Author Archives: niqnaq

good news about divestment

Israel boycott restrictions thrown out by UK’s High Court
Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, Jun 22 2017

The High Court in London ruled on Thursday that the Conservative government acted unlawfully in trying to prevent local councils in the United Kingdom from divesting from firms involved in Israel’s military occupation. The successful legal challenge for the right to boycott was brought by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in March, and was supported by War on Want, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Quakers. PSC Director Ben Jamal said:

We couldn’t be happier that this right has been upheld by the court.

Recent UK polling showed that two in five people consider BDS to be a reasonable Palestinian response to Israel’s crimes. PSC Chair Hugh Lanning said:

Today is a victory for Palestine, for local democracy and for the rule of law! Absolutely everyone has a right to peacefully protest Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights!

In a judicial review published on Thursday, judge Ross Cranston overturned part of a guidance document issued in September by local government minister Sajid Javid. The court ruled that the government had acted improperly by seeking to use pension law to pursue its own foreign and arms industry policy. Jamie Potter, one of PSC’s lawyers, said:

This outcome is a reminder to the government that it cannot improperly interfere in the exercise of freedom of conscience and protest in order to pursue its own agenda!

The full ruling can be read here. The minister’s guidance had stated:

(Local authorities must not use) pension policies to pursue boycotts, divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defense industries … other than where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the government.

Although the document did not specifically name Israel, it was part of a series of measures, launched at a press conference in Jerusalem, explicitly intended to target BDS campaigners. Although the government trailed it to the media as a “BDS ban,” legal analysis of the new documents showed there was nothing new in them “aside from some overblown rhetoric clearly intended to scare campaigners.” Local government bodies in the UK have for years been urged by PSC et al to divest from companies that are involved in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. French multinational Veolia withdrew from most Israeli businesses in 2015 after being the focus of a years-long BDS campaign. Municipalities around the world had dropped it from contracts worth more than $14b, according to the BDS National Committee. Veolia lost contracts with public bodies in London, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Canterbury, East Sussex and Winchester as a result of BDS campaigns. Councils in Tower Hamlets, Leicester, Swansea and Bristol are among those that have passed resolutions in support of BDS or condemning companies involved in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law.

why are the turks outside the gulf consensus? is it because they are not included in israel’s covert alliance with the toads?

Arab States Issue 13-Point Ultimatum To Qatar
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 23 2017

Two days after a confused State Dept formally inquired about what is going on between Arab States and Qatar, the Toads, Bahrainis, Egyptians and Emiratis sent a list of 13 demands to the tiny Gulf nation to be met within 10 days in order to lift their total blockade of the country. This formal list comes on the heels of a Jun 6 rumor that Arab states issued a list of 10 demands to be fulfilled within 24 hours, however Qatar said they never received them according to al-Jazeera journalists who are now dusting off their resumes. The list of demands encompasses other accusations that have already been denied by Qatari officials, raising the prospect of deadlock in the worst crisis to hit the Gulf in decades. Qatar’s foreign minister previously said any demand to close al-Jazeera would be rejected, describing the channel as an “internal affair” linked to Qatar’s sovereignty that should not be the subject of external interference. Arab states have long complained that al-Jazeera’s Arabic language channel is a propaganda tool that stokes tensions in the region. Al-Jazeera insists it has editorial independence. On Jun 5, news broke that Bahrain, the UAE, the Toads and Egypt had cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations of ‘spreading chaos’ by ‘funding terrorism and supporting Iran,’ shutting down all land, sea and air crossings with the tiny energy-rich nation that has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatari visitors and residents were given two weeks to leave, while diplomats had just 48 hours. While Qatar has been friendly with Iran for years, the prelude to the embargo began after a broadcast which showed Qatari Emir Tamim al-Thani speaking with no audio, and scrolling text at the bottom of the screen which stated his support for Iran and terrorist groups. Qatar claims the broadcast was ‘hacked.’ After the broadcast, the Toads and the UAE blocked al-Jazeera. 

Amid Qatar’s denials, Toad-owned satellite television networks immediately began airing repeated stories about the disputed comments. By early Wednesday morning, those living in the UAE and subscribers to local cable providers couldn’t access the channels of al-Jazeera, the pan-Arab satellite broadcaster based in the Qatari capital, Doha. Attempts to reach its websites brought up a warning from the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority saying the site “contains content that is prohibited.” In Saudi Arabia, internet users also found al-Jazeera websites blocked with a warning from the kingdom’s Culture and Information Ministry.

Full list of demands (translated by @hxhassan)

  1. Qatar must reduce diplomatic representation with Iran
  2. Qatar must immediately shut down the Turkish military base that is being established
  3. Qatar must announce severance of ties with terrorist, ideological & sectarian orgs: MB, Daesh, AQ, HTS, Hizbollah
  4. Qatar must cease any funding activities to extremist and terrorist individuals
  5. Qatar must hand over all designated terrorists
  6. Qatar must shut down al-Jazeera and all affiliated channels
  7. Qatar must stop interference in these countries’ domestic and foreign affairs; stop naturalisation of their citizens; extradite such citizens
  8. Qatar must provide reparations to these countries for any opportunity costs incurred over the past few years because of Qatari policies. (How do they even begin to comply with this in 10 days?)
  9. Qatar must become in sync with its Gulf and Arab neighbourhood on all levels, and to activate Riyadh Agreement 2013/2014
  10. Qatar must provide all databases related to oppositionists that it provided support to & clarify what help was provided.
  11. Qatar must (shutter) all media outlets backed by it directly or indirectly, like Arabi21, Rasd, New Arab, Middle East Eye, Mkamlin, Sharq etc
  12. These demands must be agreed within 10 days, otherwise they would be invalidated.
  13. Agreement will involve clear goals and mechanism, monthly reports in the first year, every three months the next & annually for 10 years

If these demands are not met, and they likely won’t be, it may only be a matter of time before Qatar catches a case of regime change, now that the Toad alliance will have a “pretext” demonstrating Qatari non-compliance with a “goodwill” offer.

hotter than a $2 pistola

Syria the Latest Case of Pindostan ‘Stumbling’ Into War
Adam Johnson, FAIR, Jun 22 2017

Sucked-Into-War-1280x640
A recent headline in the Atlantic Magazine (6/9/17) earnestly pondered if Pindostan was “Getting Sucked Into More War in Syria.” The article’s discussion began:

Even as Faschingstein potentially stumbles into war …

One of the most common tropes in Pindosi media is that the Pindo military always goes to war reluctantly, and if there are negative consequences like civilian deaths, it’s simply a matter of bumbling around without much plan or purpose. This framing serves to flatter two sensibilities: one right and one vaguely left. It satisfies the right-wing nationalist idea that Pindostan only goes to war because it’s compelled to do so by forces outside of its own control, the reluctant warrior, the gentle giant who will only attack when provoked. But it also plays to a nominally liberal hipster notion that the Pindosi military is actually incompetent and boobish, and is generally bad at warmaking. This is expressed most clearly in the idea that Pindostan is “drawn into” war despite its otherwise unwarlike intentions.

  • Fox News asked “Will Pindostan Be Drawn Further Into Syrian Civil War?” (4/7/17)
  • The Atlantic Magazine disclosed “How Pindostan Could Stumble Into War With Iran” (2/9/17)
  • Quartz speculated on “What It Would Take to Pull Pindostan Into a War in Asia,” (4/29/17)
  • Slate predicted “Trump could easily get us sucked into Afghanistan again,” (5/11/17).
  • The NYT editorial board warned that Pindostan is “stumbling into a wider war” in Syria (5/3/15)
  • Vice News added “A Flexing Contest in Syria May Trap Pindostan in an Endless Conflict” (6/19/17)
  • Brookings offers “Are Pindostanis Sliding Into Another War?” (2/25/15)
  • The Graun has ”Iran: stumbling into war“ (2/19/12)
  • Doug Bandow revives the classic formulation: “Pindostan Is Getting Sucked into Another Middle East Quagmire” (6/20/17)
  • Ed Sanders in the Hill says: “I don’t want to see us dragged into war” (4/16/17)
  • Fox asks: “Will Pindostan be drawn further into Syrian civil war?” (4/7/17)

Pindostan is always reluctant and without a plan, falling backward into bombing and occupying. Pindostan didn’t enter the conflict in Syria in Sep 2014 deliberately. It was forced into it by outside actors. Pindostan didn’t arm and fund anti-Assad rebels for four years to the tune of $1b/yr as part of a broader strategy for the region. It did so as a result of some unknown geopolitical dark matter. Syria especially evokes the media’s “reluctantly sucked into war” narrative. Four times in the past month, the Trump administration has attacked pro-regime forces in Syria, and in all four instances they’ve claimed “self-defense.” All four times, media accepted this justification without question (eg Reuters 6/19/17), despite not a single instance of “self-defense” claims during 30 months of the Obama administration fighting in Syria. The one time Obama directly attacked Syrian government forces, Pindostan claimed it was an accident. Why the sudden uptick in “self-defense”? Could it be because Trump has given a green light to his generals to adopt an itchy trigger finger, as with the bombing of Daesh and nearby civilians? Could it be Trump and Mattis, who has a decades-long grudge against Iran, want to blow up Iranian drones and kill Iranian troops? No such questions are entertained, much less interrogated. Pindostan’s entirely defensive posture in Syria is presented as fact and serves as the premise for discussion. When the empire isn’t reluctant, it’s benevolent. Foreign Policy‘s Emile Simpson insisted (6/21/17):

Initially motivated by humanitarian impulse, Pindostan and its Western vassals achieved regime change in Libya and attempted it in Syria, by backing rebels in each case.

The NYT editorial board swooned (2/7/17):

At least in recent decades, Pindosi presidents who took military action have been driven by the desire to promote freedom and democracy.

The WaPo’s Philip Rucker declared (5/2/17):

Every Pindosi president since at least the 1970s has used his office to champion human rights and democratic values around the world.

Interpreting policy-makers’ motives is permitted, so long as the conclusion is never critical. In contrast, foreign policy actions by Russia are painted in diabolical and near-omnipotent terms. Vanity Fair worried: “Is Putin’s Master Plan Only Beginning?” (12/28/16). Time Magazine insists: “Putin’s Aim Is to Make This the Russian Century” (10/1/16). Russia isn’t “drawn into” Crimea, says the BBC, it has a secret “Crimea takeover plot” (3/9/15). Putin doesn’t “stumble into” Syria, says Foreign Affairs.com, he has a “Long-Term Strategy” there (3/15/16). Military adventurism by other countries is part of a well-planned agenda, while Pindo intervention is at best reluctant, and at worst bumfuzzled: Barney Fife with 8,000 Abrams tanks and 19 aircraft carriers. Even liberals talk about war in this agency-free manner. Jon Stewart was fond of saying that the Iraq war was “a mistake,” implying a degree of aw-shucks mucking-up rather than a years-long plan by ideologues in the government to assert Pindosi hegemony in the Middle East. War isn’t a “mistake,” nor unless your country is invaded, is it carried out against your will. The acts of marshalling tens of thousands of troops, scores of ships and hundreds of aircraft, and coordinating the mechanisms of soft and covert power used by State and CIA officials, are deliberated by conscious, very powerful actors. Media shouldn’t make broad, conspiratorial assumptions as to what the bigger designs are, but neither are they under any obligation to buy into this mythology that Pindo foreign policy is an improvised peace mission carried out by good-hearted bureaucrats who only engage in war because they’re “sucked into” doing so.

i am always a fan of louis farrakhan, always

This is Being in Time!!!
Gilad Atzmon, Jun 22 2017

Louis Farrakhan berates media reporters during a commercial break on local Chicago radio station WVON, sometime in Jan 2016.

whizbang

Russian battleships & submarine fire 6 cruise missiles on Daesh in Syria
RT.com, Jun 23 2017

The Defense Ministry said in a Friday statement:
Two Russian Navy frigates and a submarine have fired six Kalibr cruise missiles on Daesh targets in Syria. Militants who survived the attack were later killed in airstrikes. The missiles were launched from Russian Navy frigates in the eastern Mediterranean, the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, as well as a submarine, the Krasnodar, which fired its missiles while submerged. The strikes targeted Daesh command and control centers, as well as ammunition depots in the Syrian province of Hama. Today’s precision strike hit a large Daesh ammunition depot near the town of Aqerbat, which detonated after receiving a direct hit. The remaining targets were destroyed in subsequent airstrikes. Russia warned Turkey and Israel about the attacks via military-to-military hotlines. Over the past week, Daesh made numerous attempts to escape the besieged city of Raqqa and head towards Palmyra using a “southern corridor.” The terrorists are moving forces through rugged terrain to the Hama province during the night and setting up command posts and ammunition depots in large buildings there, it added. The movements of Daesh in the area are being monitored by Russian surveillance assets operating round the clock, the military said, adding that any potential targets detected will be subject to precision strikes by the Air Force. Earlier in May, the same warships fired four cruise missiles that hit combat vehicles and militants outside the Syrian city of Palmyra. A Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti at the time:

The airstrike was launched after a large Daesh convoy, comprising 39 vehicles and 120 militants, was spotted outside the city of Raqqa. The vehicles had been equipped with large-caliber machine guns. The terrorist convoy of 39 pickup trucks was detected and destroyed by the Air Force on its way to Palmyra. It targeted an area east of Palmyra, where the militants’ heavy weaponry and manpower were located. The militants had moved there from Raqqa. All targets were destroyed.

Back in August of last year, the Russian Black Sea Fleet also fired Kalibr cruise missiles over unpopulated areas to destroy a command post and munitions production site of Jabhat al-Nusra.

“intelligence chiefs escalate” is a bit like “the crackdown intensifies” which is all it ever does

Intelligence chiefs escalate anti-Russia campaign
Josh Varlin, WSWS, Jun 23 2017

Two intelligence agency heads have reportedly told Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee that Pres Trump suggested that they publicly state that Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia. CNN, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday that DNI Coats and NSA’s Rogers felt that Trump’s suggestions were strange but did not constitute an order. Both Coats and Rogers testified publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Jun 7, where they declined to discuss their interactions with Trump, frustrating Demagogs. According to CNN, they had asked the White House if these conversations with Trump were protected by executive privilege and therefore could not be discussed with Congress. The White House did not respond before the Jun 7 hearing, leaving Coats and Rogers to make vague statements that did not clarify whether the president had pressured them. Coats and Rogers have since confirmed in statements to Mueller’s team and the Senate Intelligence Committee, that Trump asked them to state that he did not collude with Russia in the Kremlin’s alleged interference in his election. Their statements were reportedly made separately, with the statements before Senate investigators happening behind closed doors rather than in a public hearing. Also on Thursday, Trump tweeted:

Trump had raised the possibility of “tapes” after he fired Comey in May. The day before the leak about statements by Coats and Rogers, the Senate and House intelligence committees held hearings during which members of Congress and former boxtops including former DHS Sec Jeh Johnson made unsupported allegations that Russian intelligence agencies had compromised voter registration systems, if not voting machines themselves. These allegations focus on a different aspect of the anti-Russian campaign, which until now has mostly focused on claims that Russian intelligence agencies hacked into the DNC + Podesta and then gave the emails to WikiLeaks. With these allegations still completely unproven, the focus during Wednesday’s hearings shifted to claims that the GRU infiltrated private companies that create software to manage voter registration rolls. This claim came to widespread public attention when NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner leaked an NSA assessment to the Intercept. Johnson, who headed the DHS from Dec 2013 until Trump took office in Jan 2017, asserted in his prepared remarks to the House Intelligence Committee:

In 2016 the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyber-attacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election, plain and simple, (but neverthelesless) the Russian government did not through any cyber-intrusion alter ballots, ballot counts or reporting of election results.

He did not rule out the possibility that the information released by WikiLeaks (which demonstrated Hillary Clinton’s subservience to Wall Street) might have influenced voters’ decisions. Johnson described Russian interference in the election as “unprecedented” in its “scale and scope,” in part due to the leaking of information designed to influence people’s decisions, rather than limiting activities to covert infiltration. Johnson also voiced his displeasure that the DNC refused assistance from the DHS and the FBI after the hack, instead relying on the private cyber-security firm CrowdStrike. According to Rep Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the DNC never turned the server over to law enforcement, making it far more difficult to provide evidence of who was responsible for the hacking. When asked by Rep Terri Sewell of Alabama about the evidence linking Russia to the purported election interference, Johnson declined to discuss it in an open session. This did not stop him from saying in practically every other statement that “Russia” or “the Russians” were responsible. Rep Chris Stewart of Utah sounded the most ominous note of the morning when he asked Johnson a series of questions implying that measures needed to be taken to prevent the Pindosi press from facilitating Russian “propaganda” and disinformation:

How do you protect against propaganda? How do you protect against false news stories? How do you protect against Internet trolls who we know are paid Russian employees? And the last question is … how do you encourage a gullible press to be more mature in their judgment, more defined in their judgments, rather than play into Russian hands?

In response, Johnson implied that it was better when there were “gatekeepers” to news, before the Internet allowed “those who call themselves journalists” to have their voices heard without going through the corporate media. Concurrent with Johnson’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee heard from cyber-security experts, federal officials and state election officials, also about alleged Russian intrusion into voter registration systems. Jeanette Manfra, a senior DHS official, claimed that voter registration systems in 21 states were targeted by Russian intelligence, although only Arizona and Illinois have been confirmed as being among the 21. It is worth noting that the NSA document leaked by the Intercept, generally cited as proof that Russian intelligence was behind these attacks, is an assessment only and does not contain any evidence, only assertions. Moreover, the claim that the GRU was behind the intrusions is described as an “analyst judgment” rather than “confirmed information.” Additionally, it was reported this week that almost every registered voter in Pindostan had their information left on an unsecured Amazon cloud server used by a data-mining company hired by the RNC. This data, according to cyber-security firm UpGuard, includes the “names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers and voter registration details, as well as voter ethnicities and religions as ‘modeled’ by the firms’ data scientists,” of almost 200 million Pindostanis. It also included calculated “alignments” of voters based on their demographic information, including how likely they were to think that fossil fuels are important for Pindo energy security or if they were likely to agree or disagree with Trump’s “Pindostan First” foreign policy. This exposure of voters’ information happened because of the incompetence of a Thug-linked Pindosi firm, not any foreign meddling.

James Comey Visits the NYT
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 22 2017

20170622_copmey1

Just hours after Pres Trump admitted he did not record any of his conversations with James Comey, the former FBI Director was spotted entering the NYT offices in Times Square, NYC. As The Daily Mail notes, Comey confessed to being the source of a leak to the NYT about private, unorthodox meeting(s) he had with the president before he was fired in June. Comey, disguised behind dark sunglasses, stared straight ahead as entered the Times Square office building, accompanied by his wife Patrice Failor. Unmistakably towering above everybody with his 6ft 8in frame, in a crisp navy suit and tie on one of the warmest days of the year, The Daily Mail reports Comey drew second-glances from some stunned passers-by. Just when the torrents of daily leaks and anonymously-sourced lies was slowing to a drip. Is Comey about to serialise his brief few weeks with Pres Trump? Or maybe, just maybe, the NYT wants to investigate a little deeper just what went on with Loretta Lynch?

Trump: Mueller And Comey’s BFF Status ‘Very Bothersome’
ZeroPointNow, Zero Hedge, Jun 23 2017

Pres Trump told Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt in an interview scheduled to air Friday on Fox and Friends that he is bothered by Robert Mueller’s close relationship with James Comey. When asked if Mueller should recuse himself, Trump said:

Well, he’s very very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome! We’re going to have to see!

As Mark Levin pointed out last week:

John Legato is a former deep cover FBI special agent, and he writes that Comey and Mueller, their families have vacationed together, have had picnics together, hours spent at the office together, had a few cocktails after work, so Mueller can’t possibly be impartial here, not when he’s very close friends with a key witness! The point is this: he’s not independent!

Trump also made mention of the four demagog-supporting attorneys Mueller has hired for the investigation, saying:

There’s been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that, so we’ll have to see! I can say that the people that have been hired were all Hillary Clinton supporters!

Something Newt Gingrich tweeted about on Jun 12:

Michael Dreeben donated to Obama and Clinton; Jeannie Rhee donated to DNC, Obama & Clinton; James Quarles has a long history of Dem & Clinton donations; Andrew Weissman donated six times to Obama PACs as well as DNC in 2006. Levin also noted:

He’s not looking into any of the financial relationships between the Clinton Foundation and Russia. Any of the violations of the espionage act by Hillary Clinton and if the Russians got a hold of any of those emails. Mr Comey nicely and neatly closed that investigation.

Trump Attorney Jon Sekulow has been making the rounds to defend the President, telling a testy Chris Wallace that Comey himself said Trump was “not a target or subject of investigation.”

There has been no notification from the special counsel’s office that the president is under investigation… I can’t imagine a scenario where the president would not be aware of it.

Sekulow then went on Hannity yesterday to suggest that Comey should be the one under investigation for leaking a classified memo created after a meeting with Trump. Trump’s interview with Fox and Friends airs on Friday.

Trump Explains Why He Bluffed On ‘Comey Tapes’
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 23 2017

After weeks without a live interview & much to the dismay of the left-leaning MSM, Pres Trump appeared on Fox & Friends this morning with Melania. The interview will undoubtedly be described throughout the day as a ‘softball’ piece but it did at least result in some new insights, maybe. First, on the now infamous ‘Comey tapes.’ Given that Trump has now admitted that there never were any ‘tapes,’ at least as far as he knows, why the bluff?  Apparently, Trump believes the bluff helped to steer Comey toward the path of truth in his testimony, a path that Trump believes he’d lost before the bluff. Here’s Trump on the topic:

Well, I didn’t tape him. You never know what’s happening when you see that the Obama administration and perhaps longer than that was doing all this unmasking and surveillance, and you read all about it, and I’ve been reading about it for the last couple of months, about the seriousness of the and the horrible situation of surveillance all over the place. But I didn’t tape, and I don’t have any tapes, and I didn’t tape, but when he found out that there may be tapes out there, whether its governmental tapes or anything else and who knows, I think his story may have changed. You’ll have to take a look at that. Because then he’ll have to tell what actually took place at the events. And my story never changed. My story was the straight story. My story was always the truth. But you’ll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. He did admit that what I said was right, and if you look further back, before he heard about that, I think maybe he wasn’t admitting that, so you’ll have to do a little investigative reporting to determine that, but I don’t think it will be that hard.

And on Robert Mueller:

Well, he’s very very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome, we’re going to have to see, but there has no obstruction, there has been no collusion, there has been leaking by Comey, and virtually everyone agrees on that. The people who have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters. Some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, if you want to know the truth from that standpoint. But he is an honorable man, and hopefully he’ll come up with an honorable solution.

And in case there is any doubt, here is The Hill’s confirmation that some of the folks on Mueller’s team may be slightly less that completely ‘independent.’

The Hill previously reported that Jeannie Rhee, a member of Mueller’s team, donated $5,400 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign PAC. Another person on Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann, donated money to Obama’s campaign in 2008 while working at a law firm. Weissmann is the senior lawyer on the special counsel team, Bloomberg reported. James Quarles, who served as an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, has donated to over a dozen Demagog PACs since the late 1980s. He was also identified by the Washington Post as a member of Mueller’s team.

In the end, not much new was learned, but it all makes for entertaining tv.

The Left Melts Down After Trump Declares: ‘There Are No Comey Tapes’
The_Real_Fly, Jun 22 2017

I’ve procured the full rundown for those of you interested in consuming the tears of liberals. This is the worst meltdown on the left since Trump took two scoops of iced cream, while giving everyone else 1. In summary, several weeks ago Trump alluded to the existence of tapes, recordings of conversations between himself and Comey. Today, he admitted, after teasing the media for weeks, that there weren’t any tapes. Meanwhile, coal miners in Virginia and programmers in San Francisco don’t give two shits whether there are tapes or not. The point: this is an issue that only political freaks and media shills care about. The net result is total and complete meltdown, with the media sojourning deep into the crevasses of despair, calling the President a liar, a suicide bomber, to demanding that Robert Mueller investigates these so called tapes, asking whether Trump intimidated a witness (Comey). The crimes of Trump keep piling up, ‘self-inflicted wounds’ and Russian nightmares plague DC, in an everlasting melodic symphony of Trump crashing whipped cream pies into the faces of his petty enemies. (Note: he even forces the media to turn their cameras off during the daily press briefings).

MSNBC: Trump is a suicide bomber.

CNN: Trump lied.

Jake Tapper implies Trump lies all the time.

MSNBC: Trump is like candy crush, wasting our time.

Greta has a serious meltdown. Sen Markey demands Mueller investigates Trump over tapes. HAHAHAAHAHAH

Schiff: Trump can’t be a reality teevee host anymore (that’s where you’re wrong kiddo).

Olbermann (sigh)

le dernier cri from haaretz

Im Tirtzu received over $1m from Pindo donors
Uri Blau, Haaretz, Jun 23 2017

1642134204Im Tirtzu’s 2015 “The People Against The Moles” campaign (Photo: Moti Milrod)

2015 was a good year for Im Tirtzu. The financial reports it submitted to the Registrar of Non-Profit Associations showed that donations to the virulently anti-leftist group had soared from ₪1.7m (about $480k) to about ₪7m. The report identifies the major donor to the movement, which gave it about ₪3.7m, as “Shining City.” This is the first time this organization has been mentioned as a donor to Im Tirtzu. Another donor mentioned for the first time in the reports is Pindosis for Jayloomia, which gave the movement ₪995k. Apart from the donor organizations’ names and amounts of donations, details that are required by the Registrar of Non-Profit Associations, the Im Tirtzu financial reports reveal nothing about who exactly sent millions of shekels to its bank account. As Im Tirtzu frequently attacks the funding sources of leftist and human rights organizations, I asked a senior member of the organization whether there isn’t something odd about this. Ignoring that there are more than 40 organizations around the world registered as Shining City, he replied:

Anyone who wants to find information can look on Google.

Now Haaretz has discovered that behind the two hefty contributions to Im Tirtzu were Pindosi organizations connected to close associates of Bibi. Their legal structure allows for transfer of funds whose source is undisclosed. Shining City is a body run by wealthy individuals close to Bibi and the Thugs. It conducted a campaign in Pindostan against former Obama. The organization’s website was registered by Vincent Harris, Bibi’s Pindosi political strategist in the last election in Israel. The other donor, Pindosis for Jayloomia, is registered at the New York address of the philanthropic foundation of Ronald Lauder. The organization is managed by Lauder’s aide Allen Roth. On the eve of the 2012 Pindosi presidential election, it was reported that Pindosis for Jeayloomia had initiated registration of Pindosi voters living in Israel. Roth, who has not replied to a Haaretz query, is also president of an organization called Secure Pindostan Now, which worked to thwart Obama’s 2012 reelection. Both of these organizations are registered under the IRS Code section 501(c)(4) for organizations engaged in promoting social objectives, which enables them to direct some of their money to advancing political goals without revealing their sources of funding.

Shining City was founded in Virginia in late 2014 to educate the public on “relations between Israel and Pindostan” and the latter’s political relationships in the Middle East. It was registered by law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, which specializes in developing financial mechanisms to fund conservative causes and Thug candidates (ie they are Jabotinsky’s Herut loyalists – RB). According to a Bloomberg report, the firm was involved in registering companies that donated $250m to campaigns connected to the 2012 presidential election. Shining City operated mostly during the 2015 Knesset election campaign, when the nuclear agreement with Iran was under discussion in Pindostan. At the beginning of 2015, after Bibi was invited to speak before Congress, they promoted the speech on social media and lauded him. Though Shining City is still registered as an active organization, it is hard to find any mention of its current activity. Its website has shut down and there have been no tweets in its Twitter account since the end of 2015. Infrequently, its Facebook page still shares things, among them statements by Netanyahu.

According to official statements filed in the name of Shining City in Virginia, the group had three directors in 2016: Phil Rosen, Eliot Lauer and Andrew or Andy Albstein. All are prominent New York attorneys and at least two of them are close to Bibi & the Thugs. Rosen is a partner in the firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges, where he heads the real estate and infrastructure practices. He has served as president of Pindosi Friends of Likud and is considered a friend of Bibi. Rosen is also a member of the directorate of the RJC, of which another donor close to Netanyahu is Sheldon Adelson. Rosen said neither he nor other directors of Shining City funded its activities, and refused to say who did. He also said he does not recall donations to Im Tirtzu. He promised to get back to Haaretz after looking into the matter but did not do so despite repeated requests. Lauer, the treasurer of the RJC, is a lawyer with the firm of Curtis Mallet Prevost Colt & Mosle, but is best known as the attorney for Jonathan Pollard. Last year Lauer was among the organizers of a fundraising event for Ted Cruz. In 2012, he donated $3k to Bibi and also gave financial support to Mitt Romney. Also among the hosts of the Cruz event last year was Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, who was listed the previous year as president of Shining City. A few weeks ago it was reported that Lightstone would be appointed as an adviser to Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, but there has been no official confirmation of this report. Lightstone said only that he is no longer working with Shining City. The third director at Shining City, Albstein, is a New York real estate lawyer. He told Haaretz he became acquainted with Lightstone through another person involved in pro-Israel political activity, but refused to give that person’s name. Albstein, too, refused to say who funds the organization, which he said to the best of his knowledge is currently inactive. When asked about the donation to Im Tirtzu, he replied he was not familiar with any such donation but that does not mean it was not given.

According to newspaper reports in recent years, there were once extensive connections between Im Tirtzu and Bibi. Raviv Drucker found that Bibi had approached businesspeople to donate to the IDF “reservists’ protest” against Olmert after the Second Lebanon War, a protest in which Im Tirtzu was a leader. According to Drucker, Bibi connected Im Tirtzu with evangelical Pastor John Hagee, who became one of its donors. Im Tirtzu stated in its financial report that most of its expenses in 2015, about 4 million shekels, went for PR and publications. At the end of 2015, Im Tirtzu launched its campaign depicting human rights workers as defenders of terrorism. The movement is now promoting a code of ethics for academia, composed by philosophy Prof Asa Kasher. Im Tirtzu responded to queries:

Most of our donors today are Israelis, but we are pleased to find private donors from around the world as well (individuals and private foundations) who support our important activity and thereby try to strengthen the Jewish and democratic identity of the State of Israel. The guideline in the movement with regard to raising funds is non-acceptance of money from any foreign state entity or foundations that promote delegitimization of Israeli society. The Im Tirtzu movement does not examine the political opinions of those who seek to donate to it. We are deeply grateful to every donor who helps Im Tirtzu in its extensive activity for the Jewish people and we are not surprised that many people in Israel and abroad are prepared to place their trust in us and invest in us. With God’s help, we will continue to go from strength to strength in our activity for the State of Israel.

what are you talking about rex

China asked Pindo boxtops to remove THAAD from SK
Elizabeth Shim, UPI, Jun 22 2017

China-asked-US-officials-to-remove-THAAD-from-South-Korea

FASCHINGSTEIN – The Chinese government asked Pindostan to remove the THAAD battery deployed in central SK and claimed that Pindostan acknowledged Tibet as a part of China, after the Pindo-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue concluded on Wednesday. Beijing’s foreign ministry said in an online statement published Thursday that senior Chinese officials reached a consensus on key issues during the high-level security dialogue in Faschingstein with Rex Tillerson and Mad Dog Mattis, neither of whom mentioned mention discussions of Tibet or THAAD during a joint presser following their meeting. Tillerson did say:

We called for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We called upon NK to halt its illegal nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile test as stipulated in the UNSCRs. We reaffirmed our commitment to implement in full all relevant UNSCRs. We hope China will do its part to put an end to a number of criminal enterprises that enable NK to earn foreign currency.

In its official statement, China not only said it expressed opposition to the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, but that it also “requested Pindostan suspend the process and withdraw” THAAD, Yonhap’s Beijing correspondent reported. China did not give details on the Pindo response to the proposition Chinese government officials raised during the meeting. The Chinese foreign ministry did claim that Pindostan recognized China’s “principle position” that Tibet belongs to China. The foreign ministry stated:

In this dialogue, Chinese officials stressed the importance of observing a pledge to abide by the principle position, related to the problems of Taiwan and Tibet. The Pindosi side recognized Tibet as a part of China in adherence to the ‘One China’ policy.

Tillerson did not mention Tibet on Wednesday, but he did say:

We will stand up for Pindostani and universal values, like human rights! We will not be shy about raising our concerns about China’s human rights record!

gareth takes as long as it takes to explain things, more or less as they were before daesh

How Pindostan Armed Terrorists in Syria
Gareth Porter, AmConMag, Jun 22 2017

Three-term Congress crittur Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any Pindosi assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit Pindosi military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators. Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago. In 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies (the Turks, Toads & Thanis, as it was then – RB) provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups, meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism. That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up Jabhat al-Nusra into the dominant threat to Assad. The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history.

The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the Pindosi interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the GWOT: namely, the eradication of AQ and its terrorist affiliates. Pindostan has instead subordinated that interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East. The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing Assad began in Sep 2011, when Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies (as before – RB) to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. They wanted Pindostan to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels. Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi. CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former military personnel to manage the logistics, as Sy Hersh detailed in 2014 (as Sibel Edmonds already reported in Nov 2011 – RB). The funding for the program came mainly from the Toads.

A declassified Oct 2012 DIA report revealed that the shipment in late Aug 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles & 100 RPGs, along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, each of which held about 48,000 lb of cargo. That suggests a total payload of up to 250 tons of weapons per shipment. Even if the CIA had organized only one shipment per month, the arms shipments would have totaled 2,750 tons of arms bound ultimately for Syria from Oct 2011 through Aug 2012. More likely it was a multiple of that figure. The CIA’s covert arms shipments from Libya came to an abrupt halt in Sep 2012 when Libyan militants attacked and burned the embassy annex in Benghazi that had been used to support the operation. By then, however, a much larger channel for arming anti-government forces was opening up. The CIA put the Toads in touch with a senior Croatian official who had offered to sell large quantities of arms left over from the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. And the CIA helped them shop for weapons from arms dealers and governments in several other former Soviet bloc countries. Flush with weapons acquired from both the CIA Libya program and from the Croatians, the Toads & Thanis dramatically increased the number of flights by military cargo planes to Turkey in Dec 2012 and continued that intensive pace for the next two and a half months. The NYT reported a total 160 such flights through mid-March 2013. The most common cargo plane in use in the Gulf, the Ilyushin IL-76, can carry roughly 50 tons of cargo on a flight, which would indicate that as much as 8,000 tons of weapons poured across the Turkish border into Syria just in late 2012 and in 2013.

One Pindosi official called the new level of arms deliveries to Syrian rebels a “cataract of weaponry.” And a year-long investigation by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project revealed that the Toads were intent on building up a powerful conventional army in Syria. The “end-use certificate” for weapons purchased from an arms company in Belgrade in May 2013 includes 500 Soviet-designed PG-7VR rocket launchers that can penetrate even heavily-armored tanks, along with two million rounds; 50 Konkurs anti-tank missile launchers and 500 missiles, 50 anti-aircraft guns mounted on armored vehicles, 10,000 fragmentation rounds for OG-7 rocket launchers capable of piercing heavy body armor; four truck-mounted BM-21 GRAD multiple rocket launchers, each of which fires 40 rockets at a time with a range of 12 to 19 miles, along with 20,000 GRAD rockets. The end user document for another Toad order from the same Serbian company listed 300 tanks, 2,000 RPG launchers, and 16,500 other rocket launchers, one million rounds for ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns, and 315 million cartridges for various other guns. Those two purchases were only a fraction of the totality of the arms obtained by the Toads over the next few years from eight Balkan nations. Investigators found that the Toads made their biggest arms deals with former Soviet bloc states in 2015, and that the weapons included many that had just come off factory production lines. Nearly 40% of the arms the Toads purchased from those countries, moreover, still had not been delivered by early 2017. So the Toads had already contracted for enough weaponry to keep a large-scale conventional war in Syria going for several more years.

By far the most consequential single arms purchase by the Toads was not from the Balkans, however, but from Pindostan. It was the Dec 2013 sale of 15,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the Toads at a cost of about $1b, the result of Obama’s decision earlier that year to reverse his ban on lethal assistance to anti-Assad armed groups. The Toads had agreed, moreover, that those anti-tank missiles would be doled out to Syrian groups only at Pindosi discretion. The TOW missiles began to arrive in Syria in 2014 and soon had a major impact on the military balance. This flood of weapons into Syria, along with the entry of 20,000 foreign fighters into the country, primarily through Turkey, largely defined the nature of the conflict. These armaments helped make Nusra, now renamed Tahrir al-Sham, and its close allies by far the most powerful anti-Assad forces in Syria, , and gave rise to the Islamic State. By late 2012, it became clear to Pindo boxtops that the largest share of the arms that began flowing into Syria early in the year were going to the rapidly growing AQ presence in the country. In Oct 2012, Pindo boxtops acknowledged off the record for the first time to the NYT that  “most” of the arms that had been shipped to armed opposition groups in Syria with Pindo logistical assistance during the previous year had gone to “hardline Islamic Jihadis,” obviously Nusra.

Nusra Front and its allies became the main recipients of the weapons because the Turks, Toads & Thanis wanted the arms to go to the military units that were most successful in attacking government targets. And by the summer of 2012, Nusra, buttressed by the thousands of foreign Jihadis pouring into the country across the Turkish border, was already taking the lead in attacks on the Syrian government in coordination with FSA brigades. In Nov-Dec 2012, Nusra began establishing formal “joint operations rooms” with those calling themselves FSA on several battlefronts, as Charles Lister chronicles in his book The Syrian Jihad<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=B3z-sgEACAAJ. One such commander favored by Washington was Col Abd’ul-Jabbar al-Oqaidi, a former Syrian army officer who headed something called the Aleppo Revolutionary Military Council. Ambassador Robert Ford, who continued to hold that position even after he had been withdrawn from Syria, publicly visited Oqaidi in May 2013 to express Pindo support for him and the FSA. But Oqaidi and his troops were junior partners in a coalition in Aleppo in which Nusra was by far the strongest element. That reality is clearly reflected in a video in which Oqaidi describes his good relations with officials of the “Islamic State” and is shown joining the main Jihadi commander in the Aleppo region celebrating the capture of the Syrian government’s Menagh Air Base in Sep 2013. By early 2013, in fact, the FSA, which had never actually been a military organization with any troops, had ceased to have any real significance in the Syria conflict. New anti-Assad armed groups had stopped using the name even as a “brand” to identify themselves, as a leading specialist on the conflict observed.

So, when weapons from Turkey arrived at the various battlefronts, it was understood by all the non-Jihadi groups that they would be shared with Nusra and its close allies. A report by McClatchy in early 2013 from a town in north central Syria showed how the military arrangements between Nusra and those brigades calling themselves FSA governed the distribution of weapons. One of those units, the Victory Brigade, had participated in a “joint operations room” with Nusra’s most important military ally, Ahrar al-Sham, in a successful attack on a strategic town a few weeks earlier. A visiting reporter watched that brigade and Ahrar al-Sham show off new sophisticated weapons, which included Russian-made grenade launchers. When asked if the Victory Brigade had shared its new weapons with Ahrar al-Sham, the latter’s spokesman responded:

Of course they share their weapons with us. We fight together.

The Turks & Thanis consciously chose Nusra and its closest ally, Ahrar al-Sham, as the recipients of weapons systems. In late 2013 and early 2014, several truckloads of arms bound for the province of Hatay, just south of the Turkish border, were intercepted by Turkish police. They had Turkish intelligence personnel on board, according to later Turkish police court testimony. The province was controlled by Ahrar al-Sham. In fact Turkey soon began to treat Ahrar al-Sham as its primary client in Syria, according to Faysal Itani of the Atlantic Council. A Qatari intelligence operative who had been involved in shipping arms to extremist groups in Libya was a key figure in directing the flow of arms from Turkey into Syria. An Arab intelligence source familiar with the discussions among the external suppliers near the Syrian border in Turkey during those years told David Ignatius that when one of the participants warned that the outside powers were building up the Jihadis while the non-Islamist groups were withering away, the Qatari operative responded:

I will send weapons to Nusra if it will help.

The Qataris did funnel arms to both Nusra and Ahrar al Sham, according to a Middle Eastern diplomatic source. The Obama NSC staff proposed in 2013 that Pindostan signal its displeasure with Qatar over its arming of extremists in both Syria and Libya by withdrawing a squadron of fighter planes from the airbase at al-Udeid. The Pentagon vetoed that mild form of pressure to protect its access to its base in Qatar. Obama himself confronted Erdogan over his government’s support for the Jihadis at a private White House dinner in May 2013, as recounted by Hersh, who quotes Obama as saying to Erdogan:

We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.

The administration addressed Turkey’s cooperation with Nusra publicly only in late 2014, and only fleetingly. Shortly after leaving Ankara, Francis Ricciardone, ambassador to Turkey from 2011 through mid-2014, told the Daily Telegraph:

They worked with groups, frankly, for a period, including al Nusra.

The closest Faschingstein came to a public reprimand of its allies over the arming of terrorists in Syria was when VP Joe Sixpack criticized their role in Oct 2014. In impromptu remarks at Harvard University Kennedy School, Biden complained:

Our biggest problem is our allies. The forces we supplied with arms were Nusra and AQ and the extremist elements of Jihadis coming from other parts of the world.

Biden quickly apologized for the remarks, explaining that he didn’t mean that allies had deliberately helped the Jihadis. But Ambassador Ford confirmed his complaint, telling BBC:

What Biden said about the allies aggravating the problem of extremism is true.

In Jun 2013, Obama approved the first direct lethal military aid to rebel brigades that had been vetted by the CIA. By spring 2014, the Pindo-made BGM-71E anti-tank missiles from the 15,000 transferred to the Toads began to appear in the hands of selected anti-Assad groups. The CIA imposed the condition that the group receiving them would not cooperate with Nusra or its allies. That condition implied that Faschingstein was supplying military groups that were strong enough to maintain their independence from Nusra. But the groups on the CIA’s list of vetted “relatively moderate” armed groups were all highly vulnerable to takeover by the al Qaeda affiliate. In Nov 2014, Nusra struck the two strongest CIA-supported armed groups, Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front on successive days and seized their heavy weapons, including both TOW anti-tank missiles and GRAD rockets. In early Mar 2015, the Harakat Hazm Aleppo branch dissolved itself, and Nusra promptly showed off photos of the TOW missiles and other equipment they had captured from it. And in Mar 2016, Nusra attacked the headquarters of the 13th Division in north-western Idlib province and seized all of its TOW missiles. Later that month, Nusra released a video of its troops using the TOW missiles it had captured.

But that wasn’t the only way for Nusra to benefit from the CIA’s largesse. Along with its close ally Ahrar al-Sham, the terrorist organization began planning for a campaign to take complete control of Idlib province in the winter of 2014-15. Abandoning any pretense of distance from AQ, the Turks, Toads & Thanis worked with Nusra on the creation of a new military formation for Idlib called the “Army of Conquest.” The Toads & Thanis provided more weapons for the campaign, while the Turks facilitated their passage. On Mar 28, just four days after launching the campaign, the Army of Conquest successfully gained control of Idlib City. The non-Jihadi armed groups getting advanced weapons from the CIA assistance were not part of the initial assault on Idlib City. After the capture of Idlib, the Pindo-led operations room for Syria in southern Turkey signaled to the CIA-supported groups in Idlib that they could now participate in the campaign to consolidate control over the rest of the province. According to Lister, the British researcher on Jihadis in Syria who maintains contacts with both jihadist and other armed groups, recipients of CIA weapons, such as the Fursan al-Haq brigade and Division 13, did join the Idlib campaign alongside Nusra without any move by the CIA to cut them off.

As the Idlib offensive began, the CIA-supported groups were getting TOW missiles in larger numbers, and they now used them with great effectiveness against the SAA tanks. That was the beginning of a new phase of the war, in which Pindo policy was to support an alliance between “relatively moderate” groups and Nusra. The new alliance was carried over to Aleppo, where Jihadi groups close to Nusra formed a new command called Fateh Halab with nine armed groups in Aleppo Province which were getting CIA assistance, but could claim that they weren’t cooperating with Nusra because it was not officially on the list of participants in the command. But as the report on the new command clearly implied, this was merely a way of allowing the CIA to continue providing weapons to its clients, despite their de facto alliance with AQ. The significance of all this is clear. By helping its Sunni allies provide weapons to Nusra and its allies, and by funneling into the war zone sophisticated weapons that were bound to fall into Nusra hands and strengthen their overall military position, Pindo policy has been largely responsible for having extended AQ’s power across a significant part of Syrian territory. The CIA and the Pentagon appear to be ready to tolerate such a betrayal of Pindostan’s stated counter-terrorism mission. Unless either Congress or the White House confronts that betrayal explicitly, as Tulsi Gabbard’s legislation would force them to do, Pindo policy will continue to be complicit in the consolidation of power by AQ in Syria, even if once Daesh is defeated there.

the angry arab finds the funny channel on toad tv

What is funny is that the man to the left of Crown Prince, senior cleric, Salih Al-Fawzan, had ruled that photography is impermissible religiously
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Jun 22 2017

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