Sunday, June 26, 2016

News, views and opinions from the Alternative Media ... Week ending June 26

Jonathan Marshall at ConsortiumNews
The recent call by 51 dissenting State Department officials  for U.S. military escalation in Syria is merely one of dozens of similar demands by neoconservatives and anguished liberals who accuse President Obama of moral failure for not dictating peace in Syria at the end of a gun.

At almost the same time as the dissent went public, in fact, the hawkish Center for New American Security issued similar recommendations under the auspices of Michele Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s likely pick for Secretary of Defense. Its report called for more “arming and training” of anti-government rebels, launching of “limited military strikes” against the Assad regime, and eliminating “artificial manpower limitations” on military missions in the country...

....Our experience in Syria itself should have made the same lesson clear. President Obama ordered the Pentagon to spend $500 million to “train-and-equip” anti-regime “moderates.” The program graduated all of 54 recruits, most of whom were promptly kidnapped by the local Al Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra (possibly at the instigation of Turkey). Similarly, U.S. arms for “moderate” rebels have consistently fallen into the hands of al-Nusra....

From  Source: Sputnik
Is Turkey seeing the light?
Reports of secret talks with Syria
Relations between Ankara and Damascus have improved in recent secret talks, as both sides are showing willingness for dialogue, Turkish mediator Ismail Hakki Pekin told Sputnik Turkey.

The governments of Syria and Turkey are engaging in dialogue and both sides are showing a willingness to negotiate their differences, the Turkish military's former intelligence chief Ismail Hakki Pekin told Sputnik Turkey.

According to a recent report by Algerian newspaper Al Watan, there has been contact between the two governments mediated by the Algerian government.

Pekin is the leader of a delegation from Turkey's Vatan party, whose members regularly visit Syria. He said that he has also been mediating between the two governments, and noticed a change in both sides after his most recent visit.

"We have been systematically working to normalize relations between Turkey and Syria for a long time, and came up with an initiative to provide the necessary basis for dialogue between the Turkish and Syrian leadership," he explained.

"In my last trip, I noticed a softening from the Syrian side, and a similar tendency in representatives of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, when I told them about the outcome of our delegation's visit. The Foreign Ministry as a whole received my information favorably. They used to reject everything out of hand." ....

Glenn Greenwald at Intercept
Before the bodies were removed from the Pulse nightclub
in Orlando last week, Democrats began eagerly exploiting that atrocity to demand a new, secret “terrorist watchlist”: something that was once the domestic centerpiece of the Bush/Cheney war-on-terror mentality. Led by their propaganda outlet, Center for American Progress (CAP), Democrats now want to empower the Justice Department — without any judicial adjudication — to unilaterally bar citizens who have not been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime from purchasing guns.

Worse than the measure itself is the rancid rhetoric they are using. To justify this new list, Democrats, in unison, are actually arguing that the U.S. government must constrain people whom they are now calling “potential terrorists.” Just spend a moment pondering how creepy and Orwellian that phrase is in the context of government designations....

Max Blumenthal and Sarah Lazare
Before Omar Mateen Committed Mass Murder, the FBI Tried To Lure Him Into a Terror Plot
New revelations raise questions about the FBI’s role in shaping Mateen’s lethal mindset.

Before Omar Mateen gunned down 49 patrons of the LGBTQ Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the FBI attempted to induce his participation in a terror plot. Sheriff Ken Mascara of Florida’s St. Lucie County told the Vero Beach Press Journal that after Mateen threatened a courthouse deputy in 2013 by claiming he could order Al Qaeda operatives to kill his family, the FBI dispatched an informant to "lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite."

While self-styled terror experts and former counter-terror officials have criticized the FBI for failing to stop Mateen before he committed a massacre, the new revelation raises the question of whether the FBI played a role in pushing Mateen towards an act of lethal violence. ...

Dr Ron Paul at RonPaulInstitute
Orlando: The New 9/11?

Last week America was rocked by the cold-blooded murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Unlike the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Orlando shooter appears to be a lone gunman who, while claiming allegiance to ISIS, was not actually working with a terrorist group. About the only thing Orlando has in common with 9/11 is the way power-hungry politicians and federal officials wasted no time using it to justify expanding government and restricting liberty.

Immediately following the shooting, we began to hear renewed calls for increased government surveillance of Muslims, including spying on Muslim religious services. Although the Orlando shooter was born in the US, some are using the shooting to renew the debate over Muslim immigration. While the government certainly should prevent terrorists from entering the country, singling out individuals for government surveillance and other violations of their rights because of religious faith violates the First Amendment and establishes a dangerous precedent that will be used against other groups. In addition, scapegoating all Muslims because of the act of one deranged individual strengthens groups like ISIS by making it appear that the US government is at war with Islam.

The Orlando shooting is being used to justify mass surveillance and warrantless wiretapping. For the past three years, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Defense Department appropriations bill limiting mass surveillance. But, last week, the same amendment was voted down. The only difference between this year’s debate and previous debates was that this year defenders of the surveillance state were able to claim that the Orlando shooting justifies shredding the Fourth Amendment.....

Turkish guards killing refugees at border

Leah Marieann Klett at GospelHerald
Suicide Bomber Disguised as Priest Kills Three at Christian Massacre Memorial in Syria

A suicide bomber disguised as a priest killed three people at an event commemorating the massacre of Christians more than a century ago in Qamishli, Syria. The assailant is believed to have targeted the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II.

According to Al Arabiya, the attack took place as locals gathered at a hall to commemorate the deaths of tens of thousands of Christians by the Ottoman army starting in 1915 in what is known as the Sayfo ("Sword") massacre. Patriarch Ignatius presided over the event, which was also attended by His Grace Mar Afram Athneil of the Assyrian Church of the East.

The suicide bomber, disguised as a priest, reportedly detonated his bomb when he was questioned by Sutoro security officials at a checkpoint outside a hall, killing himself and three guards, and wounding five others....

From RT
Boys forced to rape each other at Australian military schools - inquiry
Gruesome details about Australia’s military were revealed after a public inquiry on child sex abuse discovered how recruits were forced to rape one another as part of a sick initiation practice. The abuse went unnoticed for decades.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has received no fewer than 111 reports of incidents of sexual abuse carried out against navy cadets as young as 15 in the 1960s right through to the 1980s.
The harrowing ordeals involved instructions to rape each other, as well as carry out other, equally brutal attacks. Two institutions accounted for over 50 cases out of the 111 – the HMAS Leeuwin, in Western Australia, and an army apprentice school at Balcombe, Victoria.
The ordeal typically happened in the first six months of the boys’ stay. They would be encouraged to take part in a variety of acts – including ‘blackballing’ and ‘nuggetting’, both involving forced abuse of a sexual nature carried out by a group against one person.

Much worse, though, was the actual rape....

Interview with Germany's Far Right leader, Frauke Petry. Vid is from about 3 months ago. 
Merkel's brainwashed refugee policy will make this far-right party stronger by the day.

From thelocal
The far-right AfD party called for a "new Europe" and the resignation of the EU's top two politicians in the wake of the Brexit vote.
 Writing on Twitter, AfD (Alternative for Germany) leader Frauke Petry said that "the time is ripe for a new Europe."

The AfD has long called for the end to the Euro as a single currency for the European project, and has also been sharply critical of the European Union’s immigration policies which it sees as too generous....

Everything you want to know about the long conflict between the Colombia govt vs FARC rebels is at link below.
From Telsurtv
What is the Colombian peace process? 
Who is involved? What has been agreed on so far? And just what does the FARC stand for? teleSUR explains.

The Colombian state has been at war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army, known as the the FARC, for more than 50 years.

The FARC, along with other guerrilla groups, came about as a response to violent government repression of popular progressive movements in the 1950s and 60s. Inspired by the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the FARC sought to transform Colombia, a country where change at the ballot box was impossible.

But after five decades, the conflict has become an entrenched part of Colombian life, creating more than 6.7 million victims, and taking at least 220,000 lives. ....

Colombians Celebrate

Dr Paul Craig Roberts at RonPaulInstitute
The Brexit Vote - What Does it Mean?

What does it mean?

Hopefully, a breakup of the EU and NATO and, thereby, the avoidance of World War III.

The EU and NATO are evil institutions. These two institutions are mechanisms created by Washington in order to destroy the sovereignty of European peoples. These two institutions give Washington control over the Western world and serve both as cover and enabler of Washington’s aggression. Without the EU and NATO, Washington could not force Europe and the UK into conflict with Russia, and Washington could not have destroyed seven Muslim countries in 15 years without being isolated as a hated war criminal government, no member of whom could have travelled abroad without being arrested and put on trial.

Clearly, the presstitute media lied about the polls in order to discourage the leave vote. But it did not work. The British people have always been the font of liberty. It was the the historic achievements of the British that transformed law into a shield of the people from a weapon in the hands of the state and gave accountable government to the world. The British, or a majority of them, understood that the EU is a dictatorial governing mechanism in which power is in the hands of unaccountable people and in which law can easily be used as a weapon in the hands of unaccountable government.

Washington, in an effort to save its power over Europe, launched a campaign, willingly joined by presstitutes and the brainwashed left-wing, who flocked to the One Percent’s banner, that presented the effort to ....
James Perloff at his blog
1948: Harry Truman, the Nakba, and the mystery of the “Best Picture” Oscar

One evening in the late 1960s (I was then in high school), my father and I were watching television. The local station announced that, later that week, it would show the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1947, Gentleman’s Agreement.

My father and I awaited the film with anticipation. After all, we equated “Best Picture” Oscars with superior entertainment—films like All about Eve, On the Waterfront, Lawrence of Arabia, and A Man for All Seasons.

To our disappointment, Gentleman’s Agreement, a two-hour sermon on the woe of American anti-Semitism, was one of the dullest films we’d ever watched. It was all dialogue, no action. No humor either. A token romance was thrown in, but it had no spark.

Here’s the plot: Gregory Peck plays a writer who moves to New York City after being hired by a magazine. The editor assigns him to write a series on anti-Semitism. In order to write from real experience, Peck pretends to be Jewish. He sends two job applications to various employers, knowing the one with the Jewish name will get rejected. He soon discovers anti-Semitism lurking under every rock—at hotels, in his secretary, his doctor, his janitor, and even his new girlfriend, played by Dorothy McGuire. Peck spends much of the film lecturing these people about their bigotry, no matter how subtly they expressed it.....

Interesting read from MoonOfAlabama
An Eyewitness Tells How The U.S. Ambassador Instigated "Revolution" In Syria

...S. Rifai, also known as @THE_47th, is a Syrian "activist" from Homs. He was involved since early 2011 when the U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford  (@fordrs58) fomented the "revolution" in Syria. He has since tweeted about the "revolution" and has shown lots of insider knowledge. Below S. Rifai corrects the U.S. propaganda record.

The former ambassador Ford allegedly had a hand in last weeks "dissident" letter by some State Department employees. The letter urges launching an open U.S. war against Syria and its government. Ford was recently interviewed about the letter for an exculpatory piece in the New Yorker......

Christopher Kemmett at TheRealStrategy
Omar Mateen, James Howell, Seddique Mateen, Marcus Robertson & The LGBT Terror Plot of 2016
Earlier This Week A Conflicting Report Came Out Stating James Howell Turned Himself In After Hearing Omar Mateen Was Killed

James Howell
    Reportedly Gay
    Worked as Security Guard for ‘Universal Protection Services’ – Largest U.S. Owned Security Firm
    Scouted Gay Pride Event
    Caught With 3 Rifles & Bomb Materials June 12th, 2016

Omar Mateen
    Reportedly Gay
    Worked as Security Guard for G4S – Third Largest Corporation on Earth
    Scouted Gay Bar
    Used Rifle To Kill 49 June 12th, 2016

James Howell was arrested the same day of the PULSE nightclub shooting. Howell was caught with several rifles and bomb materials.

Howell, who’s testimony was published on, was leaked by a former prosecutor in Los Angeles. Two police officers from Santa Monica, who remain unnamed brought the evidence to the media company’s publishers last week. The testimony revealed James Howell was part of a larger plot of terror around the United States. Howell claimed to be part of an operation which Mateen was also included, and at least 3 other terrorists. One named Brandy, who Howell says was part of the Florida cell. Another named Dan, who James Howell was supposed to meet in California and a fifth member who was the 3rd member of the FL cell whom Howell knew of –  but did not know by name.
List of Known Cells and Members of LGBT Terrorist Plot....

Sir Ronald Sanders at CaribbeanNews
Commentary: Brexit creates EU-Britain nightmare for the Caribbean

The 12 English-speaking independent countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have at the most two years to formulate a plan for dealing with the serious consequences of the British Exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU).
Indeed, the time may be less if the current mood of the leadership of the EU intensifies. They want Britain gone “as soon as possible”. The presidents of the European council, commission and parliament – Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz respectively – and Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, are reported as saying any delay to Britain’s exit would “unnecessarily prolong uncertainty”.

Once Britain finally leaves, the 12 Caribbean countries will have no structured trade relationship with that country. When Britain joined what was then the European Economic Community in 1973, it transferred all authority for its trade agreements to the Community. Ever since then, the formal trade, aid and investment relations between the 12 Caribbean countries has been with EU. These relations were formalised successively in the Lome Convention, the Cotonou Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreement.

Key to the terms under which the English-speaking Caribbean countries entered – and continued – the relationship with the EU was Britain, their former colonial ruler.

Up to the time of British entry to the EU, trade between Britain and ...

Stephen Magagnini and Ellen Garrison at Sacbee
At least five people were stabbed in a riot that broke out at the state Capitol Sunday between more than 150 anarchists and “anti-fascist” protestors and about 25 neo-Nazis who had gotten permission to rally on the west steps, police said.

Dozens of police in safety gear and on horseback tried to control the mayhem. There were at least five stabbings, involving victims on both sides, according to Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers, who had officers in safety gear on scene to support CHP officers, some of them on horseback. “It’s a highly volatile situation,” Somers said. They have been other skinhead rallies at the Capitol, but “this time the the anarchists have taken a much more aggressive stance to wreak havoc on the city.”

Somers added, “regardless of the message it’s the skinhead’s first amendment right to free speech.” The Bee saw two young African American men who had been stabbed, one in the shoulder and the other in the right side, who were...

I couldn't believe this story so had to go to Snopes (not that they are right all the time, but most of the time they are pretty accurate.)
Dead Dogs in Kuwait

A disturbing set of images purportedly show a pile of dead bomb-sniffing dogs that were put down after their contract with a security company was cancelled.
In June 2016, a series of photographs purportedly showing dozens of dead bomb-sniffing dogs circulated on social media, along with the claim that the animals were killed by Eastern Securities after their contract with the Kuwait National Petroleum Company was cancelled:

Eastern Securities or E Sec was awarded a contract with Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) to provide explosive detection dogs for their oil rigs. When KNPC canceled the contract with Eastern Securities, they were left with 140+ dogs that no longer had a job and were costing them money to feed and house them. Instead of being responsible with the working dogs and finding them homes, Eastern Securities chose the most cost-effective way of dealing with the unemployed working dogs, euthanasia. It is unknown at this time exactly how the dogs were killed or even if the remaining 90 are still alive.
Paul Mansfield at SottNet
Chris Zappone of the Australian newspaper
The Age plums the depths of stupefying Russophobia with an opinion piece titled "Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin: Russia's information war meets the US election." His message is, basically, next time you encounter a pesky social media troll, know that you have crossed swords with one of Vladimir Putin's troopers in the information war against the West.

Zappone presents a confused, jumbled mess of "facts" cobbled together and slapped onto paper. A bit like taking a mud pie and just chucking it, hoping some will stick. And let's face it, when it comes to gaining credibility and sombre faced approval on analysis of Russia's evil doings, Zappone doesn't have a very high standard to reach. A bit like randomly throwing mud pies, so too with "investigative journalism" on Russia; no matter how ludicrous, insane or uproariously hilarious, if it's anti-Russia it flies.

Now if this was just a bit of harmless fun, banter being thrown back and forth with protagonists in good humour trying to outdo each other in banality and hyperbole, then no harm would be done. But unfortunately, this endless, 'anything goes' Russophobia has consequences in softening up Western publics to accept sanctions and other anti-Russian measures and, ominously, to prepare us to accept the unacceptable; a possible war with Russia. Zappone and his ilk may deny such intent or even ridicule the suggestion, but the consequences of successful propaganda are real and tangible.

The article is a slovenly piece of worship of the establishment elites that control and neo-liberal crony capitalism which has crippled our societies. The rest of us, whether we are from the left, right, spiraling in the conspiracy ether, or located anywhere else on the political spectrum have no business in offering opinions on or alternatives to our socio-political order.

Zappone has fallen victim to the common journalistic tactic of making tenuous, .....

Eric Margolis at his blog
Do we really want a war with Russia?

War with Russia appears increasingly likely as the US and its NATO satraps continue their military provocations of Moscow.

As dangers mount, our foolish politicians should all be forced to read, and then re-read, Prof. Christopher Clark’s magisterial book, ‘The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.’ What is past increasingly appears prologue.

Prof. Clark carefully details how small cabals of anti-German senior officials in France, Britain and Russia engineered World War I, a dire conflict that was unnecessary, idiotic, and illogical. Germany and Austria-Hungary of course share some the blame, but to a much lesser degree than the bellicose French, Serbs, Russians and British.

We are seeing the same process at work today. The war party in Washington, backed by the military-industrial complex, the tame media, and the neocons, are agitating hard for war.

US and NATO combat forces are being sent to Russia’s western borders in Ukraine, the Baltic and Black Sea. NATO is arming, financing ($40 billion so far) and supplying Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. Prominent Americans are calling for the US to attack Russian forces in Syria. US warships are off Russia’s coasts in the Black Sea, Baltic and Pacific. NATO air forces are probing Russia’s western air borders.

Some of this is great power shadow boxing, trying to cow insubordinate Russia into accepting Washington’s orders. But much appears to be the work of the hard right and neocons in the US and Europe in spite of the desire of most Americans and Europeans to avoid armed conflict with Russia.

Hence the daily barrage of anti-Russian, anti-Putin invective in the US media and ....

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