RT | January 17, 2017
A growing number of opposition groups in Syria are getting increased weapons and ammunition supplies from the US Air Force to tackle Islamic State, according to US media reports citing the country’s military.
The weapons are intended for opposition forces closing in on IS’s self-proclaimed capital Raqqa in Syria, USA Today reports.
The “expanded” airdrops are “helping ground forces take the offensive to [the Islamic State] and efforts to retake Raqqa,” Gen. Carlton Everhart, commander of the US Air Mobility Command, is quoted by the news outlet.
Currently, the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) – an alliance of various militias, mainly formed by Kurdish fighters – is continuing its push to retake territories around Raqqa. SDF is among key opposition forces being backed by the US-led international coalition in Syria. … continue
Consortium News | January 16, 2017
President-elect Trump is outlining a foreign policy that rejects the interventionist tenets of Washington’s neocon/liberal-hawk establishment and puts U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control at the top of his agenda, writes Gilbert Doctorow. – Read article
Sputnik – 16.01.2017
Russia is ready to consider the US proposals on joint nuclear disarmament, but other nuclear powers should also join the process, Viktor Ozerov, the head of the Russian parliamentary security committee, said Monday. […]
“For sure, Russia will consider this proposal. I think any offer from the US President-elect is worth studying. Russia has repeatedly stated that it was ready for a dialogue… Apart from Russia and the United States there are other countries, which have official status of a nuclear powers, so the process should also involve these countries,” Ozerov told RIA Novosti. – Full article
By Robert Bridge | RT | January 17, 2017
Since becoming the US Commander-in-Chief in 2008, Barack Obama charted a thinly veiled anti-Russia course that many failed to anticipate or appreciate due to the media-generated hype of “hope and change” that accompanied his rise to power. … continue
By Rachael Boothroyd-Rojas | Venezuelanalysis | January 16, 2016
Outgoing US President Barack Obama renewed a controversial executive order Friday that designates Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to national security.
In one of his last acts as president, Obama stated that he had decided to extend the executive order given that Venezuela’s situation had “not improved” since the decree was first renewed last March.
In particular he cited the Venezuelan government’s alleged “erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to anti-government protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of anti-government protestors, as well as the exacerbating presence of significant government corruption,” as the reasons for the renewal.
Initially approved in March 2015, the Executive Order declares a “national emergency” with regards to Venezuela and was accompanied by US sanctions against several Venezuelan officials. The move was immediately met with protest from the Maduro administration in Venezuela and its allies in Latin America, while over a million Venezuelans also signed a public petition calling on Obama to repeal the order.
Although the decree does not technically expire until this coming March, a spokesman for the National Security Council said that Obama had decided to “renew all national emergencies” in order to guarantee “a smooth transition” over to the new administration of Republican President-elect Donald Trump next week.
“This will ensure that the new administration will not need to immediately undertake renewals necessary to safeguard our national security as it works to put its national security team in place and secure Senate confirmation of relevant appointees,” said spokesperson Ned Price. … Full article
Sputnik – 16.01.2017
Information about the situation in the sphere of human rights in Russia contained in the report issued by Human Right Watch (HRW) is false, Russian Foreign Ministry Special Representative for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said Monday.
The announcement comes as Human Rights Watch issued the so-called World Report with an overview of the human rights violations across the world.
“The ‘Russian’ chapter of the Human Rights Watch report on the situation in the sphere of human rights is a compilation of lies and manipulation [of facts] … It is clear that it was a political order of the outgoing US administration,” Dolgov wrote on his Twitter page.
The report accused Russia of prosecutions for online speech, provoking a “human rights crisis” in “occupied” Crimea, infringement on LGBT rights and other violations of human rights.
By Sergey Gladysh | The Duran | January 17, 2017
After an hour and a half meeting with the French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski expressed his concerns regarding her plans for EU reform. According to Waszczykowski, Le Pen could lead the union to its collapse.
“She is committed to radical reform of the situation in Europe, radical reform of the EU. She would like to turn it (the EU) into a completely different structure, which would not be under the influence of neither Russia nor the United States,” said Waszczykowski, adding that the implementation of such a plan is disadvantageous for Poland, as it involves turning the EU into a “free Union”.
It’s unclear what Waszczykowski meant by a “free Union” or why an independent EU is bad for Poland. … Full article
RT | January 17, 2017
A military security system, which would include Russia, should be set up instead of NATO, Sahra Wagenknecht, leader of the German Left party said in an interview, echoing Trump’s recent statements on NATO.
“NATO must be dissolved and replaced by a collective security system including Russia,” Wagenknecht told Germany’s Funke media group on Tuesday. NATO has received its fair share of criticism in the German media following US President-elect Donald Trump’s recent interview published by Bild, in which he called NATO an “obsolete” organization. […]
The Left party is the largest opposition group in the German parliament, and has previously called for closer ties with Russia.
The comments come amid the amassing of US troops, tanks, and military equipment in Europe near Russia’s borders as part of a NATO operation called Atlantic Resolve. … Full article
By Baxter Dmitry | YourNewsWire | January 15, 2017
Ulfkotte, the former German newspaper editor whose bestselling book exposed how the CIA controls German media, has been found dead. He was 56.
Ulfkotte was an editor at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the largest newspapers in Germany, when he published Bought Journalists, the bestselling book that cost him his job and perhaps his life.
German media, who were banned from reporting on his work in recent years, are reporting he died of “heart failure”.
Acknowledging that his life was under threat, Ulfkotte explained that he was in a better position than most journalists to expose the truth because he didn’t have any children who could be threatened. … Full article
Press TV – January 17, 2017
Ten people have been killed in rocket attacks by Saudi military vessels against a residential neighborhood in Yemen’s southwestern coastal province of Ta’izz.
Unnamed local sources said the Saudi craft fired a barrage of rockets at a village in the Maqbanah district of the province, which is situated 346 kilometers south of the capital, Sana’a, on Tuesday morning, also injuring dozens of people, Arabic-language Saba news agency reported.
Shortly afterward, Saudi military aircraft carried out an airstrike against a truck as it was traveling along a road in the al-Khawkhah district of the western coastal province, of Hudaydah. The attack claimed the life of a civilian.
Additionally, five people were killed and two others injured when Saudi fighter jets pounded a market in the Haydan district of the northwestern province of Sa’ada.
Saudi jets also launched three attacks against an area in the Red Sea port city of Mukha, though no reports of casualties and the extent of damage inflicted were reported.
Saudi warplanes conducted two aerial attacks against an area in the city of Sirwah, which lies about 120 kilometers east of the capital, as well. No reports of casualties were available.
Farming lands in the Abs district of the northwestern Hajjah Province were also bombarded, but no words on possible casualties were available.
UN updates death toll from Saudi war
Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, says the nearly two-year conflict in the impoverished Arab country has claimed the lives of 10,000 people and left 40,000 others wounded.
McGoldrick told reporters in Sana’a that the figure is based on lists of victims gathered by health facilities and that the actual number might be higher. … Full article
Americans need to learn what is really going on both at home and abroad
By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • January 17, 2017
… Partially reporting straightforward stories for politically correct reasons is in my mind equivalent to the fake news that everyone has been lamenting. The general perception that the news is slanted or manipulated has fed the lack of trust in the veracity of what is being reported and is a major contributor to the decline in newspaper readership. The Post, which also recently featured largely phony major stories about alternative news sites being tools of Russia as well as a wildly inflated tale about Russian hacking a utility in Vermont, is particularly much given to making up its coverage as it goes along. Every page in the news section is in reality an editorial as the paper assiduously mixes fact with fiction together with a heavy dose of opinion. It is Orwellian newspeak at its finest. … Read full article
RT | January 17, 2017
The reenactment of the refugee plight is a popular event at the Davos forum. How about a popular event of being in a place where your houses is bombed, and your mother and father are killed, asked Gerald Celente, publisher, The Trends Journal. … continue
By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | January 15, 2017
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes has been steadily growing since the 1950s, despite a drop in numbers in the last five years. […]
However, they know full well that it is meaningless to compare current data with the past, as they explain themselves in the section Historical Records and Trends, which is hidden away on their own website… Read full article
By Clive Hambler | Climate Etc. | January 16, 2017
Reflections on the stabilization of Earth’s climate by life.
People frequently believe the claim that basic physics, established in the 19th Century, is sufficient to predict that Earth will warm in response to increasing CO2. However, I argue here that negative feedbacks due to life (‘Gaia’) may have stabilized the planet’s climate — on geological timescales and in recent decades. The biology of any such stabilization is far from settled, with a mechanistic understanding delayed by evolutionary debate. I conclude that even with such advanced biology we have little power to predict global climate changes.
There is a basic flaw in the basic physics argument of climate change: biology. Indeed, just one word should be enough to cast doubt on all models of the atmosphere: “oxygen”. No educated person is unaware of one aspect of Earth’s basic biology: most atmospheric oxygen results from living organisms. Physics and chemistry therefore cannot explain atmospheric composition or properties. Basic chemistry would leave the planet a rusty ball (like Mars or Venus). So, as James Lovelock articulated in his Gaia hypothesis in the 1970s, the properties of our atmosphere result from the tight coupling of living and non living components (biota and abiota). Earth’s obvious and massive departure from chemical equilibrium is unique in the solar system. So, if it’s easy to understand that life is central to atmospheric chemistry, why have many people found it much harder to understand life could be pivotal in atmospheric energy and climate? And if life is so intimately involved, predictive models would need to include it — which I’ll argue they can’t because the biology is too complex. … continue
Ma’an – January 16, 2017
BETHLEHEM – Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu in the southern occupied West Bank on Monday evening, the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) ambulance service said.
A PRC spokesperson told Ma’an that 17-year-old Qusay Hasan al-Umour was shot with live ammunition in the chest at least three times, and that Israeli forces had detained him for an unspecified period of time before handing over his body to the health organization.
Doctors who examined the teenager’s body at al-Hussein Hospital in Beit Jala told Ma’an they counted six bullet holes in al-Umour’s chest and lower extremities. […]
Four other Palestinians, including a woman, were also shot and injured during the clashes, PRC reported, although the Israeli army spokesperson said she did not have further information on the matter. … Read full article
IMEMC News – January 16, 2017
In two separate incidents on Monday, Israeli navy ships attacked several Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and abducted five fishermen.
The first attack was carried out, earlier Monday, leading to property damage, and the abduction of two fishers.
Later, the navy attacked fishing boats before abducting the three fishers, and took them to an unknown destination.
Israeli forces stormed the village of Khirbet Abziq, east of Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley, on Monday morning and seized two agricultural tractors while abusing Palestinian citizens.
Witnesses said, according to Al Ray, that Israeli soldiers broke into AL-Madareb, in Khirbet Abziq, and seized two agricultural tractors belonging to Fayez Nghneghya and Nemr Horoub, and took them to a nearby military camp.
They pointed out that seizures have happened repeatedly, in an attempt to harass citizens and force them to leave Khirbet Abziq.
More than two dozen tractors have been confiscated in different areas of the Jordan Valley in recent months.
It is noteworthy that dozens of citizens living in Khirbet Abziq, mostly refugees from the pre-1948 occupied territories, are being deprived of many basic essential services under Israeli policies. The tractors are used for agriculture and water transference.
RT | January 16, 2017
The wealth of the 8 richest people on earth equals that of the poorest 3.6 billion, according to a report by Oxfam presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This vast wealth gap is a threat which may “pull our societies apart,” the report warned.
The list of the eight wealthiest individuals in the world, all men, comes from Forbes magazine’s billionaires list, and includes Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Others include Inditex clothing company founder, Amancio Ortega, investor Warren Buffett, Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim, Oracle’s Larry Ellison, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. … continue
By Annie Machon | Consortium News | January 16, 2017
The clash between plutocratic President-elect Trump and the CIA is shaping up to be the heavyweight prize fight of the century, and Trump at least is approaching it with all the entertaining bombast of Mohammed Ali at the top of his game. Rather than following the tradition of doing dirty political deals in dark corners, more commonly known as fixing the match, Trump has come out swinging in the full glare of the media.
In that corner, we have a deal-making, billionaire “man of the people” who, to European sensibilities at least, reputedly espouses some of the madder domestic obsessions and yet has seemed to offer hope to many aggrieved Americans. But it is his professed position on building a rapprochement with Russia and cooperating with Moscow to sort out the Syrian mess that caught my attention and that of many other independent commentators internationally.
In the opposite corner, Trump’s opponents have pushed the CIA into the ring to deliver the knock-out blow, but this has yet to land. Despite jab after jab, Trump keeps evading the blows and comes rattling back against all odds. One has to admire the guy’s footwork.
So who are the opponents ranged behind the CIA, yelling encouragement through the ropes? The obvious culprits include the U.S. military-industrial complex, whose corporate bottom line relies on an era of unending war. As justification for extracting billions – even trillions – of dollars from American taxpayers, there was a need for frightening villains, such as Al Qaeda and even more so, the head choppers of ISIS. However, since the Russian intervention in Syria in 2015, those villains no longer packed as scary a punch, so a more enduring villain, like Emmanuel Goldstein, the principal enemy of the state in George Orwell’s 1984, was required. Russia was the obvious new choice, the old favorite from the Cold War playbook.
The Western intelligence agencies have a vested interest in eternal enemies to ensure both eternal funding and eternal power, hence the CIA’s entry into the fight. As former British MP and long-time peace activist George Galloway so eloquently said in a recent interview, an unholy alliance is now being formed between the “war party” in the U.S., the military-industrial-intelligence complex and those who would have previously publicly spurned such accomplices: American progressives and their traditional host, the Democratic Party. … continue
By Claire Bernish | The Free Thought Project | January 16, 2017
Defying any sense of journalistic integrity and loyalty to the truth, the Washington Post did it again — publishing Fake News for clicks — which had the desired effect of worldwide outrage to suit a tightly-defined political agenda.
This latest astounding deviation from the facts, however, makes indisputably clear the weaponization of news. Journalists and media outlets make mistakes from time to time, but a pattern and practice of publishing unfounded, unverified, and fraudulent articles cannot be characterized simply as irresponsible.
We are in the midst of an information war of epic proportions — led haplessly astray of the truth with the Post leading the way — and it’s a dangerous and frightening portent of things to come, not the least of which will be propagandized truth and heavy-handed censorship.
On Friday, WaPo published an article claiming President-elect Donald Trump fired Washington, D.C., National Guard Major General Errol R. Schwartz — just in time for the inauguration — and that he would be forced to leave his post as soon as the president takes the oath of office.
But that isn’t true. … continue
RT | January 16, 2017
We live in dangerous times, where the behavior espoused by Obama and Clinton has been extremely dangerous, says former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray. … continue
By Peter KORZUN | Strateic Culture Foundation | 16.01.2017
President Obama has decided to send 300 US Marines back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province – the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone.
Almost all of Helmand’s districts, except for the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, are either heavily embattled or fully controlled by the Taliban. The province is the leading opium producer in the country.
Despite all the promises to withdraw, 8,400 US troops will remain in Afghanistan as the president leaves office on January 20. If the US pulls out, the Afghan government will hardly be able to hold power.
American forces have been engaged in combat action there for over 15 years – the longest war waged by the United States – without end to hostilities in sight. … continue
Press TV – January 16, 2017
Outgoing US Vice President Joe Biden has said the world must resist Russian “coercion and aggression,” and urged the incoming Donald Trump administration to back Ukraine against Moscow.
Biden made the remarks in Kiev where he arrived on Monday to have a farewell meeting with Petro Poroshenko who became the president of Ukraine following the ouster of democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych in a 2014 US-backed uprising.
Standing next to Poroshenko, Biden said, “You’re fighting both the cancer of corruption… and the unrelenting aggression of the Kremlin.”
“The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression. It is Ukraine’s best hope to move forward as a united country,” he added.
Biden, who has visited the country six times since February 2014, said that sanctions against Russia must stay in place until Moscow follows the terms of the Minsk peace deal. … Full article
By Sergey Gladysh | The Duran | January 16, 2017
The reign of Germany’s Angela Merkel can only be stopped if leftists and social democrats unite behind a candidate like Sahra Wagenknecht, says renowned German journalist and politician Ralph Niemeyer. … continue
RT | January 16, 2017
Almost 300 US Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, arrived in Norway on Monday. The deployment signals a departure from the NATO member’s decades-old policy of not hosting foreign troops on its soil.
The agreement for stationing the American troops will last for at least a year. The contingent that has come this week will be rotated in six months. The Marines will be hosted at the Vaernes base of the Norwegian Home Guards near Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city.
The stated goal of the mission is to train the US troops in Arctic warfare. … Full article
Sputnik – 16.01.2017
For Russian tech expert Alexei Gubarev the news that he was mentioned in the unsubstantiated report alleging that the Kremlin has compromising information on US President-elect Donald Trump came as a shock. Nobody contacted him to verify the information, he told Radio Sputnik, saying that he was determined to go to court.
“We have a very big high-tech company. We have thousands of servers around the world. I have data centers in eight countries and I have offices in nine countries, including the United States. Imagine how I felt when I found out,” he said.
The dossier accused Gubarev’s Dallas-based tech company XBT Holding of using botnets and porn traffic to launch cyberattacks on the Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential election. The document also alleged that Gubarev, whom it refers to as Gubarov, and another hacking expert were recruited under duress by the Russian intelligence agency FSB.
The tech expert, however, has denied the accusations, saying that they are completely false.
“Nobody contacted us before this. Neither intelligence services nor journalists contacted us to verify this information,” he said. … continue
21st Century Wire – January 16, 2017
Many mainstream news outlets have been abuzz about the headline going around saying that Trump may ‘evict’ the press corp from accessing the White House, but when one looks deeper into what is being written in such articles it quickly becomes clear that there is nothing official stated about disallowing any press from the White House.
Here’s the facts: Incoming White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, while discussing potentially moving the press corps room from the James Brady Press Room, to the White House Conference Room – in order to add more seating for press to cover President Trump in the White House said:
… If the plan goes through, one of the officials said, the media will be removed from the cozy confines of the White House press room, where it has worked for several decades. Members of the press will be relocated to the White House Conference Center—near Lafayette Square—or to a space in the Old Executive Office Building, next door to the White House.
Look to the Blaze for how this is spun into a narrative which serves the dual purpose of agitating Trump’s detractors into believing that he is going to suppress the freedom of the press and at the same time serves as a rouse to cause his ardent supporters to appear as though they are rejoicing at the potential of a Trump Presidency that would support suppressing the free press. … continue
Sputnik – 16.01.2017
The Kremlin agrees with US President-elect Donald Trump that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has outlived its usefulness, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
“NATO is indeed a relic, we also agree with this,” Peskov told reporters.
“Because it is honed on confrontation, and the entire structure is dedicated to the ideals of confrontation, then of course it can hardly be called a modern structure that meets the ideas of stability, sustainable development and security,” Peskov stressed. … Full article
Al-Manar – January 16, 2017
Outgoing CIA chief John Brennan on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump, warning him to watch what he says and suggesting the president-elect doesn’t understand the challenges posed by Russia.
Brennan’s stern words — which sparked a quick Twitter retort from Trump — were the latest salvo in the ongoing feud between the incoming Republican leader and US intelligence agencies, who have concluded Moscow meddled in the November election.
The 70-year-old Trump, who takes office on Friday, tweeted saying that if the Russian leader “likes” him, it would be an “asset” to help repair strained ties with Moscow.
“I don’t think he has a full appreciation of Russian capabilities, Russia’s intentions and actions,” Brennan said of Trump on Fox News Sunday. … continue
RT | January 16, 2017
US President-elect Donald Trump has hinted that the US could lift its sanctions against Russia, called Merkel’s migrant policy “a catastrophic mistake” and branded NATO “obsolete” in a new interview for The Times and Bild.
The interview was given in the President-elect’s office in Trump Tower, just days before his inauguration.
Trump was quite straightforward in speaking out in favor of some common ground with Moscow.
“They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially,” Trump said to the two media outlets.
At the same time, sanctions aren’t affecting Russia well, [and] “something can happen that a lot of people are going to benefit,” he added. … continue
RT | January 15, 2017
Facebook is gearing up to battle the problem of “fake news” on social media with a new name-and-shame system involving independent fact checkers being trialed in Germany.
The social media giant has employed the services of Correctiv, a nonprofit group involved in investigative journalism and news auditing, as an independent fact checker.
According to Facebook, new updates to the social site for German users can be expected in the coming weeks. It could see content shared by outlets deemed to be purveyors of false information sent to the back of the Facebook algorithm queue.
The changes include tabs that allow users to report suspected fake news, as well as labels that name-and-shame organizations believed to be peddling fraudulent information. … continue
By Alex Christoforou | The Duran | January 15, 2017
Facebook has been coming under fire for promoting “fake news”.
The huge social network was pressured by the neo-liberal left deep state to censor news that harms the Soros “Open Society” globalist agenda, pushed heavily under the Barack Obama presidency.
Facebook folded to the neo-liberal agenda like origami, and decided to crack down on “fake news”.
It looks like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is reaping the rewards for decisions made to crack down on “fake news”.
In the first two weeks of 2017, Zuckerberg’s net worth jumped by nearly $5 billion. This is the biggest gain of any person in the world.
Climbing ad revenues and a series of bullish analyst reports, are credited for Facebook’s shares inching closer to October’s all-time high.
Forbes has the details of the Facebook founder’s two week, $5 billion good fortune… continue
IMEMC News – January 15, 2017
Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Saturday evening, at Palestinian fishing boats near the shore of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, wounding one fisherman.
Medical sources in Gaza said the fisherman suffered moderate wounds, and was moved to the Indonesian Hospital, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, to receive the urgently needed medical treatment.
The attack is part of frequent Israeli violations against Palestinian fishers in Gaza territorial waters, in addition to farmers and workers in lands close to the border fence of the besieged and impoverished coastal region. … Full article
Ma’an – January 15, 2017
JERUSALEM – Israeli settlers living above a Palestinian family in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem assailed the family’s courtyard and attempted to break into their home on Saturday evening.
Silwan-based watchdog the Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that settlers stormed the courtyard of Muhammad Muheisin’s home, smashed the outdoor furniture, damaged garden plants, and shattered framed Quran verses. The settlers left about a half an hour later.
Muheisin and his family live on the ground floor of a six-story building. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Israeli settlers took over the five upper apartments in October 2014, and Muheisin was the only Palestinian who remained in the building. … continue
Palestine Information Center – January 15, 2017
NABLUS – Jewish fanatic settlers Saturday evening assaulted a Palestinian farmer while working in his land in Burqah town, northwest of Nablus city.
Witnesses told the PIC reporter that about 30 settlers from Homesh settlement attacked the farmer before sunset. He was transferred to hospital after the incident.
The witnesses elaborated that the attacking settlers kept throwing stones at him from a close distance until a group of Palestinian youths rushed to the scene and confronted settlers, after they had heard his screaming.
Sami Daghlas, Head of the village’s council, said that the settlers’ attacks are frequently repeated in the area under the protection of Israeli forces every now and then. Settlers provocatively raid the town on a semi daily basis, he pointed out.
Ma’an – January 15, 2017
BETHLEHEM – In spite of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority’s endorsement of a peace conference being held in Paris on Sunday, other Palestinian factions were opposed to the premise of the international summit, and said they were not expecting any diplomatic breakthroughs.
Kayid al-Ghoul, a senior leader in the Gaza Strip for the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) told Ma’an on Sunday that he expected the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to turn to the United States to foil any possible outcome, five days ahead of the inauguration of US President-Elect Donald Trump — a vocal supporter of illegal Israeli settlements.
Al-Ghoul told Ma’an that the premise of the conference, which is expected to recommend the resumption of peace negotiations toward a two-state solution, meant “bypassing the right of return and self determination” for Palestinians.
Similarly, Daoud Shihab, a senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, described the conference as merely another attempt to resume a peace process “that Israel has already killed and buried, while the international community still refuses to admit that Israel is the main source” of the crisis. … continue
With more rain and snow on the way, the supposed “unending drought” that the New York Times reported on last year has, in a matter of weeks, ended — at least in Northern California.
Yesterday’s color satellite imagery from NASA shows the dramatic changes which have occurred since the same date three years ago:
– Widespread and deep snow-pack
– Greening vegetation
– Rivers overflowing their banks
– Strong river discharge into the Pacific Ocean
NASA Aqua MODIS color satellite imagery of N. California separated by exactly three years, showing dramatic snowpack increase, vegetation greening, and river discharge into the Pacific Ocean. … Full article
By Rob Urie | CounterPunch | January 13, 2017
Once an assumption of benevolent leadership is made the tendency has been to interpret subsequent acts in benevolent terms. When George W. Bush was president this took the form of his supporters believing that Saddam Hussein brought down the Twin Towers, that Iraq had an ongoing WMD program and that the role of America was to ‘free’ the world of tyrants. All evidence to the contrary was taken as either fraudulent or partisan bickering.
The theory amongst bourgeois liberals in the early-mid 2000s was that this trait was peculiar to the more evangelically inclined supporters of national Republicans who had been swayed by the culture wars. The arrogance of the conceit is likely due in part to class difference, in part to conflation of education with intelligence (class difference) and in part to identitarian politics that well serve the powers that be. A question to ask then is: who benefits from political divisions?
The assumption precludes legitimate critique. Those doing the criticizing have to be in some sense enemies of benevolence (goes the logic). But what if the critiques derive from differences in circumstances and lived experience? This is most certainly the case when national policies like trade agreements benefit one group to the detriment of another. Who, besides economists, would give credence to an abstract benefit when their own life is being destroyed?
Whether Democrats like the idea or not, Donald Trump’s election is a result of Barack Obama’s eight years in office. Mr. Obama’s policies benefited the rich a lot, the liberal class a bit and the other 90% of the population not that much. His benevolence was not very evenly distributed. In fact, his neoliberal tendencies hurt a lot of people. And all it takes is one visit to the doctor to learn the difference between health insurance and health care. … continue
By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – January 15, 2017
In a “mass layoff” event reported late last week by the Department of Labor, the Clinton Foundation announced it would lay off some 22 employees at the Clinton Global Initiative, which attained notoriety during the John Podesta leaks, when the various details of the fallout between between CGI head Doug Band and Chelsea Clinton were revealed; it also emerged that long-time Bill Clinton friend Band was soliciting donations for Clinton through his PR firm, Teneo in an sordid example of “pay for play” which most of the mainstream media refused to cover, especially after Band emailed Podesta “If this story gets out, we are screwed.”
Filed as mandated by the Department of Labor’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN notice, on January 12, the Clinton Foundation’s Veronika Shiroka advised the DOL that as part of a “Plant Layoff” it would layoff 22 workers on April 15, with reason for the dislocation stated as “Discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative.” The layoffs are part of the Clinton plan put in motion ahead of the presidential election, to offset a storm of criticism regarding pay-to-play allegations during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. […]
As a reminder, while the FBI has cleared Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing regarding her use of a private email server, a parallel probe into the Clinton Foundation regarding allegations of corruption is still ongoing. … Full article
By Kit | OffGuardian | January 15, 2017
As the eight-year term of America’s first black President draws to a close, the media are already in the process of myth-making. There’s room for an honest autopsy of a man who promised a new kind of world, and delivered merely warmed-over soundbites and a few fake tears.
“With Barack Obama’s exit the US is losing a saint.” writes Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, whilst Ann Perkins praises his “grace, decency and defence of democracy”. Lola Okolosie rhapsodises on his legacy of “warmth, love, resilience”.
Already the storyline is set – Obama was a good man, who tried to do great things, but was undone by a Republican senate, and his own “sharp intelligence”.
These people, as much as anybody, reflect the cognitive dissonance of the modern press. “Liberals”, to use their own tortured self-descriptor, now assign the roles of good guy and bad guy based purely on aesthetics, convenience and fuel for their vanity. Actions and consequences are immaterial.
For the sake of balance, here is a list of Saint Obama’s unique achievements… continue
By Daniel Larison • The American Conservative • January 2, 2017
Robert Samuelson repeats a very tired assertion:
What’s curious is that American leaders have sometimes contributed to the decline of U.S. power. Barack Obama’s disdain of military force is so deeply felt and visible [bold mine-DL] that the use of the United States’ fighting capabilities was often discounted by allies and adversaries alike, as in Syria.
Obama leaves office later this month with the unhappy distinction of being the only president to spend his entire tenure presiding over foreign wars. His “disdain of military force” is so strong that the U.S. has bombed at least half a dozen countries on his watch, and his administration has assisted other governments in laying waste to one of the poorest countries on earth. To say that he has a “disdain of military force” might have seemed plausible eight years ago before he took office, but it is not credible to say this after eight years of Obama’s continuation, escalation, and initiation of multiple wars. The fact that he didn’t start even more or wage them as aggressively as some in Washington would like doesn’t change any of that. … continue
Press TV – January 15, 2017
Bahrain has executed three anti-regime Shia activists over their alleged role in a 2014 bomb attack, amid widespread public anger against the death verdicts.
The regime in Manama carried out the death verdicts on Sunday, triggering angry demonstrations in the villages of Diraz, Bani Jamra and Sanabis.
Regime forces tried to disperse the protesters by firing pellets and teargas canisters and injuring a number of the demonstrators.
Manama’s troops also prevented people from holding a funeral procession for those executed.
According to the Bahrain Mirror news website, the authorities have refused to return the bodies of the three activists to their families. … Full article
Press TV – January 15, 2017
Naval forces of the United Arab Emirates and Britain have started joint military exercises in the Persian Gulf within the framework of cooperation, coordination and exchange of experiences and military information between the two countries.
Emirati state news agency WAM reported on Sunday that the drills, dubbed “Sea Dagger 2017,” include a series of joint military exercises as part of a unified strategy to strengthen military cooperation between the UAE and British armed forces. … Full article
Press TV – January 15, 2017
Saudi military aircraft have killed at least six people in attacks against al-Jawf Province in northwestern Yemen.
The Sunday raids also injured a number of people in the province’s al-Maton District, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported.
Fighter planes also bombed the Haydan district in the neighboring province of Sa’ada as well as the port city of Mokha in the southwestern province of Taiz. … Full article
Sputnik – 14.01.2017
The peaceful life in liberated Aleppo is restoring despite the fact that international humanitarian organizations have not provided assistance to the city since its liberation a month ago, the Russian Defense Ministry said. […]
“A month has passed since the liberation of Aleppo. However, the international humanitarian organizations still do not provide real assistance to the civilian population. Meanwhile, the peaceful life in the city is restoring,” Gen. Maj. Igor Konashenkov said.
He added that the civilians were returning to their homes, sometimes clearing the remaining mines themselves.
Konashenkov said it was surprising that “after a period of thorough attention of international demining organizations to Aleppo” there were no offers to provide assistance to the civilians.
He stressed that the Western media had not been covering the issue for a long time, silencing it like it was commanded by someone. According to Konashenkov, the representatives of UNICEF and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) knew that most parts of Aleppo were safe, therefore it was possible to work there without any risk for life.
“However, Aleppo civilians have been receiving most assistance from the Russian Center for Reconciliation, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Civilians are regularly receiving medicines, food, drinking water, hygiene kits and warm clothes, while the medical assistance is also provided to them,” he said. … Full article
Press TV – January 15, 2017
Terrorists have assassinated a representative of the Syrian government, who would coordinate reconciliation talks between Damascus and militant groups, in the strategic Wadi Barada area in the countryside of the capital.
Ahmad al-Ghadban was shot dead by Takfiri militants on Saturday in Wadi Barada, home to Damascus’ main river Barada as well as a spring used as the source of water for the capital’s general area, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
The report cited local sources as saying that the victim had been shot after leaving a meeting with leaders of armed groups in the Ayn al-Figeh village, where the spring lies.
Since late December, 2016, government forces have been fighting in Wadi Barada against Takfiri militants, who have damaged the water processing facilities there and reduced water flow to some five million people in the city.
Damascus has been pushing to arrive at reconciliation agreements with the militant groups in the area to enable rehabilitation of those who are willing to put down arms and facilitate the entry of engineers into the village to repair the facilities. … Full article
Xinhua | 2017-01-14
BEIJING – China and Vietnam on Saturday issued a joint communique, pledging to manage maritime differences and safeguard the peace and stability of the South China Sea.
The communique was issued as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong paid a four-day official visit to China since Thursday.
China and Vietnam had “a candid exchange of views” on maritime issues, according to the communique.
Both countries pledged to seek basic and long-term solutions that both sides can accept via negotiation, and discuss transitional solutions that will not affect each other’s stance including the research of joint development, it said.
Both sides agreed to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea and strive for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) on the basis of consensus in the framework of the DOC, said the communique.
Both sides agreed to manage maritime differences and avoid any acts that may complicate the situation and escalate tensions so as to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea, it said. … Full article
teleSUR – January 13, 2017
Huber Ballesteros, a renowned campesino union leader and political prisoner in Colombia, was freed on Friday as part of the peace process after 40 months behind bars.
Ballesteros is a leader of the Patriotic March, a political movement that unites much of the left in Colombia, and survived what was described as “political genocide” against members of the Patriotic Union in the 1980’s. He is accused of crimes of rebellion and terrorist financing — meaning supporting the FARC — but his lawyer found that the case was based on false testimonies and manipulated evidence.
“I believe our struggle is just, our ideas are reasonable and our objective is the best for humanity,” Ballesteros told teleSUR in an interview last year. He praised the peace process, which he said would allow prisoners like him to return to their organizing “to work in the implementation of the agreements that will lead to stable and durable peace.”
While Ballesteros is among many who are being released as part of the historic peace deal signed Nov. 30, he told teleSUR that it “does present security guarantees for us union leaders and defenders of human rights. One cannot be completely sure of this, since there’s still a threat of a small, but very important ultra right-wing, led by big landowners—reactionary and violent—that (former president and current senator) Alvaro Uribe Velez represents.” … Full article
teleSUR – January 13, 2017
As Honduran politicians and political parties gear up for this year’s presidential election, a growing left-wing opposition party led by the wife of deposed President Manuel Zelaya threatens to upset the nation’s established right-wing order.
Historically, the country has been ruled by two dominant political parties — the Liberal Party of Honduras, the PLH, and the National Party of Honduras, the PNH — but this year the leftist Liberty and Refoundation party, commonly referred to as Libre, set up after the 2009 coup against the progressive government of then-President Zelaya, could see its candidate in the presidential chair.
While there are dozens of candidates, opinion polls show that the presidency is likely to be disputed between current President Juan Orlando Hernandez from the PNH and Libre’s Xiomara Castro, the wife of Zelaya. … continue
By Gilad Atzmon – January 14, 2017
“The Lobby”, the Al-Jazeerah expose of the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish Lobby infiltration into British politics is a landmark in journalism.
It seems that Qatari TV outsmarted Israeli intelligence in the UK and beyond. […]
But Al-Jazeera fell into an all-too-common trap.
Troubled by its own findings, it tried to soften them with the usual politically correct fluff. … Read full article
RT | January 14, 2017
Danish Journalist Iben Thranholm, who was branded as a Russian propagandist and included on an EU blacklist for comments she made on migrant policy, tells RT that such character assassinations have become the new go-to tactic of Western governments.
Thranholm is a Danish current events columnist who penned an opinion piece for Russia Insider in 2016, in which she explained her reservations about the EU’s current migrant policy and its inability to properly integrate Muslim migrants into European society. … continue
RT | January 14, 2017
Nearly 19 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN, but the worst of the civilian impact of the two-year civil war in the country has fallen on the coastal fishing area around the Red Sea coastal district of Tuhayat.
As RT’s Arabic-language crew visited the area, they witnessed scenes of chaos – as locals scrambled to gain food – and quiet desperation, with many residents swollen with hunger, waiting for outside help, or resigned to their fate.
Salem is an eight-year-old boy, though like many in similar areas around the world, he looks small enough to be mistaken for a toddler.
“We have no energy left, and I have no money with which to treat my child,” says his mother, admitting that the boy is severely malnourished, just one of more than 1.5 million children suffering from the same fate in the country, according to the United Nations.
Fishing used to be the prime source of subsistence for villagers here, prior to the break out of the full-scale civil war between the insurgent Shia Houthis, and the incumbent Sunni government in early 2015.
The area remains under control of the Houthis, but the Saudi-led international coalition, which is supporting the Sunnis, who constitute just under half of the population, has blockaded the coastal areas.
The Saudis have repeatedly fired on fishing boats operated by the locals, saying that some have been used on weapons runs to supply the rebels, even if keeping them moored on land means that innocent civilians will die. … continue
Press TV – January 14, 2017
The American government is ending some economic sanctions against Sudan as a reward for Khartoum’s closer ties with the West and Saudi Arabia, an African American journalist in Detroit says.
“The Sudanese government has shifted its foreign policy more towards Saudi Arabia,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.
“This is reflected in their participation in the war against Yemen… also they’ve broken diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Azikiwe said in a phone interview with Press TV on Friday.
“So I think this is a reward for Sudan in regard to moving closer to the West,” he added.
Obama signed an executive order on Friday to ease but not eliminate some trade and investment sanctions against Khartoum, arguing that the East African country has shown “a marked reduction in offensive military activity, culminating in a pledge to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas.”
The outgoing president expressed determination that the situation which led the US to impose and continue the 20-year-old sanctions had changed in light of Sudan’s “positive actions” over the last six months. … Full article
Press TV – January 14, 2017
US President Barack Obama has declared the continuation of his country’s national emergency against Iran, claiming that despite full commitment to its nuclear deal with the six world powers, the Islamic Republic still poses “an unusual and extraordinary threat” to America.
The outgoing president informed Congress of his decision in a letter on Friday, saying that the national emergency, which was declared on March 15, 1995, “is to continue in effect beyond March 15, 2017.”
The National Emergencies Act requires the president to extend a national emergency within 90 days of its anniversary date, before it is automatically terminated.
Obama admitted in his letter that Iran had delivered on its commitments pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a landmark nuclear deal that was struck between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, the UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany — on July 14, 2015. … continue
Press TV – January 14, 2017
Despite earlier threats made by US President-elect Donald Trump to dismantle the nuclear agreement with Iran, his pick for US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has called for a “full review” of the accord, but fallen short of seeking an outright rejection. Reacting to the remarks, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-e Ravanchi emphasized that the nuclear deal also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not negotiable.
Kaveh Afrasiabi, author and political scientist from Boston, believes that Tillerson’s remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee show that the incoming administration will abide by the JCPOA.
“At least in the intermediate term, the Trump administration is going to stick with the nuclear agreement while it is reviewing it,” Afrasiabi told Press TV on Friday night.
There are “some positive signs coming from the cabinet members of the Trump administration” regarding the implementation of the JCPOA, he added. … continue
By Adam Garrie | The Duran | January 14, 2017
Donald Trump is no fan of post-1979 Iran, but name me any former US President who was? However, there is one character in modern Iranian history that Trump ought to feel some level of sympathy with. That man is former Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. … continue
By Neil Clark | RT | January 14, 2017
… British leftists who are delighting in what’s happening to Trump at the moment: beware. For the very same strategy will be deployed against UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn if he continues to defy the spooks and neocon gatekeepers by calling for an end to Cold War 2.0. Who knows? A dodgy dossier on ‘Corbyn the Collaborator’ might already have been prepared and be ready for circulation to ‘sympathetic’ journalists and anti-Russian websites, whose principled opposition to ‘fake news’ and disseminating unverified claims will mysteriously disappear. – Read full article
By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 14.01.2017
Chris Steele is a former MI6 and FBI asset who compiled a dossier of unsubstantiated allegations about President-elect Donald Trump. The current Director at the private security and investigation firm Orbis Business Intelligence, is a curious player in the sensational efforts of Trump adversaries. Here is what I discovered about the former British intelligence officer.
For Donald Trump’s part, his press conference this week revealed his righteous indignation at just how far his opponents will go to smear his coming administration. Shunning Buzzfeed and ostracizing CNN for their irresponsible broadcasting of the “dossier”, Mr. Trump was crystal clear in pointing the finger at crooked media and the people behind. The incoming president was also clear in identifying his adversaries, a fact that has been corroborated.
The Steele dossier was contracted by both Republican and Democratic adversaries of Mr. Trump. Senator John McCain, the notoriously hawkish Arizona arms industry puppet, admitted he turned over the dossier to the FBI. While McCain’s involvement is shocking enough, I believe other familiar faces funded the extended smear campaign. The Guardian has done some of the homework in tracking down how this dossier came into being, but this “Steele” character is still a bit of an enigma. … continue
Sputnik – 14.01.2017
The US Senate Intelligence Committee has passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2017, which also aims to counter alleged Russian media manipulation and limit travel of accredited Russian diplomats within the United States, according to a release issued by the committee Chairman Richard Burr.
“The bill authorizes funding for the US intelligence community… [and] requires the President to establish an interagency committee to counter Russian active measures,” the release stated on Friday.
The Authorization Act was passed by unanimous consent on Thursday.
The bill alleges that Russia is taking active measures to exert influence over people and governments through covert broadcasting and media manipulation. The document urges the US president to establish a committee to counter such activities. … Full article
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