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The 2016 ‘October Surprise’ A Second American Revolution?

By Bryan Kinnear | OffGuardian | November 7, 2016

Amid claims of silent coup and counter-coup, this year’s “October Surprise” has yet to fully play out. Neither – with lasts weekend’s reopening of the ‘Servergate’ saga that has so dogged HRC – will it be concluded by the November 8th polling day. As this can only be viewed as to be by design – prepare for an explosive finale.

In its current iteration ‘Weinergate’ concerns 650,000 ‘additional’ emails kept on a phone and laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner – former US Congressman and estranged husband of Huma Abedin – HRC’s top aide. These emails are widely presumed to be the legacy of when Weiner had shared access with his then wife to the documents. It is speculated she kept them as ‘Life Insurance’ and he backed them up (presumably for the same reason.)

The reason I’m writing this in vague terminology is the truth is – no one knows. The devices were surrendered on an ‘unrelated matter’ – that matter being the alleged paedophilia of Weiner (notice that the Orwellian M$M have sanitised this activity as ‘sexting’ – but if you send photos of your manhood to an under age girl – that’s paedophilia.)

As I understand it, when FBI Director Comey wrote his letter of intent to reinvestigate last Friday – he can’t of legally even seen the content. The FBI didn’t obtain a warrant until Sunday to begin cross referencing between the two cases. His leaked letter has been described as “long on innuendo but short on fact.” So how can he be sure that the current crop of emails are pertinent and will shed new light? Despite the Democrat cat-call for elucidation – Comey has been silent since.

It appears that the FBI is investigating Pandora’s Box – the lid is on at the moment – but of all the worldly ills that may come out to haunt Hillary when the lid is finally lifted – are racketeering and ‘pay-to-play’ by the Clinton Foundation; political cronyism; corruption; vote rigging by the DNC; perjury and possible felony by Huma Abedin and other aides (for not turning over all devices related to the original investigation.)[1] This would all be on the mild end of a spectrum running all the way up to the treasonous acceptance of donations from terrorist backing foreign powers (KSA and Qatar) [2]; high level espionage (by Huma Abedin) [3] and being a member of an international paedophile ring.[4]

The new paedophilia allegation against Hillary and Bill surfaced yesterday (03/11/16). It comes from Steve Pieczenik – who in his videos claims to be the face of the counter-coup.[5] He only came on my radar yesterday morning but his credentials are real and impressive – his resume could be summed up as “consummate White House insider” going back to the Ford regime. Apart from being a veteran of the State Department, with expertise in foreign policy, international crisis management and intelligence (high ranking CIA.) He also is credited as a founding father of modern psychological warfare (psyops.) If you are conspiratorially minded (like me) – you could also consider him a perfect candidate for a Deep State actor. In one of his videos he even admits he was involved in the “continuity of the Republic” (Continuity of Government) process under Nixon and Reagan. Now he is the new and friendly face of the Deep State.

His claim is that Hill and Bill often travelled (six times together and twenty-six times for Bill alone) on the ‘Lolita Express’ to the US Virgin Isles – a plane belonging to Clinton Foundation donor, multi-billionaire and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. [6] During these flights and on Epsteins island…

I can’t find words to sanitise some of the most reprehensible crimes known to man – so I’ll let you fill in the blanks.

Manufactured or not – I very much doubt this to be a baseless claim – as it has much wider implications than even the current election. Pieczenik seems to confirm earlier leaks from the NYPD Special Victims Unit (SVU) ongoing investigation into Weiner. Sources from within the SVU claim that his laptop contained “evidence of an international child smuggling and child sex ring.” [7] Their probe now extends into the alleged endemic deviance of a ‘Washington Paedophile Ring’ – the possible repercussions of which could be international and dire enough to bring down “the entire federal government.” This would be a very bold claim indeed for an insider to make were it not credible – or at least backable.

My guess is that the very nature and magnitude of the crime is meant to force HRC to think twice about taking up residence in the Oval Office should she be elected. But she is too power crazed, criminally insane and possibly even demented to take notice. Because she always has – she thinks she can still walk on water – though to me it seems that she is no longer waving – but drowning.

(I seem to remember that should she succumb to illness in the first few months of office – First Lady Bill could reign by proxy – but lets not go there!)

In the meanwhile – in the absence of anything concrete and factual to go on – rumour is running wild. Everyone knows that the Russian Hack Plot is BS – the rantings of the deranged finally losing the plot. Yet for the Mockingbird M$M – it serves as a weak smokescreen to cover the enormity of the allegations being made and the substantive content of the various earlier data dumps on Wikileaks.

Julian Assange himself has felt the need to deny that Russia is the source (In an upcoming interview with John Pilger to be broadcast by RT on Saturday – excerpts of which are already available.) [8]

In a previous video Assange somewhat awkwardly seems to confirm Seth Rich as a probable source for the earlier DNC hack related to this case (the Clinton Campaign manager John Podesta emails.) [9] Rich was Director of Voter Expansion Data for the DNC – so he would have had all the relevant security keys and was at least well placed to collate the data prior to the leak. He was scheduled to talk to the FBI over the leaks. He was on the street near his home – talking to his girlfriend on the phone when he was shot in the back several times – in a robbery-gone-wrong where nothing was taken. Draw your own conclusion – but can we possibly add conspiracy to murder to the crimes in Pandora’s Box?.[10]

What seems more credible than ‘the Russians did it’ – and as Pieczenik contends – is that elements within the Washington intelligence community do not want HRC as POTUS. Those elements are ‘pissed’ about HRC’s as yet unpunished criminal inability to correctly handle State secrets – content to leave them “on the internet version of a park bench.” That this is the source of the current leaks surfacing through Wikileaks was also attested to by former UK ambassador Craig Murray – whom – although he is a friend of Assange – I would consider a trusted source without a dog in the presidential race. [11]

Among the theories circulating is that the Department of Justice (DoJ) under Lorretta Lynch is so compromised that investigations cannot proceed through proper channels – hence the resort to data dumps. This would seem to be borne out by Lynch’s extra-judicial meeting with Bill the night before Comey initially dropped the investigation.[12] [13]

Not only is Lynch seen as compromised or co-opted (as part of the Clinton coup according to Pieczenik); but so is Comey. Either by his own ineptness or possible corruption – he now finds himself pressured by a grass roots rebellion from within his own ranks – of those sick of the Clinton’s decades long history of criminality. “The FBI is Trumpland” as the Guardian put it. [14] Add to that the NYPD SVU investigators have claimed to uncover evidence so vile that they have threatened the FBI that they will go public if he does not follow through with the original investigation. “People are going to jail.” And Comey and Lynch may be joining them.

Another strand to this was the impropriety reported in the Wall Street Journal a few days before Comey wrote his letter to Congress – the $500,000 ‘campaign contribution’ made by long time Clinton ally and leading Democrat Terry McCauliffe – to the wife of the very FBI official (Deputy Director Andrew McCabe) who oversaw the original email investigation. So to political cronyism – can we add attempted cover up into Pandora’s box? [15]

If I wanted to get really conspiratorial – I could add that the FBI themselves have told us that a literal “Shadow Government” (the 7th Floor Committee including John Kerry) oversaw which of Hillary’s emails we got to see back in February. [16] Could they have sanitised the original emails or be sitting on evidence? Could this “Shadow Government” yet be attempting to manipulate the election for their own gain? Who knows – but probably.

If you did want to control – or at least influence the electorate – would there be a better way to do it than have an open-ended multi-faceted investigation involving one or both candidates – that you could close down or otherwise direct and manipulate at will – like the directed energy of a shaped charge you could ignite and control the blast radius? Just speculating – of course that is delusional – and anyway, it wouldn’t happen in the Land of the Free – would it?

So are we watching a re-envisioned 1776 in the form of a bloodless silent coup – a 21st century American rebellion by the honest and decent folk of the Intelligence Community to re-establish the Republic?

Or are we watching the chainstoking and death throes of an Empire as it passes into history?

Time will tell but I’m not fully bought into either of those just yet. Whatever dirt they have on HRC and the Establishment faction that constitute her backers – I feel sure that is fully accredited. If and when it’s let out of the box – I very much doubt that Hillary’s Hope will be left within. She could be a double first. The first female POTUS – and also the first POTUS to be impeached on their first day in office.

The battle lines of American power politics are drawn – the Establishment v the Intelligence Community – the deep state divisions are moving into place – but the real war is yet to come.

“This will continue as a revolution, hopefully civil, hopefully without violence.” Steve Pieczenik

It’s hard to see how this will play out – and harder still to see how anyone could hope to ‘keep a lid’ on it and control the collateral damage. The potential for internecine destruction is assured if things were to get out of hand – I haven’t even mentioned the dodgy Diebold voting machines or even Trump himself. He is unlikely to come up smelling of roses – not given that he is also a friend of Jeffrey Epstein – and they are both under the shadow of the upcoming ignominy of a shared rape trial (due in court in December.) A recent appearance by the plaintiff ‘Jane Doe’ – in which she was to reveal her identity was cancelled amid death threats to her.[17]

[What chance to have both candidates potentially hamstrung by their connection to a Tier 1 sex offender (Epstein) and to ongoing rape allegations?]

Should he win the popular vote his Presidency will be blighted by the smear that the vote was tainted and ‘Democracy overturned’ by these unprecedented and ‘illegal’ events. Or put more simplistically – “the Russians hacked the election.” The Establishment backing Hillary has already cried foul and has threatened to instigate the Hatch Act prosecution of Comey (I think that boys goose is cooked however this goes down!) [18]

Divide and rule comes to mind – the potential for civil war is real and should not be understated. That may be the design yet somehow I doubt it. Whoever wins the coming power struggle will want to control the damage and preserve the fabric of the State. Even though this could potentially be “bigger than Watergate” the Mockingbird M$M will do their best to make sure as little of this as possible comes to light. The thinning veneer of ‘real democracy’ as practised in the ‘exceptional and indispensable’ nation must be maintained. At any cost.

In all of this though, you can be assured – that the will of the American people is but a minor consideration.

References:
[1] [1] Huma Abedin had given a sworn deposition to Judicial Watch http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press- releases/clinton-email-update-judicial-watch-releases-former-clinton-deputy-chief-staff-huma- abedin-deposition-testimony/
[2] “Foreign govt donors: all the money is in” https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/7452
[3] The gist of the currently unfounded accusations that Huma Abedin may be a Saudi spy is that though she was born in the US; she only spent two years there before returning in 1996. Only two years after that she received Top Level security clearance and became Clinton’s aide. It was the Clinton’s who set her up with Weiner – a not so nice Jewish boy (as it turns out) as ‘cover.’ The rest of her family have salafist Muslim Brotherhood connections – ergo she must be a KSA spy. The main sources of this are Roger Stone (Trump campaign manager;) and Steve Pieczenik. I’m writing this still wondering if Pieczenik is yanking my chain – or acting for those who would want to pull the election? Or with his deep connection to the intelligence community – does he know something we don’t?
[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12zVlaZyX3Q
[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov5kvWSz5LM
[6] https://www.rt.com/usa/343048-clinton-epstein-lolita-express/
[7] https://www.superstation95.com/index.php/world/2357
[8] https://www.rt.com/news/365405-assange-pilger-full-transcript/
[9] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp7FkLBRpKg
[10] https://sputniknews.com/world/201608271044700879-wikileaks-seth-rich-murder-hillary/
[11] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-02/former-british-ambassador-claims-source-podesta-leaks-comes-within-washington
[12] http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/11/the-bill-clinton-loretta-lynch-meeting-even-worse-than-we-thought.php
[13] http://www.globalresearch.ca/attorney-general-loretta-lynchs-law-firm-tied-to-hillary-clinton/5527877
[14] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/03/fbi-leaks-hillary-clinton-james-comey-donald-trump?
[15] http://www.wsj.com/articles/clinton-ally-aids-campaign-of-fbi-officials-wife-1477266114
[16] http://www.activistpost.com/2016/10/clintons-fbi-files-mention-shadow-government.html?
[17] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/02/donald-trump-rape-lawsuit-13-year-old-cancels-public-event
[18] http://www.globalresearch.ca/fbi-director-james-comey-to-be-investigated/5554367

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYT Admits Key Al Qaeda Role in Aleppo

By Robert Parry | Consortium news | November 6, 2016

As much as The New York Times and the mainstream U.S. media have become propaganda outlets on most foreign policy issues, like the one-sided coverage of the bloody Syrian war, sometimes the truth seeps through in on-the-ground reporting by correspondents, even ones who usually are pushing the “propo.”

Such was the case with Anne Barnard’s new reporting from inside west Aleppo, the major portion of the city which is in government hands and copes with regular terror rocket and mortar attacks from rebel-held east Aleppo where Al Qaeda militants and U.S.-armed-and-funded “moderate” rebels fight side-by-side.

Almost in passing, Barnard’s article on Sunday acknowledged the rarely admitted reality of the Al Qaeda/”moderate” rebel collaboration, which puts the United States into a de facto alliance with Al Qaeda terrorists and their jihadist allies, fighting under banners such as Nusra Front (recently renamed Syria Conquest Front) and Ahrar al-Sham.

Barnard also finally puts the blame for preventing civilians in east Aleppo from escaping the fighting on a rebel policy of keeping them in harm’s way rather than letting them transit through “humanitarian corridors” to safety. Some of her earlier pro-rebel accounts suggested that it wasn’t clear who was stopping movement of civilians through those corridors.

However, on Sunday, she reported: “We had arrived at a critical moment, as Russia said there was only one day left to pass through a corridor it had provided for people to escape eastern Aleppo before the rebel side was flattened, a corridor through which precious few had passed. The government says rebels are preventing civilians from leaving. Rebels refuse any evacuation without international supervision and a broader deal to deliver humanitarian aid.”

Granted, you still have to read between the lines, but at least there is the acknowledgement that rebels are refusing civilian evacuations under the current conditions. How that is different from Islamic State terrorists in Mosul, Iraq, preventing departures from their areas – a practice which the Times and other U.S. outlets condemn as using women and children as “human shields” – isn’t addressed. But Barnard’s crimped admission is at least a start.

Barnard then writes: “Instead [of allowing civilians to move through the humanitarian corridors], they [the rebels] are trying to break the siege, with Qaeda-linked groups and those backed by the United States working together — the opposite of what Russia has demanded.”

Again, that isn’t the clearest description of the situation, which is stunning enough that one might have expected it in the lede rather than buried deep inside the story, but it is significant that the Times is recognizing that Al Qaeda and the U.S.-backed “moderates” are “working together” and that Russia opposes that collaboration.

She also noted that “Three Qaeda-linked suicide bombers attacked a military position with explosive-packed personnel carriers on Thursday, military officials said, and mortar fire was raining on neighborhoods that until now had been relatively safe. It was among the most intense rounds in four years of rebel shelling that officials say has killed 11,000 civilians.”

While she then throws in a caveat about the impossibility of verifying the numbers, the acknowledgement that the U.S.-backed “moderate” rebels and their Al Qaeda comrades have been shelling civilians in west Aleppo is significant, too. Before this, all the American people heard was the other side, from rebel-held east Aleppo, about the human suffering there, often conveyed by “activists” with video cameras who have depicted the conflict as simply the willful killing of children by the evil Syrian government and the even more evil Russians.

More Balance

With the admission of rebel terror attacks on civilians in west Aleppo, the picture finally is put into more balance. The Al Qaeda and U.S.-backed rebels have been killing thousands of civilians in government-controlled areas and the Syrian military and its Russian allies have struck back only to be condemned for committing “war crimes.”

Though the human toll in both sides of Aleppo is tragic, we have seen comparable situations before – in which the U.S. government has supported, supplied and encouraged governments to mount fierce offensives to silence rockets or mortars fired by rebels toward civilian areas.

For instance, senior U.S. government officials, including President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, have defended Israel’s right to defend itself from rockets fired from inside Gaza even though those missile rarely kill anyone. Yet, Israel is allowed to bomb the near-defenseless people of Gaza at will, killing thousands including the four little boys blown apart in July 2014 while playing on a beach during the last round of what the Israelis call “mowing the grass.”

In the context of those deaths, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who has built her career as a supposed humanitarian advocating a “responsibility to protect” civilians, laid the blame not on the Israeli military but on fighters in Gaza who had fired rockets that rarely hit anything besides sand.

At the United Nations on July 18, 2014, Power said, President Obama spoke with [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning to reaffirm the United States’ strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself…. Hamas’ attacks are unacceptable and would be unacceptable to any member state of the United Nations. Israel has the right to defend its citizens and prevent these attacks.”

But that universal right apparently does not extend to Syria where U.S.-supplied rockets are fired into civilian neighborhoods of west Aleppo. In that case, Power and other U.S. officials apply an entirely different set of standards. Any Syrian or Russian destruction of east Aleppo with the goal of suppressing that rocket fire becomes a “war crime.”

Perhaps it’s expected that the U.S. government, like other governments, will engage in hypocrisy regarding affairs of state: one set of rules for U.S. allies and another for countries marked for U.S. “regime change.” Statements by supposed “humanitarians” – such as Samantha Power, “Ms. R2P” – are no exception.

But double standards are even more distasteful when they come from allegedly “objective” journalists such as those who work at The New York Times, The Washington Post and other prestige American news outlets. When they take the “U.S. side” in a dispute and become crude propagandists, they encourage the kind of misguided “group thinks” that led to the criminal Iraq War and other disastrous “regime change” projects over the past two decades.

Yet, that is what we normally see. A thoughtful reader can’t peruse the international reporting of the U.S. mainstream media without realizing that it is corrupted by propaganda from both government officials and from U.S.-funded operations, often disguised as “human rights activists” or “citizen journalists” whose supposed independence makes their “propo” even more effective.

So, it’s worth noting those rare occasions when The New York Times and the rest of the MSM let some of the reality peek through. When evaluating the latest plans from Hillary Clinton and other interventionists to expand the U.S. military intervention in Syria – via prettily named “safe zones” and “no-fly zones” – the American people should realize that they are being asked to come to the aid of Al Qaeda.

For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s  The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fallujah battle toxic legacy: ‘Damage done to DNA’

RT | November 7, 2016

The level of congenital malformation and ill health in Iraqi children is not improving, which means whatever happened during the US-led war is still there and the damage has been done to DNA, says Chris Busby a health inspector in Fallujah.

November 7 marks 12 years since Washington began what became the bloodiest battle in its invasion of Iraq. It took two months for the Pentagon to push insurgents out of the city of Fallujah with hundreds of civilian victims as collateral damage.

Following studies on the ground, the World Health Organization claimed that rates of stillbirths and congenital defects across Iraq are consistent with or even lower than international estimates.

Nevertheless, other studies have linked serious health issues to the use of depleted uranium weapons in both the 1991 and 2003 wars. Those weapons were designed to be “armor-busters”. However the US has reportedly used them on soft targets as well.

Depleted uranium is toxic and mildly radioactive and there are growing calls to ban the use of such arms altogether.

RT talked to Dr. Chris Busby who has studied what’s been described as an epidemic of cancer and birth defects in Iraq and particularly Fallujah. He’s behind a major report on the issue and says the situation on the ground remains drastic, years after the war ended.
‘Health situation not improving’

“The most interesting thing is that nothing has got any better. The level of congenital malformation, the level of ill health in the children as they are born is not improving, which means that whatever it was that happened long ago is still there in the genetic make-up of the people who live there.”
‘WHO report – disgraceful’

“The problem with that study is that it wasn’t a study that was carried out at a hospital like ours. The study that was carried out by the WHO – which is incidentally a disgraceful study – just looked at children whose parents said that they had congenital malformations. On that basis in fact they found that they had a lower level of congenital malformations than the expected number throughout the world should have led them to the idea that maybe the study wasn’t working.”

‘Cause of health problems’

“We know it was exposed to uranium because we measured the uranium in one study. We spent a lot of money looking at the uranium levels in the hair of the parents of the children with congenital malformations. So, there is no doubt about it being uranium.”

‘Need for depleted uranium ban’

“It is becoming clear now that uranium has very serious genetic qualities that weren’t understood. And they are still not conceded by the authorities. The last people to concede it will be the Americans, the American military, the people who are most dependent upon it. They don’t want to get rid of this magical weapon. And they are fighting tooth and nail, including scientifically, to try and show that there isn’t a serious problem that quite obviously is.”

‘Damage done to DNA can’t be cleaned up’

“The problem is not that there are these contamination sites. It is very difficult to decontaminate an area that has been affected by depleted uranium because it spreads so uniformly across the area in the form of these very fine particles. So, it is not a case of going somewhere and finding something that is radioactive and removing it. Though, you can do that. Lots of the tanks and armored vehicles that were attacked in the First Gulf War, they can be taken away and dumped somewhere. But that is not the problem. The thing that is causing the problem is the inhalation of this dust. And once the dust is created, it goes all over the place. After 10-20 years the dust will get washed down by the rain into the soil and won’t be so hazardous. The problem is that the damage that has been done to the DNA – you can’t clean that up. The continuing level of congenital malformations and cancer presumably is an indicator of the fact that the genome of these people has been affected and that is like a sort of trans-generational curse that will go on for a very long time, for generations,” Busby told RT.

Christopher Busby is an expert on the health effects of ionizing radiation. He qualified in Chemical Physics at the Universities of London and Kent, and worked on the molecular physical chemistry of living cells for the Wellcome Foundation. Professor Busby is the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk based in Brussels and has edited many of its publications since its founding in 1998. He has held a number of honorary University positions, including Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Health of the University of Ulster. Busby currently lives in Riga, Latvia. See also: http://www.chrisbusbyexposed.org, http://www.greenaudit.org and http://www.llrc.org.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s gambit to create legacy in Syrian war takes Russia by surprise

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | November 7, 2016

The most fateful chapter of the war in northern Syria may be deemed to have commenced on Sunday with the launch of the offensive by Syrian Kurdish militia, backed by American and French Special Forces, to retake control of Raqqa, ‘capital’ of the Islamic State, situated almost mid-point between Aleppo and Mosul. (Japan Times )

Raqqa’s fall will be a lethal blow for IS. But expert opinion has been that US is ill-prepared for a full-bodied campaign on Raqqa. A former US Army colonel Daniel Davis wrote in the National Interest magazine last week that with no state-supported military unit leading the assault, no allied militia, no resupply lines through friendly territory, wresting control of a major city such as Raqqa, “in a hostile foreign land enmeshed in a years-long civil war… could… result in deadly consequences.” (National Interest )

Yet, President Barack Obama decided otherwise. US soldiers have been spotted on the frontline. (RT)

What is the US gameplan? Indeed, driving the IS out of Raqqa is invested with symbolism, as Obama will be fulfilling his pledge to “degrade and defeat” the IS before leaving office. With the November 8 election no longer constraining him, Obama hopes to notch up a legacy in Syria as the president who ‘defeated’ the IS.

Second, there is the ‘big picture’. Washington is hoping to stall the capture of Aleppo by Syrian government forces (backed by Russia and Iran) so that the next US president has the option to revisit Syrian conflict. Control of Raqqa would allow the US to keep a direct influence on Aleppo.

Again, in immediate terms, the IS fighters coming under pressure in Mosul may evacuate to Raqqa and the US intends to blockade Raqqa at least partially so as to revisit the front after the battle for Mosul has been won.

To be sure, Raqqa is shaping up to be the bloodiest battle yet in the Syrian conflict. An estimated 5000 IS fighters are located in Raqqa.

The ‘known unknown’ will be the reactions of Turkey and Russia. The Turkish-Russian rapprochement faces a litmus test here. Suffice it to say, Russia will be watching Turkey’s ‘strategic autonomy’ vis-à-vis the US. There are conflicting signals that US and Turkey have a tacit understanding over Raqqa. (KUNA )

Meanwhile, Syrian Kurds also claim to have an understanding with the US to keep Turkey out in the cold. (Rudaw )

The Americans are playing a smart game. Turkey couldn’t have chosen this moment to push to capture the hugely strategic town of al-Babi without informing US, because the operation’s main aim is to thwart Kurdish plans to establish a contiguous enclave in northern Syria. Simply put, how is it possible that Turks are ostensibly hitting the Syrian Kurds hard just when the latter are fighting Obama’s war on IS in Raqqa? How could that possibly happen without some back-to-back US-Turkish understanding? (Read an excellent analysis in Al-Monitor on the Turkey’s plans in northern Syria)

In the developing situation, a Russian-Syrian consolidation in Aleppo becomes complicated if Americans and the French manage to establish a base camp in Raqqa from where they can lend support seamlessly to rebel groups in Aleppo. Prima facie, Obama’s one-year old warning of a ‘quagmire’ for Russians in Syria no longer seems far-fetched. (Reuters )

But then, Russians seem to estimate that capturing Raqqa is beyond the US’ capability anytime soon. For Tehran, too, Turkey and US’s control of al-Bab and Raqqa could foreclose a direct Iranian access route via Iraq and Syria to Lebanon, which is crucial for bolstering the military capability of Hezbollah. In fact, Raqqa leads to Zeir e-Zor city in eastern Syria, just 120 kilometers away, which is under Syrian government control and is a gateway for Iran to access Lebanon. The US and Israel have been hoping to bring Zeir e-Zor under control of Salafi groups hostile to Iran.

Read an impromptu commentary by Russian news agency Sputnik titled Operation Euphrates Rage: What is Known So Far About Raqqa Offensive.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Lethal Lie of Hillary Clinton: Saving Lives with a No-Fly Zone in Syria

By Luciana Bohne | CounterPunch | November 7, 2016

Why are they lying? Everything is being done to convince the public that Russia wants war; that it has annexed Ukraine; that it will attack Western Europe; that it will crush the Baltic states and Poland in its advance; that it’s committing war crimes in Syria; that Assad is a dictator and a butcher; that he has met peaceful demands for reform with brutal repression; that those fighting Assad are moderate rebels; that he is dropping barrel bombs on civilians.

Why are they lying? Because the people don’t want war: they want jobs and bread. They will not agree to murder people who have done them no harm. They will consent to war if told they are under attack or that the war will save other people from genocide, rape, or other gross violations of human rights. The people are not interested in world domination, but the elite are. The people are, therefore, the enemy within. They must be persuaded to support the elite’s plan by perverting their decency. They must be made to cringe in fear. They must be made to believe that war—any war—will be defensive.

This is the tactic of terrorists: terrorizing the population to obtain political ends.

Hillary Clinton is lying: a no-fly zone in Syria will not “save lives.”

In her last presidential debate, Clinton said that she wants a no-fly zone in Syria because it will “save lives”:

“I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria, not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to, frankly, gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians.”

The “leverage” she is seeking is Russian roulette with the planet. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dunford, noted in response that a no-fly zone in Syria might trigger a war with Russia, a nuclear power. Neither does she believe that a no-fly zone will save lives. In a closed-door speech to Goldman Sachs in 2013, Clinton said:

“To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk—you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”

She knows what is at stake with a no-fly zone in Syria, and yet she tells us the opposite of what she knows will happen. In other words, she’s lying.

What has changed Clinton’s mind since 2013?

In 2013, there was no need to risk nuclear war over Syria. The so-called Free Syrian Army and assorted rebel groups were doing just fine in their offensive. In 2013, Syria stood alone, apart from some Iranian assistance. Until 2015, the Assad government was on its last breath, in retreat from the provinces of Raqqa, Aleppo, Hama, Idlib, and Latakia. By September 2015, the generous financial, military, and operational support by the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to the “anti-Syrian coalition”– Islamic State, the Jabbat al-Nusra, the “Free Syrian Army”–was paying great dividends in advancing the destabilization of the Assad government. Soon, it could be expected that the symbolic head of Assad would sit on a silver platter in the White House, along with other colonial trophies.

The humanitarian consequences for Syrians, however, were catastrophic. Fleeing the terror of a Syria in the clutches of cutthroat mercenary armies, refugees flooded Turkey, Jordan, Greece, and other countries, becoming human barter between Turkey and the European Union. The EU paid Turkey two billion euro to keep within its borders this human avalanche of “collateral damage.”

That was the situation in September of 2015, when Russia, invited by the legitimate Syrian government, legitimately intervened in Syria with aircraft, support personnel, military advisors and equipment. In a year of Russian efforts to establish a premise for a peaceful solution in Syria by eliminating the militant rabble the Western chorus of “Assad must go” has mutated into a furious hiss of impotent rage. No one expects Assad to go now, unless the US comes up with a strategy to reverse the losses the Russian intervention has inflicted.

Enter Hillary’s reversal on the no-fly zone, which now, contrary to her judgment in 2013, will “save lives.”

What is a no-fly zone?

A no-fly zone is a coercive appropriation of the partial airspace of a sovereign country. It is the arbitrary creation of a demilitarized zone in the sky to prevent belligerent powers from flying in that air space. In Syria, the “belligerent power,” ironically, would be the internationally recognized legitimate Syrian government and its legitimate ally, Russia.

According to former UN Secretary Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in an interview with John Pilger, a no-fly zone is illegal under international law. No-fly zones are post-Soviet inventions. The measure was never proposed, used, or authorized to this day by the UN Security Council until the Soviet Union virtually dissolved. This restraint was exercised by the US for the excellent reason that no such aggression on a sovereign state would have been tolerated without massive fuss at the UN Security Council and a bad rap for the US. There have been only three instances of a no-fly zone so far, all in the wake of the disappearance of the USSR: Iraq (1991-2003), Bosnia (1993-95), and Libya (2011), all initiated on the hypocritical pretense of “saving lives.”

What is Plan B?

In one word: escalation. Apart from partitioning the air space of Syria, Plan B would provide for supplying, through Qatar or Saudi Arabia, man-portable air defense systems to the “moderate opposition,” including if it is acknowledged that the “moderate opposition” has allied itself openly with the al-Nusra front. Plan B has not been approved, but the media has floated a series of reports throughout October as being under consideration.

On October 28, the New York Times published an astonishing conclusion about an aspect of the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria, though gently and benevolently worded. The Times indicated that it was being felt that Obama had insufficiently armed the “moderate opposition,” so that in Aleppo it had “no choice” but to partner with al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra) to fight off Putin and Assad.  At the same time, Reuters noted that the Obama administration had formerly considered arming the “moderates” with anti-air missiles but was constrained by the fear that such weapons would fall in the hands of ”extremists.”

Such reports suggest, rather boldly, I think, that “former restraint” might have to give way to greater support for the “moderate” militants, including if they partner with “extremists.” Thus, we arrive at a point of utter bewilderment in which we verify the absurdity of launching a War on Terror to end up fighting a War with Terror.

Oppose US imperialism

It is good and proper that we should denounce Hillary Clinton for her vile record of regime change (in Honduras), crime of aggression (Libya), threats to Russia and China, corruption, illegality, and abuse of power. She’s clearly unfit to be president of any decent country that calls itself democratic.

However, fixating on her individual agency lets the policy off the hook. The US is not yet a banana republic, in which the patriarch of some rich landowning family becomes the patriarch-autocrat of a country. An intricate network of powerful interests, which determine the policy, rules the US, frantic to maintain global economic and military dominance. This ruling class selects the candidate who will best carry out the policy. Hillary Clinton will be the servant of the interests of the ruling class of which she is a member. She will be their president.

So it’s the policy that must be opposed, and this policy is imperialist. We must develop a principled opposition to this policy, without prevarications. The task falls on the left, but it cannot be a left divided by relativist consideration of “evil” on all sides. However we may feel about the morality of governments in Russia, China, Syria, Iran, etc., one thing is clear: they did not launch a war on Iraq, opening the door to all the crimes that followed from that original crime. It is time to decide whether we want to live with things as they are or change them. And we must begin by changing them at home.

Luciana Bohne is co-founder of Film Criticism, a journal of cinema studies, and teaches at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. She can be reached at: lbohne@edinboro.edu

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

A Tale of Three Foundations: Carter, Clinton and Trump

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | November 7, 2016

Seen the latest front-page Jimmy Carter Center scandal? Hear about the six figure speaking fees former president Jimmy Carter pulls in from shady companies and foreign governments? An oil painting of himself he bought with charity money? Maybe not.

Take a moment to Google Jimmy Carter. Now do the same for Bill Clinton. The search results tell the tale of two former presidents, one determined to use his status honorably, the other seeking exploitation for personal benefit. And then throw in Donald Trump, who of course wants to someday be a former president. Each man has his own charitable foundation. Let’s compare them.

Three charitable organizations enter, only one emerges with honor. Let’s do this!

Carter

Carter’s presidency carries an uneven legacy. Yet his prescient but unwelcome 1979 warning that the country suffered a crisis of confidence, preventing Americans from uniting to solve tough problems, anticipated the faux bravado of Reagan’s “Morning in America.”

Many feel Carter has been a better ex-president than he was a president. His Carter Center focuses on impactful but unglamorous issues such as Guinea worm disease. When Carter left office, the disease afflicted 3.5 million people, mostly in Africa. Now it’s expected to be only the second disease, after smallpox, to ever be eradicated worldwide.

Carter, 90, still donates a week of his time each year to Habitat for Humanity. Not a photo-op, Carter goes out without the media in tow and hammers nails. Carter also tirelessly monitors elections in nascent democracies, lending his stature as a statesman to that work over 100 times already. Summing up his own term in office, Carter said “We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. We never went to war.”

He is the last president since 1977 who can make that claim.

Clinton

Bill Clinton pushed the NAFTA agreement through, seen now by many as a mistake that cost American jobs. He pointlessly bombed Iraq and sent troops into Somalia (see Blackhawk Down.) Clinton’s legacy most of all is his having an oral affair with an intern, then fibbing about it, and then ending up one of only two American presidents ever impeached as a result.

As a former president, Clinton is nothing if not true to his unstatesman-like form. Bill makes six-figure speeches to businesses seeking influence within the U.S. government, earning as much as $50 million during his wife’s term as secretary of state alone. He used a shell company to hide some of the income.

His own charity, humbly known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Global Foundation, is a two billion dollar financial tangle. It spent in 2013 the same amount of money on travel expenses for Bill and his family as it did on charitable grants. Instead of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Bill takes his big donors on executive safaris to Africa. Many of those same donors also give generously to the Hillary Clinton campaign and its constellation of PACs.

Trump

Trump refuses to be very specific about who his charity donates to. We know its off-shoot, the Eric Trump charity, donated to a wine industry association, a plastic surgeon gifting nose jobs to kids and an artist who painted a portrait of Donald Trump. Trump-owned golf resorts received $880,000 for hosting Trump charity events.

Reports show Trump donated money from his foundation to conservative influencers ahead of his presidential bid, effectively using funds intended for charity to support his own political ambitions. The New York Attorney General ordered Donald Trump’s charity to immediately halt fundraising in the state, following reports that it had not submitted to routine audits.

***

Voters should judge a candidate not just on examples of past competency, but with an eye toward the core things that really matter: character, values, honesty, humility and selflessness. Perhaps this tale of two presidents and a wanna be has a lesson in it for 2016.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 2 Comments

WikiLeaks Confirms Mainstream Media Takes Marching Orders from Clinton’s Army in the DNC

By Jack Burns | Free Thought Project | November 7, 2016

We’re within 48 hours of deciding who will be the next leader of the United States, and Wikileaks has just upped the ante in the high-stakes presidential election by releasing yet another batch of hacked Democratic National Committee emails. This time, Julian Assange’s organization has provided an even clearer picture of who’s in bed with the Clintons, and the revelations might surprise a lot of people.

In one email exchange between the DNC’s Mark Paustenbach (National Press Secretary & Deputy Communications Director) and the DNC’s Luis Miranda (Communications Director), Politico’s Peter Vogel appears to have passed along a story about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising campaign. While the content of Vogel’s story is unimportant, questions now arise as to why the Politico reporter felt the need to share his pre-published story with the DNC before sending it to his editor in chief.

Paustenbach wrote, “Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it. Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”

Was it because he was wanting permission to publish the story? Was he fact-checking with the DNC before running it? Or was he likely colluding with the DNC to paint Clinton and her campaign in a favorable light? These questions and more are now being raised about the apparently cozy relationship Vogel maintained with the DNC. Paustenbach even implied he had the potential to sway the article by using the words “push back.”

In another telling email, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer received questions to be asked of Donald Trump in an interview just a few days ahead of Trump’s foreign policy speech. Yes, the Democratic National Committee crafted the questions Blitzer was supposed to ask Trump. Many members of the DNC contributed questions to Blitzer’s interview of the billionaire Republican presidential nominee, adding credibility to critics’ claims CNN is actually the Clinton News Network. Here’s a sampling of the questions Blitzer was charged with asking. “Who helped you write the foreign policy speech you’re giving tomorrow?,”  and, “What would you do if the military refused to listen to you?”

According to yet another email, it was CNN who was reaching out to the DNC for those questions. Lauren Dillon, the DNC’s Research Director, wrote, “CNN is looking for questions.”

The latest Wikileaks email dump is trending on Twitter with the hashtag #DNCLeak2, and is taking off like a wildfire. More details may emerge as the country moves closer to Tuesday evening’s election hours.

As The Free Thought Project has reported, it used to be a conspiracy theory that a secretive project called “Operation Mockingbird” was responsible for disseminating government sponsored talking points to the media, to be used in an echo chamber and repeated to various news outlets. But as of September 2016, the project is no longer secret and no longer hidden, and it could be that the aforementioned members of the mainstream media are all members of said project. With the FBI not bringing charges against Clinton, it appears she’s now the official government-sponsored candidate to win the election of 2016, by any means necessary, including working with the mainstream media to do so.

As the Free Thought Project covers the presidential candidates and their various blunders, depending on which candidate we criticize, we are accused of supporting the ‘other guy.’ It is important to note that the Free Thought Project does not and has not endorsed any individual candidate. If you look through our archives, you will find that we have exposed dirt on all of them.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty Years of Dictatorial Democracy

By James Bovard | CounterPunch | November 7, 2016

The presidential campaign has mortified millions of Americans in part because the presidency has become far more dangerous in recent times.  Since 9/11, we have lived in a perpetual emergency which supposedly justifies trampling the law and Constitution. And the illegalities will not end after Tuesday’s vote count. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have signaled that they will perpetuate power grabs in the next four years.

For generations, politicians have touted voting as a magical process which almost automatically  protects the rights of everyone within a 50 mile radius of the polling booth. But the ballots Americans have cast in presidential elections since 2000 did nothing to constrain the commander-in-chief.

Bush’s declaration in 2000 that America needed a more “humble” foreign policy did not deter him from vowing to “rid the world of evil” and launching the most catastrophic war in modern American history. Eight years later, Barack Obama campaigned as the candidate of peace and promised “a new birth of freedom.” But that did not stop him from bombing seven nations, claiming a right to assassinate American ciizens, and championing Orwellian total surveillance.

Bush was famous for “signing statements” decrees that nullified hundreds of provisions of laws enacted by Congress. Obama is renown for unilaterally endlessly rewriting laws such as the Affordable Care Act to postpone political backlashes against the Democratic Party and for effectively waiving federal immigration law. Both Bush and Obama exploited the “state secrets doctrine” to shield their most controversial policies from the American public.

While many conservatives applauded Bush’s power grabs, many liberals cheered Obama’s decrees. After 16 years of Bush-Obama, the federal government is far more arbitrary and lethal. Richard Nixon’s maxim – ‘it’s not illegal if the president does it’ – is the lodestar for commanders-in-chief in the new century.

There is no reason to expect the next president to be less power hungry than the last two White House occupants. Both Trump and Clinton can be expected to trample the First Amendment. Trump has talked of shutting down mosques and changing libel laws to make it far more perilous for the media to reveal abuses by the nation’s elite. Clinton was in the forefront of an administration that broke all records for prosecuting leakers and journalists who exposed government abuses. She could smash the remnants of the Freedom of Information Act like her aides hammered her Blackberry phones to obliterate her email trail.

Neither candidate seems to recognize any limit on presidential power. Trump calls for reviving the torture that profoundly disgraced the United States during the George W. Bush era. Clinton opposes torture but  believes presidents have a right to launch wars whenever they decide it is in the national interest. After Clinton helped persuade Obama to bomb Libya in 2011, she signaled that the administration would scorn any congressional cease-and-desist order under the War Powers Act. She continues to tout the bombing of Libya as “smart power at its best.”

If Americans could be confident that either Trump or Clinton would be leashed by the law, there would be less dread about who wins on Tuesday. But elections are becoming simply coronations via vote counts. The president will take an oath of office on Inaugural Day but then can do as he or she damn well pleases.

We now have a political system which is nominally democratic but increasingly authoritarian. The proliferation of despotic precedents in the past 15 years would have horrified America’s Founding Fathers. The Rule of Law has been defined down to finding a single federal lawyer to write a secret memo vindicating the president’s latest unpublished executive order.  And Washington has never had a shortage of weasely lawyers.

By the end of the next presidential term, America will have had almost a 20-year stretch of dictatorial democracy. Washington’s disdain for the highest law of the land is torpedoing the citizenry’s faith in representative government. Forty percent of registered voters have “lost faith in American democracy,” according to recent  Survey Monkey poll.

The United States may be on the verge of the biggest legitimacy crisis since the Civil War. Whoever wins in November will be profoundly distrusted even before being sworn in. The combination of a widely-detested new president and unrestrained power almost guarantees greater crises in the coming years.

Neither Trump nor Clinton are promising to “make America constitutional again.” But, as Thomas Jefferson declared in 1786, “an elective despotism was not the government we fought for.” If presidents are lawless, then voters are merely designating the most dangerous criminal in the land.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, Terrorism and Tyranny, and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors. He is on Twitter at @jimbovard. His website is at www.jimbovard.com

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Malaysia: US Loses Another Key Ally in Asia Pacific Region

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 07.11.2016

Malaysia is another old time America’s ally to shift away from the US orbit following the Philippines. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited China on October 31-November 6 to sign 14 agreements totaling 143.64 billion ringgit ($34.25 billion), including a defence deal.  Malaysia agreed to buy four Chinese littoral combat ships. Two will be built in China and two in Malaysia.

The rapprochement has taken place despite the differences over the South China Sea territorial disputes. During the visit, both countries pledged closer cooperation to handle the problem bilaterally to counter US influence in the region.

Najib Razak said Malaysia welcomed the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which marks a turning point «of peaceful dialogue, not foreign intervention, in sovereign states». Global institutions needed to be inclusive of «countries that were given no say in the legal and security infrastructure that was set up by the victors of the Second World War», he noted.

China has increasingly invested in Malaysia and is implementing major infrastructure and other projects in the country. Chinese companies are widely expected to win a planned $15bn high-speed rail project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore – a new rail line on Malaysia’s east coast. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in jeopardy, the US seems to have little leverage over Malaysian foreign policy.

The trip marks another potential setback for US Asia «pivot» policy. The event took place against the background of worsening relations between the US and the Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made statements about his intent to break the military alliance with the United States and shift to the partnership with China and Russia. He had visited Beijing to defy America just two weeks before Mr. Razak’s trip.

Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asia politics analyst, said, «This is the new regional norm. Now China is implementing the power and the US is in retreat», adding Washington’s Asia «pivot» was «dead in the water».

Russia-Malaysia relations are also on the rise. In 2017 the two countries will mark the 50th anniversary since the diplomatic ties were established in 1967.

In May, the Malaysian PM visited Sochi, Russia, leading a delegation to the ASEAN-Russia Commemorative Summit. Back then, Russian President Vladimir Putin said,  «We will be pleased to develop relations in the humanitarian sphere, in the economy, investments and of course in the military sphere, or in the sphere of military-technical cooperation».

The Russia-produced Sukhoi Su-30MKM is the most advanced fighter in the inventory of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.  The contract to deliver 18 jets was signed in 2003 during the Russian president’s official visit to Malaysia. The purchase of Su-34 and Su-35 Russian jets is on the agenda.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein believes  his country should «look to the future, to a new era of military-technical cooperation with Russia». Russia took part in the 15th Defense Services Asia Exhibition and Conference on April 18-21, 2016, in Kuala Lumpur to demonstrate the Mi-171Sh helicopter, the T-90MS tank, the BTR-82A armored vehicle, and the Pantsir-S1 air defense system.

Malaysia will explore the possibility of signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

There are other facts to prove the fact that the US loses its clout in the Asia Pacific region. Japanese banks and development institutions may offer loans to Russian regional banks. Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko told TASS in an interview.

It was also reported that the government-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will provide about 4 billion yen ($38.5 million) in financing to Sberbank of Russia, in open defiance of Western sanctions. The US and the European Union have effectively banned lending to certain Russian companies and financial institutions, including Sberbank, as part of sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014. The announcement comes before the President Putin’s visit to Japan in December.

The JBIC also plans to make investments into the Yamal LNG gas project. The JBIC is likely to set up a special fund to invest in Russian projects together with the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

The economic cooperation with Russia definitely threatens the Group of Seven’s united front on sanctions. The move will most certainly provoke Washington’s anger but Tokyo finds the development of ties with Russia important enough to risk it. The US influence in the region is not strong enough to prevent Japan from pursuing its national interests.

With the Philippines and Malaysia shifting away from US orbit, Washington is finding itself with increasingly fewer allies in the region. The Asia Pacific «pivot» appears to be another foreign policy failure in addition to the Middle Eastern debacle. In addition, the US faces a major setback as Europe rejects the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

America is a global power in retreat. A new US president will have to face this reality. The events in the Asia Pacific region provide a good example to support this obvious fact. In a very short period of time the US has lost two major allies in the region. Japan defies the anti-Russia sanctions regime. The American century seems to be fading away as other poles of power emerge on the world map.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Syria seizes US, Israeli arms from militants

Press TV – November 7, 2016

Syria has released footage of American- and Israeli-made weapons seized by the Syrian army from Takfiri militants in the capital, Damascus.

Syria’s official news agency said Sunday that the Syrian army units had confiscated the weapons in the town of Khan al-Shih in the countryside of Damascus.

The Syrian government says the Tel Aviv regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding the Takfiri militant groups fighting against Damascus.

On April 28, Syrian officials and locals confiscated a vehicle loaded with Israeli-manufactured weapons bound for the Takfiri Daesh terrorists in the Arab country’s southern province of Suwayda.

The vehicle, which was coming from eastern Dara’a Province, was heading to the eastern Badiya desert.

Anti-personnel landmines, RPG launcher and rounds, B9 shells, 120-mm, 80-mm, and 60-mm mortars, grenades and 23-mm machine-gun rounds were among the weapons confiscated back then.

Earlier in April, popular defense groups in Suwayda also seized a car packed with RPG rounds and other shells on their way to the Badiya desert.

Israel has also been treating the wounded militants from Syria in its medical centers and hospitals. Syrian sources have frequently reported that, after receiving treatment at the Israeli hospitals, the militants return to Syria to continue their acts of sabotage and terror.

Israel has spent millions of dollars for the treatment of the militants injured in fighting with Syrian government forces, documents from Israeli hospitals show.

Video

November 7, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

IPCC, Climate Science And The Crisis of Peer Review

Foreword to Donna Laframboise’s new report Peer Review: Why Skepticism is Essential

By Christopher Essex and Matt Ridley – GWPF – 31/10/16

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has repeatedly and falsely claimed that it depends entirely on peer-reviewed papers. Donna Laframboise used volunteers to check this claim and found that a significant part of the references in the fourth assessment report of the IPCC were to ‘grey literature’ – that is, press releases, ‘reports’ from pressure groups and the like, which are not remotely the normal peer reviewed scientific literature.

Yet even if all the citations used by the IPCC were peer-reviewed, this would not mean they were infallible. Peer review is not, never was, and never can be a general protection against prejudice, error, or misconception about scientific matters. That it seems otherwise to some people is a misapprehension on their part, reflecting widespread myths about the reality of human investigations into the natural world.

It is startling for non-scientists who actually visit the sausage factory of science for the first time. There, peer review proves to be an often biased, prejudicial, and perfunctory process contrary in every respect to popular expectations about science. But scientists know that no increased regulation or standards can ever improve things, because there are no higher authorities to appeal to in a domain of human endeavour where no one knows or ever knew the answers – hence the name ‘peer review’ and not ‘expert correction’.

Donna Laframboise observes that, ‘There is a reason publishing insiders are among peer review’s most derisive critics. They know it’s mostly just a game. Everyone is pretending that all is well despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.’ Most scientists grudgingly tolerate peer review because they cannot think of anything better. Experienced ones do not expect much from it, even if they must play along to succeed given modern customs (until about the mid-20th century it hardly existed).

Most scientists cringe when they hear other scientists claim that because their work is peer-reviewed, they do not have to respond to criticisms, even those from qualified colleagues, whether peer-reviewed or not. Some surely do make such claims:  ‘…many academics insist that the research they present to the world has been fully vetted. Indeed, they often behave as though it meets a standard unrivalled elsewhere’, observes Laframboise.

Furthermore, those same scientists retreat to the truth about the state of human knowledge of Nature when facts go against their claims. She points out that: ‘On the other hand, they take no responsibility when information they’ve produced turns out to be mistaken. In such cases everyone is then reminded that scholarly publishing is vii really just an exchange of ideas.’ Few competent scientists regard current scientific thinking as anything more than provisional. It is always fully open to challenge.

Peer-review is also abused as a form of gatekeeping to defend orthodox ideas from challenge, as Laframboise says: ‘Alternative schools of thought are more likely to encounter scorn than a fair hearing, and the secretive nature of peer review provides ample cover for intolerance and tribalism. . . It places unconventional thinkers at the mercy of their more conventional colleagues. Indeed, this approach seems designed to extinguish – rather than nurture – the bold, original thinking that leads to scientific breakthroughs.’ Many unorthodox ideas prove to be wrong, but they are the lifeblood of scientific advance. They challenge our orthodoxies, either sharpening them or overthrowing them. Thus the notion of challenging the orthodox is accepted in science by necessity, even if grudgingly.

Gatekeeping against the unorthodox is not remotely a new problem. Oracular mediocrities down the centuries have doggedly resisted human advances in knowledge from Galileo to Semmelweis to Einstein, and thousands of other cases that only the most learned science historians will ever know. Spectacular scandals come and go, but science is in the end a long game of the generations, not something played out in news cycles. So why then has the public debate about the perfunctory, crony, gate-keeping aspects of peer review grown in volume in the media now? Partly it is because science has become a ‘bigger’ and more centralized endeavor, with massive budgets invested in conventional wisdom, and more politicians involved in pushing certain conclusions. How else can one comprehend the term ‘orchestrated’ used by one founder of the IPCC to describe how scientific opinion was designed to be treated for the use of policymakers?

It is clear that people who have never studied the history of science, or have never been on the unfashionable side of a scientific debate are in for a shock upon encountering this messy and sordid reality for the first time. Not least in for a shock is the media, which has been busy identifying heartbreaking science scandals in medicine, social science, neuroscience, and economics. But curiously they offer none from the subject of climate, despite it being one of the most policy driven and lavishly funded branches of science today.

Is this because there are few examples of bad practice, irreproducibility, retraction, pal review and gatekeeping in climatology? Far from it. The Climategate emails of 2009 revealed gatekeeping at its most blatant. Who can forget Phil Jones writing to Michael Mann on 8 July 2004 ‘can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!’ Or Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick struggling to publish (leading to a US Congressional hearing, no less) their comprehensive demolition of the statistical errors and data-selection issues in the infamous ‘hockey stick’ paper? Or Richard Tol’s exposure of the practices employed in the Cook et al ‘97% viii consensus’ paper? Again and again, peer-reviewed climate papers have fallen apart under post-publication scrutiny from the likes of McIntyre, Willis Eschenbach, Donna Laframboise, Judith Curry and Nic Lewis. And these do not even touch on the challenge of independently reproducing climate model output without the machinery and resources necessary to do so, as Laframboise rightly observes in the following paper.

Indeed, the field of climate science could supply a rich harvest of examples of this crisis of scientific credibility all on its own. Yet it is the scandal that dare not speak its name. The discussions of the crisis in peer review in Nature, Science, the Economist and elsewhere studiously ignore any examples from climate science. Why is this? It is an article of faith among certain scientists and science journalists that because climate scepticism is also a position supported by those on the right of politics, so nobody in science must give fodder to the sceptics.

This is nothing less than the modern manifestation of gatekeeping continuing its ancient legacy, driven by sheer ignorance and self-delusion, to keep the forces that actually advance science away from the door. Scientific research stretches human faculties to their limits, and it is at such limits where human frailties become most prominent.

Humans are fallible. That is one of the greatest lessons from the history of science. The message to be taken from these heartbreaking scientific scandals and absurdities is not one of chagrin and a temptation to adopt cynicism. The true authors of such scandals are the laymen, academics, journalists, and policymakers who do not give a fair hearing to the many highly trained scientists motivated by alternative views who would put such dubious claims to the test. A pervasive uneducated appeal to science as a monolithic incomprehensible authority, assessed only in terms of moral purity rather than factual accuracy, has made such a fair hearing nearly impossible, and done great harm to science and us all.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment