Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Rudi Jan

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 714
The World Below / Clinton Foundation Whistleblowers Testify
« on: Today at 10:04:30 AM »
Clinton Foundation Whistleblowers Testify: "It Operated As An Unregistered Foreign Agent"

by Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:50

Authored by Sara Carter via

The Clinton Foundation operated as a foreign agent ‘early in its life’ and ‘throughout it’s existence’ and did not operate as a 501c3 charitable foundation as required, and is not entitled to its status as a nonprofit, alleged two highly qualified forensic investigators, accompanied by three other investigators, said in explosive testimony Thursday to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

John Moynihan and Lawerence W. Doyle, both graduates of the Catholic Jesuit College of the Holy Cross and former expert forensic government investigators, gave their shocking testimony before congress based on a nearly two year investigation into the foundation’s work both nationally and internationally. They were assisted by three other highly trained experts in taxation law and financial forensic investigations. The forensic investigators stressed that they obtained all the documentation on the foundation legally and through Freedom of Information Request Acts from the IRS and other agencies.

Former Utah U.S. Attorney General John Huber, who resigned when he was appointed by former Department of Justice Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the Clinton Foundation and the issues surrounding the approval to sell 20 percent of U.S. Uranium assets to Russia, declined to attend the hearing. Chairman Mark Meadows, R-NC, who oversaw the hearing stated that it was disappointment that Huber declined, leaving Congress in the dark regarding the DOJ’s investigation.

Investigations into the Clinton Foundation have always been plagued by politics but Moynihan wanted to make clear in his opening statement that this investigation was one of many his firm has conducted on nonprofits and had nothing to do with politics.

Doyle and Moynihan have amassed 6,000 documents in their nearly two-year investigation through their private firm MDA Analytics LLC. The documents were turned over more than a year and a half ago to the IRS, according to John Solomon, who first published the report last week in The Hill. 

“The investigation clearly demonstrates that the foundation was not a charitable organization per se, but in point of fact was a closely held family partnership,” said Doyle, who formerly worked on Wall Street and has been involved with finance for the last ten years conducting investigations.

“As such it was governed in a fashion in which it sought in large measure to advance the personal interests of its principals as detailed within the financial analysis of this submission and further confirmed within the supporting documentation and evidence section.”

At the onset of the hearing, Moynihan wanted to make perfectly clear that the intention to look into the Clinton Foundation was not political but based on their work with the firm.

“At this point I’d like to answer two questions, who are we? We are apolitical,” Moynihan told the committee. “We have no party affiliation to this whatsoever, No one has financed us… we are forensic investigators that approached this effort in a nonpartisan profession, objective, and independent way…we follow facts, that’s all.”

“We have never been partisan,” he added, speaking on behalf of all five members of his group testifying to Congress. “We come from law enforcement and wall street where each of us has dedicated our entire lives and praised the rule of law doing the right thing pursuing facts. we follow facts. that’s all.”

“None of this is our opinion,” he went on state.

“I emphasize none of this is our opinion. These are not our facts. They are not your facts. They are the facts of the Clinton Foundation.”

He disclosed the reason his firm decided to take on the Clinton Foundation and the fact that they paid for the investigation out of their “own pockets.”

“Are you doing this for money,” said Moynihan to the committee. “Yes, this is how we make a living.”

Moynihan and Doyle swapped back and forth between there testimony and opening statement, making it clear they were working as a team. But the most shocking statements came from Moynihan’s statement as he read the laundry list of violations by the Clinton Foundation.

Moynihan stated “Foreign agent,” as he began to read from a long list of violations discovered during the course of their investigation.

The Clinton Foundation “began acting as an agent of foreign governments ‘early in its life’ and throughout its existence. As such, the foundation should’ve registered under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act),” he said. “Ultimately, the Foundation and its auditors conceded in formal submissions that it did operate as a (foreign) agent, therefore the foundation is not entitled to its 501c3 tax exempt privileges as outlined in IRS 170 (c)2.”

Doyle, who was also outlining a litany of violations by the foundation, noted that currently there are approximately 1.75 million nonprofits in the United states that annually generate nearly 2 trillion dollars, which is 9 percent of the U.S. GDP.

“Whose minding the store, looking out for the donors and minding the rule of law,” said Doyle.

“On that note, we followed the money so we made extensive spreadsheets of their revenues and expenses, we analyzed their income statements and we did a macro-review of all the donors, which its a very (jumbled) sort of foundation,” said Doyle. “Less than 1/10th of one-percent of the donors gave 80 percent of the money. So we follow the money.”

Moynihan added that the foundation “did pursue programs and activities for which it had neither sought nor achieved permission to undertake.”

Particularly, he noted the case of the Clinton Presidential Library in 2004. He noted that the foundation’s role before and after library was built was a misrepresentation to donors “of the approval organizational tax status to raise funds for the presidential library programs therein. In these pursuits the foundation failed the organizational and operational task 501c3 internal revenue code 7.25.3.”

Additionally Doyle stated that the foundation’s intentional “misuse of donated public funds.” He stated that the foundation “falsely attested that it received funds and used them for charitable purposes which was in fact not the case. Rather the foundation pursued in an array of activities both domestically and abroad.”

“Some may be deemed philanthropic, albeit unimproved, while other much larger in scope are properly characterized as profit oriented and taxable undertakings of private enterprise again failing the operational tests philanthropy referenced above,” Doyle said.

Philip Hackney, a tax law professor at Louisiana State University, who is a former Exempt Organizations lawyer at the IRS, and Tom Fitton, president of the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch also testified at the hearing. Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of fighting the Clinton Foundation in court to access documents requested by FOIA. Hackney and Fitton testified during the first panel of the hearing.

Yellow Vest protests in Canada mirror France’s anti-government dissent

Anthony Daoud by Anthony Daoud December 14, 2018

Carbon taxes, reckless spending, and the UN Global Compact on Migration are all upsetting Canadians.

The Yellow Vest protests have spilled into Canada, giving a stark warning to multiple levels of Canadian government.

Quick Read Summary:
  • This past weekend, hundreds of people took to the streets in Edmonton many wearing the recently notorious yellow vests.
    Their goal was to protest both the Liberal government’s carbon tax and the UN Global Compact on Migration.
  • A similar event happened on Parliament Hill, this one is largely focused on the migration pact.
  • Fortunately, the yellow vest protests in Canada have not resulted in the level of violence and turmoil that occurred in France.
  • None the less, the protests do show deep-seated resentment against some government policies, along with the potential to spiral into something far bigger.

Canadian yellow vest protests mirror France

The motivation for the yellow vest protests in Canada stem from those occurring in France.

Violent behaviour has spread through the French protests with cars being burned, stores being looted, and even the Arc De Triomphe being the target of graffiti.

Police were affected by the protest’s violent nature. Rocks were thrown at them and several were injured. In a revolutionary-esque move, “Les Gilets Jaunes Triompheront” which translates to “The Yellow Vests will Triumph”, was sprayed on the Arc De Triomphe.

Analysts have described the situation as one of the worst in decades, with the population finally being able to voice their discontent with Macron’s governance.

France’s cost of living has been increasing to a point where many people are struggling to make ends meet.

The people have had enough with rising taxes, higher costs of living, constant unemployment, and bearing the burden of often symbolic government reforms.

When French President Emmanuel Macron decided to impose a carbon tax on the population it opened Pandora’s box. Despite unemployment levels dropping since 2016, it still stands at 9.1%.

With nearly one in ten members of the Frech population out of work, implementing an additional tax to appease environmentalist bureaucrats would not have gone unnoticed and unsurprisingly fueled hostile feelings towards the government within the population.

Macron’s increased fuel tax which would have upped prices by €0.03 per litre of gas and €0.06 per litre of diesel will only come into effect six months later.

The price of diesel in France has gone up by roughly 20 percent over the past year to approximately €1.49 (C$2.23) per litre. In comparison, the average price last year was €1.24 (C$1.86). That’s more than the expected 10-cent rise.

A strong sentiment against Macron’s leadership has fused into the protest against the carbon tax, and has attracted both people from the far left and the far right. It also comes at a time of increased Euroscepticism, and an overall rise in populist parties. Add in Brexit and the migration debacle and you realize Europe is in an utter state of disarray.

An article published by Express suggests that Italy, Austria, and the UK are amongst the most eurosceptic countries, with another study demonstrating 66% of Europeans are unhappy with the EU’s direction.

Canadian Spillover

Trudeau too has implemented a Carbon Tax, and his recent decision to sign Canada onto the UN Global Compact on Migration has led to the disenfranchisement of some.

The Liberals passed legislation last spring to give the government authority to impose a carbon tax on any province without its own carbon tax, beginning January 1, 2019. It is starting at a minimum of $20 per tonne, and rising by $10 per year until 2022.

Migration and illegal border crossings have also been hot topics in recent months, sparking divisions.

With the signing of the UN Global Compact on Migration, reasonable fears have grown that Canada has effectively given up its borders to an international institution. Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer and PPC leader Maxime Bernier both spoke out vehemently against the agreement.

The divisive consequences of making such controversial decisions in a time of political hyper-polarization is a risky game for politicians of all camps to play.

Having two yellow jacket protests staged, Edmonton and Ottawa, should be a warning to both the Canadian and Albertan governments.

On the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook group, there is a host of anti-Trudeau posts, including a picture of a red baseball cap with a fist-raising the middle finger, and the Prime Minister’s name stitched on. As well, there are “memes” influenced by Albertan nationalism and sovereigntist sentiment.

Such an amalgamation of deep dislike and worrisome expression paints a much darker image of what Canadians are thinking. Revolutionary images and posts about opposition to taxes are also present.

What this demonstrates is that many people are upset.

Life is becoming more expensive and plunging the population in further taxes is not the solution to issues. Moreover, ridiculous spending and governing with a mystical belief that the budget will balance itself will ultimately be felt by tax-paying Canadians. Many of which already pay over 42.5% of their income to taxes yearly and only have $200 left at the end of the month after paying their bills.

Russia dismisses US ambassador’s comment on Tu-160 bombers as ‘amateurish’

By News Desk - 2018-12-14

The statement by US Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker who called the Russian strategic missile-carrying bombers ‘museum exhibits’ is amateurish, Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Friday.

According to the general, “the Defense Ministry of Russia is not surprised by the amateurish statements by representatives of the US State Department on the Tu-160 strategic missile-carrying aircraft amid the silence of the Pentagon’s professional experts.”

“Since the time of their creation, the Russian Tu-160 strategic missile-carrying bombers have had even no comparable analogues in the United States or in any other NATO member state by the speed they develop, the weapon payload, the operating range and inaccessibility for any air defense capabilities,” Konashenkov said.

Also, considering that the production of the upgraded version of the Tu-160 strategic missile-carrying bomber has been launched, these advantages have only increased, the Defense Ministry spokesman said.

As Konashenkov noted, the Tu-160 can be compared to a ‘museum exhibit’ only in the context of “admiring this masterpiece of the domestic engineering thought in the sphere of aircraft-making to the envy of Russia’s ill-wishers.”

The Russian Defense Ministry’s press office reported on Monday that two Russian Tu-160 strategic missile-carrying bombers, an An-124 Ruslan heavy military and transport plane and an Il-62 long-range aircraft of Russia’s Aerospace Force had arrived in Venezuela.

On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry reported that the Tu-160 planes had stayed for about ten hours in the skies over the Caribbean Sea and were accompanied by Venezuelan fighter jets at some stages of their flight.

ALSO READ  Ukrainian President proposes 30-day martial law to ward off Russian 'invasion' (video)
It was reported on Friday that the Russian missile-carrying bombers had successfully made flights over the Atlantic Ocean and got an order to return to their home bases.

The Tu-160 is the biggest plane with a variable-sweep wing and one of the most powerful combat aircraft in the world. In 2015, a decision was announced to restart the production of the strategic bomber at the Kazan Aviation Enterprise. On November 16, 2017, the new plane was delivered from the final assembly workshop to the flight testing station. Thanks to its upgrade, the efficiency of the Tu-160 bomber is expected to increase by 60%.

R ~ It is becoming clear that US mouthpieces seem to have this idea that US weaponry is so exceptional that no one else compares. It is hubris, but more dangerously, a false perception of the accomplishments of the Russian military as if denigrating that development is unpatriotic back home. The truth is closer to the Chinese meme of a 'toothless tiger', which afflicts all things that age.

The real reason Western media & CIA turned against Saudi MBS

Darius Shahtahmasebi is a New Zealand-based legal and political analyst, currently specializing in immigration, refugee and humanitarian law.
Published time: 14 Dec, 2018 13:49
source: [url[/url]

Mohammed bin Salman (r) and Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit Conference Centre in Buenos Aires © Global Look Press / Ralf Hirschberger

Forces are aligning against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, lead by elements within the CIA and strong players in the mainstream media. But what is really behind this deterioration in relationship, and what are its implications?

Following the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, western media and various entities, including the CIA, appear to have turned their back on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS). In response to the scandal, the Guardian released a video which its celebutante, Owen Jones, captioned“Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest threats on Earth. Time to stop propping up its repulsive regime.”

The Guardian was not alone in its condemnation. “It’s high time to end Saudi impunity,” wrote Hana Al-Khamri in Al-Jazeera. “It’s time for Saudi Arabia to tell the truth on Jamal Khashoggi,” the Washington Post’s Editorial Board argued. Politico called it “the tragedy of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Even shadowy think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Atlantic Council released articles criticising Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s death.

A number of companies began backing away from Saudi money after the journalist’s death, including the world’s largest media companies such as the New York Times, the Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, Arianna Huffington, CNN, CNBC, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Google Cloud CEO, just to name a few.

The CIA concluded that MBS personally ordered Khashoggi’s death, and was reportedly quite open in its provision of this assessment. Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, also took time out of his schedule to express concern over Saudi Arabia’s confirmation of the killing.

At the time of the scandal, former CIA director John Brennan went on MSNBC to state that the Khashoggi’s death would be the downfall of MBS. Furthermore, the US Senate just voted in favour of ending American involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen (a somewhat symbolic victory, though this is a topic for another article), but nonetheless was a clear stab at MBS personally.

The only person who appeared to continue to uphold America’s unfaltering support for MBS, even after all the publicly made evidence against MBS, was the US president himself. So after years of bombarding Yemen, sponsoring terror groups across the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and beyond, why is it only now that there has been mounting opposition to Saudi Arabia’s leadership? Let’s just bear in mind that western media had spent years investing in a heavy PR campaign to paint MBS as a “reformer.”

Former national security adviser under Barack Obama’s second term, Susan Rice, wrote an article in the New York Times, in which she called MBS a “partner we can’t depend on.” Rice concludes that MBS is “not and can no longer be viewed as a reliable partner of the United States and our allies.” But why is this? Is it because MBS is responsible for some of the most egregious human rights abuses inside his own kingdom as well as in Yemen? Is it because of MBS’ support for groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda? No, according to Rice, we “should not rupture our important relationship with the kingdom, but we must make it clear it cannot be business as usual so long as Prince Mohammad continues to wield unlimited power.”

One will observe that the latter segment of Rice’s article almost mirrors former CIA director Brennan’s word on MSNBC word for word who stated that:

“I think ultimately this is going to come out. And it’s very important for us to maintain the relations with Saudi Arabia. And if it’s Mohammed bin Salman who’s the cancer here, well, we need to be able to find ways to eliminate the cancer and to move forward with this relationship that is critical to regional stability and our national interests.”

In reality, this is probably the issue that western media and government advisors have taken up with MBS. Aside from the fact he allegedly held a huge hand in the brutal murder of one of their own establishment journalists (Saudi Arabia reportedly tortured and killed another journalist not long after Khashoggi, but western media was eerily silent on this incident) MBS is not opposed for his reckless disregard for human rights. With insight into Rice’s mindset, we actually learn that if the US were to punish MBS, he would be likely to “behave more irresponsibly to demonstrate his independence and exact retribution against his erstwhile Western partners.”

You see, the problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and the other major oil producers met in Vienna at the year’s final big OPEC meeting of the year. As Foreign Policy notes, Saudi Arabia remains the largest oil producer inside OPEC but has to contend with the US and Russia who are “pumping oil at record levels.” Together, the three countries are the world’s biggest oil producers, meaning any coordinated decision made between these three nations can be somewhat monumental.

However, it appears that one of these three nations will end up drawing the short end of the stick as the other two begin forming a closer alliance. As Foreign Policy explains:

“But Saudi Arabia has bigger game in mind at Vienna than just stabilizing oil prices. Recognizing that it can’t shape the global oil market by itself anymore but rather needs the cooperation of Russia, Saudi Arabia is hoping to formalize an ad hoc agreement between OPEC and Moscow that began in 2016, a time when dirt-cheap oil also posed a threat to oil-dependent regimes. That informal agreement expires at the end of the year, but the Saudis would like to make Russia’s participation with the cartel more permanent.”

Russian officials have been signalling their intention to formalise this agreement for quite some time now. Given the hysteria in western media about any and all things Russian, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that this is the kind of news that is not sitting too well with the powers-that-be.

Earlier this year, Russia and Saudi Arabia announced that it would “institutionalize” the two-year-old bilateral agreement to coordinate oil production targets in order to maintain an edge on the global market.

While US president Trump has been supportive and incredibly defensive of MBS during this “crisis”, the truth is that the US only has itself to blame. It was not all too long ago that Trump announced that he had told Saudi King Salman that his kingdom would not last two weeks without US support.

Saudi Arabia is learning for themselves quite quickly that, ultimately, it may pay not to have all its eggs in one geopolitical superpower basket.

Saudi Arabia has been increasingly interested in Moscow since King Salman made a historic visit to Moscow in October 2017. While Trump has openly bragged about his record-breaking arms deals with the Saudis, the blunt truth is that the $110 billion arms agreements were reportedly only ever letters of interest or intent, but not actual contracts. As such, the US-Saudi arms deal is still yet to be locked in, all the while Saudi Arabia is negotiating with Russia for its S-400 air defence system. This is, as the Washington Post notes, despite repeated US requests to Saudi Arabia for it disavow its interest in Russia’s arms.

The economic threat that an “independent” Saudi Arabia under MBS’ leadership poses to Washington runs deeper than meets the eye and may indeed have a domino effect. According to CNN, Russia and Saudi Arabia “are engaged in an intense battle over who will be the top supplier to China, a major energy importer with an insatiable appetite for crude.”

The unveiling of China’s petro-yuan poses a major headache for Washington and its control over Saudi Arabia as well. According to Carl Weinberg, chief economist and managing director at High-Frequency Economics, China will “compel” Saudi Arabia to trade oil in Chinese yuan instead of US dollars. One must bear in mind that China has now surpassed the US as the “biggest oil importer on the planet,” these direct attacks on the US dollar will have huge implications for its current world reserve status.

If Saudi Arabia jumps on board China’s petro-yuan, the rest of OPEC will eventually follow, and the US might be left with no choice but to declare all of these countries in need of some vital freedom and democracy.

Therefore, ousting MBS and replacing him with a Crown Prince who doesn’t stray too far from the tree that is US imperialism may put a dent in pending relationships with Saudi Arabia and Washington’s adversaries, Russia and China.

Once we get over the certainty that the US media and the CIA are not against MBS for his long-list of human rights abuses, the question then becomes: why – why now, and in this manner, have they decided to put the spotlight on MBS and expose him exactly for what he is.

Clearly, the driving force behind this media outrage is a bit more complex than first meets the eye.

Truce agreement victory for Yemeni nation: Abdulsalam

Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:16AM [Updated: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:55AM ]

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam (2nd L, front) speaks during a press conference at the Sana'a International
Airport in Yemen, on April 20, 2016.

Yemen’s Houthi movement says a ceasefire agreed between the warring sides in Yemen is a victory for the war-torn country as it will stop Saudi attacks on the strategic city of Hudaydah.

Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam made the remarks in an interview with Al-Masirah TV, shortly after the warring parties reached a ceasefire agreement after days of UN-brokered talks in Sweden.

Based on the deal, “the existing local authorities will be officially in charge of controlling the city and establishing security there under the supervision of the UN,” Abdulsalam said.

The Houthi delegation and Saudi-backed former government agreed that the UN would play a “leading role” in Hudaydah, which is currently controlled by the Houthis.

They also agreed to reopen the airport in the capital Sana'a, which was shuttered last year after numerous attacks by Saudi Arabia.

PressTV- UN: Yemen’s warring parties agree truce in Hudaydah
The UN chief says warring parties of Yemen have reached an agreement to hold a ceasefire in the port city of Hudaydah.

The Riyadh-backed side, which represented former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi in the Stockholm talks, said on Friday that the Houthis must hand over the key port.

However, Abdulsalam strongly rejected the proposal, saying Hudaydah must be kept apart from the military conflict, and that a government should be formed first before all parties are disarmed.

Forces loyal to Hadi and the Saudi-led mercenaries were forced to sit for talks with the Houthi Ansarullah movement after their massive operation to seize the port city of Hudaydah failed.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had deployed about 10,000 troops to Yemen's west coast after repeated campaigns to seize Hudaydah were thwarted by the Houthis and their allies.

Ansarullah calls the truce deal a defeat for the Saudis as it stops the aggression, allows existing local protectors who thwarted the Saudi offensive to be in charge of the city, and allows the Yemeni nation to regain their access to food, medicine, and other basic supplies.

Around 14 million people have been pushed to the brink of starvation since the Saudi war began in 2015, according to the UN.

PressTV-'300,000 lives hang in balance in Yemen’s Hudaydah'
The United Nations has warned about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen’s Hudaydah.

Cessation of Saudi aggression

In his remarks, Abdulsalam said there is no sign that the Saudis are going to stop their aggression against the innocent people of Yemen despite the ceasefire deal.

One of the articles of the draft agreement proposed by the Ansarullah delegation is “the complete cessation of military actions in Yemen,” but the Saudi side is rejecting it, he said.

“The UN has two options ahead of itself: it should either start the political process from the scratch or begin the political process from the draft version of the framework deal proposed in Sweden.”

Abdulsalam also called on the Yemenis to remain vigilant, especially in Hudaydah and Tai'zz, and continue supporting the Yemeni army and popular committees.

“Those who have shown resistance against 17 countries for four years can achieve a brilliant victory,” he added.

Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Hadi, who had resigned amid popular discontent and fled to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia buys the bulk of its weapons used in war from the US, Britain and France.

The US Senate on Thursday voted to stop US armed forces from supporting Saudi Arabia in its military aggression against Yemen.

The historic bipartisan vote for the first time invoked Congress' war powers to challenge US military involvement abroad despite the Trump administration's unwavering support for the Saudi regime.

PressTV-Senate votes to stop US aid to Saudi war on Yemen
The US Senate votes to end American military support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

US bills Saudis, Emiratis $331mn for refueling warplanes in Yemen

The US Department of Defense said Thursday it has sent Saudi Arabia and its main partner, the United Arab Emirates, a $331-million bill for the fuel their warplanes have received from American refueling aircraft during the past four years in the Yemen war.

“Due to errors in accounting by the Pentagon, the United States had not properly charged Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for those services,” Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.

Specifically, the Pentagon is seeking about $36.8 million for jet fuel and $294.3 million for flight hours by American refueling aircraft, Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said.

The United States refueled Saudi and Emirati warplanes operating in Yemen from March 2015 until Nov. 11. However, a resolution approved by the Senate on Thursday would keep the Pentagon from restarting that support.

Pentagon denounces any unilateral military action in ‘their’ part of Syria as unacceptable

Published time: 13 Dec, 2018 03:42
Edited time: 13 Dec, 2018 04:48

FILE PHOTO: Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) stand near US military vehicles © Reuters / Rodi Said

The US is worried that “unilateral” military action against its proxy forces might jeopardize its foothold in Syria, claiming that the Kurds are vital in the battle against IS, as Turkey vows to get rid of “separatist terrorists.”

Despite major breakthroughs in the battle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists and in the ongoing reconciliation process in Syria, the US has repeatedly made clear its intention to remain in the country indefinitely, pledging to continue to back the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to counter Bashar Assad and Iranian influence in the Kurdish-dominated part of Syria. The presence of some 2,000 US military ‘advisers’ in the country has not only angered Damascus, but has also placed Ankara in direct confrontation with its NATO ally, especially after US-backed fighters attempted to set up parallel government structures.

To get rid of what he called a “separatist terrorist organization” east of the Euphrates, where the US-supported YPG Kurdish militia of the SDF now controls much of the territory, the Turkish president earlier this week promised to launch a new military campaign in Syria “within a matter of days.”

Washington, keen to protect its interest in the area, has –somewhat hypocritically– warned Ankara against launching a “unilateral” military campaign that might endanger US soldiers, who have recently established observation posts along the Turkish-Syrian border. Kurds, the Pentagon stressed, remain a “committed partner” in Washington’s fight against Islamic State.

"We would find any such actions unacceptable"

“Unilateral military action into northeast Syria by any party, particularly as US personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern,” Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. “We would find any such actions unacceptable.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, believes that there is not much of a threat from the crippled Islamic State in Syria anymore, and that the Turkish military has the right to act to get rid of what he called a “terrorist corridor” forming alongside its border. “It is time to realize our decision to wipe out terror groups east of the Euphrates,” Erdogan said.

It is clear that the purpose of these US observation posts is not to protect our country from terrorists but to protect terrorists from Turkey.

“Our target is not the American soldiers, it is the terror organizations that are active in the region,” Erdogan added in a televised speech, which triggered a strong response from the Pentagon.

Ankara has already conducted two major offensives in northern Syria with the help of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army. Earlier this year, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria after the US announced its renewed commitment to maintaining support of the predominantly-Kurdish militia with training and weapons. Another cross-border incursion by the Turkish military, called Operation Euphrates Shield, was held from August 2016 to March 2017 with the aim of driving out IS terrorists, and the US-backed forces away from the border.

R ~ The Pentagon is the source of this never ending illegal occupation. Why? The oil under the Euphrates. It seems that the Pentagon planners are looking at this as a race to the prize. It matters not who seizes this vast oil region - no one will be able to hold it. it will be the center of WW3.

From 'Too Cheap' To 'Too Expensive' - Canadian Crude Soars Over 80% After Output Cuts

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 13:16
by Tyler Durden

Since Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced an oil production cut of 325,000 bpd beginning next month, the spot price for Western Canadian Select has gained over 85%...

Additionally,'s Irina Slav writes that the deep discount, at certain times more than US$40 a barrel, had closed by more than half over the last eight days since the cut was announced.

The discount could narrow even further as the cut enters into effect in January and producers and refiners negotiate future deliveries. This will in turn benefit Canadian producers who have already begun revising capital expenditure plans for 2019 pressured by the low price of their oil.

Last week, Premier Rachel Notley announced that the government of the province will enact an 8.7-percent crude oil production cut to clear excess stockpiles as pipeline bottlenecks and growing volumes of oil being transported by the costlier railway pressured Western Canadian Select to historic lows against the U.S. benchmark, WTI.

Premier Notley last week described the situation as “fiscal and economic insanity.” Alberta now has to buy more oil trains—a more dangerous way to transport oil than pipelines—because production is rising inexorably while pipeline capacity remains the same in the face of fierce opposition from environmentalist groups and First Nations against new pipeline projects. The National Energy Board recently said crude oil production in Canada this year will average 4.59 million bpd, up by 22,000 bpd from earlier forecasts.

However, plans for 2019 are for reduced spending, Bloomberg notes, as producers feel the bite of low oil prices deeper. The decision to start cutting production would save not just spending, but also jobs because many companies had planned substantial layoffs and reduced spending to a minimum to stay afloat. The lower spending could mean lower production growth, too, which would serve to keep prices higher.

And while some celebrate:

“It’s working -- the proof is in the price,” said Tim Pickering, chief investment officer of Auspice Capital Advisors Ltd. in Calgary. “The amount of the curtailment was enough to make a measurable difference in the glut that we have.”

There is a problem for Canadian suppliers, as Bloomberg reports, Western Canada Select crude has surged from 'too cheap to be profitable' to 'too expensive to sell'...

Alberta’s heavy oil trades at about $41 a barrel, about $9 less than on the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to traders and data compiled by Bloomberg. For a shipper without committed volumes, that price difference is so small that it wouldn’t cover the costs of shipping it down either TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline to Houston or Enbridge Inc.’s pipeline system. Gulf Coast imported about 500,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude in September.

As Bloomberg details, for companies without commitments to ship regular volumes, a barrel of crude sent down the Keystone system from Hardisty, Alberta, to Houston will cost more than $15.50 a barrel starting Jan. 1, according to the tariff filed with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Canada’s National Energy Board. The cost to ship uncommitted volumes to Texas from Hardisty down Flanagan South via the Enbridge mainline is about $9.40 a barrel including a separate power charge, according to a filing with the National Energy Board.

“Everyone is bidding up those barrels to make sure they can cover their pipe space,” Mike Walls, a Genscape analyst, said by phone. “People are really just hyper-focused on January and that’s why you are seeing these dramatic price moves.”

The hope is that as long as the pipes are full, the price difference between Canadian heavy crude and West Texas Intermediate futures will necessarily widen enough to cover the costs of shipping the crude by rail to the Gulf, which is between $18 and $22 a barrel, Walls said. Alberta’s government has tried to stimulate crude-by rail shipments by announcing plans to purchase rail tanker cars.

Just another example of government intervention's unintended consequences.

Trade war hostage? Trump ready to ‘intervene’ in Huawei CFO case if it helps close deal with China

Published time: 11 Dec, 2018 23:09
Edited time: 12 Dec, 2018 00:37

People stand outside the B.C. Supreme Court bail hearing of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou © Reuters / Lindsey Wasson

US President Trump said he might intervene on behalf of Huawei CFO if it benefits US trade interests with China. Meng Wanzhou, whose bail includes strict conditions, faces extradition to the US and up to 30 years in prison.

“If I think it’s good for what will certainly be the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump told Reuters. He has spoken with the Justice Department and Chinese officials about Meng’s case.

A Canadian judge granted bail on Tuesday to Meng, who was arrested 10 days ago while changing planes at Vancouver airport. She faces “multiple criminal charges” in the US, linked to alleged breaches of Washington’s unilateral sanctions against Iran.

Meng’s bail, already steep at C$10 million including C$7.5 million cash, also included five sureties or guarantors. She is required to turn over all passports and travel documents and cannot apply for new documents. Additionally, she must be accompanied by a security detail when leaving her residence and is required to wear an ankle bracelet to ensure she does not leave her residence between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

The Justice Department strongly advised against releasing Meng on bail, pointing to her family’s immense wealth and stating in an affidavit that she had already attempted to evade US arrest warrants for allegedly violating American and EU sanctions. The British Columbia Supreme Court judge also objected to her husband, Xiaozong Liu, serving as her legal custodian, given that he is not himself a legal resident of Canada.

However, the judge acknowledged that Meng has no criminal record in China or elsewhere and that she was arrested on a provisional warrant. The US has not made an official extradition request.

The conditions of Meng’s bail require her to remain in British Columbia and live at one of her Vancouver homes. She must permit the security companies overseeing her monitoring to gain access to that home and pay for all security costs associated with her surveillance.

She is due back in court on February 6. In a statement, Huawei said it had “every confidence the Canadian and US legal systems will reach a just conclusion in the following proceedings.”

Meng faces fraud charges for allegedly using a shell company to violate US and EU sanctions against Iran and allegedly lying to banks about the link between Huawei and its subsidiary Skycom. She has maintained her innocence in an affidavit.

R ~ The deep state strikes at Trump and the Canadian government plays the pawn.

French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Published time: 11 Dec, 2018 00:14
Edited time: 11 Dec, 2018 05:02

© Reuters / Philippe Wojazer

Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

"I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization."

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron's package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party's first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron's financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon's calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron's anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

R ~ There now ensues a fight for a piece of the pie while fewer and fewer actually bake pie.



On December 7, the US State Department finally released an official statement on the November 24 chemical attack, which hit the government-controlled city of Aleppo injuring over 100 people. However, instead of condemning terrorist groups, which used chemical weapons, the State Department accused the Assad government and the Russians of gassing Aleppo residents to undermine the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

The statement is another example of doublethink widely employed by the US-led bloc in its diplomatic and media efforts in the conflict. When alleged chemical attacks take place in the militant-held areas, the US blames Assad. When alleged chemical attacks take place in the government-held areas, the US also blames Assad.

The Russian Defense Ministry reacted to accusations by saying that the supply schedule of chemical weapons by the Western special services to the terrorists in Syria is synchronized with State Department’s statements. The defense ministry added that it has undeniable evidence that the chemical weapons attack was carried out by militants.

According to the Russian side, the US may have been using chemical weapons accusations against Russia and Syria to draw attention from its own war crimes in the area of Hajin in the Euphrates Valley.

On December 7, two Turkish military convoys entered Idlib through the Kafr Lusen border crossing. The convoys, which included several battle tanks, moved to Turkish observation posts in Murak and Shir Mughar in northern Hama.

These two of 12 Turkish observation posts established in the framework of the Idlib de-escalation agreement have a special importance because they are located in the area where a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) military action is expected in case of a further escalation in the region.

Sporadic clashes between the SAA and militants erupt in northern Hama on a constant basis. Over the past few days, the SAA has repelled several militant attacks. On December 8, the Syrian military even employed an armed UAV to target positions of the National Front for Liberation (NFL) in the town of al-Hakurah.

On December 8, Mustafa Bakkor, a spokesman for Jaysh al-Izza, claimed that Iranian forces in northern Hama are raising Russian flags over their positions to “protect themselves from Israeli bombardment.” Earlier in 2018, the Free Syrian Army in southern Syrian made similar accusations claiming that Iranian forces were wearing SAA uniforms to avoid being detected by the Israeli military and intelligence.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that government forces had arrested 12 suspects during a recent operation against ISIS cells in western Daraa. Some of the suspects are reportedly related to Abu Ali Al-Baridi, a former leader of the Khalid ibn Al-Walid Army. The ISIS-linked terrorist group was eliminated in July as a result of the joint operation by the SAA and former members of the Free Syrian Army.

In Deir Ezzor province, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue their efforts against ISIS. Last weekend, SDF units backed up by US and French Special Operations Forces entered the town of Hajin and captured over a half of it. The advance was supported by more than 100 airstrikes of the coalition.

The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq claims that ISIS members killed over 20 SDF members and destroyed at least 2 vehicles in the clashes. However, it appears that if the US-led forces really seek to capture Hajin, they will do this soon.

R ~  Not one person watching Syria would believe this from the US. They simply know no shame for their lies and projection of their own crimes.

France Deploys 89,000 Cops Amid Fears Of Yellow Vest Rebellion On Saturday

by Tyler Durden
Thu, 12/06/2018 - 14:16

French authorities will deploy at least 8,000 riot police and gendarmes in Paris on Saturday, and 89,000 forces across the country according to the Prime Minister, as the Elysee prepares for "act four" of the Yellow Vest movement's violent protests against the Macron government.

In addition to the closure of the Eiffel Tower on Saturday, several Paris museums have announced that they won't be open this weekend.

"The demonstrations announced Saturday, December 8 in Paris cannot guarantee the safety of visitors, the Sete has made the decision to close the Eiffel Tower," announced the Societe de la Tour Eiffel which operates the monument.

Despite Macron's government delaying a planned fuel hike by six months, the Yellow Vest movement has called on its followers to "stay on our course," over Facebook and gather for "The Act IV"  on Saturday the 8th, in what will be the fourth week of protests.

Coup attempt?

French intelligence services have reported to the Elysee Palace - the official residence of President Macron, in light of "calls to kill" and "carry arms to attack" government officials, parliamentarians and police, according to Le Figaro. "They are putschists. We are in a coup attempt," said Le Figaro's sources.

On Thursday, Yellow Vest leader Eric Drouet said "Saturday will be the final outcome. Saturday is the Elysee," adding "we all would like to go to the Elysee."

Le Figaro also reports that Saturday's demonstrations may involve unprecedented violence, as it may include "a hard core radicalized" element,  from "both the extreme right and extreme left."

One thing is becoming abundantly clear, these protests are not about a "gas tax increase."

They want corrupt globalist Macron to step down.

Four people have died over the last several weeks of protests across France - including an 80-year-old woman who died of shock after a police tear-gas canister was launched into her apartment window as she was trying to close it. Over 400 people were arrested in last weekend's violent protests, while more than 130 were injured.

Macron's administration has struggled to calm the protesters - initially delaying a planned fuel tax hike by six months, and then floating a tax increase for the wealthy. Thus far, none of it has worked.

Yellow Vest protesters recently told Russian state-owned RT that the government has lost touch with its people, and that they have to "put humane attitude first, and not the money." Another protester said that they "would prefer to be at work, than to find [themselves] on the streets shouting, hoping for nothing."

Over 20 Saudi-backed fighters allegedly killed in friendly fire airstrike in central Yemen


BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 P.M.) – Over 20 Saudi- backed fighters were killed in a friendly fire airstrike in central Yemen, today, anti-government activists reported via social media.

According to these claims, the Saudi-backed troops were killed when a Coalition warplane bombed their allies that were waging an attack against the Houthi forces in the Al-Bayda Governorate.

The Saudi Coalition has yet to comment on these allegations.

Over the last 72 hours, the Saudi Coalition troops have been advancing in the Al-Bayda Governorate after launching a big offensive inside the province.

Facebook exposed: Docs dumped by UK show FB whitelisted user data collection for cherry-picked firms

Published time: 5 Dec, 2018 16:04

The entrance sign to Facebook headquarters. ©Reuters / Elijah Nouvelage

Internal Facebook documents, previously seized by Britain, confirm that the tech giant made a habit of sharing user data with other firms without user consent and tried to avoid bad publicity by obfuscating its data vacuuming.

The British Parliament on Wednesday released a trove of Facebook documents, which it took possession of amid a larger inquiry into Cambridge Analytica, a firm that used Facebook data to profile users for political purposes. MP Damian Collins, who chairs Parliament’s Digital, Culture Media and Sports Committee, said the probe established several key issues.

Facebook’s change of platform in 2014-2015 allowed it to enter into “whitelisting” agreements with app developers, giving them access to user data, in particularly how users are linked as friends within the platform. The documents didn’t reveal what policy Facebook used to decide which firms were worthy of the privilege and which were not.

The increased exposure of private data generated more revenue for app developers, and this outcome was the key driver behind the changes made by Facebook. The social network itself received data about how people were using third party apps in return.

The data-hungry mammoth wanted to know how people used their mobile phones, so it changed Facebook’s mobile app to enable it to harvest more information from devices it was installed on. It deliberately made it harder for users to be aware of this happening in order to avoid bad PR, the MP stressed.

Facebook also used its position as user data provider to affect the businesses of its competitors in social media, like Twitter, the report said.

Yellow Vests leader: Fuel tax moratorium is crumbs, we want the baguette

Published time: 5 Dec, 2018 05:04

The Yellow Vests protests in Paris. © AFP / Alain Jocard

The French government’s six-month moratorium on fuel tax hikes wasn’t what the Yellow Vests wanted, the protest's leader has said. People want "the baguette", not crumbs, and will take to the streets again on Saturday, he said.

“We didn’t want a suspension, we want the past increase in the tax on fuels to be canceled immediately," Benjamin Cauchy, the organizer of the Yellow Vests movement, told BFM TV.

By announcing the half-year moratorium, government is “taking the French people for a ride” in an attempt to win time, he added.

The French are not sparrows and don’t want the crumbs the government is giving them. They want the baguette.

In another interview with La Depeche, Cauchy was asked if the violent protests, which saw more than 260 people injured and caused several deaths across France over the weekend, will continue. “The Yellow Vests wish to act on Saturday,” he replied.

However, he said that the movement must become “pacifist and non-violent”, as it used to be before the massive unrest started three weeks ago.

The group needs support from the French people and a peaceful sit-in would have a greater impact on the government than rioting, the protest leader said.

Earlier on Tuesday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on live TV that the planned increases in gasoline and diesel taxes as well as hikes in gas and electricity tariffs will be suspended for six months.

Philippe pointed out that the tax issue shouldn’t put “the nation’s unity in danger,” also announcing that the national debate on how to tackle climate change without burdening the wallets of French citizens will begin in mid-December.

The World Below / Russia’s S-400 system threatens US troops in Syria
« on: December 04, 2018, 12:45:45 PM »
Russia’s S-400 system threatens US troops in Syria

By News Desk - 2018-12-04

The possible activation of Russian S-400 missile defenсe systems in Syria would pose an increased threat to American troops and US-led coalition forces, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, nominee to head US Central Command (CENTCOM), said during his confirmation hearing in the US Senate on Tuesday.

“The S-400, once activated, will increase the threat to our forces and our coalition partners flying over Syria,” he said. “We are still working out on how it is going to be executed.”

Russia has deployed S-400 mobile missile batteries at the Khmeimim Airbase in Syria but has not yet activated the defence systems.

The S-400 is the next-generation mobile defence system which can carry three different types of missiles capable of destroying a variety of aerial targets at short and extremely long ranges, from reconnaissance aircraft to ballistic missiles.

Balance in Syria

McKenzie also stressed that Washington would not seek to affect the Russian forces in the region while conducting operations against terrorists.

“It is clearly not an objective of our presence in Syria,” McKenzie said during Senate testimony when asked whether the goal of the US military presence in Syria was to serve as a check against Russia’s influence there.

The US-led coalition of more than 70 countries is conducting military operations against the Daesh* terror group in Syria and Iraq.

The coalition’s operations in Iraq are conducted in cooperation with the Iraqi government, but those in Syria are not authorized by the government of President Bashar Al-Assad or the United Nations Security Council.

Moreover, according to Damascus, the coalition killed a vast number of civilians during the campaign and used white phosphorus munitions, which are banned by the UN.

R ~ 'increased threat to American troops and US-led coalition forces'. That would not be if such actors got the hell out of Syria. Turning truth on it's head. With that sort of dementia anyone who might think there is some brain power in the upper echelon is bound to be sadly disappointed. The military has apparently one ambition - unopposed war. If opposed by defensive measures they scream it's unfair.

The World Below / Denmark to ship unwanted refugees to remote island
« on: December 04, 2018, 10:41:01 AM »
‘They are undesirable & they must feel it’: Denmark to ship unwanted refugees to remote island

Published time: 4 Dec, 2018 15:13

Lindholm Island © Google Maps

Denmark will send rejected asylum seekers to live on a remote island. Located in the freezing Baltic Sea, the island is currently home to animal research laboratories and crematoria.

"If you are unwanted in Danish society, you should not be a nuisance to ordinary Danes,” immigration minister Inger Støjberg wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. “They are undesirable in Denmark and they must feel it!”

The island, Lindholm, sits in an inlet of the Baltic Sea, about two miles from the nearest shore. Around 100 rejected asylum seekers and criminal immigrants will be sent to live there, and will be required to check in daily with authorities there, or face jail. Ferry service to the island is infrequent, and one of the boats serving the island is reportedly named the ‘Virus’, a reference to the contagious animal disease research center currently occupying the island.

The plan was agreed upon by Denmark’s ruling centrist Venstre party, and the more right-wing Danish People’s Party, as part of annual budget negotiations.

While Venstre may have been looking for votes to secure its budget plan, the People’s Party is looking to take the hardest line on immigration.

“We’re going to minimize the number of ferry departures as much as at all possible,” party spokesman Martin Henriksen told TV2. “We’re going to make it as cumbersome and expensive as possible.”

Experiencing the same influx of refugees and migrants as its Scandinavian neighbors since 2015, Denmark’s government has adopted harsh measures to push unwanted arrivals out. Rejected asylum seekers or migrants with criminal records are held in emergency accommodation, where they live on a pittance, or are deported if possible.

“It’s not easy to ask families to go home, if they’ve actually settled,” Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said last month. “But it is the morally right thing. We should not make refugees immigrants.”

Støjberg has been a key author of her government’s anti-immigration policies. In March, she marked the passing of her 50th anti-immigration measure by celebrating with a cake decorated with fruit, the Danish flag, and the number ‘50.’

Among Støjberg’s 50 regulations is one requiring newly arrived asylum-seekers to hand over their valuables and jewelry to help pay for their stay in Denmark, and a separate law imposing identity checks along the border with Germany.

“We’re doing everything in our power to make sure that it is not attractive to come to Denmark,” Støjberg told Der Spiegel in 2016.

The government has also targeted settled immigrants, who it says often live in “parallel societies.” In July, as part of a series of measures aimed at eradicating immigrant ghettos, the government announced tougher criminal penalties, lower benefits, and mandatory integration classes for those living in ghettos.

A controversial ‘burqa ban’ was introduced earlier this summer, and legislation that would force legal immigrants to shake hands with officials at their naturalization ceremony is currently making its way through Parliament. Some Muslims had refused to shake hands with officials of the opposite sex, prompting a backlash from conservative politicians.

Asylum applications in Denmark have dropped by 84 percent between 2015 and 2018. The country is home to some 500,000 non-western immigrants, mostly hailing from Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Somalia.

General / Emmanuel Macron has united France against him
« on: December 04, 2018, 10:36:31 AM »
Emmanuel Macron has united France against him

3 December 2018
Jonathan Miller

Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) protestors shout slogans as material burns during a protest against rising oil prices and living costs near the Arc of Triomphe on the Champs Elysees

12:06 PM

I would say we’ll always have Paris. But maybe not. It was only a few weeks ago that French president Emmanuel Macron promised a red carpet for bankers fleeing Brexit Britain. As matters have unfolded, the carpet has become one of broken glass.

On the Avenue Kléber, one of the toniest streets in Paris and heart of the district where Macron will have been expecting to resettle his beloved bankers, fleeing London like the sans culottes, every bank has been attacked, every shop window broken, upscale apartments have been attacked and every Porsche and Mercedes within blocks set on fire. Invest in France?

Emmanuel Macron is undoubtedly brilliant. He won all the glittering academic prizes. He had a supersonic ascent into the stratosphere of the French civil service. He even did a spell as a courtier with David de Rothschild’s investment bank, before ascending to minister of the economy under François Hollande, and then winning the most glittering prize of all, the presidency of the republic, aged 39¾.

But his hubris, arrogance and almost autistic detachment from the French in the street is in a class with Marie Antoinette. Except that this time around, the courtier whispers, “Mr President, the people cannot afford diesel.” To which the cloth-eared Macron has, in effect replied: “Let them buy Teslas.”

At the blockade on the roundabout outside my local Super U supermarket, la France en bas is not impressed. There has been little violence here, though the local anarchists did attack the village petrol station, putting it out of action for two days. As of this morning, though, the main A9 autoroute between southern France and Spain has been closed for more than 72 hours. There are elements to the protest that are both surreal and terrifying. At the Pezenas exit, the gilets have moved a piano onto the carriageway, and are entertaining the stranded lorry drivers. At Narbonne, just down the highway, a gilet armed with a front end loader  picked up a burning car, lifted it high into the air, and dropped it on the toll station. The ungovernable slums around the major cities in France are on the edge. The police are exhausted. Be sure of this, what is happening in France is not over.

There are elements to this affair that remain unclear if not murky. Who are the gilets? What do they want? Can this really be a spontaneous revolt, triggered by a posting on Facebook, provoked by increased taxes on fuel? Christophe Castaner, who has been minister of the interior for only a few weeks, and is already one of the most hated men in France, has rushed to blame the violence on the extreme right. There is not the slightest evidence of this. As far as I can tell, the rightists spent the weekend watching the news channels and posting acerbic comments on social media. “I’m running out of popcorn,” one delighted Marine Le Pen supporter told me from the safety of his armchair, as he reveled in the humiliation of Macron.

In Paris, there were many people wearing gilets jaunes, but were they really gilets jaunes? Antifa, which has rebranded itself in France as the Black Bloc, was certainly present, their shiny new gilets over their designer black street-fighting uniforms. The usual suspects from the Parisian slums were also present, though they didn’t bother with gilets. As one shop window was smashed near the Champs Elysée, there were repeated cries of Allahu Akbar. These protests have been hijacked by political and criminal opportunists, but Macron is making a fatal error if he thinks he can brush off the concerns of my neighbours, who are handing out biscuits to passing motorists, most of whom have posed a gilet jaune on the dashboard in solidarity.

Attempts to negotiate with this Medusa-like movement are not going to be straightforward. The movement has no leader. Its demands are inchoate or naive. Opposition politicians have swarmed to gilets. Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of a left-wing party that calls itself La France Insoumise, have rushed to support the movement. Even Francois Hollande, the former president, has been drawn to the front lines, imagining that his own dream of a political comeback might be advantaged. But French people are not just fed up with Macron, they are fed-up with politicians generally.

Macron’s behaviour meanwhile grows increasingly bizarre. He managed to be out of France again this weekend, at the G20, where he was lecturing Donald Trump on the environment and Mohammed bin Salman on the Khashoggi affair. At his closing press conference, he spoke, without pause, for almost an hour, mentioning the events in Paris only in the last 30 seconds, dismissing them as unacceptable but saying nothing to inspire, comfort or show empathy with the bewildered nation. He then refused to answer questions on the riots.

Returning to Paris, Macron rushed from the airport to a contrived photo opportunity in which he thanked the police and firemen who after 12 hours on duty, did not seem especially pleased to see him. He did a brief walkabout, surrounded by bodyguards, during which he was roundly booed. He concluded his weekend by promising that he would not back down from planned tax increases on diesel, the issue that provoked this in the first place. The expression, throwing petrol on the fire, comes to mind.

Macron may have won the presidency, albeit in curious circumstances, but he is politically tone deaf. His obsession with the environment and keeping his green allies on board has led him to ignite a wildfire in France that threatens to consume his entire ambitious reform program while diminishing him on the world stage. A comparison with Nero is not inapt. He is fiddling with carbon reduction targets while Paris burns.

Macron won’t and can’t change. He has not a trace of humility in his personality and while this may have worked for General de Gaulle, he can neither carry it off nor can such a personality survive an onslaught by social media, which in France is consumed with ridiculing and disparaging the president.

Instead of uniting the country behind an absolutely necessary reform of its ossified institutions and employment-hostile labour laws and taxation policies, instead of inspiring the country with the grand project of national renewal, he has united the country against himself. Power has drained from the presidency to the streets. People have been killed, scores injured. France is in a very dangerous place.

Russia has ‘60 days to fix compliance with INF’ or US will quit – Pompeo

Published time: 4 Dec, 2018 17:21
Edited time: 4 Dec, 2018 18:20

© Reuters / Yves Herman

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Washington will suspend its obligations under the 1987 INF nuclear treaty within 60 days if Russia does not “return to compliance.”

Speaking to NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday, Pompeo said the US was willing to start the process of leaving the treaty, citing alleged Russian violations.

“In light of these facts, today, America will announce it finds Russia in violation of the treaty and we will remove ourselves from the treaty in 60 days unless Russia returns to compliance,” he said.

Pompeo alleged that the Russian violations fit a “larger pattern of lawlessness” and that Moscow must return to “full and verifiable compliance.” The Secretary of State claimed that the US was “upholding the rule of law” and was bound by its international commitments.

“When we set forth our commitments, we agree to be bound by them. We expect the same of our treaty counterparts everywhere — and we will hold them accountable when their words prove untrustworthy,” he said.

Earlier, a trio of US senators had criticized Trump’s willingness to walk away from the treaty, saying the move lacked “strategic forethought” and could even affect other arms control treaties, including the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

The US has repeatedly claimed that Russia has violated the 30-year-old arms reduction treaty, saying that it has built missiles prohibited under its terms. Moscow has returned accusations of non-compliance on the US, arguing that US bases in Eastern Europe are not defensive but offensive and could potentially be used to target Russia.

Nato Secretary Jens Stoltenberg echoed Pompeo saying that NATO members had concluded that Russia was in violation of the treaty and "poses a threat" to its allies. Stoltenberg said that NATO's "unity" on the issue demonstrated the "strength" of the military alliance and "sends a very clear message about who is responsible for the violations."

R ~ Pompeo is a pompous ass. Why does Trump keep his fat ass in place?

British government found in contempt of parliament over Brexit

Tue Dec 4, 2018 06:10PM [Updated: Tue Dec 4, 2018 06:14PM ]

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain's Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom (bottom R) during the debate in the House of Commons in London on December 4, 2018 on a motion to hold the government in contempt of parliament over their refusal to publish full legal advice they received on the Brexit withdrawal agreement. (AFP photo)

The British government has been in contempt of the parliament by refusing to publish a full legal advice on a deal that outlines the terms of country’s withdrawal from the European Union, according to a parliament vote on Tuesday.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons, the lower house of the British parliament, voted 311 to 293 in favor of a motion tabled by the main opposition Labour Party that said Prime Minister Theresa May's government had been in contempt by refusing to publish the full details of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s legal opinion on Brexit deal.

The vote is a fresh blow to May and her government as they try to go through the chamber with a Brexit deal that has faced huge criticism from either side of the political spectrum.

The parliament will vote on the Brexit deal on December 11. May and her ministers have been travelling across the UK to force the public to persuade their lawmakers that the deal is the best for Britain as it plans to leave the EU in March.

Andrea Leadsom, a senior Conservative Party lawmaker, said on Tuesday that the government will publish the full legal advice on Brexit after the vote on contempt.

PressTV-UK PM hiding Brexit legal documents: Analyst
A political analyst says UK PM May is deliberately hiding a legal advice for parliament regarding Brexit.

May’s government had refused to release the document by saying that it would be in the interests of the public in Britain not to know the technical details that might cause controversy. However, the Labour had argued that the lawmakers should become familiar with all the details before they go to vote on the Brexit deal.

A main bone of contention has been the issues related to an option in the Brexit deal that is related to Northern Ireland and its future status in EU’s customs union.

May’s opponents say the so-called backstop, if triggered to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, would enable the EU to include the British province in its customs union for an indefinite period of time.

R ~ And Parlaiment is in contempt of the people by even dragging this out as long as they have.

France introduces 6-month moratorium on fuel tax increases

Published time: 4 Dec, 2018 07:18
Edited time: 4 Dec, 2018 12:24

© Reuters / Stephane Mahe

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced a six-month suspension of the fuel tax hike which triggered massive unrest across the country, saying the measure is aimed at stopping the violence and restoring public order.

The French government will suspend the fuel tax rise for six months to calm down the Yellow Vest protests, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a televised speech on Tuesday. He stressed that no tax should endanger public unity and “the violence must stop.”

Philippe said the protests represented “the anger of the France that works hard and struggles to make ends meet.” Despite the concessions, he slammed rioters who assaulted police, saying they will be found and put on trial.

“This anger, you’d have to be deaf or blind not to see it or hear it,” Philippe said in an address. “The French who have donned yellow vests want taxes to drop, and work to pay. That’s also what we want,” the Prime Minister maintained.

The fuel taxes will not rise until they are debated by all stakeholders and the French people. He also promised to increase the minimum wage by 3 percent next year and direct the government to focus on improving living standards.

In a series of tweets published on Tuesday, Philippe assured the public that gas and electricity prices will not go up this winter. He also admitted that more transparency on taxes is needed. “Our taxes are the highest in Europe, our tax system is terribly complex,” he added.

Previously, Philippe’s office has said the prime minister would announce some “measures” favoring the protesters. Culture Minister Franck Riester told reporters Philippe may make “a strong conciliatory gesture in the coming days,” but did not provide any details.

Edouard Philippe

Replying to @EPhilippePM
Je veux ouvrir un large débat sur les impôts et les dépenses publiques. Il faut plus de transparence sur les impôts en France. Nos impôts sont les plus élevés d’Europe, notre système fiscal est terriblement complexe.

Le Gouvernement n’accepte pas les violences qui ont eu lieu samedi dernier contre les forces de l’ordre, contre les monuments nationaux, les bâtiments publics et contre les commerces.

Earlier on Monday, it emerged that protesters representing the movement have pulled out of the planned meeting with the Prime Minister. Two of the protest leaders, Jacline Mouraud and Benjamin Cauchy, told AFP they had received threats from hardline protesters who warned them against entering into dialogue with the government.

The "Yellow Vests" have been protesting about a controversial fuel tax since mid-November. Massive rallies hit Paris and France’s major cities, with protesters demanding to drop the tax rise.

President Emmanuel Macron repeatedly said he will not back down on taxes, but on Monday the government signaled that it is ready to make some concessions. Also that day, he held an urgent security meeting and cancelled a planned visit to Serbia to tackle the crisis.

The protests quickly spread across France, sometimes snowballing into major clashes between police and rioters. In late November, the Yellow Vest rallies in Paris quickly descended into chaos turning city streets into a ‘warzone’. Numerous cars and trash bins were torched, and windows were smashed.

The French government mulled a state of emergency on the back of Paris riots, but Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said that was “not on the table for now.”

Experts suggested the protests are targeting government policies in general rather than fuel taxes as such. Jean Bricmont, a French writer and political commentator, told RT there is not much that French authorities could do to defuse tensions as Paris “has to obey the orders from the European Commission.”

Bricmont suggested that Macron “doesn’t realize the depth of the crisis” and has nothing to offer to resolve it. Two-thirds of the French support the upheaval, according to a new poll by OpinionWay. The survey asked over 1000 people and 66 percent answered that they stand for the protesters.

R ~ Macron cowers in the back while Phillippe assert government authority, what it will do and what it will accept. Immigrants they will accept. No mention of that issue, the reason the economy is 'complexe'. And of course when things are complicated who better than politicians and institutional minions to come save the day they ruined.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 714