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Messages - Rudi Jan

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Hello. Rudi --

These recent posts read like a storm from net trolls doing multiple victory laps ... over your lapse.
So, you're somebody after all!


The World Below / Re: The Forum
« on: February 15, 2020, 10:00:45 AM »

As you see I'm a new user on this site and I might be able to help you with

"Lately the number of daily visits have grown but none have joined or participated."

The problem is your registration page isn't working correctly. I checked before joining and the last new user was Aug 2019.
You need to change the registration page in the SMF Admin settings.

I was able to work around this by trying to login and asking for a new password.


I appreciate that info. Dunno why as I check new applications fairly regularly and approve all untill they something stupid.  :) But frankly, I've lost the incentive to continue. I'll keep the name and if I should get back to hosting my own server I might kick it back up.

US supports Turkey’s attack against Syrian military in Idlib: Pompeo

By News Desk -2020-02-04

The United States supports Turkey’s military action against the Syrian army in Idlib, seeing it as an act of self-defence, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Turkish F-16 fighter jets bomb Syrian troop inside Idlib

“We stand by our NATO Ally Turkey in the aftermath of the attack, which resulted in the death of multiple Turkish personnel serving at an observation post used for coordination and de-escalation, and fully support Turkey’s justified self-defence actions in response”, Pompeo said.

He blamed Syrian forces for the escalation of violence in Idlib province, in the country’s northwest. According to Pompeo, a mortar bomb attack on 3 February hit Turkish observation posts, resulting in multiple casualties.

The statement comes a day after five Turkish soldiers and one civilian were killed in shelling by Syrian government forces in Idlib. The Turkish Defence Ministry pledged to take retaliatory action.

Prior to that, Ankara repeatedly accused Damascus of violating the Russia-Turkey deal on the demilitarised zone in Idlib and threatened military force unless the situation changed. Damascus, in turn, defended its right to retaliate against continued militant attacks on civilians and government forces in Idlib.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to set up a demilitarised zone along the contact line between the armed opposition and the government forces in Idlib. Not all militants have laid down their weapons, with the province continuing to be a stronghold of various terrorist groups.

R 'self defense'? It's laughable the way this war monger speaks to the people. He really does believe we're all idiots.

The World Below / The Forum
« on: February 04, 2020, 05:08:40 AM »
A forum with one voice speaking is not a forum at all.

Having just received my annual bill to renew my patronage I have decided that it is a waste of money when it pointless to continue in a vacuum.

I appreciate those who have visited this site for the past 17 years. Lately the number of daily visits have grown but none have joined or participated. Social media with all it's ills has become the preferred avenue for people. Their input in those mediums are at the mercy of some very sick people and I expect that this will not bode well as their propaganda and censorship will continue to create a vacuum in the historical record and seriously distort the truth.

It is with a mature sense of disappointment that I should close the door in such times but with my limited resources and limited reach I realize the forum is not doing what I had hoped. To inform the masses. The masses don't want to be informed. They prefer to whine and demand that all the problems of the world can be resolved through their man made images, governments and agencies, corporations and NGOs, all born from the minds of men yet have no substance. As history attests, the acceptance of man's authority as superior to God's will create an evil stasis that will not end until the oppressed rise up. Unfortunately that rising up more often than not leads to greater injustice and evil.

I will continue to monitor the strategic war mongering and financial manipulations and comment on social media, if only to inform those who want to know the truth rather than denying it.

After all, time and effort spent on preparing for what is ahead is only good sense.

The site will close February 19th 2020.

The wish the best to all who have come and gone and hopefully gained some insights into what lies ahead.

Rudi Jan a.k.a LoneWolf

Russian Military Destroys Drone That Approached Hmeymim Airbase in Syria From Mediterranean

17:39 GMT 03.02.2020(updated 18:33 GMT 03.02.2020)
source: airbase-in-syria-from-mediterranean/][/size]

© Sputnik / Mikhail Fomichev

Russia's base in north-eastern Syria is operating as usual following the attack, with the Defence Ministry saying that it has not been determined whom the downed UAV belonged to.

The Russian military has downed an unidentified drone that approached the Hmeymim base on the Syrian coast from the Mediterranean, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defence.

"Missiles fired from the Pantsir-S air defence system destroyed the target on a distant approach to the base", the statement said.

Russian forces repelled numerous drone and artillery attacks in 2019, destroying at least 53 UAVs and 27 multiple-launch rocket system shells fired at the airbase.

Tensions in Idlib

The news about new attacks on the Russian base comes amid clashes in the province of Idlib, which is partially controlled by militants from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham* terrorist group. The area is the last major stronghold of jihadists in the country.

However, Ankara, which worked with Moscow on establishing a demilitarised zone in the region, has accused Syrian government forces of violating the Russia-Turkey deal, with President Erdogan warning that he would "take all necessary steps, up to using military force", unless the situation in Idlib de-escalates.

According to Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, the country's forces "hit 54 targets in Idlib and neutralised 76 Syrian soldiers" after clashes led to the deaths of six Turkish servicemen.

*Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, also known as Jabhat al-Nusra, is a terrorist group banned in Russia

Turkey failed to notify of convoy movements in Syria’s Idlib before getting shelled by Damascus troops – Russian military

3 Feb, 2020 08:56 / Updated 7 hours ago

FILE PHOTO. Turkish soldiers and an army tank in Syria. ©REUTERS / Stringer

A shelling incident in Syria in which Ankara said six of its soldiers were killed may have been caused by the failure of the Turkish side to warn about the movement of their convoy, the Russian military said.

“Units of the Turkish military conducted movement within the Idlib de-escalation zone during the nighttime from February 2 to February 3 without informing the Russian side and came under fire by the Syrian government troops, which were targeting terrorists west of Saraqib,” the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said on Monday.

The statement stressed that there are established lines of communications between Russian forces in Syria and the Turkish command. It added that Turkish aircraft did not enter the Syrian airspace after the incident, contrary to some reports in the Turkish media, which said Ankara ordered airstrikes at Syrian positions in retaliation for the shelling.

The Turkish Defense Ministry earlier reported that four soldiers were killed and nine others injured in the shelling incident. The death toll rose to six later in the day.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded quickly, promising to continue retaliating heavily to any attacks against Turkish forces in Syria's Idlib Province.

Omer Celik, spokesman for Turkey’s ruling party, rejected the words of the Russian ministry, saying it was “not correct.”

“Turkey is providing regular and instant information to Russia. It also informed them of this latest event,” he tweeted. “It is not true to say information was not shared. The mechanisms in place were utilized as always.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to the incident by stressing that Turkish and Russian military commanders are “in a constant contact” over Idlib, reiterating the military’s remarks.

Idlib governorate is a designated “de-escalation zone” under agreements between Russia, Turkey and Iran. Ankara is expected to use its influence among anti-government fighters controlling it to prevent hostilities with Damascus troops, eventually leading to a peaceful resolution. In practice, some jihadists in Idlib continue attacks at government-held parts of Syria and on several occasions launched drone attacks on the Russian air base in Latakia, ensuring continued fighting.

The previous major incident of similar nature happened in Idlib in August 2019. Three people traveling with a Turkish military convoy were reported killed and a dozen more injured by a Syrian airstrike, infuriating Ankara. Damascus said at the time that it believed the convoy was transporting weapons and ammo to jihadist forces in Khan Sheikhoun, which has since been captured by the Syrian government forces. The incident was made more confusing by Turkey’s insistence that the people hurt in it were all civilians.

Jailed, released, attacked: What we know about ‘ISIS-supporting’ south London suspect behind Streatham stabbing

2 Feb, 2020 22:07 / Updated 1 hour ago

Police forensics officers are seen near a site where a man was shot by armed officers in Streatham, south London, Britain, February 2, 2020. © REUTERS/Simon Dawson

The man who stabbed at least two people in London on Sunday and was then shot dead has been tentatively identified as Sudesh Amman as media reports suggest he was a recently jailed extremism supporter, known to authorities.

Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D'Orsi said that London police were “confident” the attacker was indeed Sudesh Amman, after multiple sources have identified the stabbing suspect as a young man who made headlines in 2018 when he was jailed for sharing terrorist manuals, which included a tutorial on home-made bombs.

Disturbing details of the case said that Amman had already declared his wish to carry out a terrorist attack, stockpiled arms and openly praised Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL). He even reportedly urged his girlfriend to behead her parents, calling them "kuffars" or non-believers.

Aged just 18 at the time, the resident of Harrow, north-west London, was also apparently into knife fighting. In November 2018, he pled guilty to a total of 13 terrorism-related offences, including six counts of possessing terrorist materials and seven of spreading terrorist propaganda. The teen was active in a family WhatsApp group where he would share an Al-Qaeda magazine and incite violence toward Yazidis, insisting that the Muslim Holy book – the Quran – allowed to rape them.

Amman was sentenced to three years and four months behind bars, but apparently was released early.

Julia Hartley-Brewer


This is the Streatham terrorist Sudesh Amman. He was telling fellow jihadists how to make bombs at home. The judge said he faced “a custodial sentence of some length”.

The article is dated 8 Nov 2018. Yes, 2018. He got out a few days ago.
Yeah, so nothing to worry about here, eh?

D'Orsi has confirmed that Amman was closely followed by plainclothes armed officers on foot before the attack. After he charged at passersby, the officers “were in immediate attendence and shot a male suspect dead at the scene,” she said.

Police said earlier the attack was Islamism- and terrorism-related.

Several outlets have already released the suspect’s mugshot and described details of his conviction. British tabloids said the young man walked free from jail days before his rampage.

The attacker was shot dead on Sunday after stabbing two people in the south London area of Streatham.

D’Orsi said that three people were taken to hospitals in the aftermath of the incident, noting that a man in his 40s who was previously reported to be in life-threatening condition, is no longer considered to be in such.

“Thankfully.. this is no longer the case,” she said.

A 50-year-old woman suffered non-life threatening injuries as result of the attack and has since been released from the hospital.

Another woman in her 20s was injured by glass that shattered when hit by police bullets and has been recieving treatment at hospital.

At Least 200 Turkish Military Vehicles Cross Syrian Border - Reports

13:01 GMT 02.02.2020(updated 13:38 GMT 02.02.2020)

© AP Photo / Turkish Defence Ministry

The situation in the region remains tense, despite a ceasefire, negotiated by Moscow and Ankara in January, as the anti-government militants in Idlib - the last big stronghold of jihadists in Syria - continue to attack the army and civilians despite the truce.

A large number of vehicles belonging to the Turkish military entered Syria from the Kafrlosin border crossing, Al-Arabiya reported on Sunday. According to the broadcaster, the convoy is heading in the direction of Aleppo and Idlib.

The news comes after earlier this week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Damascus of violating a ceasefire in the region and warned that Ankara may launch a military offensive unless the operation there is "quickly halted".

Syria launched a new military operation in the area on 19 December and managed to seize several cities in the province before striking a ceasefire that began on 12 January. The terrorists, however, continued their attacks, killing at least 40 Syrian servicemen and injuring 80 others last week, prompting Damascus to resume the offensive.


Soldiers of Syrian army are seen after the liberation of Jaranjaz town from militants, northwestern province of Idlib, Syria. Due to the location of Jarjanaz, this will enable the army to take control over the important Hama-Aleppo road in Idlib, which remains a terrorist stronghold.
A large part of the Idlib de-escalation zone, which was one of four safe zones created under an accord reached at the May 2017 Astana-format talks, is still controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham* terrorist organisation.

*Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia.

Syrian Army Besieges Third Turkish Observation Post In Southern Greater Idlib


On February 1, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) besieged a third observation post of the Turkish military in the southern part of Greater Idlib.

According to several sources, army troops besieged the post, which is located 7 km to the south of the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man, after capturing the nearby towns of Ma’ar Hattat‏ and Armanayya.

By besieging the post, the army has secured a long strip of the strategic M5 highway, stretching between the cities of Khan Shaykhun and Ma`arat al-Nu`man.

Last August, the SAA besieged the first observation post, located near Murak in northern Hama, following a successful military operation. Three months later, a second post near the town of al-Surman in southeastern Idlib was besieged by the army.

Turkey is yet to explain why it is keeping its observation posts behind the SAA’s lines. Ankara may hope that this measure could give it some sort of influence in these areas.

Russian supersonic heavy bombers detected near Canadian, US borders

By News Desk -2020-02-01

Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers (Source: Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters).

The Russian Defence Ministry has reported that two of its Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) supersonic heavy strategic bombers conducted routine patrol flights above neutral waters in the Arctic Ocean, as well as the Barents and Norwegian Seas.

The ministry specified that the flights lasted 16 hours in total with mid-air refuelling and stressed that they were conducted in full compliance with international laws.

At the same time, the joint US-Canadian North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) reported sighting two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers on 31 January entering the Canadian Air Defence Identification Zone. Despite the fact that both jets remained in international airspace, NORAD’s commander, US General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, condemned the routine flight as flexing “long-range weapons systems” and an act of Russia’s “increasingly aggressive efforts”.

The Canadian Air Defence Identification Zone extends to certain regions of the Arctic Ocean that are frequently visited by Russian jets during drills and routine patrols along the country’s borders. The zone also covers the US’ borders in Alaska

The US Air Force has also been conducting regular flights along Russia’s western borders in the Baltics and along the south-western frontier near Crimea ever since relations between the two countries started to deteriorate in 2014 following a crisis in Ukraine. Washington has not stopped carrying out such activities even despite Russian protests.

R ~ The Russians must be planning to take Alaska back.

Don't make me repeat myself again! Soros threatens Zuckerberg must be removed from Facebook 'one way or another'

31 Jan, 2020 23:50 / Updated 1 day ago

© Reuters / Lisi Niesner / Erin Scott

Billionaire speculator George Soros has called for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his COO to be deposed, accusing them of seeking to “maximize profits” without regard for consequences, in perhaps the most ironic attack ever.

Zuckerberg and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg “follow only one guiding principle: maximize profits irrespective of the consequences," Soros snarled on Friday in a New York Times op-ed. While his detractors might have used those exact words to describe the financier's own "guiding principle," Soros meant it as a scathing condemnation.

One way or another, they should not be left in control of Facebook.

Soros doesn't just want Zuckerberg and Sandberg removed from power – he wants "those who spread false information" punished more severely. Lest one think he's merely referring to users who circulate viral hoaxes, the iron-fisted philanthropist made it clear he had set his sights on Section 230, the now-well-known US law that protects social media platforms from liability for content their users post. Facebook, he said, should be treated as a publisher, not a platform, and "held accountable for the content that appears on its site."

Accusing the Menlo Park behemoth of maintaining an "informal mutual assistance operation or agreement" with US President Donald Trump "in which Facebook will help President Trump to get reelected and Trump will, in turn, defend Facebook against attacks from regulators and the media," Soros sounded for all the world like one of the 'conspiracy theorists' that the fact-checking NGOs he funds have tried to muscle off Facebook.

Soros’s denunciations of what he insisted was pro-Trump bias on the platform – first voiced last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos – echoed the laments of prominent Democratic politicians. No surprise, given that he'd already poured $5.1 million into the party's coffers by August 2019. Hillary Clinton, who blamed her failed 2016 candidacy on Facebook's spread of so-called "Russian disinformation," among other culprits, joined the parade of politicians dumping on the platform earlier this month, calling out the "authoritarian" Zuckerberg for refusing to fact-check political ads. Elizabeth Warren, who has promised to "break up Big Tech" – after censoring it within an inch of its life – claimed all the way back in October that Zuckerberg had changed the platform's policy on political ads only after a meeting with Trump.

Facebook executives have repeatedly denied any such collusion, but Soros, citing Trump's 2020 campaign manager's claim that Facebook had "given him the edge" in 2016, implied the platform had been working hand-in-glove with the presidency ever since then.

"This seems to have marked the beginning of a special relationship," he seethed, pointing to a September meeting between Trump and Zuckerberg as further proof something nefarious was going on behind the scenes.

Soros has been targeting Facebook since 2018, when he denounced the platform – along with Google – as a "menace" to society, claiming it was deliberately addicting users to its dopamine-spiked landscape, timing his sale and purchase of stock in the company to take advantage of the reaction to his public condemnations. When Facebook retaliated by hiring a PR firm to attack the billionaire, he brought out the big guns, demanding Congress regulate the social media behemoth. Apparently, Facebook bestowing responsibility for fact-checking user-generated content on an organization backed by Soros and his fellow "liberal interventionists" was apparently not sufficient penance.

Soros dismissed the Facebook executives' claims that they were "trying to make the world a better place," insisting the platform be "judged by what it does, not what it says."

However, one might say the same of the speculator once dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England" – a man who has sent entire countries' economies into free-fall in order to collect billions of dollars shorting their currency, and funneled those billions into fomenting 'color revolutions' through a network of scores of benign-sounding NGOs, all while paying lip service to the ideas of "democracy" and "open societies."

Fearing that "with Facebook's help, Mr. Trump will win the 2020 election," Soros has played the last card he has: demanding the exit of Zuckerberg and Sandberg, "one way or another." The vague not-quite-an-order carries a whiff of a threat, given the man making it is considered one of the most influential figures in US and European politics – who has repeatedly shown that he won't let morality get in the way of a big payday.

R ~ A tiff between megalomaniacs for public consumption. If he wants Zuckerberg out he could try buying shares in FB.

The World Below / Protesters March in Lebanon to Reject New Government
« on: February 01, 2020, 01:17:09 PM »
Protesters March in Lebanon to Reject New Government

Saturday, 1 February, 2020 - 18:45

An anti-government protester waves a national flag in front of a concrete wall set up by Lebanese police to block a road leading to the parliament building in downtown Beirut, Lebanon. (EPA)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Hundreds of Lebanese marched on Saturday through the streets of the capital and the main northern city to reject a new government named to deal with an economic crisis, which they say lacks a popular mandate.

The new government named in January came after weeks of political stalemate and amid nationwide protests while Lebanon grappled with an unprecedented economic crisis.

Backed by the two main blocs in parliament, the government is awaiting a vote of confidence, which it is likely to get. But protesters say the government is an extension of traditional political parties they have denounced as corrupt.

“We are here today and every day ... to say no confidence,” a protester who read a joint statement for the rallies said, according to The Associated Press.

It said the protesters will not give another chance “to those who robbed them of their dreams, impoverished them, forced them to migrate and humiliated them.” They vowed to keep up the pressure against a ruling class “that controls decision-making and resources."

Lebanon's nationwide protests broke out October 17 after a summer of discontent over a slumping economy and an austerity budget. The protests, sparked by proposals for new taxes, snowballed into demands for the ruling elite to step aside.

Lebanon's ruling class has been in power since the end of the 1975-90 civil war, including some of its warlords. Protesters accuse them of mismanaging Lebanon's wealth and of widespread corruption.

The new 20-member government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab was announced in late January but protests continued.

In recent weeks, demonstrations have turned violent as frustration rose. Security forces and protesters clashed outside the country's parliament and the central bank in pitched street battles that left hundreds injured. Rights groups denounced the security forces' use of rubber bullets to disperse the crowds. Over the last week, security forces erected blast walls around parliament and other government buildings, sealing them off from protesters and turning central Beirut into a fortified security zone.

On Saturday, protesters marched through the streets of Beirut and Tripoli, in the north, carrying banners against corruption and declaring “no confidence” in the new government. They stopped at the central bank, the Finance Ministry and the Banks Association before reaching central Beirut.

The protesters gathered by the blast walls outside the parliament and the government building before dispersing peacefully.

Lebanon has one of the world's highest public debts, standing at more than 150% of gross domestic product. Growth has plummeted and the budget deficit reached 11% of GDP in 2 018 as economic activities slowed and remittances from Lebanese living abroad shrank.

The national currency, which has been pegged to the dollar since 1997, lost about 60% of its value in recent weeks, sparking a run on banks which responded with limits on cash withdrawals and transfers.

Syrian Army Offensive In Greater Idlib: Results Of January 27-31, 2020


The last week of January turned badly for Idlib militants. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation and their allies appeared to be unable to contain the offensive of the Syrian Army, lost several key areas and suffered notable casualties.

On January 27, units of the Syrian Army, led by the Tiger Forces, breached the defense of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-led forces in southeastern Idlib and by the evening of January 28, they liberated the key town of Maarat al-Numan on the M5 highway. Meanwhile, the 4th Armoured Division and Iranian-backed militias launched an advance in southwestern Aleppo. On January 29, they liberated the town of Khan Tuman, also located on the M5 highway, and a number of smaller villages near Aleppo city.

On January 30, government forces launched an advance from Maarat al-Numan towards the town of Saraqib, located on the crossroad of the M4 and M5 highways.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Turkish-backed groups conducted several counter-attacks in southwestern Aleppo and southeastern Idlib. At least 2 suicide bombers were employed to target new positions of the Syrian Army. Militants also received reinforcements from the Turkish-occupied part of Aleppo province. Despite these, they were not able to stop the advance.

On January 31, government forces continued their operation in southwestern Aleppo.

All these took place amid a bombing campaign by the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces. According to reports by pro-militant sources, over 200 airstrikes hit fortified positions, HQs, weapon depots and columns of militants on the frontline as well as deep inside Greater Idlib.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that as of January 29, militants lost 8 battle tanks, 15 infantry fighting vehicles, 49 vehicles armed with large-caliber guns in clashes with the Syrian Army. These numbers have not been confirmed by visual evidence and seem to be overestimated.

The ongoing Syrian Army advance caused a public negative reaction from Turkey and the United States, that have been one of the key supporters of the so-called Idlib opposition for a long time. Nonetheless, it appears that they have no direct leverages of pressure to rescue Idlib radicals as their defense is crumbling. Local sources say that the next ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ could start not earlier than the Syrian Army would secure the M4-M5 crossroad and the area east of it.

The World Below / Syrian Army captures town near Turkish military post
« on: January 31, 2020, 04:51:48 PM »
Syrian Army captures town near Turkish military post

By News Desk -2020-01-31

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has captured another town in the Idlib countryside after advancing further west of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man.

Led by the 25th Special Mission Forces Division (formerly Tiger Forces), the Syrian Arab Army captured the town of Hish after a short battle with the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) this afternoon.

The town of Hish is important because of its location near the Turkish military’s observation post in the Ma’arat Al-Nu’man countryside.

With Hish under their control, the Syrian Arab Army will likely attempt to push towards the strategic city of Ariha, which was captured by Jaysh Al-Fateh during their 2015 offensive in the Idlib Governorate.

The World Below / It’s official: Britain leaves the European Union
« on: January 31, 2020, 04:12:37 PM »
It’s official: Britain leaves the European Union as ‘transition period’ comes into effect

31 Jan, 2020 22:59

People celebrate Britain leaving the EU on Brexit day in London, Britain, January 31, 2020. © REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

A deeply divided United Kingdom has officially ended its 47 years of European Union membership as the clock strikes 11pm in London and midnight in Brussels — and the slated 11-month ‘transition period’ has formally begun.

The long and rocky road to the divorce began three-and-a-half years ago when 52 percent of Brits voted to cut their losses and take their country out of the 28-member bloc (now 27).

Three prime ministers, two general elections, and plenty of national anxiety and rancor later, the day has finally arrived, in a moment long-awaited by some and desperately dreaded by others.

What are the immediate changes?
While Britain’s exit from the EU is a seismic political event which will eventually transform London’s relationship with the bloc, at first, not a huge amount will actually change in practice for citizens.

The UK, for now, will keep some of the benefits and obligations associated with membership. British citizens will continue to enjoy free travel around the union, but they will no longer be EU citizens. The UK will remain an integrated part of the single market, but British MEPs will head home and will no longer have any say in decision-making processes. EU citizens residing in the UK must apply for Britain’s ‘settled status scheme’ allowing them to remain in the country post-Brexit.

Things like driving licenses, pet passports, and European Health Insurance cards will all continue to be accepted. For the time being, trade will also continue uninterrupted without any new checks or charges.

A commemorative Brexit coin bearing the date January 31 and the words “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” will also come into circulation on Friday.

‘Transition period’ changes

More changes will come into effect over the coming months. British passports, for instance, will switch back to the old blue and gold design (though the burgundy ones will still be recognized).

Politically, the focus will now switch from debates over Leave vs. Remain and the specifics of the withdrawal agreement to how British Prime Minister Boris Johnson can secure advantageous trade deals with the EU — and, he hopes, the US.

Negotiations with Brussels are expected to begin on February 25 and will focus on a swathe of issues including things like fisheries, security, environmental standards, and tariffs. Britain has already set out its aims for talks in a 27-page ‘Political Declaration’ document.

It will be a tense period for businesses across the UK who still don’t know what to expect beyond the end of 2020. Johnson has promised that the transition period will not extend past December 31, though experts have said this is highly optimistic and some envisage a trade deal taking “years” to pin down.

If Johnson changes his mind and decides an extension to the transition period is in order after all, he will have to request it before July 1.

How did they get there (for those who lost track)?

Leaving a massive constitutional drama in his wake, former PM David Cameron stepped down in July 2016 weeks after the Brexit vote. He was succeeded by Theresa May, who shocked Britain by calling for a snap election in 2017.

That was ultimately a decision that turned out to be disastrous for the Conservative Party, as May lost her majority in the House of Commons and set the scene for two years of stalemate and tiring twists and turns surrounding the formation and passing of a withdrawal agreement.

The deal negotiated with Brussels by May suffered an overwhelming defeat in Parliament in January 2019 and two further defeats in March, leading May to step down in June, having failed to convince MPs to back her plan.

Succeeding May in July 2019, Boris Johnson managed to secure some changes to the withdrawal agreement before calling for a snap election to be held in December, which the Tories won handily, ensuring his deal would sail through the House of Commons and that Britain would leave the EU on January 31.

R ~ I wouldn't be celebrating too soon. Boris dressed up the May plan as an exit but the transition period will simply enmesh Britain into the European plans to further their hold on the country financially, economically and militarily, especially militarily.

The World Below / Turkey ‘will not hesitate to use military force’
« on: January 31, 2020, 10:54:21 AM »
Turkey ‘will not hesitate to use military force’ if attacks by Syrian govt forces don’t stop in Idlib – Erdogan

31 Jan, 2020 12:04

FILE PHOTO: Turkish soldiers stand on top of tanks near the Turkish-Syrian border © REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Ankara will not sit idly by as the Syrian Army carries out an offensive in northeastern Idlib province, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned, saying all options, including the most extreme ones, are on the table.

“We will not watch the situation in Syria… We will not hesitate to do whatever it takes, including using military force,” Erdogan said on Friday in Ankara. He claimed that attacks by the “Syrian regime” causes an influx of migrants into Turkey.

We will do what is necessary when someone is threatening our soil. We will have no choice but to resort to the same path again if the situation in Idlib is not returned to normal quickly.

On Tuesday, Syrian government forces entered a town south of Idlib city and had significant success in their fight against militants. Turkey warned that it would retaliate if any of its 12 observation posts around the city were caught in the crossfire.

Earlier this week, Erdogan claimed the Syrian offensive in Idlib – the last remaining militant stronghold in Syria – violates the ceasefire agreement brokered by Ankara and Moscow last year in Sochi. He also suggested that Russia should persuade Damascus to stop the attacks.

The Kremlin responded to his appeal on Friday, with presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisting that Russia “fully complies with all obligations under the Sochi agreements regarding the Idlib zone.” In the meantime, he said Moscow regrets “that the situation there leaves much to be desired.”

He said Damascus’ troops are targeting militants “who constantly carry out offensive actions against the Syrian Armed Forces as well as the Russian base in Khmeimim.”

The World Below / ‘We All Knew’: John McCain’s Widow
« on: January 26, 2020, 10:01:22 AM »
‘We All Knew’: John McCain’s Widow Comments on Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Trafficking Charges

12:49 GMT 26.01.2020

© AP Photo / Elizabeth Williams

The death of American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide this August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, raised many questions among the public due to the disgraced financier’s close acquaintance with a number of powerful figures, including British royal Prince Andrew.

Cindy McCain, American philanthropist and widow of deceased Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain, has landed in hot water after indirectly admitting that America’s most-powerful individuals were aware of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex crimes against minors. 

Speaking at a human trafficking event in Florida, McCain revealed that her family was quite familiar with Epstein’s wrongdoings as one girl from her daughter’s high school was actually among the financier’s underage victims, then suddenly acknowledging that she “knew” about his crimes.

“It’s like everything. It hides in plain sight. Epstein was hiding in plain sight. We all knew about him. We all knew what he was doing, but we had no legal aspect that would go after him”, Senator McCain’s widow said.
“They were afraid of him. For whatever reason, they were afraid of him. All of a sudden, someone said ‘BS, we’re not afraid of you anymore and what you’re doing is not only wrong, but illegal’. It’s like a house of cards. It’s going to start tumbling”, she added.

Although it is unclear who Cindy McCain meant by using pronouns “we” and “they”, social media users soon rushed to express their consternation and resentment, accusing McCain’s family of complicity and concealment of Epstein’s crimes.

Jeffrey Epstein was convicted on charges related to sex-trafficking in 2008 but then was released after only 13 months in custody following a plea deal with the government. He has been under investigation for many years over other alleged sex crimes, dying in his jail cell last August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death, which was ruled a suicide, raised many questions due to his association with a number of the world’s most well-known figures and families, including the Trumps and Clintons, as well as British royal, Prince Andrew.

R ~ Funny how the mainstream press throughout the world so quickly accept the ever changing 'official' story. No proof of anything but 'trust us'.

Five Rockets Strike Near US Embassy in Baghdad - Reports

16:50 GMT 26.01.2020(updated 17:52 GMT 26.01.2020)

© AP Photo / Nasser Nasser

Iraqi activists held a rally on 25 January in the capital of Baghdad against the United States’ presence in the country, Iraq’s Alsumaria broadcaster reported.

Five Katyusha rockets reportedly landed in Baghdad's "green zone", where the US Embassy and various Iraqi government buildings are located, with no reports of casualties so far, Iraq's Security Media Cell reported.

"Five Katyusha rockets have landed in the green zone without resulting in casualties", the Security Media Cell wrote on its Twitter account.

​There are no immediate reports of casualties.

The attack follows another launch of three missiles that hit the "green zone" in the Iraqi capital on 22 January but which resulted in no casualties. The country's security services also found one fully loaded launcher. The green zone occasionally suffers from rocket attacks on account of it being the location where government facilities and foreign embassies are situated.

Wednesday's attack was followed by demonstrations that took place in Baghdad’s central district of Al-Jadriya, with people carrying the national flag and shouting patriotic slogans, protesting against the US presence in Iraq, the Alsumaria broadcaster reported.

On 15 January, The New York Times reported, citing military officials, that the United States had resumed joint military operations with Iraq following a two-week pause. The halt came amid intensified regional tensions that began when militants attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Prior to this, the Iraqi parliament voted to expel coalition forces over the US drone attack that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad Airport. American officials have repeatedly ruled out a complete pullback from Iraq. White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said earlier in January that the United States would leave on its own terms.

Swedish police seek more ‘diversity’ to tackle migrant crime — but applicants with foreign backgrounds struggle to make the grade

24 Jan, 2020 09:33 / Updated 9 hours ago

©  REUTERS/Frida Winte

An initiative launched by Sweden aimed at recruiting a more diverse police force has hit a roadblock, after half of all applicants with foreign backgrounds failed to pass their admissions tests, local media has reported.

Stockholm instructed the police to increase the number of women and minorities within their ranks, in order to “to boost competence and increase representation,” as law enforcement struggles to deal with rising migrant crime.

Police commissioner Max Lutterman explained to Swedish Radio that Swedish cops need to have better “language and cultural competence” skills, which he believed personnel with foreign backgrounds would possess.

The recruitment drive hasn’t fared well, however. An estimated twenty-five percent of those who applied to join the police last fall had foreign backgrounds, but more than half of them reportedly failed to make the grade. Officials said the prospective cops performed poorly on language tests and other criteria necessary to be admitted into the force.

Just ten percent of those who joined the police last autumn were immigrants, and just over two percent were women with foreign backgrounds. Police officials have conceded that the initiative has so far produced lackluster results.

Sweden has struggled to combat gang-violence — much of it linked to the country’s migrant population. Government statistics released in January showed a sixty percent increase in bomb blasts in 2019. A wave of shootings and violence over the past several years has sparked a public outcry and prompted the government to pledge more resources toward combating crime.

R ~ Depending on your degree of nationalism 'lackluster' is a good thing.

'Idiot' Trump had better pull out troops from Iraq voluntarily: Hashd al-Sha’abi leader

Friday, 24 January 2020 3:28 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 24 January 2020 5:39 PM ]

In this file picture, US troops coordinate with Iraqi counterparts to launch airstrikes and artillery from a small complex
in the town of Qa’im, Iraq. (By the Associated Press)

President Donald Trump had better voluntarily order the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq before they are forced out, says a high-ranking official from the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi.

“Today all Iraqis, men and women, have poured out onto the streets to send out one clear message to the whole world: There is no place for foreign forces to be present on the Iraqi soil. Thanks to all Iraqis who heeded the call to attend the demonstration and participated in it. Thanks to the support offered by politicians, tribal figures, academics as well as journalists,”  Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of the PMU, said in a statement released on Friday.

He also expressed profound gratitude to influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who initially called on Iraqis to join protests against the presence of US forces in the country.

“As for idiot Trump, the million-man march put across a clear message: If you do not leave willingly, you will then deserve a kick in the face,” the PMU leader stated.

Iraqis want sovereign state far from interference, diktats: President Salih

The Iraqi president, Barham Salih, says his nation wants a state whose sovereignty is not violated by any means and its decisions are not manipulated by foreign interference and diktats at all.

“Iraqis insist on a state whose sovereignty is not violated, and is far from (foreign) interference and diktats. Iraqis desire a state that guarantees their security and rights, and maintains peace and stability in relations with its neighbors,” Salih wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on Friday.

'All options on table to remove US forces'

Furthermore, an Iraqi parliamentarian has said “all options are on the table” concerning the removal of US forces, either through diplomacy or by force.

“American proxies will be not be able to break the will of the Iraqi people regarding the removal of the occupier from the country. We stand with the demonstrators’ demands. We want a homeland as they wish. They are looking for a homeland, where the occupier, murderers, terrorists and those responsible for the assassination of leaders of victory have been expelled, away from the will of the US embassy,” Mohammad Karim, a member of the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance at the Iraqi parliament, told Arabic-language al-Maalomah news agency on Friday.

“All options have been offered to remove US forces from Iraq in a peaceful, calm and diplomatic manner. If they refuse to leave, they will then be treated as occupying forces, and will be driven out by force accordingly.”

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in central Baghdad on Friday, calling for the expulsion of US troops.

On January 5, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill demanding the withdrawal.

Late on January 9, Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

According to a statement released by the Iraqi premier’s office, Abdul-Mahdi “requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement the parliament's decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq” in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The prime minister said Iraq rejects violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military's violation of Iraqi airspace in the vicious airstrike that assassinated Iran's Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and the deputy head of the PMU, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with their companions.

The US State Department bluntly rejected the request the following day.

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