every motherfucking critic is a jew

Make Mark Zuckerberg Testify
Sam Biddle, Intercept, Sep 11 2017

Last week, after what must have been a series of extremely grim meetings in Menlo Park, Facebook admitted publicly that part of its revenue includes what appears to be politically motivated fraud undertaken by a shady Russian company. The social network, perhaps motivated by a WaPo scoop on the matter, released a statement outlining the issues at hand, but leaving the most important questions unanswered. Only Facebook knows these answers, and we should assume they won’t be eager to volunteer them. After last week’s reports, Facebook received a round of emails and calls from reporters asking for clarifications on the many glaring gaps in the social network’s disclosure:

  • What was the content of the Russian-backed ads in question?
  • How many people saw these ads? How many people clicked them?
  • What were the Facebook pages associated with the ads? How many members did they have?
  • What specific targeting criteria (race, age, and most importantly, location) did the Russian ads choose?

Given that Facebook reaches a little under 30% of the entire population of our planet, the answers to these questions matter. The response I received from Facebook PR is typical:

We are not commenting beyond the blog post at this time.

But even when Facebook does decide to talk to journalists, it has the tenor of an occult priest discussing something from beyond an eerie void: Just last week, when faced with a report that its advertising numbers promised a pindo audience that, in certain demographics, well exceeded the number of such humans in existence judging by census numbers, Facebook told the WSJ:

(Our estimates) are not designed to match population or census estimates. We are always working to improve our estimates.

Facebook’s intercourse with the public need not adhere to the so-called norms of so-called reality. But beyond the technology sector’s penchant for PR non-statements and Facebook’s understandable reluctance to further insinuate itself into the political controversy of the decade is the fact that complete inscrutability is just the way the company works. Facebook, even more than Apple, which has taken corporate secrecy to quasi-military lengths, operates as a black box. No one outside of the company knows exactly how the site’s algorithms, by which media and advertising industries now live and die, function. Academics and other researchers must go on what can be learned of Facebook merely by using Facebook. Professor Philip Howard of the Oxford Internet Institute told The Guardian in May:

Many of us wish we could study Facebook, but we can’t, because they really don’t share anything.

When details of how Facebook suppresses certain content and amplifies other information leaks, it becomes a media sensation. At the same time as it operates in near-total opacity, Facebook trumpets just how well the black box works. Its advertising case study library is ample, including stories boasting how Facebook can swing elections. Facebook crucially never makes it clear exactly how it will help you win an election or sell fried chicken or bracelets or subscriptions; it just does. This magical efficacy, the company’s supposedly unparalleled power to make people look at and maybe even click on things, is helping Facebook reach quarter after quarter of mammoth profits and swallow whole larger and larger chunks of advertising and media around the world. This is disturbing enough if you happen to work at a newspaper, but ought to be something even beyond disturbing if you happen to be a citizen of any country in the world. Facebook prides itself on its ability to create successful influence campaigns at the same time that a foreign influence campaign against Pindostan is pretty much the only story anyone cares about. Lest we forget, just last November, Zuckerberg wrote the whole thing off as “pretty crazy.” Today, we have reason to believe the two are connected. And while $100l is a pittance to Facebook, the bottom line is that even Facebook is willing to admit to the existence of bad-faith efforts to persuade its users by entities unknown and for purposes unknown. Shouldn’t the roughly 80% of pindos who use Facebook know as much as possible about how they’re being remotely manipulated?

It’s good and worthwhile that Congress and Mueller are probing the company’s ability to influence political thought and action, and that Facebook staffers have briefed the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, but if this is truly a democratic crisis, it can’t be a closed-door crisis. Zuckerberg should publicly testify under oath before Congress on his company’s capabilities to influence the political process, be it Russian meddling or anything else. If the company is as powerful as it promises advertisers, it should be held accountable. And if it’s not, then we need to stop fretting so much about it. Either way, threats to entire societies should be reckoned with publicly by those very societies and not confined to R&D labs and closed-door briefings. If democracy can be gamed from a laptop, that shouldn’t be considered a trade secret. Nearly 80 years ago, then-junior Sen Harry Truman began a seven-year inquiry into military waste, largely targeting the vast scale with which private corporations were duping and defrauding the public to enrich themselves. Military contractors aren’t known for their transparency or willingness to level with the public, so it had to be pried from them. The process saved an estimated $230b in today’s dollars. In 1994, tobacco executives were brought before Congress to testify under oath as to the threat their ubiquitous social product posed to the public. David Carroll, a professor of media design at the New School and director of its Design and Technology MFA program, has been a vocal critic of Facebook’s business practices through the 2016 election. Carroll told The Intercept:

I believe the public needs to hear Zuckerberg respond to crucial questions in his voice and in his words as the custodian of most of the public’s personal data, social relationships, and media consumption. In particular, Zuckerberg ought to explain the fact that bad actors are good business. How is he going to protect future elections while also fulfilling his fiduciary duty, which is going to involve ‘leaving money on the table.’ How is he going to do it?

Ron Fein is the legal director of Free Speech For People, an advocacy group targeting corporate influence in democratic processes. Last year, FSFP filed a formal complaint against the Russian government and Pres Trump with the FEC over what it described as “violations of the federal campaign finance law prohibiting foreign nationals from spending money in pindo elections, including through paid social media.” The group is not getting any less angry after last week’s Facebook news, and Fein is among those who’d like to see Zuckerberg testify before Congress. He told The Intercept:

In the past, advertising was all public. If the Russian government had bought advertising in an election in the 1980s or 90s, it would have been on television, radio, or newspaper ads that anyone could see. We would know what the ads said, and where they were shown. Facebook ads are only visible to the users that the advertiser, using Facebook’s proprietary algorithm, chooses to target. We don’t know what the ads said, or who saw them. The public can’t understand the scope of the problem of foreign election interference if Facebook continues to insist on secrecy. We can’t fully protect ourselves from future election interference if the only information we have is what Facebook has chosen to share to this point. Right now, our laws prohibit foreign nationals from spending money to influence our elections, but that is difficult to prove if the only evidence is what Facebook chooses to disclose. Mark Zuckerberg’s open testimony could be very helpful in helping Congress and the public understand what happened in the 2016 campaign, and what risks we face in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Daniel Kreiss, a professor at the University of North Carolina who studies the effect of technology on political communications and practices, is one of the many researchers around the world frustrated by Facebook’s unwillingness to explain how Facebook may or may not affect over 2 billion people, many of them potential voters. Kreiss said:

I’m not sure whether there’s the political will to bring Zuckerberg in and make him answer questions about Facebook’s role in the election. I just find it stunning that we’re learning about these ad buys 10 months after the election is over as opposed to when they would’ve been consequential, but we also can’t be certain it was ever consequential. Facebook’s crucial advertising and algorithmic data is not public, so academics can’t go in and really clearly analyze the effects of advertising on the members of electorate in a rigorous way. That data isn’t independently verifiable, therefore it’s just what fuels speculation. The point is, we can’t really know.

And that’s by design. It’s reassuring that Facebook is cooperating with the ongoing Russia-related probes. But this is bigger than Russia, bigger than Hillary Clinton, and bigger than 2016. Should Facebook continue to simply allude to its ominous potential rather than sharing it in full, there’s only one good option left. Bring in Mark Zuckerberg and have him sworn in live on C-SPAN. No spoxes required.

the story so far with deir ez-zour

Deir Ez-Zour: Russian Jets Strike UPG/SDF
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Sep 16 2017

One week ago we wrote that as Daesh continued to rapidly collapse in its last two strongholds (Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zour cities), the competition for recovery of territory seems in full gear between the YPG/SDF and Syria-Russia alliances. More importantly, we said, Deir Ez-Zour province happens to be Syria’s most oil-rich territory, which means the future of some of Syria’s largest oil fields remains up for grabs. Furthermore, we added that it looked increasingly likely that the YPG/SDF and the SAA would clash as both rolled back Daesh from either side of the Euphrates. The YPG/SDF’s surprisingly rapid advance Friday and Saturday was assisted by airstrikes and was further made possible by the SAA’s weakening of Daesh defenses on the south-east side of the river. The airspace over Deir Ez-Zour, we said, was potentially growing even more dangerous as there were what we called “substantial rumors” that the coalition has declared a no-fly-zone over the north-east side of the Euphrates. In the meantime, we said, Syrian and Russian air operations in the area would only increase, with Deir Ez-Zour military airport’s returning to full service. One week later, that’s precisely what happened, and overnight we got the first glimpse of just what this next stage of the Syria proxy war, now largely devoid of Daesh, will look like, when a YPG/SDF unit said they came under attack on Saturday from Russian jets and Syrian government forces in Deir al-Zor province. The YPG/SDF said the strikes wounded six of its fighters. And, as has been the case for years now, Daesh was used as the straw man to justify escalation on both sides. The YPG/SDF accused Damascus of trying to obstruct its battle against Daesh. In a statement carried by Reuters, the SDF said:

Our forces east of the Euphrates were hit with an attack from the Russian aircraft and Syrian regime forces, targeting our units in the industrial zone. Such attacks waste energies that should be used against terrorism and open the door to side conflicts.

Meanwhile, the real reason for the scramble for Deir Ez-Zour, imposing one’s influence on this key resources rich region, remains unmentioned even as assaults by the Russian-backed Syrian army and the YPG/SDF have at times raised fears of clashes that could stoke tensions between the competing world powers. With Syrian troops closing in from the west, while YPG/SDF forces operating mostly on the east side, the two factions have mostly stayed out of each other’s way in their “fight against Daesh” with the Euphrates acting as a dividing line, and while talks have been under way to extend a formal demarcation line, there has been little progress on the issue. Meanwhile, as Deir Ez-Zour is set to fall shortly to either government or YPG/SDF forces, and any imaginary demarcation line is voided, the simmering proxy war may once again suffer an explosive breakout. Ahmed Abu Khawla, commander of the SDF’s Deir al-Zor military council, told Reuters:

Russian or Syrian fighter jets flew in from government-held territory before dawn and struck us as we waged heated and bloody battles in the industrial zone on the eastern bank, seizing factories from Daesh. We have requested explanations from the Russian government. We have asked for explanations from the coalition and necessary action to stop these jets.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government or Moscow, and there certainly has been no comment from the coalition on action to stop Russian jets. Incidentally, if anyone wants a sign from Trump that he has truly turned his back on Putin, it will be Pindostan launching a firm counter-offensive against Russia in Syria. Also on Saturday, a senior aide to Pres Assad said the government would fight any force, including the YPG/SDF, to recapture the entire country. Bouthaina Shaaban said in a TV interview according to Reuters:

I‘m not saying this will happen tomorrow, but this is the strategic intention.

Ironically, the coalition said last week that the YPG/SDF did not plan to enter Deir Ez-Zour city, where Syrian troops recently broke a Daesh siege that had lasted three years. Just a few days later, however, they appears to have changed their mind. Meanwhile, seeking to maintain the offensive momentum, a pro-Damascus military alliance launched attacks on Saturday from the southern corner of Deir Ez-Zour province to drive Daesh from the Iraqi border. The last local vestige of the Islamic State is also coming under attack by Iraqi government forces just over the border from Deir Ez-Zour inside Iraq. With the fate of Deir Ez-Zour and much of the oil in the region set to be sealed in the coming days, the Syrian war which has gradually disappeared from both the front pages and the public consciouness, may make a strong comeback, especially if it is Syria/Russia/Iran that first gains control of this key regional outpost.

interesting, both-sided sort of description from glen ford

School Segregation Makes A Comeback
The Real News Network, Sep 13 2017

Transcript
Q: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. School segregation is making a comeback. Just last week, the NYT featured a story about a town’s effort in Jefferson County, Alabama, to secede from the school district in order to create a predominantly white and wealthy school district for themselves. A recent study shows that secession efforts like this have been increasing significantly since year 2000. Back in 1954, the Supreme Court issued the landmark Brown versus Board of Education decision which outlawed school segregation. However, a later decision in 1974 partially reversed this, stating that school integration cannot occur across school district lines. As a result, many states have made it easier for communities to secede from their school district, thus allowing them to segregate again. This violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which provides all of us equal protection under the law. Joining me now to take a closer look at this is Glen Ford. Glen is the Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report. He’s also the author of the book “The Big Lie.” Glen, thank you so much for joining us. So let’s start off with this trend that is being set in many school districts and communities seceding from their district and establishing their own, thus creating another segregated school environment. What do you make of this, Glen?
A: Well, it shows that you don’t have to wave a Confederate flag or have a statute of Robert E Lee to effectively secede, at least to secede from your schools, your court-mandated school desegregation order. That’s what the white citizens of Gardendale, Alabama are trying to do. Their city, which is mostly white, is situated within a county, Jefferson County, that’s with the center of it being Birmingham, that is covered by a school desegregation order. Although, the state of Alabama has lots of laws that encourage so-called local control, and local control is in the South a euphemism for segregation, federal law, federal desegregation orders trump local law. So what the good white citizens of Gardendale, Alabama are trying to do is get out from under federal law. If they succeed in doing this, and escaping the Jefferson County school desegregation order, that will certainly encourage similarly situated majority white communities to try to do the same. It’s not just a legal battle. Since 2000, the DoJ has released about 250 communities from their desegregation orders, effectively so. That is, the DoJ treats these 250 communities as if they have already uprooted schools, a Jim Crow education, and therefore should be treated as if they’re released from the order. The result, of course, is that these communities inevitability go back to resegregate themselves. That is the purpose. So we see that the momentum for school desegregation has gone out not only from the courts which are now dominated by right-wing judges, but also from the executive branch and certainly from the Congress.
Q: Right. Now, this is allowed to happen largely because in Pindostan, school funding is mostly based on local property taxes. Give us a sense of how the tax system works and why this contributes to the kind of segregation that they’re able to act upon now.
A: Well, there’s a symbiotic relationship between the market economy and those tax laws. That is, rather wealthy, and that usually goes with white, in a relatively speaking communities, which can put more money into their schools, then attract like-minded white folks. But when you’re under a school desegregation order, you can advertise your town as having “the best schools” which really means the whitest schools. And what then occurs in this market economy in a racist country is that folks of light complexion and affluent means stay away from those communities and they deteriorate economically. So, the good white fathers of places like Gardendale believe that they’re not being racist by trying to escape these school desegregation orders, that they are simply fighting for the survival of their town, making their town attractive to new blood, meaning new money, and white blood, by reverting to local control. Local control being a euphemism for segregation.
Q: Right. Now, according to the organization I was referring to, EdBuild, they report that, I believe, 50 most segregating school district borders, the wealthier districts have an average of, say, 9% poverty rate, while their lower income neighbors live with an average poverty rate of roughly 46%. This begs the question, was the pindo education system established and designed to favor the rich? I can imagine what your answer is going to be to that, Glen, but gradually this has become the way, and now we have Pres Trump in place who has appointed Betsy DeVos, who seems to be determined to accentuate these inequalities. What can you tell us about these policies?
A: Well, two things. I’m glad you brought up history. Yes, the pindo educational system, to the extent that it existed, was for the rich. The South had no public education system whatsoever until after the defeat of the Confederacy and the rise of largely black Reconstruction governments which created public school systems in the South. In terms of DeVos, DeVos is ,of course, one of the main actors and certainly one of the wealthiest ones in the so-called movement for private school vouchers. Private school vouchers were born as a political movement in the South when counties in states all across the South during what was called “massive resistance,” massive resistance of school desegregation, threatened to close down their public schools rather than integrate them, and some of them did. In Prince Edward County, Virginia, the schools were closed for more than a year. But Alabama made the same threats, and in those places where the whole system was not closed down, most of the white kids left the system and entered private schools. These were called “segregation academies,” and the presence of these segregation academies as reactions to court-ordered desegregation created the demand for public funding of vouchers to pay for private schools. This is one of the reasons that the so-called movement for private school vouchers has never caught on in the black community, because it from the beginning, was associated with segregation academies.
Q: All right. Glen, I thank you so much for joining us today, and shedding some light on what’s going on here. Obviously a pattern developing we should keep our eye on. Thank you so much for joining us today. And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.

hypocritical horseshit from congress signed into law by moron face

New Law Blurs The Line Between Hate Speech And Hate Crime
Michael Rozeff, Ron Paul Institute, Sep 16 2017

Eleven years ago, this essay argued against hate-crime laws. One argument read:

People can eventually be accused of hate crimes when they use hateful speech. Hate crimes laws are a seed that can sprout in new directions.

This has now come to pass, I am sorry to say. This week, the Congress passed SJ Res 49 and Pres Trump signed it, making it part of the pindo legal code. The law rejects “White nationalists, White supremacists, the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups.” But why? Because of their ideas? Because of their expression of these ideas? No government that stands for freedom and free speech, whose charge is to protect rights, should be singling out specific groups by name and by law declaring them as outlaws or threats because of their philosophies. If they have committed a crime, such as defamation of character or incitement to riot or riot itself, then charge them and try them. But pindo government has no legitimate authority to single out some of its citizens in this way. This, furthermore, is an exceedingly bad precedent. Who’s next? The resolution is too specific, but it’s also dangerously vague. The term “other hate groups” has no known definition. Suppose that this term is defined by the SPLC, which currently names 917 groups as hate groups (see here for a list). Their criteria are not restricted to violent actions. They comprise SPEECH. They are very clear about this:

All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.

This Congressional resolution is a declaration that certain kinds of groups, some named but many, many others open to inclusion, are to be attacked by the government. The law urges “the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.” The term “threats” in the first paragraph is vague, dangerously vague. However, the very next paragraph singles out free speech actions and joins this with violent actions:

Hundreds of torch-bearing White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis chanted racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant slogans and violently engaged with counter-demonstrators on and around the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

This law regards free speech as a threat, linking it to violence, painting them with one brush. No justice can stem from such a completely sloppy and inexcusably amateurish legal treatment. This linkage is made clear in paragraph seven with this language:

Communities everywhere are concerned about the growing and open display of hate and violence being perpetrated by those groups.

There is no distinction made here between the “open display of hate” and “violence being perpetrated.” As I predicted 11 years ago in arguing against hate crime laws, hate speech is being identified with hate crime. I am just as uncomfortable with the notion of defining and singling out “hate speech” as some sort of new danger or threat or harmful activity or crime, to be dealt with by government or courts of law as I was 11 years ago with the idea of “hate crime.” The standard categories of crime are quite enough without adding to them a government laundry list of prejudices and aversions that everyone is not supposed to express or feel, under penalty of government law.

let’s see you retaliate against the russian air force, pindo cowards

Russia knew pindo-backed Syrian forces were in area it bombed: Pentagon
Reuters, Sep 16 2017

FASCHINGSTEIN – Russian jets bombed a target east of the Euphrates River near Dayr ez-Zawat in Syria where it knew YPG/SDF and coalition advisers were located, the Pentagon said on Saturday. It said in a statement:

Russian munitions impacted a location known to the Russians to contain SDF and coalition advisers. Several SDF fighters were wounded. No coalition advisers were wounded.

Nusra vows to fight on, says Syria deescalation deal is surrender
Reuters, Sep 16 2017

BEIRUT – The former AQ branch in Syria has pledged to keep fighting government forces and their Russian and Iranian allies, denouncing ceasefire talks in Kazakhstan. Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed on Friday to deploy observers on the edge of a deescalation zone in Syria’s Idlib province, which is largely under the control of Nusra. While they welcomed the agreement after months of talks in Astana, the three nations gave few details. The move falls under a broader deal in which they would set up four such zones across Syria as the war heads into its seventh year. The deescalation plan has eased fighting in parts of western Syria between rebel factions and government forces loyal to Pres Assad. Nusra said the Astana process amounted to the surrender of rebel-held pockets, and what had started with a ceasefire would “end with restoring Bashar’s rule to the areas.” Nusra now spearheads Tahrir al-Sham, controlling swathes of north-western Idlib province, on the border with Turkey. At least 2 million people live in Idlib, the largest populated area held by rebels, including some FSA factions that have taken part in the Astana talks. Idlib’s population has ballooned with an influx of refugees from previously Nusra-held areas. Nusra criticized FSA rebels that have attended the Astana meetings, saying:

We fear the day will come when those factions will line up alongside Russian warplanes and fight those who reject Assad and his regime.

Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior aide to Assad, said on Friday that attempts to divide Syria had failed, and repeated the government’s vow to take back the entire country including “Idlib and other areas.” Critics have described the deescalation plan as de facto partitioning of the country. Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara deny this and say the zones will be temporary, although they could extend beyond the initial six-month term.

Jets strike YPG/SDF in Syrian border zone
Reuters, Sep 16 2017

BEIRUT – YPG/SDF said they came under attack on Saturday from Russian jets and Syrian government forces in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor border province. The strikes wounded six fighters. The SDF said in a statement:

Our forces east of the Euphrates were hit with an attack from the Russian aircraft and Syrian regime forces, targeting our units in the industrial zone. (These attacks) waste energies that should be used against terrorism, threaten the security of the region, and open the door to side conflicts.

Both offensives are converging on Daesh from opposite sides of the Euphrates river, the SAA from the west and the YPG/SDF from the east. They have mostly stayed out of each other’s way as the two states seek to avoid conflict, with the Euphrates often acting as a dividing line between them. On Friday, Ahmed Abu Khawla, who heads the SDF’s Deir ez-Zor military council, said his forces would not let government forces cross. Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior aide to Pres Assad, said the government would fight any force, including YPG/SDF, in efforts to recapture the entire country. Ahmed Abu Khawla, the commander of the SDF’s Deir al-Zor military council, said:

Russian or Syrian fighter jets flew in from government territory before dawn on Saturday. They struck us as we fought heated and bloody battles in the industrial zone on the eastern bank, seizing factories from Daesh. We have requested explanations from the Russian government. We have asked for explanations from the coalition, and necessary action to stop these jets.

The SOHR said coalition planes had pounded the same industrial zone overnight to help SDF advances against Daesh. The strikes came a day after Khawla said his fighters would not let Syrian government forces cross the Euphrates. On Friday, he warned the army and its allies against firing across the river, something he said they had done in recent days. The Russian foreign ministry said units of the Syrian army had already crossed. Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior aide to Pres Assad, said the government would fight any force, including the YPG/SDF, to recapture the entire country. She said in a TV interview:

I‘m not saying this will happen tomorrow … but this is the strategic intention.

Shi‘ite militias fighting with Damascus launched attacks on Saturday against Daesh in the south of Deir ez-Zor province along the border. Just over the frontier inside Iraq, the military said Iraqi armed forces dislodged Daesh from the natural gas-rich Akashat region. Daesh’s declaration in 2014 of a “caliphate” spanning both countries effectively collapsed in July, when an Iraqi offensive captured Mosul, the militants’ capital in Iraq.

Aided by Russia, Syrian forces consolidate military gains
Nataliya Vasilyeva, AP, Sep 16 2017

OKEIRBAT, Syria — Government troops and their allies intensified an offensive Friday against Daesh in central Syria, trying to consolidate their control on the area. The Syrian troops and Russian military police patrolled the dusty and desolate streets of Okeirbat, which was recaptured from the extremists on Sep 2. A rebelt counter-offensive was crushed Thursday amid intense Russian airstrikes. Distant thuds of artillery were heard in Friday afternoon and evening, showing the persistence of the fighting. Daesh had controlled Okeirbat since 2014, and Russian military officials showed visiting journalists a bombed-out warehouse that was used by the extremists to repair and fortify tanks in the once-thriving town of 10,000 people, the largest held by Daesh in Hama province. The fight for Okeirbat, which lies on a strategic route linking western Syria to Daesh strong points in the east, reflects its desperation to retain its presence in central Syria. It also shows the determination of the government of Pres Assad to uproot the group from the area, which had been a launching pad for attacks. The Russian military has provided extensive air cover for Assad. It sought to portray the capture of Okeirbat as a major breakthrough, helping an offensive in which Syrian government forces broke a siege by Daesh militants on the strategic city of Deir el-Zour only two weeks ago. Lt-Gen Alexander Lapin, CoS of the Russian forces in Syria, told a group of international reporters brought to Okeirbat on a tour organized by the Russian Defense Ministry:

Their defeat here helped to carry out the offensive on Deir el-Zour, reach the Euphrates River and break the siege and liberate Deir el-Zour. All the conditions are in place for the final stage of defeating Daesh in the western and eastern corners of Syria.

He spoke while standing on a dusty street next to a building with Daesh slogans written on the walls of what used to be an Islamic law court. After the SAA besieged Okeirbat in mid-August, a Russian missile strike on Aug 29 destroyed the tank factory, which had been in operation since 2015 providing armored vehicles for suicide missions, Lapin said. Extremist leaflets and ammunition crates still sat on the factory floor. Daesh also had an extensive network of underground tunnels, some of them 800 m long. Lapin said:

The town was prepared for a siege and had a network of underground bunkers, and the Syrian army was fighting the militants for practically every house. The population had dwindled to 2,500, all of whom fled by the time the town was recaptured.

More than two weeks of fighting in central Syria has left hundreds dead on both sides, said the SOHR. Daesh still hold some villages around it and fighting still continues there. The area is important because it is near villages loyal to Assad. Earlier this week, the extremists shelled the government stronghold of Salamiyeh. Okeirbat was the last stop on the media tour, designed to show the strength of Russia’s role in Syria, including its naval and air power. But the Defense Ministry also highlighted Moscow’s humanitarian role in providing basic assistance and security for residents returning to towns recaptured in the civil war, now in its seventh year. Backed by Russian warplanes and fighters from Iranian-backed militias, the Syrian government has enjoyed a series of battlefield successes in recent weeks. It has seen an increase in the territory it controls from a low of only 19% of the country earlier this year to currently about 48%, according to the SOHR. Following a series of local ceasefires since May negotiated by Russia, SAA and allied troops went on the offensive against Daesh as well as some pindo-backed fighters, the SOHR said. This thrust the Syrian government into the battle against Daesh, raising the pressure on them. They now control only about 12% of Syria, down from about 39% months ago.

Also on Friday, a newly negotiated “de-escalation zone” in the mostly rebel-held province of Idlib was announced during talks in Astana. Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia’s representative at the talks that are co-sponsored by Turkey and Iran, said 500 soldiers from Russia, Turkey and Iran will probably be deployed to observe and control Idlib, although details are still being worked out. The province is largely controlled by Nusra and is home to nearly 1 million internally displaced Syrians. In eastern Syria, government forces kept up their offensive on the city of Deir el-Zour, capturing a new neighborhood from Daesh and increasing their hold to over 60% of the city. If the offensive in central Syria quells the remaining militants, Daesh will be mostly left in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour as well as a third of the city of Raqqa. The Russian-backed offensive in eastern Syria is complicated by a separate and simultaneous campaign of YPG/SDF. The coalition spokesman said there are no plans to enter Deir el-Zour, indicating there will be no clash over who controls it. SAA forces have been marching from western parts of the city while YPG/SDF have been approaching from the north. Mohammed Ibrahim Samra, governor of Deir el-Zour province, said basic services have been restored and a hospital has been reopened. Russian Defense Ministry spox Maj-Gen Igor Konashenkov said there are still Daesh fighters on the west bank of the Euphrates River in Deir el-Zour, but most have fled to the east bank.

Russia – Syria government forces now on east bank of Euphrates river
Reuters, Sep 15 2017

MOSCOW – Advance units of the Syrian government army have crossed the Euphrates river and taken up position on the eastern bank, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Friday. YPG/SDF forces opposed to Pres Assad had set the Euphrates River as a red line, saying they would not allow government forces to cross onto the east bank. But ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference:

After a major victory near Deir al-Zor, the Syrian government army continues to clear Islamic State terrorists from the eastern regions of the country. The suburbs of this provincial centre have been liberated. Advance units have successfully crossed the Euphrates and are holding positions on its eastern bank.

Assad aide says Syria will fight any force, including SDF
Reuters, Sep 15 2017

BEIRUT – A top aide to Pres Assad said on Friday the Syrian government would fight any force, including SDF, in its drive to recapture the whole of the country. Assad has previously vowed to recapture the whole of Syria. The government controls the main urban centres in the west of the country and has taken back much of the eastern desert from Daesh in recent months. Bouthaina Shaaban said in an interview with Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV:

Whether it’s the SDF or Daesh or any illegitimate foreign force in the country, we will fight and work against them so our land is freed completely from any aggressor. The SDF have captured areas from Daesh without any fighting. They are trying to get areas with oil, but they will not get what they want. Plans to divide Syria have failed.

SDF set red line for Assad in Syria’s east
Tom Perry, Sarah Dadouch, Reuters, Sep 15 2017

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 17.14.46Ahmed Beri, CoS of the FSA, in Astana today
(Photo: Mukhtar Kholdorbekov/Reuters)

BEIRUT – The YPG/SDF will not let government forces cross the Euphrates River in their bid to recover eastern Syria, setting a red line for PresAssad as both sides converge on Daesh in Deir al-Zor, their commander said. Militia commander Abu Khawla said a civilian administration would be set up to run areas of Deir al-Zor province being captured from Daesh by his fighters, including its oil fields. The Syrian government was “not fit to lead and rule the people,” he said. The Deir al-Zor military council, fighting as part of the YPG/SDF, has advanced towards Deir al-Zor from the eastern side of the Euphrates River since launching an offensive into the province a week ago. Government forces have simultaneously advanced into Deir al-Zor from the west. Last week, they broke the Daesh siege of the provincial capital, Deir al-Zor city, which sits on the western bank of the river. Talks have been underway to extend a formal demarcation line that has separated the campaigns, officials have said. Abu Khawla warned government forces and their militia allies against firing across the river as his fighters close in, something he said had happened in recent days. Reflecting the demarcation line, the coalition said on Thursday the YPG/SDF was not planning to enter Deir ez-Zor city. Abu Khawla, who is in his early 30s, said 10,000 fighters were taking part in the Deir al-Zor campaign, the bulk of them members of Arab tribes (? – RB) from eastern Syria. Abu Khawla was a member of an FSA group in Deir ez-Zor until Daesh took over most of the province in 2014 at the height of its expansion in Syria and Iraq. He fled to Turkey before returning to Syria and joining the SDF. He said:

Now we have 3 km between us and the eastern riverbank. Once our forces reach the area, any shot fired into that area we will consider an attack on the military council. We have notified the regime and Russia that we are coming to the Euphrates riverbank, and they can see our forces advancing. We do not allow the regime or its militias to cross to the eastern riverbank. Every village around the eastern riverbank of the Euphrates river until the Iraqi-Syrian border is a goal for our forces. We are moving forcefully and quickly. We do not have a timeline, but we hope soon to free the entire eastern bank. Right now, we have a schedule that we’re following which is the liberation of the eastern riverbanks of the Euphrates. Daesh has shown fierce resistance when SDF fighters entered the outskirts of Deir ez-Zor on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. The battles are continuous. They oversee our training and our armament. Now we are setting up a civil council parallel to the military council of Deir ez-Zor, and this civilian council will run all areas freed from Daesh. All our soldiers’ training is in the Coalition training camps.

almost amused

King Salman mingles freely with his people in Mecca, surrounded by a whole army
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Sep 15 2017

Homophobia in Israel
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Sep 15 2017

But after the lawmaker, Yigal Guetta, revealed in the radio interview that he had attended the wedding of a gay nephew, his chatty appeal to a broader audience of potential Shas voters appeared to backfire. Rabbis and party activists revolted and demanded that he resign. Under pressure from the critics, Mr Guetta, 51, told Aryeh Deri, the party leader, this week that he was resigning, and Mr Deri agreed. (NYT)

The Toad “reformer”: Jamal Khashoggi argues that protests are legitimate in Syria and Libya but not in Toad Arabia
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Sep 15 2017

He agrees with the Toad regime senior clerics that protests should be banned in Saudi Arabia and says that:

The KSA is a successful model among failed republics. Revolutions there could not be stopped. The KSA needs reforms and not revolutions.

جمال خاشقجي‏Verified account @JKhashoggi Replying to @a_as3ad
سأعتبر انك جاد وأجيبك، لأن المملكة نموذج ناجح بين جمهوريات فاشلة ، الثورات هناك ما كان لأحد ان يوقفها ، المملكة تحتاج إصلاحات لا ثورات

Ben Hubbard does what he does best: promote the propaganda interests of the Toad regime
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Sep 15 2017

While many of the proposed changes are popular with Saudis and hailed as necessary for the kingdom’s future. (NYT)

How did he know that they are popular when expression of disagreement with those “changes” would land you in jail? Did he conduct a survey?

Israel has the worst child poverty rate
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Sep 15 2017

Child poverty rate (OECD)
Israel: 28.5%
Mexico: 26%
Spain: 21.7%
Pindostan: 20.5%
Italy: 17.3%
Japan: 15.7%
France: 10.8%
Britain: 9.5%
Germany: 8.1%

Senior Clerics in Toad Arabia rule against protests in Toad Arabia (but they support it in Syria, Libya, and Iran)
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Sep 15 2017

This has been mocked: how Toad clerics rule against protests in Toad Arabia but rule in its favor in countries not aligned with Toad regime.

Criticisms of Hizbullah’s political role in Al-Akhbar
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Sep 15 2017

Al-Akhbar’s publisher, Ibrahim al-Amin, published a scathing critique of Hizbullah and its corrupt role in Lebanese domestic politics. He takes on the party for its reluctance to engage in social justice struggle. But the party is not a progressive party so it is not surprising to me.

How Pindostan wants to win Arab “hearts and minds”: by a salutation to Zionism
As’ad AbuKhalil, Angry Arab (Blog), Sep 15 2017

This has been mocked by Arabs.  The new (even more Zionist) management of the failed project of al-Hurra TV, which is the main Arabic language pindo propaganda ‘freedom’ TV (of course) wants to win Arab hearts and minds, so it commissioned an Arabic article to salute Zionism. I kid you not.

rich jewish white men, actually

The Black Panthers Didn’t Fight Symbols
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, Sep 13 2017

845_Glen_PanthersCops

New York state prison guards assaulted and seriously injured 69 year-old former Black Panther Herman Bell this week, a totally unprovoked beating timed to sabotage his chances for parole after more than 40 years behind bars. In neighboring New Jersey, former Panther Sundiata Acoli was denied parole last December shortly before his 80th birthday. Acoli has been behind bars since 1973, and eligible for parole since 1992. His next parole hearing won’t come up for another 15 years, when Acoli is 95 years old. Dozens of elderly Black activists remain entombed in a gulag that has expanded seven-fold since the federal government crushed the Black liberation movement and established a national Black Mass Incarceration State. Although slightly less than half the 2.3 million gulag inmates are Black pindos, the system’s founding rationale and central mission is race-based: to contain, control, and facilitate the removal of Black people from pindo society. Although Pindostan is home to five times more whites than Blacks, Black pindos outnumber whites in pindo prisons and jails. Black mass incarceration has been quite popular, historically, a proven vote-getter among whites in all regions of the country. However, what goes around, comes around. In building the world’s largest prison system to house the mostly non-white prey of the planet’s most intrusive police state, Pindostan has condemned to the dungeons millions of non-targeted whites, unintended, collateral damage of the race wars that birthed the nation and built an empire. As BAR contributor Danny Haiphong writes in this week’s issue:

Prisons in Pindostan are monuments that enforce terror against oppressed people.

Indeed, these monuments to present-day oppression are far more numerous than the Confederate symbols that are the focus of current conflict. The SPLC has identified 1,503 physical symbols of the Confederacy, including 718 monuments and statues and 109 public schools, 80 counties and 10 military bases named for Confederate icons. Yet, Johnny Reb’s footprint on the landscape is tiny compared to the 5,000 state and federal prisons and jails, plus about 1,000 juvenile and tribal detention facilities that crater the nation, a vast infrastructure of race and class rule. The so-called “alt-right” has been hard-pressed to gather more than a few hundred Nazis, Klansmen and right-wing militia to make a stand around Confederate landmarks. This rag-tag “fascist threat” is dwarfed by the Pindostan’s penal monuments to the dictatorship of rich white men. It is commendable and necessary to go blow-for-blow in the streets against predatory racist gangs. It is also clear that Donald Trump is giving political aid and comfort to today’s sons and daughters of the old Confederacy who, although not yet able to mass in large numbers, could do so in the future. But that threat pales in comparison to the three-quarters of a million sworn police officers that strut the streets of Pindostan, killing Black and brown people with impunity and dragging hundreds of thousands into the gulag every year. According to Police magazine , 84% of cops supported Donald Trump for president. The statistic is no surprise, but points up the real threat to Black lives and the rule of law: the state, itself. The same state that Herman Bell and Sundiata Acoli resisted, two generations ago.

the jewish cesspit of warmongering

Germany Launches Probe After Arms Smuggling Story Goes Viral
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Sep 15 2017

The German government has opened an probe into an illegal Pentagon arms trafficking operation after a bombshell investigative report on the secret program went viral this week. On Wednesday we reported on the continuing Pentagon arms pipeline to Syria which runs through Europe, the Balkans and the Caucusus, and which is based on a shady network of private contractors and altered government paperwork. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) produced conclusive evidence and internal memos proving that not only is the Pentagon currently involved in shipping up to $2.2b worth of (mostly old Soviet) weapons from private dealers to Syrian Jihadis, but is actually manipulating paperwork such as end-user certificates in order to conceal the ultimate destinations of the weaponry (in this case Syria). The new investigation also confirms Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva’s prior findings, which exposed the role of Azerbaijan-operated Silk Way Airlines in the weapons airlifts. Though independent journalists and regional monitoring groups have been digging into the Pentagon arms shipments throughout the summer, mainstream euro and pindo press were reluctant to cover the story, even as a steady flow of incontrovertible proof emerged online in the form of documents, photos, and videos of mysterious cargo planes being loaded with weapons. Over the past two weeks, WikiLeaks has also highlighted the emerging details of a developing story, which saw at least one journalist come under scrutiny by European security officials.

After a week of the story picking up momentum, it appears we may finally be seeing the beginnings of public and governmental investigations forming as European governments perhaps reluctantly take stock of Pentagon arms pipelines in their territories now coming under public attention and outrage. Germany announced a new legal inquiry early Friday:

The German prosecutor’s office in Kaiserslautern said Friday it is looking into a report that the Pentagon used Ramstein Air Base to transport weapons covertly to rebel fighters in Syria, an allegation that if true might have broken German law. …The weapons transfer through Ramstein would have required permission from the German government, the report stated. Officials with Germany’s Economic Affairs Ministry told Stars & Stripes that the ministry did not give the Pentagon permission to transport weapons to Syria through the country. They denied having any knowledge of such activities.

Part of the OCCRP and BIRN investigation spotlighted Ramstein as one of the many key transport hubs used in the Syria weapons trafficking program. The arms monitoring groups jointly published a side report on the Pentagon’s questionable activities at Ramstein as part of its broader findings on Tuesday. That report included this newly unearthed internal email from SOCOM:

germany syria 1_0

BIRN questioned the German government over the findings this week and immediately caught German boxtops lying about their knowledge of the Pentagon weapons transfers. According to the BIRN/OCCRP summary of the exchange:

The German government earlier declined to comment on the nature of its “sensitivities”, and at a press conference on Thursday, continued to insist it has no knowledge of the movement of weapons to Syria. German laws, however, dictate that licences to transport weapons must be accompanied by end user certificates which states the final destination of the shipment and who will be using the equipment. According to the German government, no such licence has been issued for deliveries to Syria or neighbouring countries since 2010. This claim jars with a report in the Serbian press in Dec 2015 revealing that a number of USAF C-17s had delivered Serbian weapons to the Ramstein airbase. The report was backed up by one of SOCOM’s most important contractors on its Syrian contract, Global Ordnance, which shared the story on Facebook:

germany syria 2

Both leaked and public documents confirm Serbia to be another key logistical hub in the Syria weapons transport program. Multiple weapons end-user certificates were proven to be falsified or altered by the Pentagon, which is likely exactly what the newly-announced German probe will look into. One of the weapons trafficking investigators told ForeignPolicy.com this week:

The Pentagon is removing any evidence in their procurement records that weapons are actually going to the Syrian opposition.

Yet it appears that some of the very contracting companies and individuals involved in the shadowy scheme have over the years taken to Facebook and other social media platforms to brag about their role in the program and huge profits that resulted. BIRN’s Balkan Insight has just today published a trove of photographs and postings it culled from social media which connect various arms dealers, some of them with known links to organized crime, to the Pentagon weapons program.

germany syria 3Arms dealer and Pentagon contractor for the Syria covert program, Marc Morales, uploaded photos on January 29, 2015 from the Zastava factory, Kragujevac, Serbia. He openly bragged about the contracts he procured: ‘Another day in the office,’ he wrote.

As the latest BIRN report notes, what is depicted in the Hollywood film War Dogs is sadly not at all a thing of the past or mere of recent history, but is current and ongoing. And unlike in the movies, real people, specifically Syrians and Iraqis, are dying as a result. But with the new German government probe just announced which was surely the result the story going viral this week, there is perhaps some hope that public outrage could continue to shine a light on such disgusting pindo government criminality.

h r motherfucker in trouble with the tribe

White House & Embassy deny McMaster yelled at Israeli boxtops
Amir Tibon, Haaretz, Sep 14 2017

Both the White House and the Israeli Embassy in Faschingstein strongly denied a report that was published by a right-wing website earlier this week alleging that H R McMaster yelled at Israeli boxtops during a meeting in Faschingstein last month. A senior administration official said that “everything was wrong” in the report, published by the website PJ Media. The report accusing McMaster of “sparking a row with Israel” seemed like an attempt to renew a far-right campaign against the national security adviser, which began in late July as a result of clashes between him and Steve Bannon. Websites and journalists affiliated with Bannon accused McMaster of being “hostile to Israel,” an allegation that senior Israeli boxtops told Haaretz was completely false. The campaign seemed to calm down after Bannon left the White House last month, but this week, the accusations in the PJ Media story brought it back into the public discourse, especially on the right. This time, however, the White House and Israeli source went beyond simply denying the broad accusation against McMaster and specifically addressed the contents of the report, demonstrating why it was false. Michael Anton, NSC spox at the White House, told Haaretz that McMaster “never yelled” at any Israeli boxtops. The report in PJ Media also claimed that the Israeli delegation asked a White House counter-terrorism expert named Mustafa Ali to leave the room last month because of his positions on Hezbollah. Anton said Mustafa Ali never took part in the meeting to begin with, and so it was impossible for anyone to ask for him to leave the room. Regarding another false allegation in the report, Anton said:

It is flatly wrong to say that either McMaster or Ali has any opposition to the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Neither has ever questioned that fact for second. In fact, McMaster has tasked the NSC staff with working on ideas for taking a more aggressive approach to Hezbollah. A number of other incorrect claims were published in the report, such as that Mustafa Ali worked for CAIR, which he did not, or that he blocked Aayan Hirsi Ali from speaking before the NSC. She did speak to NSC staff, earlier this year.

Israeli Embassy spox Itai Bar Dov separately confirmed that the allegation was false, stating:

Israel never asked for Mustafa Ali not to attend the meeting. The allegations in the original report are totally false. Israel appreciates Gen McMaster’s efforts to strengthen the Isro-pindo relationship.

there’s only one visible comment beneath this & it says “lying shitfaced turds”

Turkey Tries To Scare Kurdish Referendum Voters With Warning About Jews
Tom O’Connor, Newsweek, Sep 15 2017

A number of Turkish media outlets supportive of Pres Erdogan have begun proliferating apparently false news reports claiming rival Kurdish groups entered into a secret deal with Israel to gain their independence by resettling Jews to the region. Stories appearing Wednesday in Turkish newspapers such as Yenia Akit and Aksam that back Erdogan alleged that Mahmoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), agreed to welcome some 200,000 Israeli Jews of Kurdish origin, Al-Monitor reported. In exchange, Israel would reportedly back Barzani’s bid for Kurdish statehood in the upcoming referendum, which has been met with opposition by nearly every regional actor including Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Turkey has attempted to curb international support for Kurds and has has recently focused its attention toward Israel. When former Israeli military deputy chief Maj-Gen Yair Golan said Sunday he personally did not consider the PKK a terrorist organization, as reported by Haaretz, pro-government outlets in Turkey blasted what they considered direct “Zionist” support for the PKK. Israel has not officially labeled the PKK a terrorist group, but PM Netanyahu later dismissed Golan’s view Wednesday, saying Israel both backed Kurdish statehood and considered the PKK to be a terrorist organization, according to The Times of Israel. The latest Turkish reports of Barzani and Israel’s alleged deal, described by one as the “insidious Kurdistan plan,” all cite a magazine called “Israeli-Kurd,” published in majority-Kurdish northern Iraq. The magazine first appeared in 2009 and was lauded by local journalists as a victory for press freedom, according to Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Suspicion as to the publication’s intention was quickly raised in the Arab world. Diliman Abdulkader, a Kurdish scholar and analyst of Middle East affairs, suspected these reports were designed to destroy Kurdish credibility in the region by associating them with Israel and playing on local prejudices against people of Jewish faith. Diliman Abdulkader told Newsweek:

The stories published by Erdogan’s pro-government media are baseless. The attempt to link the Kurdish referendum with Jews or Israel is common among Muslims, not only in Turkey, but throughout the Middle East. True, there are over 150,000 Kurdish Jews in Israel, but this has no links with the push for self-determination. It’s not in Turkey’s interest to beat the war drum against the Kurds. Iran is perhaps a greater threat to Kurdish statehood than Turkey.

The KRG is set to hold its referendum on independence on Sep 25, despite opposition from Iran, Iraq and Turkey, and serious concerns expressed by Pindostan and other Western countries supportive of the Kurdish community, Reuters reported Friday.

200,000 Jewish Kurds headed for Iraqi Kurdistan, howls Turkish press
Barin Kayaoglu, Al-Monitor, Sep 13 2017

Several Turkish media outlets reported Sep 13 that Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Pres Massoud Barzani had reached a secret agreement with the Israeli government involving the settlement of Jewish Israelis of Kurdish origin, a community of some 200,000 people, from Israel to the KRG after the independence referendum on Sep 25. Pro-government newspapers Yeni Akit and Aksam ran stories on their websites attributed to a magazine called “Israel-Kurd,” allegedly based in the KRG, that Israel will repatriate Kurds living in Israel to northern Iraq should Kurdistan become independent. The news website Internet Haber ran the news under the headline, “Barzani’s game revealed! Insidious Kurdistan plan.” Another important pro-government outlet, Yeni Safak, commented that it may be Barzani, not Israel, who hopes to attract the 200,000 Jewish Kurds to Iraqi Kurdistan. Yeni Safak reported:

It is said that Massoud Barzani, who received support only from Israel during the referendum process, plans to strengthen his hand … with help from Kurds of Jewish origin who have prominent positions in Israel.

The sensational if hard-to-believe story came amid another Turkish media blitz directed at Israel. Former IOF Deputy CoS Yair Golan said at a Faschingstein think-tank on Sep 10 that the PKK is “not a terrorist organization.” Turkey’s Islamist news outlets agreed that Golan’s supportive remarks on an independent Kurdistan constituted “Zionist” support for the PKK. Interestingly, not a single Turkish media outlet covered Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Sep 13 announcement refuting Golan’s words, Netanyahu’s labelling the PKK as a “terrorist organization” or criticizing Turkey for not recognizing Hamas as a terrorist group. Prejudice against Jews or outright anti-Semitism in Turkey is not confined to the country’s religiously conservative government or its supporters in the media. Secular folks and even Turkish pop stars often say hateful things about Jews or Israelis. Turks are not the only ones with a skewed understanding of Jewish and Israeli actions and motivations. Iraqi Kurds themselves hold strange notions about Israeli support for their independence. As we approach Sep 25, more ordinary Iraqi Kurds express hope that Israeli boxtops’ statements in support of an independent Kurdistan bode well for their putative state. Iraqi Kurds think that, given the powerful Israeli and Jewish lobbies in Pindostan, Israeli support for an independent Kurdistan basically means pindo backing for Kurdish independence. Some Iraqi Kurds think that, if Israel and Pindostan are with Kurdistan, no-one can stand against it. Many people in Iraqi Kurdistan and around the region are ignoring not only the fact that Pindostan opposes the KRG’s independence from Iraq, but also the fact that Pindostan is worried the independence referendum could upset the regional balance, but has refrained from criticizing Barzani or the Sep 25 referendum so as not to offend the Kurdish peshmerga, who are putting up an effective fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq. Despite the dangers that Kurdistan’s independence may pose for Turkey, the Turkish government remains focused on maintaining its political, commercial and energy ties with Barzani and the KRG.