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Vanessa Beely, Syria Truth Teller Interview

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 09:50
This interview is not to be missed!
Sane Progressive and Vanessa Beeley in conversation

The end of democracy

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 09:45
Goodbye 1st Amendment: New Bill Seizes Assets of Anyone Who Plans or Participates in Protests that ‘Disturb the Public Peace’

the Indigenous American,23 February, 2017

Imagine having all your assets seized because you planned a peaceful protest that disturbed the peace? That could be a reality under SB1142, which just passed the Arizona state senate.
Under SB1142, Arizona’s racketeering laws are expanding to include rioting. This gives the state government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest that turned violent and everyone who participated.
The bill also redefines what constitutes a rioter as any person who “uses force or violence or threatens to use force or violence, if such threat is accompanied by immediate power of execution, which EITHER disturbs the public peace OR RESULTS IN DAMAGE TO THE PROPERTY OF ANOTHER PERSON.”
The vote was 17-13. One of the 17 that voted for this, Sen. John Kavanagh, gave the following justification for this absurd, unconstitutional new law: “You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder. A lot of them are ideologues, some of them are anarchists. But this stuff is all planned… I should certainly hope that our law enforcement people have some undercover people there. Wouldn’t you rather stop a riot before it starts?”
Who defines what is considered a ‘violent’ protest?
Who determines what ‘disturbs the public peace’? Does profanity, shouting, or loud music constitute disturbing the peace?
The opponents of a protest could just hire agitators to make protests violent, then the authorities could use this as an excuse to seize the assets of all the protesters.
You are peacefully protesting and some guy starts throwing rocks at windows. Not only are you arrested on racketeering charges, but then the cops come and seize your house, car, and belongings? Good luck affording a lawyer to defend you in court!
If this succeeds and is signed into law by the Governor of Arizona, you can bet a similar nationwide law will be on its way not long after…

Americans kill more in Syria than Russians

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 09:41
But the Russians are war criminals, aren’t they? This doesn't even include Iraq.
US On Track To Kill More Syrian Civilians Than Russia For 5th Straight Month

Zero Hedge,25 May, 2017

Coalition-led airstrikes in Syria killed a total of 225 civilians between April 23 and May 23, the highest 30-day death toll for U.S.-led forces since the campaign began, Agence France-Presse reported. That's nearly double the number of intended targets: The U.S.-led strikes killed 122 ISIS fighters and eight fighters loyal to the Syrian government, the report said.
The rising tide of civilian deaths attributable to coalition forces suggest that May could be the fifth straight month that civilian deaths from coalition-led strikes outpace the civilian death toll from Russian forces, according to the AFP report and an analysis of data from
Of the 225 civilian deaths, reported to AFP by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 44 were children and 36 were women.
The civilian death toll from Russian strikes has declined since it peaked in January. Meanwhile, deaths from U.S.-led strikes have risen dramatically.
There has been a very big escalation,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
The previous deadliest 30-day period for U.S.-led forces was between February 23 and March 23 this year, when 220 civilians were killed, Abdel Rahman told AFP.
The past month's deaths brought the overall civilian toll from the coalition campaign to 1,481, among them 319 children, AFP reported.
The coalition launched operations against ISIS in Iraq in August 2014, then expanded them to Syria the following month. The Russian intervention began a year later.
However, the rising tide of casualties relative to intended targets could soon shift as the US Military implements a new strategy ordered by President Trump that's designed to annihilate ISIS in Syria in an effort to prevent foreign fighters from returning home. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Trump's order for the military to change up its plans for dealing with ISIS has led to atactical shift from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds so we can annihilate ISIS.”

Fakebook Now!

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 09:35
Not to be missed!
Trump’s tour, geography lessons and who’s Seth Rich - It’s time to get FAKED up!

In the Now

Memes, gifs and gaffes - has Trump’s first tour brought anything more substantial than that, where’s Israel and who’s Seth Rich? Anissa and Will are here to get you FAKED up!

British security supported jihadists travelling to Libya to fight Gadhafi

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 09:30
CORRECT: Manchester Bomber Linked to British Backed Terror Group

NZ - 7th worst polluteа in the world

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 09:27
A National disgrace. This government does not even intend to reduce emissions but to meet the pathetic targets by buying others' carbon credits
NZ seventh-worst on emissions of 41 nationsNew Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 were 24.1 percent higher than 1990 levels - a far cry from the country's commitment in the Paris agreement.

RNZ26 May, 2017

Gross greenhouse gas emissions from human activity for the year were 80.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared with 64.6 million tonnes in 1990.

Last year, New Zealand ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and committed to reducing emissions by 11 percent on 1990 levels by 2030.The government has just released its Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the official annual estimate of all human-caused emissions and removals in New Zealand.
The country is obliged to produce it as part of its commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) which was used to reach the Paris agreement.

New Zealand's gross emissions per person were the seventh highest among the 41 industrialised countries which took commitments under the UNFCCC - even though they have fallen 0.1 percent from 2014.
The 1990-2015 inventory is used to track how well the country is doing in reaching its 2020 emissions reduction target - of a 5 percent reduction from 1990 levels - not the Paris Agreement.
The government said the country was on track to meet that target, by using a combination of carbon credits issued in 1990 and additional credits from Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere.Breaking down the dataGross emissions includes carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxide and fluorinated gases from agriculture, energy - including transport and electricity production, waste, and industrial processes - and product use such as refrigeration and air conditioning and carbon dioxide emissions from mineral, chemical and metals production.
It also includes what is referred to as land use, land use change and forestry, which can effectively remove emissions because vegetation acts as a carbon sink.
Agriculture and energy were the two sectors that contributed the most to New Zealand's emissions profile, producing approximately 47.9 percent and 40.5 percent of the pollution respectively in 2015.
Between 1990 and 2015, agricultural emissions increased 16 percent largely due to an 88.5 percent increase in the national dairy herd size, and a five-fold increase in the application of fertiliser which contained nitrogen.
There was a 1.1 percent fall in emissions from agriculture between 2014 and 2015, when production fell because of drought conditions and a fall in milk prices.
Emissions from the energy sector increased 36.7 percent between 1990 and 2015 as a result of increased road use and manufacturing using fossil fuels.There was also an increase in emissions from industrial and household refrigeration and air conditioning, while emissions from the waste sector fell.
Harvesting of trees led to a rise in emissions from the land use and forestry sector. Forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, storing carbon in tree trunks, branches, leaves, roots and soils.
Harvested wood products and leftover roots and branches also emit carbon as they decay, are discarded from use, or are burnt

The aftermath of the Manchester attack

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 05:29
The west accepted Salafist “refugees” for decades, now it’s paying the price
Andrew KorybkoThe Duran,25 May, 2017There is no greater structural threat to a secular Muslim-majority country than Salafists, which is why the West welcomed those “fleeing” from the “political and religious repression” in their homelands in order to weaponize them for future Hybrid War use.Brits have been struggling to figure out how their government dropped the ball and failed to prevent the Manchester suicide bombing when the attacker was already on their radar, but what many people are overlooking is the “politically incorrect” fact that it should have been obvious from the first day that the bomber’s family set foot in the UK that they’d end up being trouble. Lost amidst the flurry of media reports about this tragic incident is that the attacker’s family arrived on British soil as Libyan “refugees” decades before the 2011 NATO war devastated their country. It’s rather peculiar that they’d seek “refuge” from Libya because the Jamahiriya had the highest living standards in all of Africa during the time that they “fled” and hadn’t fought a conflict within its borders since World War II.
This means that his family didn’t leave because of any desperate material or military conditions, but because of socio-political ones which they disagreed with, namely that Libya was a secular socialist state that forbade Salafism. To bring the reader up to speed in case they’re not already aware, Salafism (colloquially called “Islamism” by many Westerners) is the school of thought which preaches that Muslims must live by an ultra-conservative interpretation of the Quran. Not only must they abide by strict socio-cultural and political standards, but Salafists also believe that it is their God-given duty to proselytize their way of life all across the world, even in the foreign civilizations which host them as migrants. This is the mindset of the bomber’s family, and true to kind, they raised their son the same way. The Manchester suicide bomber wasn’t radicalized on the internet or by Wahhabi imams, he was indoctrinated by his family since birth.
Liberal Double Standards
An individual’s religious beliefs are a personal affair, just like what a migrant does in their homeland, but when permanently relocating to and living in a totally different society than what they’re used to, people should abide by the socio-cultural standards of their hosts. Salafists, for example, should keep to themselves and respect that Westerners don’t want them to enforce civilizationally dissimilar practices onto the locals, as doing so will only prompt socio-cultural strife within the country which will inevitably lead to political tensions. This should all be common sense for everyone, but it’s unfortunately not followed by Salafist migrants because Western governments refuse to dissuade them from their public practices.
In line with the precepts of “multiculturalism”, the reason for this can be attributed to one of the many liberal double standards which have been employed the West for years, whereby foreigners (whether legal or illegal) are granted the freedom of religion to practice their beliefs however they see fit (especially if it’s Islam), but locals practicing traditional religions such as Christianity are pressured to respect everyone else’s freedom from religion in keeping the external display of their faith (ex: crosses) out of public sight. This particular double standard leads to a dysfunctional society which is either destined for full-scale Salafism or serious civil conflict, the latter scenario of which can only arise if the locals aren’t successfully guilt-tripped into thinking that any peaceful resistance against the imposition of foreign socio-cultural practices is “racist”, “fascist”, or “white supremacist”.
The state of affairs described above is very dangerous and the cause for heated debate within Western society right now, but a devil’s advocate would say that the said governments had no way to test the religious zeal of the Muslim migrants that they were allowing into their countries, which is factually true no matter if certain indicators could have obviously suggested the true level of their personal convictions. Therefore, as some leftist-liberal critics claim, it’s not fair to fault Western governments for who they let into their countries because they “might not have known any better”, and if anything, there’s nothing wrong – they say – with the large-scale influx of foreigners who refuse to assimilate and integrate into the host society. After all, Western society is all about “freedom”, so everyone’s “free” to do as they want, right?
Well, not necessarily, but that’s a different discussion for a different day.
The Hybrid War Weaponization Of Salafist “Refugees”
This article deals with those individuals who were without a doubt Salafists by virtue of them “fleeing” from secular and socialist Arab states in order to apply for “political/religious refugee” status in Western countries, the governments of which have no excuse in pretending that they didn’t know the level of these migrants’ religious zeal. I’m not inferring that all Salafists, Salafist migrants, or Salafist “political/religious refugees” from secular and socialist Arab states are terrorists, but just that the primary terrorist threat afflicting Western countries nowadays comes from people who fit one of these three descriptions. The irony, then, is that Western governments knowingly allowed these Salafists to come to their societies in the first place, especially in the case of “political/religious refugees” from secular and socialist Arab states, but there’s a cynical reason behind the short-sighted strategy leading to their civilizational demise apart from the “multicultural” explanation.
Salafists are the natural enemy of secularists, and this therefore makes them a strategic weapon to be wielded by the geopolitical opponents of former Libyan leader Gaddafi and Syrian President Assad, for example, both of whom were (and in the case of the latter, still are) opposed to the West. There is no greater structural threat to a secular Muslim-majority country than Salafists, which is why the West welcomed those “fleeing” from the “political and religious repression” in their homelands in order to weaponize them for future Hybrid War use. The Salafists couldn’t proselytize their interpretation of Islam inside of Libya or Syria because those governments didn’t tolerate even the slightest expression of it, though the liberal West had no such compunctions about their lifestyle owing to the double standard associated with granting foreigners (especially Muslim ones) the freedom of religion while hypocritically enforcing the locals’ freedom from religion when it comes to displays of their traditional Christian faith.
Libyan and other Salafist “political/religious refugees” quickly became even more comfortable in their new homes than in their old homelands because Western governments actually encouraged them to practice their strict lifestyle and proselytize as much as they wanted, though some of these people still longed to transform their countries of origin into the “Salafist paradise” that they constructed in what usually turned out to be Western ghettos. Remember, these people left their homelands precisely because they couldn’t set up a Salafist emirate there, and they know that there are certain limits to what they can do in expanding their “religious paradise” out of the ghetto and throughout the rest of their new country before they encounter heavy opposition. Therefore, it’s their dream to return back to Libya or wherever else they came from and overthrow their “dictators” so that everyone else can be “freed” from the “evils of secularism” and have a chance to finally build the Salafist state which the “pro-democracy fighters” always fantasized about.
Naturally, this aligns with Western geopolitical objectives, which is why these ideological individuals were allowed into their societies to begin with.
Turning A Blind Eye Always Backfires
It’s important at this point to understand that all Western governments could have stopped the Salafization of their Muslim ghettos but intentionally decided against it, though not all of them declined solely because they were scared of transgressing some sort of unstated but “sacred” liberal belief in permitting civilizationally dissimilar newcomers to aggressively practice their freedom of religion at the locals’ expense. Some, like the US and especially the UK, allowed this process to continue unabated because it was thought to provide valuable administrative training for the “political/religious refugees” who they planned to recruit as Hybrid War vanguards. These fighters would one day run their own nationwide caliphates, it was believed, so the experience in doing so on a smaller level inside of their Western neighborhoods could come in handy for the “victors” sometime in the future, as well as potentially ensure that they remain friendly to their former Western patrons who gave them the “freedom” to build a prototype of their desired society after they first “fled” from their homelands.
This also explains why so many terrorists nowadays were known to Western intelligence before they “went rogue” and attacked their handlers instead of their intended targets abroad. Take the Manchester suicide bomber, for example. His family reportedly returned back to Libya after the brutal public assassination of Gaddafi, ostensibly to take the Salafist administrative lessons that they perfected in their British neighborhood back to their original Libyan one in helping to build the “paradise” that they and their co-ideologists so desired. The attacker, however, stayed behind in Britain and eventually turned against his family’s one-time host and the land of his birth. It’s not unexpected that this would happen, which is why the article previously described the strategy of intentionally accepting Salafist “political/religious refugees” from secular and socialist Arab states as short-sighted. As President Assad wisely warned, “terrorists cannot be used as a political card, you cannot put it in your pocket, because it’s like a scorpion; it will bite you someday.”
Britain tragically found that out the hard way earlier this week.
The policy of actively encouraging Salafist immigration to the West backfired in another way aside from the expected terrorist blowback that’s been incurred, since it also contributed to the rise of Islamophobia among a broad segment of the native population. Many Westerners don’t have an objective understanding of what Islam is because their perception of the religion is distorted by the Salafist newcomers who came to their country across the past couple of decades. This shouldn’t be taken to mean that Salafists are the majority of Muslims, most Mideast-originating immigrants, or the bulk of Muslims living in the West for generations, but just that this particular group’s obnoxious public proselytizing disproportionately inflated their presence in the Western consciousness and led people to wrongly conflate them and their practices with all Muslims.
The average Muslim woman doesn’t necessarily wear a niqab, burka, or hijab, just as not all Muslim men have long beards and wear robes, though many Westerners probably wouldn’t believe this because the experience that they have within their own countries testifies to the opposite, or so they believe because of their perception (whether real, inaccurate, or manipulated). It’s doubtful that Westerners seriously care about whatever thoughts a stranger has in their head or holds in their heart, but they don’t want others acting on them in a way which disrupts the social standard that they’ve become accustomed to. Dressing in an Islamic style is the personal choice of an individual and doesn’t automatically make anyone a Salafist, though it’s reasonable that host countries should have the sovereign right to regulate this for legitimate security reasons if they so choose (e.g. making women take off the niqab for their ID pictures). What’s not acceptable to the vast majority of people, however, is an aggressive minority of a minority (the Salafists within the Muslim community) enforcing their religious culture on the local majority and intimidating them.
Sharing The Blame
Unfortunately, the Salafists are largely responsible for why ordinary Westerns might hold a suspicious view about Muslims. That’s not at all to excuse those who are genuine Islamophobes and harbor nothing but fascist hatred for all Muslims, but to explain that the public and media aura which has been built around Western-based Salafists has created the perception – whether intentional or not, though nonetheless totally inaccurate – that all Muslims are cut from this same ideological cloth, and therefore a pressing security threat in the sense that they might resort to violence or even terrorism to enforce their strict socio-cultural standards on the majority non-Muslim population. It doesn’t matter if these Muslims are citizens born in a Western country or recent arrivals from overseas, what disturbs the masses and feeds into actual Islamophobia is that Salafist standards have become commonplace in some Muslim communities, and their co-confessionals aren’t doing enough to keep the aggressive proselytizers at bay.

Ultimately, however, the blame needs to be broadened from passive believers who turn a blind eye to the more radical elements of their communities and to the “multicultural”-brainwashed host governments themselves that actively recruited Salafist “political/religious refugees” from secular and socialist Arab states with the partial intent of one day dispatching them back to their homelands as Hybrid War weapons. It’s not a coincidence that it almost always turns out to be the case that Western intelligence knew about a terrorist before they “went rogue” and carried out an attack in Europe or North America, since these very same agencies usually worked with those individuals at one time or another, whether while training them in “freedom fighter” militancy or receiving briefings from them when they either (re)entered the country or informed on their co-confessionalists. It’s not suggested that the “deep state” tasked each and every one of them with carrying out their eventual attacks as false flags, but just that the permanent bureaucracy can’t control all of the Salafists within their country and lost track of monitoring the most dangerous ones as closely as they should have.
The unfortunate outcome of this decades-long failed policy is Salafist terrorism and Islamophobia, two evils which feed off of one another and further the “Clash of Civilizations” narrative within Western society. The public prominence of Salafists adds fuel to the Islamophobes’ exploitation of the populist zeitgeist favoring state sovereignty and a return to border-immigration controls within the EU, redirecting it towards actual hate speech and sabotaging its noble political goals. Relatedly, the Salafists exploit these minority viewpoints to paint all non-Muslims opposed to open borders and unregulated immigration as “racists”, “fascists”, “white supremacists”, and “Islamophobes”, which riles up the otherwise peaceful non-Salafist Muslim community. All in all, extremists from both the Muslim and non-Muslim camps try to hijack control of their respective communities’ narrative in order to militarize them against the other, thereby contributing to the self-perpetuating cycle of violence that’s broken out within Western society as of late.
Is There A Solution?
It’s difficult to prescribe the perfect solution for dealing with these interconnected problems because of how far they’ve already progressed, and there’s not much that the guilty governments can do in making up for the damage that their decades-long policies have wrought in instigating the “Clash of Civilizations” which is wreaking so much havoc within their societies. No peaceful minority group should ever be discriminated against or made to feel uncomfortable, but nor should any peaceful member of the majority either. Salafists shouldn’t infringe on the rights of their majority non-Muslim hosts, just as the latter shouldn’t take out their Salafist-inspired stress on regular Muslims.
Ideally, the most effective and sustainable way to deal with the existing tension which has built up over the years is for the state to promulgate and enforce legislation mandating strict anti-Salafist migration controls and ending the policy of offering “political/religious asylum” to those “fleeing” from the remaining secular Arab states of Algeria, Egypt, and Syria. The state also needs to crack down on Salafist hate speech, including within mosques. Just as equally, however, the government needs to keep an eye on the rising fascist sentiment within society and make moves to mitigate its growth and counteract its hateful narratives. 
However, this shouldn’t be abused to suppress pro-sovereignty populism and the peaceful expression of free speech.
Controlling fascism is just as important as controlling Salafism because each contributes to the spread of the other and foments a larger conflict which inevitably harms many more innocent people than it does any of its culprits. It’s naïve to pin all of one’s hope in the state, however, since time and again this has proven to be misplaced. Western governments either ignore both of these problems or selectively target troublemakers from each camp and never deal with the real underlying issues at hand, so the most realistic solution to the rising Salafism in the Western Muslim community and the reactionary trend of outright fascist Islamophobia in its populist counterpart is for both of their core constituencies to band together in “policing their own” and purging the ideological riffraff from their ranks.
Even so, it will probably still take a generation or two to successfully remove these destructive strains of thought from their communities, though the recent rise of reactionary fascism will probably be comparatively easier to contain than its primary trigger cause of Salafism, which has been strengthened over the decades and ironically aided by the very same host governments that are now threatened by it. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the Manchester suicide bombing, then it’s that the pro-Salafist immigration and “refugee” policies practiced by Western governments for years have utterly failed in their stated “multiculturalist” goals and clandestine Hybrid War ones, and that the resultant change of perception that many locals now have about the Muslim community at large is feeding into the rise of fascism and the literal “Clash of Civilizations” that’s unfolding across Europe. DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 
How the British deep state turned Manchester into al-Qaeda Town UK
Anti-Gaddafi Libyans living in Manchester had been trained, armed and aided by Britain to wage jihad against the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi.
Rebels living in England claim UK government let them travel to Libya to fight Gaddafi - even though they were subject to counter-terrorism orders - as investigators probe Abedi's visits to Tripoli
Lounging on the beach in Libya with friends and hanging out with his mates in Manchester, this is Salman Abedi (circled) as a teenage boy before he became a suicide bomber. There is a no suggestion any of the friends he is pictured with have been involved in any wrong doing
  • Former fighters including Libyan exiles and British-Libyan residents described how MI5 'sorted' their travel
  • British government is said to have adopted an 'open door' policy for fighters willing to travel to fight Gaddafi
  • Comes as Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted authorities knew of the Manchester bomber Salman Abedi
  • Those who travelled fought alongside Islamic militants despite being subject travel bans for posing a threat 

Firefighters are infuriated after they were stopped from helping bomb victims at Manchester Arena

Firefighters have spoken of their "shame" after they were prevented from helping victims of the Arena bomb in the immediate aftermath ISIS Terrorist Attack in Manchester? 17 Days Before Crucial UK Elections
Theresa May Pushing For UK Intervention in Syria Following Manchester Attack

The UK is ramping up its military preparedness following the deadly Manchester bombing earlier this week. The actions being taken by the country’s government, coupled with sensational media coverage of the attack and the deployment of 5,000 troops to the streets of Britain, indicate that the UK may be gearing up for war beyond its borders.
Sorted’ by MI5: How UK government sent British-Libyans to fight Gaddafi
Fighters say government operated ‘open door’ policy allowing them to join rebels, as authorities investigate background of Manchester bomber
The British government operated an “open door” policy that allowed Libyan exiles and British-Libyan citizens to join the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi even though some had been subject to counter-terrorism control orders, Middle East Eye can reveal.
Several former rebel fighters now back in the UK told MEE that they had been able to travel to Libya with “no questions asked” as authorities continued to investigate the background of a British-Libyan suicide bomber who killed 22 people in Monday’s attack in Manchester.
Salman Abedi, 22, the British-born son of exiled dissidents who returned to Libya as the revolution against Gaddafi gathered momentum, is also understood to have spent time in the North African country in 2011 and to have returned there on several subsequent occasions.
British police have said they believe the bomber, who returned to Manchester just a few days before the attack, was part of a network and have arrested six people including Abedi’s older brother since Monday.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said that Abedi was known to security services, while a local community worker told the BBC that several people had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline.

ISIS in Philippines

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 04:59
Philippines 'Dirty' Duterte facing ‘same ISIS dynamic’ as Assad in Syria

RT,25 May, 2017
Someone has unleashed ISIS, which forces the Filipino government to come down hard, to declare martial law, and then the international organizations will demonize Duterte, Patrick Henningsen, Executive Editor of 21st Century, told RT.
Fighters linked to ISIS went on a rampage in the Philippines' city of Marawi. The country's President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law there.
RT:  With terrorism as his new target, do you think Duterte will receive much international support, given that his war on drugs was condemned by many and called too brutal?
Patrick Henningsen: This President is already under intense scrutiny by the sort of wider international community, if you will, and specifically by the US. He has sort of gone at loggerheads with Washington on more than one occasion. This is a bit of a tight spot, a bit of a Catch-22 for Duterte in the Philippines because he will already have been somewhat demonized for his heavy-handed approach to organized crime and the organized drug trade that has affected his country. So comparisons will be made to Ferdinand Marcos. This is bit of public relations issue for this President and this government. It will have to be ironed out.At the end of the day he is in the exact same situation, very similar situation that Bashar Assad in Syria was in early on in the sort of the terrorist takeover of that country in the early days of the FSA, and then Al-Nusra Front, and then later ISIS. So he has to balance out this public relations issue – is he too heavy-handed? Most people would say looking at Syria that you can’t be heavy-handed enough when it comes to dealing with ISIS. So we’ll see how much progress he makes on the island in the next few weeks.
RT:  With terrorism apparently spreading around the world, don't you think Duterte-style harsh measures should be an option now?
PH: What is really interesting if you look at Syria, as the test case, we just came back from Syria on a one-month fact-finding mission. If there was any criticism of Assad – especially early on in 2011-2012, but especially in the beginning of the crisis in Syria – the criticism from Syrians would have been: “He wasn’t heavy-handed enough.” You can sort of look at that situation and Duterte is probably looking at that situation in Syria, and then taking a sort of more tougher tack because if this gets out of hand, if he starts losing cities, towns, provinces or governorates to terrorist control, then you have a really big problem on your hands. There is also this issue of military equipment. Are they ready to deal with that size of a problem? Quite possibly not. And if they are, they will need to be able to sort of rearm and modernize some paramilitary aspects of the Philippine forces, which they may be or not may not be ready for. So going in hard, going in strong in the beginning, might seem like a better option now after looking at what has happened in Syria over the last six years.
RT:  Human Rights Watch [HRW] has already called on Duterte to ensure the rights of civilians would be protected under the law. Do you think the watchdog is being subjective? Would it happen with any other country?
PH: HRW took the same tack with the government in Syria and President Bashar Assad for the last five or six years. Here we have the Philippines, geopolitical foe for the moment of the US, of the West. It’s getting the same treatment from the NGO complex, led by people like HRW and Amnesty International, who will then sort of wage a public relations war against governments that maybe aren’t friendly at the moment to the US.
Certainly, that is what we’ve seen with Syria. Someone unleashes ISIS - if this is indeed ISIS in the Philippines - someone has unleashed ISIS. Then the government is forced to come down hard, to declare martial law, and then the international organizations will demonize this government. So this is an exact same formula as what we saw in Syria, albeit on a smaller scale, on a smaller level. Essentially, we’re looking at the same dynamic, and especially with the negative public relations side that the Philippine government is looking at, just like Syria went through.

ISIS sets up checkpoints across Marawi, 80 Philippine soldiers killedAMN,25 May, 2017
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:45 P.M.) – New details have emerged regarding the ongoing battle for Marawi, a predominately Sunni city in the southern Philippines which is home to over 200,000 residents and witnessed a large-scale ISIS insurgency on Thursday
According to Amaq Agency, some 70 soldiers of the Philippine Armed Forces have been killed in the battle for Marawi since Tuesday while an additional 10 were killed in an ambush on two armored vehicles patrolling the Jolo municipality on the island of Jolo.In contrast, the Philippine Army said they had only sustained 8 deaths and 31 injuries to their forces while 13 ISIS militants had been killed. Meanwhile, the Phillipine Air Forceconducted dozens of pinpoints airstrikes over the city on Thursday.Islamic State forces in the Philippines are composed of the two franchise groups, known as Maute and Abu Sayyaf, both of whom have sworn alliegence to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.Pictures of ISIS militants inside Marawi, backing up earlier exclusive reports by Al-Masdar News which indicated jihadists had captured most of the cityISIS reportedly also captured a lot of military vehicles, ammunition storages and weapons from the Philippine Army which temporarily withdrew from much of the city on Tuesday, allowing ISIS to capture Marawi’s main hospital, police station and prison among other key facilities.Some 500 ISIS insurgents are estimated to be scattered across Marawi, controlling much of the city despite a somewhat succesful army counter-offensive on Thursday.ALSO READ  ISIS takes priest hostage and burns down church in major Philippine cityUnless Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his army are able to defeat the jihadist rebellion quickly, the Islamic State may use Marawi as regional capital to expand its influence in southeast Asia
Duterte Invokes Martial Law: Mass Movements, Communists, Muslims Promise to Fight Back
The people of the Philippines are facing an uncertain future after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's declaration of martial law in the Mindanao province, population 22 million, following a flare-up of violence between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the small Islamist Maute militant group. Increasingly, mass movements of poor people across the Southeast Asian nation are feeling that the brash, and unpredictable president is attempting to cast himself in the mold of a dictator, the head of a military junta, on the flimsy pretext of the Maute group's “terrorist threat.”
“Declaring martial law all over Mindanao because of turmoil and clashes in one of its cities is definitely an overreaction,” Professor Roland Simbulan of the University of the Philippines, Manila told teleSUR, pointing to Duterte's earlier threats to declare martial law as part of his bloody anti-drug campaign. Simbulan is a noted scholar of Philippine-U.S. relations, and of the U.S.-funded militarization of the country in particular.

“Now, the Maute group in one city in Mindanao has given him an excuse to use his martial law powers,” Simbulan added. “In the United States, even the most serious national security threats such as the 9/11 attacks against the very centers of political and economic power in the U.S. didn't merit such a declaration to deal with the situation.”

Kim Dotcom's open letter to Seth Rich's family

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 04:44
Kim Dotcom: An open letter to Seth Rich's family regarding hacking claimsExclusive: Dotcom shares with IBTimes UK his account of claims he hacked into DNC staffer's email.

IBTimes,25 May, 2017
Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is currently embroiled in a row over claims he might have hacked into the email of murdered Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich.
Family of Seth Rich
c/- Aaron Rich

Dear Aaron


1. As you know, you and I have previously corresponded after I reached out to you to offer my assistance with the GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the family of Mr Rich (family). I understand from our communications that you are representing the family in relation to the ongoing investigation into Mr Rich's death and I am writing to you in that capacity.

2. In particular, I am writing regarding recent statements about me that have been reported globally (including in New Zealand) and attributed to the family. As set out in more detail below, some of these statements are false and defamatory.

3. The purpose of this letter is to formally request that the family and their representatives cease from making such statements about me going forward. This request is made in the spirit of us constructively moving forward and allowing the investigation into the DNC leak to progress without delay so that there can be an informed decision on whether it had any involvement in Mr Rich's death, as many fear.

4. However, if these statements do not cease, it will be necessary for me to take further action. It is ironic that the family complain of others potentially making statements that they fear (without actually knowing) will be incorrect and then make incorrect statements about me themselves.

5. I remain prepared to assist in the investigation, as I have said. While I want to show understanding to the family in this difficult time, I also maintain that what I have said is true and will be substantiated upon investigation. While that may be difficult for the family to accept, in time I expect it to play a valuable part in revealing the truth. However, that is a matter for the current investigation. I simply wish to make sure that the investigators have the benefit of my evidence.

6. I have said that I will share what I know, and why, with the relevant authorities if the appropriate arrangements can be made. That is what I understand from our
communications the family also want. The family, once fully informed, can then make up their own mind, as will the investigation. However, that will not happen by ignoring the evidence of witnesses like me who are prepared to speak up, or by seeking to discredit such witnesses by pre-emptively attacking their credibility. I simply ask that the family listen, before attacking.

The statements7. The statements in question include:

(a) variations on the statements below reported in the Washington Post article 'The lifeand death of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory'; and

(b) allegations in the letter I understand the family sent to Fox News to the effect that Ihave previously used false evidence.

8. Both are without any factual basis, for the reasons set out below.

Washington Post article

9. The Washington Post article states (in part):

When Seth Rich's Gmail account received an alert this week from, attempting to start a new account on a website created by the New Zealand-baed Internet businessman and convicted hacker Kim Dotcom, his family knew that something was off.Over seven frenzied days, Dotcom had become a leading purveyor of the theory
that Rich, a staffer at the Democratic National Committee who was shot dead near his home in Northeast Washington last summer, had supplied DNC documents to WikiLeaks and was killed as a result. Multiple security analysts and an FBI investigation have tied the release to hackers with ties to Russia. D.C.police have said repeatedly that they think Rich was slain in a random robberyattempt.According to experts and Rich's family, the emailed invitation from appeared to be an attempt to gain access to Rich's email. Joel Rich, who maintains his late son's Gmail account, did not click the link. Meanwhile, Dotcom was promising on Twitter to prove that the younger Rich had been in contact with WikiLeaks — and Fox News host Sean Hannity was telling his 2.37 million Twitter followers to be ready for a revelation....The latest revelation — that a hacker from New Zealand may have been trying as recently as this week to hack into Rich's email — offered fresh evidence that the conspiracy theory is false. Dotcom, it seemed, may have been willing to create a fake archive of emails from Rich to "prove" his role in the DNC hack.10. The clear inference the reader is invited to draw from the above is that I attempted to hack Mr Rich's email account. This is simply not true and is made without any genuine foundation. As you know, the email correspondence between us can be checked and contains no such threat.

11. It is alleged that Mr Rich's email account received a verification email from That may be so. But that does not mean that any attempt was made to hack his email account. Literally anyone could have gone to and registered an account there using Mr Rich's gmail address, which was publicly known. That would then have resulted in Mega sending a verification email to that address. If someone had registered Mr Rich's email at Dropbox for example, Dropbox would likewise have sent a confirmation link. That has nothing to do with hacking.

12. If there has been an attempt to hack Mr Rich's email account, I know nothing of it and there is no connection to me. There is no credible basis in fact to link me to any attempted hacking of Mr Rich's email. If the family genuinely believe they can establish a link, which I do not accept, then by all means disclose that and I will respond to it and rebut it openly. I would welcome this. Once the allegation is shown to be without foundation, the focus could once again return to the DNC leaks and Mr Rich's death.

13. The suggestion that I am attempting to plant evidence into Mr Rich's email account would appear to be an attempt to discredit any evidence I may give before I have a chance to give it. That those who seek to speak the truth are, as I have been, subjected to a smear campaign to try to discredit them indicates to me that the truth is known and not welcome.

Letter to Fox News14. The family's letter to Fox News includes the following false statements about me:

(a) "In March, Kim circulated a letter purporting to show a conspiracy against him".

(b) "New Zealand law enforcement officials investigated the letter thoroughly and
discovered without a shadow of a doubt that the letter was a forgery".

(c) "[He has] in the past, been caught using fabricated email evidence to forward his own agenda and confuse people".

(d) "[He is] known to have pushed false evidence in the past".

15. These statements are incorrect because:

(a) I did not, in March or at any other time, circulate a letter purporting to show a
conspiracy against me. The alleged "letter" and "fabricated email evidence"
referred to is an alleged email from Kevin Tsujihara (Chief Executive of Warner
Brothers) to Michael Ellis (Asia-Pacific president of the Motion Picture Association
of America) (Email). The Email came to light in 2014. I did not publish, and never
used, this email as, once it was provided to me, I was concerned as to whether it
was reliable.

(b) I did not circulate the Email. Rather, the New Zealand Herald obtained a copy of the Email and published it. For my part, I have publicly and transparently stated
that the email was easy to discredit because it did not have headers and I declined to use it for that reason. It is a matter of public record that the Email was not in fact used or disclosed by me. This is of course the opposite of what the statements in the family's letter contend.

16. Accordingly, there is no factual basis for the statements in the letter. To the contrary, the facts clearly indicate that I was not prepared to, and did not, use evidence that could not be verified. To suggest otherwise is misleading and defamatory.

A way forward17. The statements above appear to have been a calculated "pre-emptive strike" on my reputation and credibility. The sad irony is that, as my conduct since receipt of the family's email clearly shows, I was, and remain, prepared to accommodate the family's wishes. Indeed, for respecting their wishes and making no further public comment, I have been subjected to considerable criticism online and in the global media. However, I was prepared to weather this criticism in the interests of accommodating the family's concerns.

18. It is unfortunate that matters have come to this as my objective is the same as the family's – to see that the truth comes out and justice is done. What appears to have been overlooked is that the easiest thing for someone in my position to do in this situation would be to say nothing at all. However, that would not have helped or been right.

19. As should be clear from my conduct, and the emails we exchanged, I do not wish to cause any distress for the family. But nor can I sit idly by without communicating what I know to the appropriate authorities. I will, through my legal team, progress the necessary arrangements with the authorities.

20. As I have repeatedly stated, while this process is ongoing, I do not intend to make further public comment. However, I now find myself in the invidious position where, out of deference and respect to the family, I have declined to make further public comment but now find my reputation and credibility under attack from the family. If I am forced to respond publicly to these incorrect and unfair allegations, it would have the opposite effect of what the family has asked me to do and I have sought to accommodate.

21. I therefore request that, in the meantime, the family refrain from repeating the false statements described in this letter. I have not taken the step of commencing defamatio proceedings in relation to the above statements although I would be entitled to do so in New Zealand. I reserve all of my rights and remedies in this regard. My preference is that the family and I move forward together. If, after learning what I have to say through the appropriate channels (as requested by the family), the family choose not to accept it, that is a matter for the family. I seek only to pass on what I know so that the truth can be fully and openly investigated and then reported on. Why that should cause me to be unduly attacked raises more questions than it answers. My view is that the truth is not something to be feared.

22. If, however, the statements are repeated, I will have no choice but to consider the formal legal options available to me. I hope this will not be necessary, hence this correspondence.

23. Please consider this request made in good faith and confirm by return that the family and its agents will cease from further linking me to the alleged attempted hack of Mr Rich's email and other unsupportable allegations.

Yours sincerely,Kim Dotcom

Radio Eco Shock on the nuclear threat

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 04:31
Trump, nuclear bombs & rumors of war

Two experts explain the unbalancing of the nuclear world & the drumbeat for war. Hans Kristensen from the Nuclear Information Project about his warning in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Then Greg Mello from the Los Alamos Study Project explains why America seems to need a Russian enemy

The noose is tightening for alternative news source

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 04:24
BREAKING: Twitter begins banning accounts that report the Seth Rich story

The Duran,25 May, 2017
Twitter has suspended WND for its Seth Rich reporting.A few days ago The Duran ran a post on the latest developments in the Seth Rich story citing WND, and its revelation that none other than former DNC Chair Donna Brazile had been exposed as the high ranking Democrat official calling DC police to inquire about how far a Private Investigation into the murder of Seth Rich had progressed.
Now in a stunning WND exclusive, Twitter has suspended WND for its Seth Rich reporting…Deactivating their account over the story about Donna Brazile’s involvement.The full spectrum paranoia being displayed by the liberal left and the Deep State with regards to anything “Seth Rich” will only server to strengthen speculation that this story runs much higher and much deeper than just a simple botched robbery.As a reminder, WND reported…“The high-ranking DNC official that called the police after I inquired about Rich’s case was Donna Brazile,” veteran homicide detective Rod Wheeler told WND. “Why shouldn’t I reveal who it was?”To promote the story, WND tweeted…Zerohedge reports…A couple of days ago, WND ran a story entitled “Bombshell: Donna Brazile Warned Off Private Eye On Seth Rich Murder.”  The story was sourced back to on-the-record quotes provided by Detective Rod Wheeler who was hired by the Rich family shortly after their son’s suspicious murder in July 2016.  Among other things, Wheeler said that it was former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile who allegedly called police and the Rich family and demanded to know why a private investigator was “snooping” into Rich’s death.Unfortunately, Twitter seemed to take issue with the story and sent a message to WND demanding that they “Delete Tweet.”WND refused to remove the tweet, and rightly so. WND was reporting news…the post was well balanced and fully sourced. There was no violation of any of twitter’s “abusive behavior” rules.In an act that can only be seen as politically influenced, twitter decided to censor WND, freezing their account.“We have determined that you have violated the Twitter Rules, so we’ve temporarily limited some of your account features.  While in this state, you can still browse Twitter, but you’re limited to only sending Direct Messages to your followers – no Tweets, Retweets, or likes.”Zerohedge further notes that….Twitter refused to highlight which of their rules (which can be found here) had been violated when asked by WND.  After a quick review, we must admit that we would have a hard time identifying which rule was ‘violated’ as well.
Here is a list of Twitter’s “Abusive Behavior” rules. Can you figure out which rule WND violated?
  • Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
  • Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
    • if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
    • if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
    • if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
    • if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
  • Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.
  • Multiple account abuse: Creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses or in order to evade the temporary or permanent suspension of a separate account is not allowed.
  • Private information: You may not publish or post other people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address, or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission. In addition, you may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent. Read more about our private information policy here.
  • Impersonation: You may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that is intended to or does mislead, confuse, or deceive others. Read more about our impersonation policy here.
  • Self-harm: You may encounter someone considering suicide or self harm on Twitter. When we receive reports that a person is threatening suicide or self harm, we may take a number of steps to assist them, such as reaching out to that person expressing our concern and the concern of other users on Twitter or providing resources such as contact information for our mental health partners.
Zerohedge rightly points out that twitter did not take such action after the many fake news posts were promoted by the likes of CNN, the WaPo, or the NYT, including the very fake and very disgusting Trump “hotel room” dossier…But that’s not really the point now is it?  Perhaps the reason we can’t find the ‘rule’ that was violated is because Twitter doesn’t overtly publish their policy which demands the censoring all media which conflicts with their ‘progressive’ worldview.Or maybe Twitter simply deemed the story to be ‘fake news’?  If so, perhaps Twitter could share their evidence that negates the on-the-record quotes reported by WND.  Or, maybe Twitter just assumed that an upstanding citizen like Brazile, a woman who destroyed her own integrity by sharing debate questions with Hillary’s campaign and subsequently lying about those actions on every media outlet in existence, would never do such a thing.Moreover, if Twitter is now in the business of censoring ‘fake news’ then perhaps they can explain why our friends at CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post seem to be able to publish numerous ‘fake news’ stories, on a daily basis, without consequence?  Remember that whole ‘Golden Showers’ dossier that CNN pumped relentlessly over Twitter that was subsequently debunked with very minimal efforts.

Here is the Zero Hedge story

Twitter Suspends WND For Seth Rich Story

I disagree that Superstation95 is a "fake news" site. I have frequently got up-to-date material that is not available elsewhere.
What they are, like InfoWars is biased. Bias is something that a discriminating reader can deal with.
I have found, almost without exception that western readers (especially Americans) are absolutely incapable of reading between the lines such as what Russians and East Europeans are very adept at.
Hence the need to reject whole publi cations as "fake news"
"What was it like living under communism as opposed to the west? We KNEW we were being lied to"
SuperStation95 News Closed; Killed by Phoney Washington Post "Russian Propaganda / Fake News" False allegation

SuperStation9523 May, 2017 came online in October, 2015 and skyrocketed to over two million visitors p/mo. quickly.  As the US Presidential Election got heated, sites like ours which opposed Hillary Clinton got smeared as "Russian Propaganda" and "Fake News."  A Washington Post story on November 24, widely disseminated these scurrilous attacks.  The allegation of "Russian Propaganda/Fake News" was completely false, but that didn't matter to WaPo, which admitted they never investigated the claims by a new, unknown group, who lobbed the Fake News accusation.  WaPo ran the story nonetheless and like a sledge hammer, our visitor count began plummeting.  
Later, WaPo backed-off the story, by adding the following disclaimer:
The Washington Post on Nov. 24 published a story on the work of four sets of researchers who have examined what they say are Russian propaganda efforts to undermine American democracy and interests. One of them was PropOrNota group that insists on public anonymity, which issued a report identifying more than 200 websites that, in its view, wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda.
Useful idiots (like,, and others)  who supported Hillary Clinton, made tremendous use of the WaPo story, even after WaPo eased-off their un-investigated report.  The radical leftists hurled the "fake news" allegation as often as they could.  It seemed to us they were taking revenge for Hillary Clinton's election loss by trying to discredit sites that did massive damage to Hillary's campaign through the reporting of WikiLeaks email revelations, which our site and others reported widely.Visitor counts to this web site began dropping immediately after WaPo ran that story and have now dropped so low, the revenue from this site can no longer support its existence, nevermind pay staff and for office space.We have provided to all our employees who have now lost their jobs, the names and home addresses of the WaPo reporter(s) who did the story, in case those employees want to have a personal word with those folks.We thank all the people who visited this site and helped propel our growth because they knew we were credible, accurate, and - many times - FIRST with breaking news.  We're sorry we have to go, but such is the case.Listeners in New York City will hear that FM Station 95.1 - a separate business from this web site -- is broadcasting Christian religious content.Goodbye and best of luck to all of you.

Sean Hannity Takes "Abrupt Vacation" Amid Advertiser Boycott

Zero Hedge,25 May, 2017
Is Fox News about to lose its last remaining "old school" anchor holdout? 

According to, Hannity is taking "a couple days off amid a growing advertiser boycott" over Hannity's pursuit of the Seth Rich story - an parallel to Bill O'Reilly's final days - and so far, seven advertisers are said to have pulled out of Hannity’s show. was the first advertiser to announce it was pulling ads, telling Buzzfeed News on Wednesday afternoon that “we’ve been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity.” It was followed by exercise bike company Peloton (which just closed a $325M Series E round financing), Leesa Sleep; mattress retailer Casper, insurance company USAA; home security equipment maker Ring and Crowne Plaza Hotels, all of which announced they would be redirecting their ad buys from Hannity’s shows.Meanwhile, the Five host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who has confirmed speaking to the White House about potentially replacing press secretary Sean Spicer, will be filling in on Hannity on Thursday and Friday.

Kimberly Guilfoyle
Preempting speculation about a possible permanent departure, Hannity announced on Twitter the vacation was his annual Memorial Day getaway, and said "Uh oh My ANNUAL Memorial Day long weekend starts NOW. Destroy Trump/Conservative media breathless coverage starts! Did Hannity do last show?"

Sean Hannity ✔@seanhannityUh oh My ANNUAL Memorial Day long weekend starts NOW. Destroy Trump/Conservative media breathless coverage starts! Did Hannity do last show?3:07 PM - 25 May 2017Twitter Ads info & Privacy
According to, it is unclear if Hannity will still host his syndicated radio show on Thursday and Friday, which airs at 6 p.m. in Philadelphia on 1210 WPHT.
In any case, as noted above, so far the timeline of events surrounding Hannity is strikingly similar to how events unfolded for former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who following a New York Times report that revealed O’Reilly paid five former Fox News personalities $13 million to settle claims of sexual and verbal harassment, took an abrupt vacation amid a growing exodus of advertisers from his show. Despite assurances from the network that the vacation was pre planed, Fox News fired O’Reilly eight days later.
In interviews with, Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky slammed the network, calling it “really egregious” to allow Hannity, Gingrich and others to discuss the death of Seth Rich.  “We know the facts. Wikileaks was in collaboration with the Russians,” Roginsky said.“How do we know this? Because the entire intelligence community said that the Russians were the ones who hacked into these emails. This is not in dispute.”
Well, actualy it is because 5 months later the so called entire intelligence community hasn't presented one schred of evidence yet as Ron Paul has repeatedly, patiently, and lofically pointed out.
What is not in dispute, however, is that if Hannity were to also leave Fox - the last of the original anchor line-up that boosted Fox News to the top of the ratings charts - the Nielsen chart of Rupert Murdoch's organization, already in tailspin, will move from the upper left to the bottom right, to quote Gartman, as traditional viewers continue to bail for alternative outlets.

A Shadowy Corporate Lobby May Be Quietly Trying to Ban Protesting Across the U.S.
So many anti-protest bills have been passed since Trump’s election that the ACLU has launched its own interactive map just to track the legislation. At the writing of this article, at least 25 bills have been introduced across 18 different states.

Unsurprisingly, the North Dakota State legislature has the most anti-protest bills of all the States, with six introduced since November. What is striking about the Statewide legislation, however, is not the quantity of the bills, but the similarities between them
HARVARD STUDY: TWO THIRDS OF AMERICANS BELIEVE MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS ‘FAKE NEWS’Much of the media is now just another part of the partisan divide in the country."
InfoWars,25 May, 2017
A Harvard University study has confirmed that a majority of Americans across the political spectrum believe that the mainstream media publishes ‘fake news’.
The survey found that a whopping 65 percent of voters do not trust the media, and concur with President Trump that the likes of CNN and the Washington Post push false information.
The poll indicated that 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats all share the opinion. The results were provided exclusively to The Hill.
The authors of the study also noted that it seems to be the media’s obsession with attacking Trump over anything and everything, even though most topics are non-issues, that is driving the backlash.
“Much of the media is now just another part of the partisan divide in the country with Republicans not trusting the ‘mainstream’ media and Democrats seeing them as reflecting their beliefs,” said Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn.
“Every major institution from the presidency to the courts is now seen as operating in a partisan fashion in one direction or the other.” Penn added.The latest poll comes on the heels of another Harvard study that discovered the media is overwhelmingly bias against Trump in its coverage.
The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy collated statistics from media coverage ranging across 10 mainstream television news networks, as well as print newspapers, and found that some of those media organisations broached stories about Trump with a negative tone in up to 98% of reports.

Several recent polls have found huge distrust in the media, including a Gallup survey from September that found only 32 percent of Americans trusted the media.

The death of the Living Planet - a collection of headlines - 05/24/2017

Fr, 26/05/2017 - 01:21
The following is a week or so’s articles on climate change.
The articles are not in any particular order but I have tried to keep actual news stories, as opposed to general prognostication and ‘could’ articles.

One week’s headlines on abrupt climate change

The latest from Natalia Shakhova

Climate Change in the Arctic and Model Projections (2017)

Stop hoping we can fix climate change by pulling carbon out of the air, scientists warn

Scientists are expressing increasing skepticism that we’re going to be able to get out of the climate change mess by relying on a variety of large-scale land-use and technical solutions that have been not only proposed but often relied upon in scientific calculations.
Two papers published last week debunk the idea of planting large volumes of trees to pull carbon dioxide out of the air — saying there just isn’t enough land available to pull it off — and also various other strategies for “carbon dioxide removal,” some of which also include massive tree plantings combined with burning their biomass and storing it below the ground.
“Biomass plantations are always seen as a green kind of climate engineering because, you know, everybody likes trees,” said Lena Boysen, a climate researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany, who led one of the new studies while a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “But we just want to show that that’s not the complete story. They cannot do that much.”

Surface level methane

This is a beta from Copernicus. 
Methane surface PPB 05 18 2017 The surface level pinpoints the source location better. Other levels are available on the website. And I repeat, the energy balance for methane is about 1250 ppb (Harold Hensel)!Methane!Surface!06!Global!macc!od!enfo!nrt_fields_ghg!2017051800!!/


A reservoir of abiotic methane has been discovered in the Arctic Ocean. This means that there is more of the greenhouse gas trapped under the seabed than previously thought.
Methane, a highly effective greenhouse gas, is usually produced by decomposition of organic material, a complex process involving bacteria and microbes.
But there is another type of methane that can appear under specific circumstances: Abiotic methane is formed by chemical reactions in the oceanic crust beneath the seafloor.

New findings by a team of CAGE scientists show that deep water gas hydrates, icy substances in the sediments that trap huge amounts of the methane, can be a reservoir for abiotic methane. One such reservoir was recently discovered on the ultraslow spreading Knipovich ridge, in the deep Fram Strait of the Arctic Ocean. 
The study suggests that abiotic methane could supply vast systems of methane hydrate throughout the Arctic.

The results were recently published in Geology online and will be featured in the journal´s May issue.

Low sea ice in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska

Sea ice this spring in the Chukchi Sea, off northwest Alaska, is breaking up and melting earlier and much more extensively than is typical for May. While small areas of open water in this region during mid-May are normal, it appears to be unprecedented in the satellite era to have this much open water north of 68°N latitude (Point Hope) at this time of year.
The map above shows sea ice concentrations on May 20, 2017, in shades of blue to white, with white showing areas that are 90 to 100% ice covered, and darkest blue showing areas of essentially open water, meaning less than 10% ice covered. Purple areas are shore-fast ice, which is ice that is grounded, immobile, in the coastal shallows. This sea ice analysis combines information from a wide variety of remote sensing tools, including polar orbiting satellites and synthetic aperture radar, and in a couple of locations ground-based radar. Therefore, this analysis has much higher spatial resolution (detail) than the well-known Arctic-wide sea ice maps derived from passive microwave sensors
As is typical for mid-May, ice concentration is something of a patchwork. As overall ice coverage decreases with the arrival of summer, the remaining ice slowly melts, and it is easily moved around by winds. The feature that has Alaskans’ attention is the open water in the Chukchi Sea, off the northwest coast of the state.

Polar bear scientists see unusual sea ice breakup
For the past eight years in March and April, biologists with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have flown to the ice of the Chukchi Sea to study polar bears. This spring, they saw something that had never witnessed before.

"Oh man, it was very dramatic," said Ryan Wilson, wildlife biologist with the agency's polar bear program. "It wasn't a subtle difference."

Wilson says in less than a week, the sea ice broke up and shifted quickly to the north. The breakup happened faster and earlier than scientists had seen before, forcing them to cut short their research trip.

"That last week that we were capturing, it kind of broke apart and we were flying from big pans [of ice] to big pans," Wilson said. "Actually, catching right along the ice edge... is typically another 100 or 200 miles to the south of us, most years."

Scientists puzzled by slowing of Atlantic conveyor belt, warn of abrupt climate change

Scientists are increasingly warning of the potential that a shutdown, or even significant slowdown, of the Atlantic conveyor belt could lead to abrupt climate change, a shift in Earth’s climate that can occur within as short a timeframe as a decade but persist for decades or centuries.

Scientists puzzled by slowing of Atlantic conveyor belt, warn of abrupt climate change

  • Limited ocean measurements have shown that "the Atlantic conveyor belt" is far more capricious than models have previously suggested.
  • From 2009 to 2010, the average strength of key ocean currents in the North Atlantic dropped by about 30 percent, causing warmer waters to remain in the tropics rather than being carried northward.
  • “The consequences included an unusually harsh European winter, a strong Atlantic Basin hurricane season, and — because a strong AMOC keeps water away from land — an extreme sea level rise of nearly 13 centimeters along the North American coast north of New York City,” according to Eric Hand, author of a Science article published this month.

    Researchers Race to Understand Black 

    Carbon’s Impact on Thawing TundraENSIA: The wood and fossil fuels we burn affect extreme warming in the Arctic, and solutions begin with understanding how and how muchBlack carbon is a product of incomplete combustion from forest fires and the burning of both wood and fossil fuels, and its influence on the Arctic is like the proverbial death by a thousand cuts. At the top of the world, black carbon can land on snow and ice, darkening them, which makes them soak up more heat from the sun and melt faster. It can also absorb and radiate heat from sunlight as it floats through the atmosphere. Black carbon may be worsening the extreme warming felt all over the Arctic, record temperatures that are making permafrost disintegrate and sea ice melt. And if the Arctic gets too much warmer, it is, in the long term, like setting off a giant Rube Goldberg machine – once Arctic ice melts, seas rise; ocean waters absorb more heat; methane, another potent greenhouse gas, escapes from the permafrost.
    The particles that end up in the Arctic have millions of points of origin, drifting northward from sources like wood and coal stoves used for cooking in India or diesel trucks chugging down U.S. highways. But any particles produced in the Arctic itself are far more likely to linger here and become a more damaging pollution problem.
    North of Nares Strait region sea ice, once steady stable perineal, now thin unstable seasonal

    May 21 NASA EOSDIS captures for 2017, 2013 and 2015, May 21 selection was chosen as the earliest date comparable, extensive cloud cover forced the choosing of later dates were picked for 3 other pictures: 2016 June 12; 2014 May 27 and June 15 for 2012. Despite the much later dates sea ice was never for the worse compared to May 21 2017, broken and smashed up, is true to present days weakest formation of very thin tenuous sea ice. As the NASA clips suggests, it was very recently not always this fragile North of Nares Strait, despite a near permanent Gyre and tidal current, 2012 ice looked substantially thicker and stronger a month later. This year to year animation gives the impression of a progressively continuous sea ice deterioration. In the late 80's this ice sheet especially next to Greenland was rock steady year round with only the current breaking it up at Northern entrance of Nares. The broken up appearance of sea ice in 2017 demonstrates the total collapse of the steady but important thin sea ice shelves (3 to 5 meters). WD May 21,2017

Rising carbon dioxide is making the Earth GREENER: Extra plant growth caused by greenhouse gases could cover the USA twice

  • Scientists used satellite data over the past 33 years to measure leaf cover
  • Planet has got greener as plants have flourished in rising carbon dioxide
  • Additional plant growth is equivalent to covering the US twice in greenery
  • Rising carbon dioxide is responsible for 70 per cent of the extra greening

A Serious Threat’: Sea Levels Rising Three Times Faster Than in 1992

According to a new study from European researchers, sea levels are rising three times as quickly as they were 25 years ago, placing hundreds of millions of people living in coastal areas at risk.
From the NY TImes
Looming Floods, Threatened Cities

El Niño Again? This Is Why It’s Hard to Tell

The tropical Pacific Ocean is once again carrying on a will-it-or-won’t-it flirtation with an El Niño event, just a year after the demise of one of the strongest El Niños on record.
The odds right now are about even for an El Niño to develop, frustrating forecasters stuck in the middle of what is called the spring predictability barrier. During this time, model forecasts aren’t as good as seeing into the future, in part because of the very nature of the El Niño cycle.

We all knew this was coming’: Alaska’s thawing soils are now pouring carbon dioxide into the air

Even as the Trump administration weighs withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, a new scientific paper has documented growing fluxes of greenhouse gases streaming into the air from the Alaskan tundra, a long-feared occurrence that could worsen climate change.
The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that frozen northern soils — often called permafrost — are unleashing an increasing amount of carbon dioxide into the air as they thaw in summer or subsequently fail to refreeze as they once did, particularly in late fall and early winter....
The study, based on aircraft measurements of carbon dioxide and methane and tower measurements from Barrow, Alaska, found that from 2012 through 2014, the state emitted the equivalent of 220 million tons of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere from biological sources (the figure excludes fossil fuel burning and wildfires). That’s an amount comparable to all the emissions from the U.S. commercial sector in a single year.
The chief reason for the greater CO2 release was that as Alaska has warmed up, emissions from once frozen tundra in winter are increasing — presumably because the ground is not refreezing as quickly.

Miles of Ice Collapsing into Sea
The NY Times to Antarctica to understand how changes to its vast ice sheet might affect the world

Miles of Antarctic ice are collapsing into the sea as scientists try to understand speed of change
Computer forecasts suggest parts of the frozen continent could break up rapidly by the end of this century

The collapse of the most vulnerable parts of the ice sheet would cause the rising of the sea level, threatening some of the world's biggest coastal cities such as Miami, New York, Mumbai and Shanghai.
While the melting of the ice cap is widely known, scientists are trying to gather information about the rate at which it is occurring.
Computer forecasts suggested that if emissions continue at this rate to warm up the atmosphere, parts of Antarctica could break up rapidly, which could see the ocean rise six feet or more by the end of this century.
This would be double the maximum increase that an international climate panel projected four years ago.

Scientists say the pace of sea level rise has nearly tripled since 1990

A new scientific analysis finds that the Earth’s oceans are rising nearly three times as rapidly as they were throughout most of the 20th century, one of the strongest indications yet that a much feared trend of not just sea level rise, but its acceleration, is now underway.
“We have a much stronger acceleration in sea level rise than formerly thought,” said Sönke Dangendorf, a researcher with the University of Siegen in Germany who led the study along with scientists at institutions in Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.
Their paper, just out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, isn’t the first to find that the rate of rising seas is itself increasing — but it finds a bigger rate of increase than in past studies. The new paper concludes that before 1990, oceans were rising at about 1.1 millimeters per year, or just 0.43 inches per decade. From 1993 through 2012, though, it finds that they rose at 3.1 millimeters per year, or 1.22 inches per decade.
Heavy Rains Are Turning U.S. Corn Fields Into Lakes
  • Parts of region got double amount of normal rainfall recently
  • Two more storms forecast this week after weekend showers
Some Nebraska corn fields are so flooded that farmers are posting videos of themselves wakeboarding. The image is amusing, but the realities of the heavy spring downpours are pummeling U.S. grain farmers with soggy fields

In the past 30 days, about 40 percent of the Midwest got twice the amount of normal rainfall, with soils saturated from Arkansas to Ohio, according to MDA Weather Services. While spring showers usually benefit crops, the precipitation has come fast enough to flood some corn and rice fields and trigger quality concerns about maturing wheat and threats of crop disease.
The ‘ancient carbon’ of Alaska’s tundra is being released, speeding up global warming

“This is ancient carbon, thousands of years old.” It’s being released “much earlier than we thought.”
The Alaskan tundra is warming so quickly it has become a net emitter of carbon dioxide ahead of schedule, a new study finds.
Since CO2 is the primary heat-trapping greenhouse gas — and since the permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere does today — this means a vicious cycle has begun that will speed up global warming.
“Because it’s getting warmer, there’s more CO2 coming out which means it’s going to get warmer which means there’s more CO2 coming out,” explained Harvard researcher and lead author Roisin Commane. Dr. Commane told ThinkProgress that “warming soils will emit more CO2 and this will overwhelm any CO2 uptake” due to an increase in plantlife from “CO2 fertilization and warmer temperatures.”’

One by 2040?
The Arctic as it is known today is almost certainly gone

On current trends, the Arctic will be ice-free in summer by 2040
THOSE who doubt the power of human beings to change Earth’s climate should look to the Arctic, and shiver. There is no need to pore over records of temperatures and atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations. The process is starkly visible in the shrinkage of the ice that covers the Arctic ocean. In the past 30 years, the minimum coverage of summer ice has fallen by half; its volume has fallen by three-quarters. On current trends, the Arctic ocean will be largely ice-free in summer by 2040
Climate-change sceptics will shrug. Some may even celebrate: an ice-free Arctic ocean promises a shortcut for shipping between the Pacific coast of Asia and the Atlantic coasts of Europe and the Americas, and the possibility of prospecting for perhaps a fifth of the planet’s undiscovered supplies of oil and natural gas. Such reactions are profoundly misguided. Never mind that the low price of oil and gas means searching for them in the Arctic is no longer worthwhile. Or that the much-vaunted sea passages are likely to carry only a trickle of trade. The right response is fear. The Arctic is not merely a bellwether of matters climatic, but an actor in them
Wheat crop compromised by extreme viral outbreak

The wheat crop weathered a deadly frost and record-breaking snowstorm, but farmers and agricultural specialists are reporting an outbreak of wheat streak mosaic virus that is pushing the limits of precedent.
The virus, which has no chemical answers, is transmitted by the wheat curl mite, which gravitates toward volunteer wheat. After an abundant wheat harvest last year due to a surge in moisture, volunteer wheat has been just as robust, and farmers who chose not to clear it out effectively gave the wheat mosaic virus an open invitation to ravage an already tested wheat crop.
The virus is universally distributed by the wheat curl mite and was described for the first time in Nebraska in 1922. The virus results in stunted growth, yellowing streaks and varied discoloration

Half the global population could face ‘unknown’ climates by mid-century

Maps show emergence of new climates under the RCP4.5 emissions scenario for the end of the century for a standard map (upper) and population-weighted cartogram (lower). Shading indicates the signal-to-noise ratio (the darker the shading, the higher the ratio). Maps show results for the median of all the climate model simulations. Source: Frame et al. (2017)
Billions of people across the world could see climates they’ve never experienced before by the middle of the century, a new study says.
Using a measure of climate ‘familiarity,” the researchers show that the tropics in particular are likely to experience conditions that are virtually unheard of for the region in the present climate.
But keeping global temperatures rise below 2C above pre-industrial levels could help keep the climate “familiar” within this century, the researchers say. That means people alive today could see the benefits of mitigation within their lifetimes.
The Killer Seas Begin — Mass Marine Death off Chile as Ocean Acidification Begins to Take Down Florida’s Reef

We should be very clear. There is no way to save the beautiful and majestic coral reefs of our world without a rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning. And, if we continue burning fossil fuels, we will not only lose the reefs and corals — we will also turn the world’s oceans into a mass extinction engine.
As James Hansen Stated in 2005, "If we pass 1°C, It's a point of no return for global warming

NATO Lawmakers Warn Global Warming Will Trigger Food Shortages

Lawmakers from nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are warning that global warming will lead to mass migration and conflict in the Middle East and Africa, another reason President Donald Trump should stay in the Paris climate deal.

Climate change will lead to “dire” food and water shortages in the region, according to a draft report presented Monday to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Acting as the “ultimate threat multiplier” after decades of resource mismanagement in the region, extreme weather and rising seas would likely lead to volatile food prices and increased competition, according to the report by Osman Askin, a member of the Turkish Parliament.

New Extreme Weather Death Toll Records Released by World Meteorological Organization
High-resolution satellite image of Hurricane Katrina on August 26, 2005 from the NASA Aqua satellite.( NASA)
For the first time in its history, the World Meteorological Organization has released world records of the human toll from extreme weather events.
In a press release sent to Thursday, WMO says it is releasing world records for the highest reported historical death tolls from tropical cyclones, tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms. Previously, the official WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes kept only temperature and weather records to address the impacts of specific events.
Record-breaking heat poised to bake the West Coast
Temperatures will soar across the western United States early this week, surpassing even late-summer heat levels.The recent period of dry weather in many Western cities will make it easier for heat to build in the region.“A large area of high pressure will transport some of the warmest air since last summer across the West Coast early this week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said. “Records will be challenged from Washington to California.”

Scorching UK weather: Britain's May heatwave to beat Second World War record
FORECASTERS predict a record-breaking bank holiday weekend with temperatures not seen since World War Two.
At 49.3°C, Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh breaks all-time heat record
Weather gods have been kind enough to several parts of the country. So much so that Pre-Monsoon rains have been keeping that intense summer heat away. However, the kindness has not been able to spread over the entire country. Some areas continue to observe severe heatwave conditions as well. One such state happens to be Chhattisgarh where intense summer heat has been wreaking havoc over the region. In fact, Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh has been witnessing intense summer heat. The maximum temperature here has reached a sizzling 49.3 degrees and it happens to be the highest ever in the month of May. The last time the city witnessed such high temperatures were recorded on May 28, 2013 and even then, the maximum temperature reached only 47.4 degrees. At present, the maximum temperature is not only the highest on record but also five degrees above the normal levels.

Massive 19m wave washes away southern records

A wave the height of a six-storey building in the Southern Ocean over the weekend could be the largest on record, and researchers expect their new buoy to record even bigger ones.

Ejected from climate change denier site

Do, 25/05/2017 - 10:39
I finally take my leave of the (mostly) climate change denier site, Air - Climate - Energy after refusing to unblock one particularly bothersome denier who lives locally

In actual fact the deniers are not as bad as some of the abrupt climate change deniers

Taking leave of denier site Air-Climate-Energy
Reports Of Arctic Ice Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated…Greenland Ice Mass Near Record
Polar snow and ice cover rarely cooperates, no matter what side of the warming issue you may be on. It changes so fast....
Winter snow and ice cover trend for the Northern Hemisphere has in fact been trending upwards since statistics started.....

And when one applies the 30-year weather mean used to define climate, the winter trend since 1987 is strongly upwards. So is the autumn trend. This 2017 winter was well above average, ranking in the top 10....The last exchange

Manchester harbours terrorists in its midst

Do, 25/05/2017 - 10:17

UK Government Harbored Terrorists Linked to Manchester Blast for DecadesUK Proscribed terrorist organization, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), maintains large presence in Manchester area and is now being linked to recent blast.
Tony Cartalucci
Land Destroyer Report,24 May, 2017
May 24, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - As suspected and as was the case in virtually all recent terror attacks carried out in Europe - including both in France and Belgium - the suspect involved in the recent Manchester blast which killed 22 and injured scores more was previously known to British security and intelligence agencies.

The Telegraph in its article, "Salman Abedi named as the Manchester suicide bomber - what we know about him," would report:Salman Abedi, 22, who was reportedly known to the security services, is thought to have returned from Libya as recently as this week.While initial reports attempted to craft a narrative focused on a a "lone wolf" attacker who organized and executed the blast himself, the nature of the improvised explosive device used and the details of the attack revealed what was certainly an operation carried out by someone who either acquired militant experience through direct contact with a terrorist organization, or was directed by a terrorist organization with extensive experience. 

A Thriving Terrorist Community in the Midst of Manchester 

The same Telegraph article would also admit (emphasis added):A group of Gaddafi dissidents, who were members of the outlawed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), lived within close proximity to Abedi in Whalley Range.
Among them was Abd al-Baset Azzouz, a father-of-four from Manchester, who left Britain to run a terrorist network in Libya overseen by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of al-Qaeda.

Azzouz, 48, an expert bomb-maker, was accused of running an al-Qaeda network in eastern Libya. The Telegraph reported in 2014 that 
Azzouz had 200 to 300 militants under his control and was an expert in bomb-making. 
Another member of the Libyan community in Manchester, Salah Aboaoba told Channel 4 news in 2011 that he had been fund raising for LIFG while in the city. Aboaoba had claimed he had raised funds at Didsbury mosque, the same mosque attended by Abedi.Thus, the required experience for the recent Manchester attack exists in abundance within the community's Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) members.

LIFG is in fact a proscribed terrorist group listed as such by the United Kingdom's government in 2005, and still appears upon its list of "Proscribed terrorist groups or organisations," found on the government's own website.

The accompanying government list (PDF) states explicitly regarding LIFG that:The LIFG seeks to replace the current Libyan regime with a hard-line Islamic state. The group is also part of the wider global Islamist extremist movement, as inspired by Al Qa’ida. The group has mounted several operations inside Libya, including a 1996 attempt to assassinate Mu’ammar Qadhafi.Thus, astoundingly, according to the Telegraph, a thriving community of listed terrorists exists knowingly in the midst of the British public, without any intervention by the UK government, security, or intelligence agencies - with members regularly travelling abroad and participating in armed conflict and terrorist activities before apparently returning home - not only without being incarcerated, but apparently also without even being closely monitored.

LIFG also appears on the US State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Astoundingly, it appears under a section titled, "Delisted Foreign Terrorist Organizations," and indicates that it was removed as recently as 2015.

Elsewhere on the US State Department's website, is a 2012 report where LIFG is described:On November 3, 2007, [Al Qaeda (AQ)] leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced a formal merger between AQ and LIFG. However, on July 3, 2009, LIFG members in the United Kingdom released a statement formally disavowing any association with AQ.The report also makes mention of LIFG's role in US-led NATO regime change operations in Libya in 2011 (emphasis added):In early 2011, in the wake of the Libyan revolution and the fall of Qadhafi, LIFG members created the LIFG successor group, the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change (LIMC), and became one of many rebel groups united under the umbrella of the opposition leadership known as the Transitional National Council. Former LIFG emir and LIMC leader Abdel Hakim Bil-Hajj was appointed the Libyan Transitional Council's Tripoli military commander during the Libyan uprisings and has denied any link between his group and AQ.Indeed, a literal senior Al Qaeda-affiliate leader would head the regime put into power by US-led military operations - which included British forces.
Not only this, but prominent US politicians would even travel to Libya to personally offer support to Bil-Hajj (also spelled Belhaj). In one notorious image, US Senator John McCain is seen shaking hands with and offering a gift to the terrorist leader in the wake of the Libyan government's collapse.

The US State Department's report regarding LIFG ends with information about its "area of operation," claiming (emphasis added):Since the late 1990s, many members have fled to southwest Asia, and European countries,particularly the UK.For the residents of Manchester, the British government appears to have categorically failed to inform them of the threat living openly in their midst. While the British population is divided and distracted with a more general strategy of tension focused on Islam, Muslims, and Islamophobia, the very specific threat of US-UK sanctioned terrorists living and operating within British communities is overlooked by the public.

However - for British security and intelligence agencies - it is unlikely that such an obvious security threat was merely "overlooked." That extremists thrive within British communities without government intervention indicates complicity, not incompetence.LIFG Terrorists Are Anglo-America's Helping Hands

The Guardian in a 2011 article titled, "The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – from al-Qaida to the Arab spring," would claim:British intelligence and security service interest in Libya has focused for 20 years on the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), whether it was opposing Muammar Gaddafi and working with al-Qaida, later renouncing its old jihadi worldview – or taking part in the armed uprising that has now overthrown the regime.The article in reality is nothing more than an attempt to portray a listed terrorist organization as "reformed" ahead of increased public awareness regarding the true nature of Libya's US and British-backed "rebels."

LIFG members would not only assist the US and British governments in the 2011 overthrow of the Libyan government, they would also move on - with Western arms and cash - to NATO-member Turkey where they staged an invasion of northern Syria.

The Telegraph in a November 2011 article titled, "Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group," would report:Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, "met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey," said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. "Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there."The article would continue by reporting: The meetings came as a sign of a growing ties between Libya's fledgling government and the Syrian opposition. The Daily Telegraph on Saturday revealed that the new Libyan authorities had offered money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Belhaj also discussed sending Libyan fighters to train troops, the source said. Having ousted one dictator, triumphant young men, still filled with revolutionary fervour, are keen to topple the next. The commanders of armed gangs still roaming Tripoli's streets said yesterday that "hundreds" of fighters wanted to wage war against the Assad regime. 
Revealed once again is a convenient intersection of terrorist and US-British interests - this time in pursuit of regime change in Syria in the wake of successful US-UK backed regime change in Libya.

Confirming that these plans to send Libyan extremists to fight in Syria were eventually executed is CNN's 2012 article, "Libya rebels move onto Syrian battlefield," which reported:Under the command of one of Libya's most well known rebel commanders, Al-Mahdi al-Harati, more than 30 Libyan fighters have made their way into Syria to support the Free Syrian Army rebels in their war against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.Al Harati's army of Libyan terrorists would expand to hundreds, possibly thousands of fighters and later merge with other Syrian militant groups including Al Qaeda's Syrian franchise - Jabhat Al Nusra. In Libya, LIFG fighters have divided themselves among various warring factions, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates.
As these terrorists filter out of Syria and back home, those hailing from LIFG are mainly returning to the UK where they have been known by US and British security and intelligence agencies for years to exist. With them they will be bringing back the technical knowledge and experience needed to carry out devastating attacks like the recent blast that targeted Manchester.

It is terrorism that follows as a direct result of British foreign and domestic policy - supporting terrorists abroad and deliberately refusing to dismantle their networks at home - all as they feed fighters and resources into the US-UK proxy war still raging in Syria.

The British government is directly responsible for the recent Manchester blast. It had foreknowledge of LIFG's existence and likely its activities within British territory and not only failed to act, but appears to have actively harbored this community of extremists for its own geopolitical and domestic agenda.

The recent blast will only reinforce the unsophisticated "tolerance versus bigotry" narrative that has gripped British society, entirely sidestepping the reality of government sanctioned terrorism wielded both abroad and against its own people - not for ideological or religious purposes - but purely in pursuit of geopolitical hegemony.

That the US and UK are using terrorists to expedite their respective geopolitical objectives should come as no surprise - particularly in regards to LIFG - since the organization itself branched out of Washington's mercenary fighters used against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

What is surprising is that the Western public continues to react emotionally to each terrorist attack individually rather than rationally, seeing the much larger picture and pattern. And until the Western public sees that bigger picture and pattern, fear, injustice, murder, and mayhem will continue to dominate their lives and futures. 

John Pilger on Julian Assange and Wikileaks

Do, 25/05/2017 - 10:09
This is a recipe for hideous disaster’ - John Pilger on Western arms deals with Saudi Arabia

Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story
The hunt for the Wikileaks founder has been a brutal and corrupt assault on freedom of speech from the beginning, writes John Pilger.

John Pilger
New Matilda,21 May, 2017

Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition”.

Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure.

This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along.”

It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally.

The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and]criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.
Perhaps this was understandable. WikiLeaks has exposed the way America dominates much of human affairs, including its epic crimes, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale, often homicidal killing of civilians and the contempt for sovereignty and international law.

These disclosures are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they]must be protected from reйprisal”.

In 2012, the Obama campaign boasted on its website that Obama had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had publicly pronounced her guilty.

Few serious observers doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. According to documents released by Edward Snowden, he is on a “Manhunt target list”. Threats of his kidnapping and assassination became almost political and media currency in the US following then Vice-President Joe Biden’s preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a “cyber-terrorist”.

Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. (IMAGE: Pan Photo, Flickr)

Hillary Clinton, the destroyer of Libya and, as WikiLeaks revealed last year, the secret supporter and personal beneficiary of forces underwriting ISIS, proposed her own expedient solution: “Can’t we just drone this guy.”

According to Australian diplomatic cables, Washington’s bid to get Assange is “unprecedented in scale and nature”. In Alexandria, Virginia, a secret grand jury has sought for almost seven years to contrive a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted. This is not easy.

The First Amendment protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers, whether it is the editor of the New York Times or the editor of WikiLeaks. The very notion of free speech is described as America’s “ founding virtue” or, as Thomas Jefferson called it, “our currency”.

Faced with this hurdle, the US Justice Department has contrived charges of “espionage”, “conspiracy to commit espionage”, “conversion” (theft of government property), “computer fraud and abuse” (computer hacking) and general “conspiracy”. The favoured Espionage Act, which was meant to deter pacifists and conscientious objectors during World War One, has provisions for life imprisonment and the death penalty.

Assange’s ability to defend himself in such a Kafkaesque world has been severely limited by the US declaring his case a state secret. In 2015, a federal court in Washington blocked the release of all information about the “national security” investigation against WikiLeaks, because it was “active and ongoing” and would harm the “pending prosecution” of Assange. The judge, Barbara J. Rothstein, said it was necessary to show “appropriate deference to the executive in matters of national security”. This is a kangaroo court.

For Assange, his trial has been trial by media. On August 20, 2010, when the Swedish police opened a “rape investigation”, they coordinated it, unlawfully, with the Stockholm tabloids. The front pages said Assange had been accused of the “rape of two women”. The word “rape” can have a very different legal meaning in Sweden than in Britain; a pernicious false reality became the news that went round the world.

Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.”

Enter Claes Borgstrom, a highly contentious figure in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden’s imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor’s dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well, personally and politically.
On 30 August, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case.

At a press conference, Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed. The reporter cited one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, “Ah, but she is not a lawyer.”

On the day that Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden’s military intelligence service – which has the acronym MUST – publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled “WikiLeaks [is]a threat to our soldiers [under US command in Afghanistan]”.

Both the Swedish prime minister and foreign minister attacked Assange, who had been charged with no crime. Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO, had been told by its US counterparts that US-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be “cut off” if Sweden sheltered him.
For five weeks, Assange waited in Sweden for the renewed “rape investigation” to take its course. The Guardian was then on the brink of publishing the Iraq “War Logs”, based on WikiLeaks’ disclosures, which Assange was to oversee in London.

Finally, he was allowed to leave. As soon as he did, Marianne Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol “red alert” normally used for terrorists and dangerous criminals.

Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny (far left) announces yesterday that the charges against Julian Assange are no longer being pursued.

Assange attended a police station in London, was duly arrested and spent 10 days in Wandsworth Prison, in solitary confinement. Released on £340,000 bail, he was electronically tagged, required to report to police daily and placed under virtual house arrest while his case began its long journey to the Supreme Court.
He still had not been charged with any offence. His lawyers repeated his offer to be questioned in London, by video or personally, pointing out that Marianne Ny had given him permission to leave Sweden. They suggested a special facility at Scotland Yard commonly used by the Swedish and other European authorities for that purpose. She refused.

For almost seven years, while Sweden has questioned 44 people in the UK in connection with police investigations, Ny refused to question Assange and so advance her case.

Writing in the Swedish press, a former Swedish prosecutor, Rolf Hillegren, accused Ny of losing all impartiality. He described her personal investment in the case as “abnormal” and demanded she be replaced.

Assange asked the Swedish authorities for a guarantee that he would not be “rendered” to the US if he was extradited to Sweden. This was refused. In December 2010, The Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the US.

Contrary to its reputation as a bastion of liberal enlightenment, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA “renditions” – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and in WikiLeaks cables.

“Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England,” wrote Al Burke, editor of the online Nordic News Network, an authority on the multiple twists and dangers that faced Assange, “clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is every reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights.”

The war on Assange now intensified. Marianne Ny refused to allow his Swedish lawyers, and the Swedish courts, access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police had extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the “rape” allegations.

Ny said she was not legally required to reveal this critical evidence until a formal charge was laid and she had questioned him. Then, why wouldn’t she question him? Catch-22.

When she announced last week that she was dropping the Assange case, she made no mention of the evidence that would destroy it. One of the SMS messages makes clear that one of the women did not want any charges brought against Assange, “but the police were keen on getting a hold on him”. She was “shocked” when they arrested him because she only “wanted him to take [an HIV]test”. She “did not want to accuse JA of anything” and “it was the police who made up the charges”. In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been “railroaded by police and others around her”.
Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, “I have not been raped.” The women were manipulated by police – whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they, too, are the victims of this sinister saga.

Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: “The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction… The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?”

Assange’s choice was stark: extradition to a country that had refused to say whether or not it would send him on to the US, or to seek what seemed his last opportunity for refuge and safety.

Supported by most of Latin America, the government of tiny Ecuador granted him refugee status on the basis of documented evidence that he faced the prospect of cruel and unusual punishment in the US; that this threat violated his basic human rights; and that his own government in Australia had abandoned him and colluded with Washington.

The Labor government of the then prime minister, Julia Gillard, had even threatened to take away his Australian passport – until it was pointed out to her that this would be unlawful.

The renowned human rights lawyer, Gareth Peirce, who represents Assange in London, wrote to the then Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd: “Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions… it is very hard to attempt to preserve for him any presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords, of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country, and that his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged.”

It was not until she contacted the Australian High Commission in London that Peirce received a response, which answered none of the pressing points she raised. In a meeting I attended with her, the Australian Consul-General, Ken Pascoe, made the astonishing claim that he knew “only what I read in the newspapers” about the details of the case.

In 2011, in Sydney, I spent several hours with a conservative Member of Australia’s Federal Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull. We discussed the threats to Assange and their wider implications for freedom of speech and justice, and why Australia was obliged to stand by him. Turnbull then had a reputation as a free speech advocate. He is now the Prime Minister of Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (IMAGE: Veni, Flickr).

I gave him Gareth Peirce’s letter about the threat to Assange’s rights and life. He said the situation was clearly appalling and promised to take it up with the Gillard government. Only his silence followed.

For almost seven years, this epic miscarriage of justice has been drowned in a vituperative campaign against the WikiLeaks founder. There are few precedents. Deeply personal, petty, vicious and inhuman attacks have been aimed at a man not charged with any crime yet subjected to treatment not even meted out to a defendant facing extradition on a charge of murdering his wife. That the US threat to Assange was a threat to all journalists, and to the principle of free speech, was lost in the sordid and the ambitious. I would call it anti-journalism.

Books were published, movie deals struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and an assumption that attacking Assange was fair game and he was too poor to sue. People have made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive.

The previous editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years”. Yet no attempt was made to protect the Guardian’s provider and source. Instead, the “scoop” became part of a marketing plan to raise the newspaper’s cover price.

With not a penny going to Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous”. 

They also revealed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables. With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”.

Journalism students might well study this period to understand the most ubiquitous source of “fake news” – as from within a media self-ordained with a false respectability and as an extension of the authority and power it courts and protects.

The presumption of innocence was not a consideration in Kirsty Wark’s memorable live-on-air interrogation in 2010. “Why don’t you just apologise to the women?” she demanded of Assange, followed by: “Do we have your word of honour that you won’t abscond?”

On the BBC’s Today programme, John Humphrys bellowed: “Are you a sexual predator?” Assange replied that the suggestion was ridiculous, to which Humphrys demanded to know how many women he had slept with.

“Would even Fox News have descended to that level?” wondered the American historian William Blum. “I wish Assange had been raised in the streets of Brooklyn, as I was. He then would have known precisely how to reply to such a question: ‘You mean including your mother?’”

Last week, on BBC World News, on the day Sweden announced it was dropping the case, I was interviewed by Greta Guru-Murthy, who seemed to have little knowledge of the Assange case. She persisted in referring to the “charges” against him. She accused him of putting Trump in the White House; and she drew my attention to the “fact” that “leaders around the world” had condemned him. Among these “leaders” she included Trump’s CIA director. I asked her, “Are you a journalist?”

Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. (IMAGE: New Media Days/Peter Erichsen, Flickr)

The injustice meted out to Assange is one of the reasons Parliament reformed the Extradition Act in 2014. “His case has been won lock, stock and barrel,” Gareth Peirce told me, “these changes in the law mean that the UK now recognises as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit.” In other words, he would have won his case in the British courts and would not have been forced to take refuge.

Ecuador’s decision to protect Assange in 2012 was immensely brave. Even though the granting of asylum is a humanitarian act, and the power to do so is enjoyed by all states under international law, both Sweden and the United Kingdom refused to recognise the legitimacy of Ecuador’s decision.

Ecuador’s embassy in London was placed under police siege and its government abused. When William Hague’s Foreign Office threatened to violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, warning that it would remove the diplomatic inviolability of the embassy and send the police in to get Assange, outrage across the world forced the government to back down.

During one night, police appeared at the windows of the embassy in an obvious attempt to intimidate Assange and his protectors.
Since then, Assange has been confined to a small room without sunlight. He has been ill from time to time and refused safe passage to the diagnostic facilities of hospital. Yet, his resilience and dark humour remain quite remarkable in the circumstances. When asked how he put up with the confinement, he replied, “Sure beats a supermax.”

It is not over, but it is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – last year ruled that Assange had been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden. This is international law at its apex.

Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. In previous cases ruled upon by the Working Group – Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma, imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian in Iran – both Britain and Sweden gave full support to the tribunal. The difference now is that Assange’s persecution endures in the heart of London.

The Metropolitan Police say they still intend to arrest Assange for bail infringement should he leave the embassy. What then? A few months in prison while the US delivers its extradition request to the British court?

If the British Government allows this to happen it will, in the eyes of the world, be shamed comprehensively and historically as an accessory to the crime of a war waged by rampant power against justice and freedom, and all of us.

Atmospheric CO2 levels since the last Ice Age....

Do, 25/05/2017 - 08:13
10,000 years of CO2 emissions

"US attack on N Korea imminent"

Do, 25/05/2017 - 08:03
Mainstream opinion
GEORGE FRIEDMAN: A US attack on North Korea is imminent

Business Insider,23 May, 2017

The US is preparing to attack North Korea, according to Geopolitical Futures founder George Friedman — setting the stage for a difficult, messy war with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Speaking Monday to a rapt audience at the 2017 Strategic Investment Conference in Orlando, Friedman said that while it was unlikely the US would take action before President Donald Trump returns home at the weekend, North Korea's actions appeared to have "offered the US no alternative" to a clash.
According to Geopolitical Futures analysis, evidence is mounting that the enmity between the two is escalating to a point where war is inevitable.

Friedman said that on May 20, the USS Carl Vinson supercarrier and USS Ronald Reagan were both within striking distance of North Korea.

Additionally, more than 100 F-16 aircraft are conducting daily exercises in the area, a tactic that foreshadowed the beginning of Desert Storm in 1991.F-35 aircraft have also been deployed to the area, and US government representatives are expected to brief Guam on civil defense, terrorism, and Korea on May 31.

All of these strategic moves telegraph one outcome — conflict.Friedman's decision to make public his focus on North Korea comes days after the secretive state's latest ballistic missile launch. The UN Security Council condemned its "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance" of the organization.

Seoul in the crosshairs
Problems with any conflict are myriad. The 25 million people of the Seoul metropolitan area lie in reach of what Friedman called a "stunning mass of [North Korean] artillery." Any strike on North Korea would likely result in a retributive attack on Seoul.

"We cannot afford the kind of casualties this will create," Friedman said, adding that the US needed to neutralize the artillery by strategic bombardment.

A second problem for the US is that any conflict would necessarily rely on imperfect intelligence, and the effect of incorrect information could take a devastating human toll.

Friedman also called attention to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, saying that a North Korean attack on the base would be Kim Jong Un's only chance at delaying the war.

Pointedly branding the North Korean elites "neither crazy nor stupid," Friedman said they had "homicidal, but not suicidal tendencies."

"We are facing a war that is not simple," he said, adding that Russia and China were both washing their hands of the matter.Sailors aboard the US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the western Pacific Ocean.Reuters/ U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Handout

An undeclared war?
In off-the-cuff remarks following his speech at the SIC 2017, Friedman said a conflict would mark the beginning of another undeclared war.
"We have not declared war on a country since World War II, a terrible mistake morally and constitutionally, but also practically," he said. "Getting Congress to declare war binds both sides together and puts responsibility on all."Nonetheless, he said, North Korea is America's problem to bear.
"This is how it's going to be for America over the next decade, because we are the major global power and that power is of the sort that doesn't disappear very quickly," he said. "We are the only country in the world with a global military capability.
"There is no other power that can conceivably — and I include the Chinese in this — take effective military action against the North Koreans to stop a nuclear program," he continued. "That means it's either the US [takes action] or North Korea has a nuclear weapon."
Systemic war will come to the 21st century
Rumors of the demise of America's hegemonic status are greatly exaggerated, according to Friedman. A consequence of its unparalleled power is that it will continue to "be involved in all sorts of miserable wars every five to 10 years. It's partly because no one else wants to do it and partly because we can afford to and partly because of long-term threats."
As for the remainder of the 21st century, Friedman was pragmatic.
"Every century has its systemic wars," he said. "The odds that the 21st century will be the first not to have it are slim to one."
For the foreseeable future, it seems, the US's reluctant sheriff's hat will remain in place

House Democrats decide better to be at risk of hacking and extortion than to be accused of racism

Do, 25/05/2017 - 07:52
Caught On Tape: Wasserman Schultz Threatens Police Chief For Investigating Her IT Staff's Crimes
Zero Hedge,24 May, 2017

Something stinks here.

February we first reported on the Anwan brothers, the (Not-Russian) IT Staff Who Allegedly Hacked Congress' Computer Systems.

Imran Awan seen below with Bill Clinton

The brothers were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues, information and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism. The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.
The three men are “shared employees,” meaning they are hired by multiple offices, which split their salaries and use them as needed for IT services.

Then in March, we noted that House Democrats decided to delay the firing (until today) because their Muslim background, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges.

“I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion. We want to make sure everybody is entitled to due process,” Meeks said. “They had provided great service for me. And there were certain times in which they had permission by me, if it was Hina or someone else, to access some of my data.” Fudge told Politico on Tuesday she would employ Imran Awan until he received “due process.” “He needs to have a hearing. Due process is very simple. You don’t fire someone until you talk to them,”Fudge said. On Wednesday, Lauren Williams, a spokeswoman for Fudge, wouldn’t provide details about Imran Awan’s firing but did confirm he was still employed in Fudge’s office as of Tuesday afternoon.
The bottom line is simple - these House Democrats decided it was better to be at risk of hacking and extortion than to be accused of racism.

Then yesterday we reported that Congressional Aides Fear Suspects In IT Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data...
The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.

I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point” with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. “Something is rotten in Denmark.”
A manager at a tech-services company that works with Democratic House offices said he approached congressional offices, offering their services at one-fourth the price of Awan and his Pakistani brothers, but the members declined. At the time, he couldn’t understand why his offers were rejected but now he suspects the Awans exerted some type of leverage over members.

There’s no question about it: If I was accused of a tenth of what these guys are accused of, they’d take me out in handcuffs that same day, and I’d never work again,” he said.
And todayThe Daily Caller's Luke Rosiak reports Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz threatened the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” for holding equipment that she says belongs to her in order to build a criminal case against a Pakistani staffer suspected of massive cybersecurity breaches involving funneling sensitive congressional data offsite.
The Florida lawmaker used her position on the committee that sets the police force’s budget to press its chief to relinquish the piece of evidence Thursday, in what could be considered using her authority to attempt to interfere with a criminal investigation.

The Capitol Police and outside agencies are pursuing Imran Awan, who has run technology for the Florida lawmaker since 2005 and was banned from the House network in February on suspicion of data breaches and theft.

“My understanding is the the Capitol Police is not able to confiscate Members’ equipment when the Member is not under investigation,” Wasserman Schultz said in the annual police budget hearing of the House Committee On Appropriations’ Legislative Branch Subcommittee. “We can’t return the equipment,” Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa told the Florida Democrat. “I think you’re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences,” Wasserman Schultz said.
As one of eight members of the Committee on Appropriations’ Legislative Branch subcommittee, Wasserman Schultz is in charge of the budget of the police force that is investigating her staffer and how he managed to extract so much money and information from member.

In a highly unusual exchange, the Florida lawmaker uses a hearing on the Capitol Police’s annual budget to spend three minutes repeatedly trying to extract a promise from the chief that he will return a piece of evidence being used to build an active case.

“If a Member loses equipment and it is found by your staff and identified as that member’s equipment and the member is not associated with any case, it is supposed to be returned. Yes or no?” she said.
Police tell her it is important to “an ongoing investigation,” but presses for its return anyway.

The investigation is examining members’ data leaving the network and how Awan managed to get Members to place three relatives and a friend into largely no-show positions on their payrolls, billing $4 million since 2010.
The congresswoman characterizes the evidence as “belonging” to her and argues that therefore it cannot be seized unless Capitol Police tell her that she personally, as opposed to her staffer, is a target of the investigation.

When TheDCNF asked Wasserman Schultz Monday if it could inquire about her strong desire for the laptop, she said “No, you may not.” After TheDCNF asked why she wouldn’t want the Capitol Police to have any evidence they may need to find and punish any hackers of government information, she abruptly turned around in the middle of a stairwell and retreated back to the office from which she had come.

Her spokesman, David Dameron, then emerged to say “We just don’t have any comment.”

Though on the surface Wasserman Schultz would have been a victim of Awan’s scam, she has inexplicably protected him, circumventing the network ban by re-titling him as an “adviser” instead of technology administratorс.

Politico described him and his wife, Hina Alvi, as having a “friendly personal relationship” with both Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York.That baffled a Democratic IT staffer, who said

I can’t imagine why she’d be that good of friends with a technology provider.” Usually if someone does bad stuff, an office is going to distance themselves” rather than incur political fallout for a mere staffer.
Wasserman Schultz resigned as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 after Wikileaks published thousands of internal emails obtained by an as-yet unidentified hacker.
The last 30 seconds of the exchange can also be seen here...

As we said at the start - something stinks here!! But do not expect the mainstream media to report on it. One can't help but wonder if anything related to Seth Rich is lurking on that laptop?

The Story Of The Manchester Suicide Bomber Emerges

Do, 25/05/2017 - 07:30
Did British Officials Train Manchester Attacker as “Moderate Rebel” in Syria?
21st Century Wire says…
This is a question firmly rooted in fact.
Just a few hours ago it was revealed that Salman Abedi, the attacker in Manchester, had recently returned from trips to both Libya and Syria and it is unclear exactly where he was from around 2012.
In 2013, right within this missing period of time for Abedi’s whereabouts, British officials were helping to train an army of “moderate” rebels in Jordan to be shipped back into Syria.
Is it, therefore, possible that Abedi was directly trained by British officials only to return and attack British soil? Or, was he was trained by another “moderate” terrorist that received the British assistance?
These questions would not need to be asked at all if Western foreign policy could finally learn from its mistakes (think: Mujahideen) and stop interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations.
The following video report breaks down all of these questions and more:

"He Wanted Revenge": The Story Of The Manchester Suicide Bomber Emerges
Zero Hedge,24 May, 2017

As the investigation into Salman Abedi's deadly suicide bombing expands, discrete details about his motives and state of mind emerge with the most expansive analysis to date just released by the WSJ, which shows the ISIS sympathizer, terrorist and mass killer as a confused young man, the byproduct of a destroyed nation, who - when all is said and done - wanted revenge according to his sister, who is quoted as saying that “he saw children—Muslim children—dying everywhere, and wanted revenge. He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge."

As the WSJ chronicles, just days before Salman Abedi blew himself up and killed 22 people outside a Manchester concert on Monday, he told his parents he was leaving their home in Libya to go on a pilgrimage to the Muslim holy city of Mecca, despite having other plans. "Abedi grew up in a world that straddled middle-class Britain and the Libya of his parents, both before and after the chaotic collapse of strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s regime" is how WSJ authors describe his troubled formative years.

And while he may have had a troubled childhood, aside from some traumatic encounters it is difficult to see just what set him off over the edge, and what, if anything, was the moment that defined his fracture.

In 2011, when Abedi was still a teenager, he traveled to Libya and fought alongside his father in a militia known as the Tripoli Brigade to oust Gadhafi as the revolts of the Arab Spring swept North Africa and the Middle East, a family friend said. The militia battled in Libya’s western mountains and played an important role in the fall of Tripoli to rebel forces that year.Abedi and his mother returned to Britain in 2014, the family friend said. The young man enrolled at Manchester’s University of Salford in 2015 to study business administration. He studied for a year before effectively dropping out, according to a university spokesman.
Few were as surprised by Abedi's transformation from a troubled youth to a deadly monster as Abedi’s sister, Jomana Abedi, who said her brother was kind and loving and that she was surprised by what he did this week. She said she thought he was driven by what he saw as injustices.I think he saw children—Muslim children—dying everywhere, and wanted revenge. He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge,” she said. “Whether he got that is between him and God.”Abedi suffered a personal tragey in May 2016 when an 18-year-old friend of Salman’s, Abdul Wahab Hafidah, also a Briton of Libyan descent, died after being run down by a car and then stabbed in Manchester

"Abedi viewed the attack as a hate crime, the family friend said, and grew increasingly angry about what he considered ill-treatment of Muslims in Britain."
That may well have been the moment when Abedi fell into the abyss: “I remember Salman at his funeral vowing revenge,” the Abedi family friend said. After that the soon-to-be-killer became increasingly religious and interested in extremist groups. A cousin, who declined to be named, said Abedi’s parents worried he was headed toward violence.“We knew he was going to cause trouble,” the family friend said. “You could see that something was going to happen, sooner or later.”More details from the WSJ:
Born in Manchester on New Year’s Eve in 1994, Abedi grew up playing soccer with his brothers in the street and went to school at the local Burnage Academy for Boys.In Manchester, neighbors remember a family that didn’t mix much with others. On Fridays, they could be seen walking out of their house in traditional Muslim dress to attend a mosque in a converted church nearby. People at the mosque remember Abedi’s father, Ramadan, sometimes performing the call to prayer, and his brother, Ismail, attending. They said Abedi wasn’t a regular.His older brother, Ismail, worked as a computer engineer at the headquarters of the Park Cake Bakery, a big British baker with around 2,000 employees. He lived with his wife in an apartment near the Abedi family home in south Manchester. The building was searched by police on Tuesday and Ismail Abedi was arrested nearby.Akram Ramadan, 49, who lives upstairs, said Ismail Abedi “was a talkative guy who would always say hello.” He described Ismail as “a regular Joe,” adding that he was “definitely a Manc”—a local colloquialism for people from Manchester.As reported earlier, Abedi’s younger brother, Hashem, was arrested in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Wednesday, and confessed that the pair were members of Islamic State and involved in the attack. Investigators are also looking into the possibility that Abedi went to Syria before the attack, one Western security official said.Abedi's radicalization was a shock to those close to him: in an interview before being detained, Abedi's father, Ramadan, told the Associated Press: “We don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us.”Ramadan also told the AP his son had never been to Syria. It was impossible to independently confirm the Libyan authorities’ assertion about Hashem Abedi’s confession, or to ascertain the conditions under which it was made. One thing appears certain: for whatever reason, Abedi did it. On Monday evening, Salman Abedi was captured on security cameras, carrying a bag and walking in the foyer of the Manchester Arena where American pop star Ariana Grande was wrapping up her concert.Which brings up the eternal question, at least among libertarians: would Abedi have engaged in Monday's tragic mass if, as the WSJ notes, he had not witnessed the sequence of events that was started with the US overthrow of the Libyan regime, and culminated with the US proxy war in Syria meant to overthrow Assad just so a Qatari gas pipeline can cross the nation, and free Europe from Gazprome's quasi-monopolistic clutches. And if so, while one can debate who is fundamentally at fault for the terrorist incident, especially if it was indeed "revenge", the bigger question is how and when does the sequence of mindless deaths ever end. The answer, not just in this case but in countless generational vendettas in both the Middle East and across the world, remains elusive.As for whether Abedi got his revenge by killing 22 innocent people, among them many children, his sister was laconic: "that is between him and God.”
The UK's Independent puts it down to cannibis-smoking

Salman Abedi: How Manchester attacker turned from cannabis-smoking dropout to Isis suicide bomber

Young man's transformation echoes those of Islamist terrorists across Europe

Macron Calls to Extend France’s ‘State of Emergency,’ With More Security Laws

It seems that terrorism in the west and the political reactions to it – are now becoming internationalized. 

Budget Day in NZ - the true situation

Do, 25/05/2017 - 00:52
Today is budget day in New Zealand with the pretence that the economy and is chugging on nicely.
This is my nod to a on-event.
Winston Peters is absolutely correct. You can be sure that things are much worse than what he says.

GUEST BLOG: Winston Peters – The 2017 BudgetSpeech by New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston PetersPublic Meeting,Forbury Racecourse, Bart Winters Room,45 McAndrews Rd,South Dunedin.10.30am, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

the Daily Blog,24 May, 2017
Tomorrow we have the Budget.
Expect a lot of smoke and mirrors.
The prime minister has already crowed about having a supposed operating surplus of $1.14 billion for the last seven months to January despite that surplus being fictional.
New Zealand First call it a bogus surplus
How can you have a surplus when you make making massive cuts elsewhere and everywhere?
You can conjure up a bogus surplus if you have frozen the police budget since 2010.
Or cut funding to district health boards by $1.7 billion.
Or slashed DoC funding with $53 million less each year from 2008 until 2015.
Allowed a huge housing shortage of over 40,000 houses in Auckland alone.
Allowed a huge roading deficit everywhere.
Made billions outstanding in defence promises yet kept none of them.
He talked of tax cuts.
ACCOUNT DEFICITNational boasts about New Zealand’s GDP growth rate of 3.0%.
But New Zealand’s population is now growing at 2% annually.
Accordingly, 2% has to be deducted from GDP numbers before any real growth can be claimed. That means New Zealand’s GDP growth is  1%.
Because without the population growth adjustment, the numbers are totally deceptive and well below the OECD average.
One figure the Government never mentions is the current account deficit which is running into billions of dollars.
Last year it was $7 billion.
And behind that number is New Zealand’s net international investment position – what we owe the rest of the world
That number is now a negative $156 billion!TRUE SITUATIONThe true state of our society can be seen all around us and that tells a different story to Bill English’s surplus “spin”.
Behind the boast that “NZ has the third highest growth rate in the OECD” ordinary New Zealanders see:
• More than 92,000 young New Zealanders aged 15 to 24 who are not jobs, training or education.
• Around 130,000 unemployed.
• And in the last 12 months we have taken over 71,900 migrants to stay here permanently.
This is the city of Rotorua being added year after year.
• We have stagnant incomes and more and more workers in casual and low paid jobs.We have:
• A housing crisis in Auckland that has spread to the regions and that is turning young Kiwis into renters for life.
• Hospital and medical services under intense pressure and surgery waiting lists that are growing longer.
• Overcrowded and understaffed schools.
• Overloaded roading and public transport infrastructure swamped by population growth.
• A growing gap between rich and poor that is getting worse and with levels of homelessness and family poverty rising.
• New Zealand land and businesses are being flogged off to overseas buyers.
According to the Overseas Investment Office 466,000 hectares of land was sold to offshore buyers in 2016 – five times more than in 2015.NZ SUPERThere is constant cry that NZ Super is unaffordable.
It is affordable.
Here are the facts:
NZ Super’s actual net cost to taxpayers is around 3.8 per cent of GDP.
That NZ Super is taxed is being deliberately overlooked.
NZ Super as a percentage of GDP will stay the same even with an ageing population if New Zealand doubles its GDP by 2050 and we improve our productivity.
The opponents of NZ Super have four features about them:
– They can’t make out a financial argument to support their view.
– They mistake population trends,
– They ignore the 87,000 we have allowed in here in the last 15 years to get full NZ Super after just 10 years,
– They recite overseas population trends and percentages when they know they have no relativity to NZ‘s situation.INFLATED BY IMMIGRATIONAffordability has been threatened by mass immigration for much of the last two decades.
When Labour was bringing in 50,000 net the equivalent figure in Australia was just 80,000 – for that far bigger economy.
It is utter madness to take in net almost 72,000 new immigrants a year as we are now doing. When the UK target is just 100,000.Section 70New Zealand First will end the Section 70 anomaly in the Social Security Act. Just as we did with the surtax and tinkering with the Super formula. (Our 66%)
This affects a specific group of people who are entitled to an overseas state pension.
As a result of section 70, around 70,000 people receiving NZ Super have some level of deduction made.
It is an anomaly and unfair to those affected.
NZ First is committed to ending this anomaly.Realm countries and NZ SuperAnd we are going give retired, or near retireds, in the Realm countries, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, the right to pick up their NZ Super in the Cooks, Niue and Tokelau without the “five years back in NZ rule” being so unfairly applied to them now.
It is an abject disgrace that the National Party says we can’t afford to do this which will be available to only a few hundred yet give full NZ Super to over 87,000 who have come to this country and acquire full NZ Super, and all its benefits, after just 10 years residence here whether they have made any contribution or not.A HISTORY YOU CANNOT TRUSTUnlike National and Labour, who have repeatedly back-tracked on NZ Super, we have never diverted from our stand.SECRET TO AFFFORDABILITYThe secret to maintaining NZ Super’s affordability is increasing the size of our economic cake, restoring productivity, and controlling immigration.
This is achievable, but not with present and recent policies.
We have unlimited economic potential.
But we cannot sustain the large number of immigrants who are coming here.
With a stable population and increased productivity, the affordability of NZ Super will increase further and raise our living standards.
It’s as simple as that.NOT OPPOSED TO IMMIGRATIONNew Zealand First is not opposed to immigration.
But we want controlled immigration.
We need to take our foot off the accelerator and bring immigration back to sustainable levels.
To 10,000, not nearly 72,000.
We must have high quality skilled immigration.
What we have instead is mainly low-skilled immigration.WORKING FOR GREY POWERNew Zealand First values our relationship with Grey Power.
We have shown our loyalty to Seniors in countless battles.
We continue to fight for your interests.
In 2015 we brought our SuperGold Health Check Bill before Parliament.
The intention of the bill was to provide three free GP visits with the SuperGold Card each year.
Grey Power supported this bill.
Unfortunately National, Act and United Future did not.
This gruesome threesome made sure our bill did not pass its first reading.
It lost by a single vote.
We are not giving up.
We intend bringing this bill back to parliament.
Also we want free eye tests for SuperGold Cardholders once a year.
It is a great concern to us that one in seven New Zealanders over 50 will develop Macular Degeneration.
This condition causes 48% of cases of blindness in New Zealand.
About 1.5 million New Zealanders are at risk of developing Macular Degeneration and by 2030 the number of sufferers will increase by 70%
It is estimated that Macular Degeneration annually costs New Zealand $200 million, from lost productivity and increased medical costs – including people entering care facilities at an earlier age.
We believe prevention is better than cure.PUTTTING NEW ZEALAND AND NEW ZEALANDERS FIRSTNew Zealand First is a party which stands for equal opportunity for all.We are a party which believes in looking after our citizens, young and old, and working in their best interests.It’s all about putting New Zealand first, and Kiwis first. Speech by New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters
Public Meeting,
Forbury Racecourse, Bart Winters Room,
45 McAndrews Rd,
South Dunedin.
10.30am, Wednesday, May 24, 2017