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Terrorists holding up to 20 hostages in an armed siege in a cafe in Sydney

Terrorists were today holding up to 20 hostages in an armed siege in a cafe in Sydney where an extremist flag was being held up in a window. Witnesses reported seeing staff and customers sobbing as they were forced to stand with their hands pressed against the windows of the Lindt cafe.

At least two gunmen are involved in the siege but dozens of armed police have sealed off the streets surrounding the site. One gunman is believed to have a shotgun and possibly an explosive device. Martin Place has been shut down and scores of police are surrounding the building after the alarm was raised about 9.45am.

Journalist Chris Kenny, who was in the shop about 20 minutes before the siege began, said he understood the automatic glass sliding doors had been disabled.

'I did speak to a couple of people who saw a bit more of this unfold than I did,' he said.

'One woman said she tried to go into the shop just after I came out with my takeaway coffee but the doors wouldn't open.

'So obviously whoever is doing this has disabled the automatic glass sliding doors to stop anyone else going in and she said immediately she could see there was a weapon.

'The woman was quite frantic but very clear what she was telling (the police).

Additional images
Top Secret

Spy equipment found near parliament in Oslo, Norway

© Vidar Ruud/NTB scanpix
Leader of the Christian Democrats, Knut Arild Hareide, talks on his mobile on his way to Norway's parliament last month.
Spy equipment that can be used to eavesdrop on the mobile phones of politicians and ordinary Norwegians has been discovered in several places in the Oslo area, including close to the country's parliament, newspaper Aftenposten has revealed.

The equipment, hidden in fake mobile base stations, can be used to monitor all mobile activity in the vicinity. The paper conducted tests close important buildings in central Oslo and discovered a number of the devices, including close to the prime minister's residence on Parkveien and close to the government offices.

The purpose of the equipment appears to have been to find out who was entering and passing parliament, the government offices and other buildings in the area. It could also be used to listen to phone calls and monitor data traffic of selected people in the area, the paper says.

It is not known who placed the equipment, according to the paper, but no Norwegian agency has admitted to being responsible. Only the police, security police and the National Security Agency (NSM) are entitled to use eavesdropping equipment under Norwegian law.

The security police (PST) said that "very many" organisations could be responsible for the fake base stations:

"It could be private actors or state actors," said the PST's Arne Christian Haugstøyl.

"I can't on the basis of these discoveries say that it is a foreign intelligence agency, but I can say that we know that foreign intelligence agencies have this kind of capacity. And in our preventive work we advise those looking after Norwegian interests not to talk about sensitive issues on mobile phones," he said.

Comment: Revealed: Norway spies on Russia for NSA

Bomb

NATO's "Fact Sheet" about NATO will make your eyes bleed


Fact: These gentlemen love NATO
Russia. It's a terrible country full of baseless "claims" about NATO: "NATO bombed this, NATO killed that" - so hurtful and malicious. Luckily for us, a public relations intern has compiled a helpful "NATO fact sheet about NATO" in order to thwart this insensitive Russian smear campaign. Or to use NATO's own words:
Since Russia began its illegal military intervention in Ukraine, Russian officials have accused NATO of a series of provocations, threats and hostile actions stretching back over 25 years. This webpage sets out the facts.
As you already guessed, NATO's webpage of facts about NATO is actually little more than a smorgasbord of twisted logic and transparent bullshit topped off with self-denial sprinkles. Your correspondent has selected his three favorite "facts" for closer examination, and will now report on his findings.

FACT: Don't listen to the haters. Afghanistan's security forces are awesome
Claim: NATO's operation in Afghanistan was a failure

Fact: NATO took over the command of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2003.

Under NATO's command, the mission progressively extended throughout Afghanistan, was joined by 22 non-NATO countries and built up from scratch an Afghan National Security Force of more than 350,000 soldiers and police.

Threats to Afghanistan's security continue. However, the Afghan forces are now ready to take full responsibility for security across the country, as agreed with the Afghan authorities.

NATO has agreed to continue providing training, advice and assistance to the Afghan forces, and has planned a mission to do so, "Resolute Support", as of 1 January.

Comment: Not a pretty picture! NATO spreading truth and democracy with bombs and bullets. Who is next?

Gingerbread

The West's malicious misrepresentation of terrorism in the Caucasus

© Sputnik/ Igor Mikhalev
The latest jihadi attack on the Chechen capital Grozny once again illustrates a dark truth. Namely that in the midst of the United States' seemingly endless "War on Terror" one jihadi terrorist movement is spared all criticism. This is the one which for more than a decade has been waging war on Russia in the Caucasus.

This is clearly shown by the way the Western media reported the attack. Though it received scant attention, the reports of the incident that were provided studiously avoided referring to the perpetrators as either "jihadis" or "terrorists". Instead they were called such things as "militants", "separatists" or even just "Chechens" - the last especially outrageous given that their intended targets were Chechens.

It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that it is because this particular jihadi movement, unlike all the rest, targets Russia. That this is the only thing that differentiates this jihadi movement from the others is unimportant. The mere fact it opposes Russia is apparently enough.

That this is indeed a terrorist jihadi movement no different from the others requires some explanation and a brief discussion of the recent history of the Caucasus.

Comment: See also: Rest assured, you will not get the truth about the situation in Chechnya from the mainstream media. For years it was a major front in the covert war against Russia waged by the West. Putin shut it down. Now they're trying other tactics: sanctions, Syria, Iran, and the rise of militant Islam in general.

Light Saber

How Russia is fixing America's Syrian mess

US joint chiefs of staff
© flickr.com/ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The US and its allies aren't the only ones fighting terrorism in Syria. Russia has supported the government there in its anti-terrorist struggle for over the past three and a half years, but it receives barely any Western media acknowledgement for its efforts.

This week's meeting that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem had with Putin and Lavrov in Sochi was scarcely reported on in the West, but this doesn't mean that it was insignificant. In fact, it was neglected precisely because of its significance, since it shows that Russia is the main international actor helping to bring peace to the country and victory to the anti-terrorist forces. All of this jars with the mainstream narrative that the US is the solution to the Mideast's woes, instead showing that it's actually the problem in the first place.

Call 'Em How You See 'Em

Lavrov
© Desconocido
Russia is certain that the US is the Mideast's main headache and has lately come out with some hard-swinging statements against it. Lavrov previously decried the use of the false "good terrorist, bad terrorist" myth, which first came about over 30 years ago when the US created the Mujahedeen, saying that political interests shouldn't supercede anti-terrorist considerations. Seeing that the US obviously wasn't listening after it started bombing Syria, he raised his tone this week to saying that Russia is against "attempts to use extremist and even openly terrorist groups for the purposes of a regime change in Syria", in clear reference to the US' policy of arming supposedly 'moderate' Islamic militant groups. Putin said afterwards in an interview that "the main risk...stems from the activities of the so-called Islamic State and other radical groups that were once actively employed by some Western countries, which flirted with them and encouraged them", so it's no perhaps wonder that he earlier voiced the impression that "whatever Americans touch they always end up with Libya or Iraq."
Cow

India and Russia affirm their ties: Productive visit by Putin

Putin Modi
© REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual summit visit to India this year was a brief affair. Putin came looking for assurances that an India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have no truck with Western attempts to isolate Russia and will continue to be a "time tested and reliable" partner, especially at a time of economic difficulties for Russia.

These, he received. India has given the Russians both official as well symbolic reassurance that it does not support Western sanctions. In return, India has got its own set of guarantees at the highest level from the Russians for spares for existing Russian-origin military hardware, with Moscow agreeing to move more quickly on transferring technology for the equipment to Indian firms. Keen to retain its position in the Indian defense sector, Russia has also become the first major arms exporter to come on board with India's military-aerospace industrial goals under the "Make in India" program, with an initiative to produce and even export Russian origin helicopters from Indian soil being announced during the visit itself. At a time when Russia needs India's high-end human resources and its market size and India requires more high-value manufacturing elements, the long-standing trust between the two sides seems to be helpful.

While the joint vision document released during the visit explicitly notes that India and Russia oppose economic sanctions that do not have the approval of the United Nations Security Council, it was perhaps the fact that a business delegation led by the Crimean prime minister accompanied Putin on his visit that was more revealing of India's stance on Ukraine. The Indian government is apparently encouraging Indian businesses to engage more deeply in Crimea, in a clear signal that it stands with Russia irrespective of American positions. In fact India is going even further than China is in making its support for Russia clear.

Comment: See also:

Airplane

Ukrainian airspace shut down to accept U.S. military cargo

usaf

U.S. AF doing good work in Georgia. Next stop: Ukraine!
Ukrainian airports are shut down in order to accept military-transport planes of USA and NATO. One of my readers who has connections in Zaporozhye already confirmed it.

His friend's work is connected with Zaporozhye airport. Here is his quote:
Now at the airport they are performing an urgent order for the installation of defensive towers along the perimeter of the airport. He said that the work needs to be completed ASAP, since the order is urgent. Started in late November. Now almost complete. Yesterday reported that flights from Zaporozhye (Motor Sich) will stop on the 13th. And this is despite the wishes of Motor Sich to fly to Moscow daily from December 16, instead of three times a week.

To the question, why stop, one of the airport workers replied that the airport has to be prepared to accept military aircraft with equipment, including Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk. The equipment is expected from the United States.
In Dnepropetrovsk - a similar situation, from Kharkov there was no confirmation. In general, apparently the US does not want to wait until the Act on military assistance to Ukraine adopted by the senate will pass through congress and are boosting rearmament of junta troops. New unofficial military advisers/assistants should be expected to show up as well.

Comment: Initial reports were laughably transparent:
The air space over the international airport "Dnepropetrovsk" is closed until December 15, 2014 due to a threat of a terrorist attack, reported a source from the airport administration.
Airspace in the region is controlled by Kolomoisky, Mossad's biggest stooge in Ukraine.

Stock Down

The European Union wants Russia to bail out both the EU and Ukraine

ukraine crisis
© Associated Press
IMF says Ukraine will be bankrupt 'within weeks' and needs $15 billion more for war against eastern Ukraine; EU threatens Russia with more sanctions if Russia lets Ukraine go bankrupt; EU will lose billions on Ukraine if Russia won't bail them out.

The details are here and here.

And here's the back-story to that:

Mark Adomanis of Forbes is the clearest and most honest writer in the West about Ukraine's financial situation, though he propagandizes constantly against Russia just like all the rest of the West's aristocracy-paid 'reporters' do (and must do, in order to keep their jobs). He wrote on 15 April 2014, that,
"when it bought $3 billion worth of [Ukrainian Government] bonds at the end of 2013 Russia inserted a clause that stipulates that the total volume of Ukrainian state-guaranteed debt cannot exceed 60% of its annual GDP. If that threshold is breached, Russia can legally demand repayments on an accelerated schedule. Given the parlous state of the Ukrainian economy and its government's extremely weak finances, this essentially means that if Ukraine's debt exceeds 60% of its GDP Russia can legally force it to default."
Ukraine's foreign debt has soared above that $60 billion limit, because of a demand that the IMF placed upon its $17 billion loan on 1 May 2014, namely that Ukraine eliminate or otherwise crush the people in the area of Ukraine where the public had voted 90% for the pro-Russian Ukrainian President whom Obama had overthrown on February 22nd. The way that CNBC headlined it on May 1st, the day before pro-Government thugs massacred this new Government's resistors at the Trade Unions Building in Odessa and so started the program to exterminate the residents of that region, was "IMF Warns Ukraine on Bailout if It Loses East." What that meant was that, without the gas-fields and the other assets in the east, the Ukrainian Government wouldn't have valuable-enough assets to sell off or "privatize" so as to be able to make good on the IMF's $17 billion loan to Ukraine, and taxpayers in the U.S. and Europe would then need to absorb losses on those loans; so, the Ukrainian Government needed to follow-through and exterminate those people in order for the loans to keep coming. The aristocrats want to control their land, not the people on it. The residents are just an obstruction. This money was loaned by the IMF in order to enable Western corporations (mainly Big Oil and Big Ag and Big Military) to take over Ukraine. For examples: the residents in the areas that are being bombed did not want fracking there, and did not want a NATO missile base there.

Comment: The insanity of the EU and of their U.S. patrons is more apparent with each passing day. They fabricate atrocities which they later use to demonize Putin, and it has been so from the start of the U.S. engineered coup d'état in Ukraine.

Bulb

On NATO's economic war against Russia and Putin's response

Russia is reacting to the economic war which NATO is waging against her in the way she would have reacted in a conventional war. She allowed herself to be hit by unilateral "sanctions" in order to better lead the opponent to a battleground of her own choosing. Simultaneously, she has signed agreements with China to safeguard her future and with Turkey to disrupt NATO. As long ago, against France or Germany, her initial defeat could be the guarantee of her victory in the end.
Putin-Erdogan
© RIA Novosti/Sergey Guneev
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the concluding news conference in Ankara.
At the annual summit on security organized by the Bertelsmann Foundation and NATO in Munich in 2007, President Vladimir Putin had stressed that the interest of Western Europeans was not only overseas but also and especially with Russia. Since then, he has continued to try to build economic relations, including the construction of the North Stream pipeline under the leadership of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. For its part, the United States has done everything to prevent this rapprochement, including the organization of the Kiev coup and the South Stream pipeline sabotage.

According to the Atlanticist press, Russia would have been severely impacted by the unilateral "sanctions" - in reality acts of economic war - imposed on the occasion of the annexation of Crimea to the Federation or of the destruction of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing and by lower oil prices. The ruble has lost 40% of its value, wasted investments in the South Stream gas pipeline cost $ 4.5 billion and the food embargo has cost $ 8.7 billion. The Atlanticist media assures us that Russia is now definitely ruined and isolated politically.

The Atlanticist press however is at an impasse concerning the consequences of this economic war in the European Union. Besides the ban on food exports which is likely to destroy whole sections of its agriculture, the renunciation of South Stream will weigh very seriously on the future of the Union by increasing the price of energy.
© Boursorama
The depreciation of the ruble against the dollar

Comment: See also: The implications of the Russian-Turkish gas deal for the future of NATO
Erdogan's stand may encourage other NATO countries, whose economies are already suffering heavily due to the sanctions against Russia, to rebel as well. A sudden storm started in Turkey may become a broader European hurricane and lead to the reconfiguration of the European security infrastructure. And, in the process, prevent another European war.
EU losers! Russia scraps South Stream pipeline project, announces major alternative gas deal - Did Putin just poach Turkey?

Western leaders are scratching their heads as Ankara pivots East

Putin's counterpunch to EU: Exit South Stream, enter Turk Stream

Megaphone

Another failed USAID attempt at subverting Cuba and what it tells us about U.S. subversion worldwide

© AFP Photo
Our rappers in Havana: Los Aldeanos, a rap group openly critical of the Castro government, were recruited to help produce an underground television project and provided political training.
Revealed in an Associated Press (AP) investigation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had for two years attempted to create and exploit a social network within Cuba for the purpose of sparking unrest and overthrowing the Cuban government. The program was an abject failure, primarily because the Cuban government took the necessary measures to investigate, interrogate, and otherwise disrupt what was foreign-backed sedition.

AP would reveal in its report titled, "US co-opted Cuba's hip-hop scene to spark change," that:
The program is laid out in documents involving Creative Associates International, a Washington, D.C., contractor paid millions of dollars to undermine Cuba's communist government. The thousands of pages include contracts, emails, preserved chats, budgets, expense reports, power points, photographs and passports.
The work included the creation of a "Cuban Twitter" social network and the dispatch of inexperienced Latin American youth to recruit activists, operations that were the focus of previous AP stories.
Far from the first time USAID and other US organizations claiming to be aiding in development but in fact engaged in political subversion, the Cuban program itself was based on another US-backed program used to topple the government of Serbia in 2000, AP would reveal.

The USAID operation involved money covertly funneled into Cuba through front companies and offshore banks. USAID, despite the evidence, has wholly denied the operation, as has other US organizations caught in blatant political subversion.

Regarding USAID's denial, AP would report:
"Any assertions that our work is secret or covert are simply false," USAID said in a statement Wednesday. Its programs were aimed at strengthening civil society "often in places where civic engagement is suppressed and where people are harassed, arrested, subjected to physical harm or worse."
If by "civil society," USAID means networks of political subversion operating in the interests of Wall Street and Washington, then that is precisely what USAID was doing in Cuba, and does elsewhere around the world. However, USAID's insistence that none of its work was "secret or covert" is simply a lie.

Comment: The following excerpt is from the book Subverting Syria: How CIA Contra Gangs and NGO's Manufacture, Mislabel and Market Mass Murder. It captures a couple crucial steps in the Pentagon's Unconventional Warfare doctrine. Here is an overview of the game plan as it applies to Syria:
- Fund NGO's to create a climate of protest in the target country

- Provocateurs organize demonstrations, then fire on protesters and security forces alike to stoke violence

- Staged and mislabeled video footage creates the illusion of repression by the regime

- Mass media endlessly repeat the Big Lie that the nation's leader is a brutal dictator - " Give a dog a bad name and hang him."

- Invade border towns with special forces death squads, the CIA Foreign Legion of Al Qaeda psychopaths, fanatics and guns for hire

- Foment a civil war on ethnic divides, and fabricate pretexts for military intervention by the UN, or NATO

- Bomb the country into the stone age, to be conquered and ruled by NATO's Islamic terrorist puppets - Eradicate Arab socialism and government for the people, replacing it with a corrupt clique beholden to Wall Street and London bankers

- US corporations write multi-billion-dollar contracts for "reconstruction" and "security," yielding an astronomical profit on the spoils of war - Isolate Lebanon, Palestine , Iraq and Iran, giving free rein for Greater Israel to dominate the Middle East


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