan government to agree for U.S. soldiers to leave, the forever war will continue, well, forever.

Trump wants credit for ending the war — and fulfilling his campaign promise — without ending it. He wants to get out, but he doesn’t want to be blamed for losing.

What’s needed is a clear commitment to get out — not dependent on what the Afghani government or the Taliban do. Trump has failed to produce that, violating the campaign pledge he made to the American people.

The sad reality is that we have no reason to be in Afghanistan.

The country is impoverished, not strategic. The Taliban are oppressive and violent. The Afghanis should be uniting to defeat the Taliban and keep them from coming to power. But this is the responsibility of the Afghanis, not of the United States.

The architects of the forever war warn that we will lose credibility if we get out and the government collapses. But what could be a greater loss of credibility than fighting futilely for nearly two decades without victory and without end?

They warn that without U.S. forces, Afghanistan could become a launching ground for terrorists. But, as we’ve seen, terrorists have many places to train in failed states—including those we’ve helped create like Libya.

We would be far better off—and far more secure from terrorists—if we stopped destabilizing the Middle East, ended the forever wars, stopped sponsoring regime changes, and addressed the threat of terrorism as a matter for intelligence, international cooperation, and aggressive policing.

At the very least, we should stop wasting trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives on wars that we have no plan or commitment to win.

Trump was right in 2016: Great powers do not fight endless wars. He is wrong to pretend that he’s bringing the troops home from Afghanistan when all he’s agreed to is to bring them back down to the level they were at when he took office.

Americans are right to want an end to the endless wars. We need a president who has the courage and common sense to end them.

Trump has proven once more that he is not that president.

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