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Colosseum

Reprehensible! ISIS goons destroy ancient relics in Iraq

mosul museum
© AP
The Islamic State has posted a video online showing a group of militants destroying ancient statues and other artifacts, saying they are symbols of idolatry. Some of the objects date from the seventh century BC. Specialists say the damage is incalculable.

The video, which appeared online on Thursday, shows monuments and relics of the Assyrian era - including a winged deity - being smashed with sledgehammers and an electric drill. The militants placed the statues in a large exhibition room and shattered them on the floor, breaking the smaller sculptures to pieces.

The attackers do not state their location, but it is believed to be a museum in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which was seized by the Islamic State last June.

The statues, described by ISIS leaders as "idols," and must be removed is a part of the militant group's policy.


Comment: Only a person without a conscience can destroy items of such value. ISIS is succeeding in finishing what the U.S. started when they did nothing to prevent the looting of Baghdad's museum in 2003. American troops couldn't have cared less about Iraq's cultural heritage. ISIS is no different.

Chess

What the BRICS plus Germany are really up to?

BRICs Leaders
© Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino
Winston Churchill once said, "I feel lonely without a war." He also badly missed the loss of empire. Churchill's successor - the 'Empire of Chaos' - now faces the same quandary. Some wars - as in Ukraine, by proxy - are not going so well.

And the loss of empire increasingly manifests itself in myriad moves by selected players aiming towards a multipolar world.

So no wonder US 'Think Tankland' is going bonkers, releasing wacky CIA-tinted "forecasts" where Russia is bound to disintegrate, and China is turning into a communist dictatorship. So much (imperial) wishful thinking, so little time to prolong hegemony.

The acronym that all these "forecasts" dare not reveal is BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). BRICS is worse than the plague as far as the 'Masters of the Universe' that really control the current - rigged - world system are concerned. True, the BRICS are facing multiple problems. Brazil at the moment is totally paralyzed; a long, complex, self-defeating process, now coupled with intimations of regime change by local 'Empire of Chaos' minions. It will take time, but Brazil will rebound.

That leaves the "RIC" - Russia, India and China - in BRICS as the key drivers of change. For all their interlocking discrepancies, they all agree they don't need to challenge the hegemon directly while aiming for a new multipolar order.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) - a key alternative to the IMF enabling developing nations to get rid of the US dollar as a reserve currency - will be operative by the end of this year. The NDB will finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects not only in the BRICS nations but other developing nations. Forget about the Western-controlled World Bank, whose capital and lending capacity are never increased by the so-called Western "powers." The NDB will be an open institution. BRICS nations will keep 55 percent of the voting power, and outside their domain no country will be allowed more than 7 percent of votes. But crucially, developing nations may also become partners and receive loans.
Network

The failure of America's Pacific Century sends Asia fleeing towards China

United States Asia pivot
When former-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the US "pivot to Asia," she and the policy wonks who dreamed it up probably imagined it as a well choreographed geopolitical masterstroke. In reality, it was more like an elephant crashing through the jungle, sending all in its path fleeing for cover well ahead of its arrival.

The empty rhetoric accompanying its announcement never materialized. Reading between the lines, what the "pivot" actually meant, was the doubling down on attempts to subvert, corral and otherwise twist the arms of Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia into arraying themselves for Washington's convenience and gain, against the growing influence and power of Beijing.

American designs have unraveled everywhere from Malaysia to Thailand and the only steps of this pivot still in good form appear to be in Myanmar and the South China Sea where budding political subversion is growing in one and an escalating strategy of tension is growing in the other. Despite these "successes," the prospects of Myanmar resigning itself to a future with close and growing ties to Beijing are unrealistic.

Likewise, the notion of a remilitarized Japan somehow containing China is untenable and more so each passing day.

Those capitulating today to Washington's attempts to reorder Asia will only be setting their nations back in the years to come when ultimately the "pivot" fails, and all that is left is China and those nations that decided to move forward together with it on its way up.

Comment: In 2011 Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, wrote, "The future of politics will be decided in Asia." It's been clear, however, that the US 'pivot' has not meant working towards equitable relations with China, but rather an effort to contain, dominate and grow US hegemony over the region. It's a policy that has been met with total failure. US influence is on the decline as the world grows tired of it's liberal economic agenda and it's pathological machinations that seek to usurp power and resources.

Snakes in Suits

On a roll: Bill O'Reilly's LA riots 'bombardment' stories disputed by former colleagues

Former colleagues of Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News host whose tales of past reporting exploits are facing renewed scrutiny, have disputed his account of surviving a bombardment of bricks and rocks while covering the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.

Six people who covered the riots with O'Reilly in California for Inside Edition told the Guardian they did not recall an incident in which, as O'Reilly has claimed, "concrete was raining down on us" and "we were attacked by protesters".

Several members of the team suggested that O'Reilly may instead be overstating a fracas involving one disgruntled Los Angeles resident, who smashed one of their cameras with a piece of rubble.

Comment: No surprise in O'Reilly's behavior when you understand psychopathy. He is finally being called out.

Quenelle

'Paris' throws temper tantrum after French lawmakers hold 'unauthorized' meetings with Assad, Hezbollah

© Reuters/SANA
French President Francois Hollande (Reuters/Vincent Kessler) and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.
Four French lawmakers have been slammed by their government and one of them threatened with sanctions and suspension after an unauthorized meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus as well with a Hezbollah member.

The group of four cross-party lawmakers, identified as Gerard Bapt, Jean-Pierre Vial, Jacques Myard and Francois Zochetto, went to the Middle East on a ''personal mission to see what is going on, to hear, listen."

According to the Syrian state news agency, Assad and the French lawmakers discussed developments and challenges facing Arab and European nations, especially those pertaining to terrorism.

"We met Bashar al-Assad for a good hour. It went very well," Jacques Myard, an MP from the opposition UMP party, told AFP but refused to give details.

Comment: It's good to see some lawmakers actually going out to see for themselves if what they are being told is actually true. Naturally they will be condemned for doing so as everyone else who searches for the truth.

Snakes in Suits

Bill O'Reilly busted again: 'Phony' Fox News star 'lied' about JFK murder witness

© Still from Youtube video
Conservative TV host Bill O'Reilly has been caught repeatedly lying about being present at the suicide of a key JFK assassination investigation witness, a week after he was accused of exaggerating the dangers he faced reporting from the Falklands War.

"Bill O'Reilly's a phony, there's no other way to put it," Tracy Rowlett, who worked with O'Reilly at a local Dallas WFAA station during the alleged incident, told Media Matters, an online news website.

The suicide victim is George de Mohrenschildt, a picaresque Russian émigré, who was on friendly terms with both the family of Jackie Kennedy and the assassin of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald. He reportedly cooperated for decades with the CIA.

Comment: Hopefully more will come out on Bill O'Reilly's lying to force him off the air.

Clipboard

Defeat in Debaltsevo: Kiev's Stalingrad

ukraine graves
Junta's losses over the last month stagger the imagination.

DPR Ministry of Defense published data concerning the losses of Ukrainian occupation forces which they suffered during battles with Novorossia's defenders in the vicinity of Debaltsevo and on other sectors of the front between January 12 and February 20.

Occupier losses include 10,940 killed and wounded (including 4110 killed), and 1178 prisoners of war.

Equipment losses are also staggering. The invaders have lost the following quantities of equipment:

Comment: It was a humiliating defeat, that's for sure. Now Kiev is on the hunt to replenish their weapons supply. UAE to the rescue!



Boat

Cyprus and Russia renew military cooperation

© Twitter
Anastasiades and Putin.
Russian navy ships will keep having access to stop off at Cyprus' ports in Mediterranean as the two countries have agreed to prolong the pre-existing deal on military cooperation.

The agreement, which applies to Russian vessels involved in counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts, was signed by President Vladimir Putin and his Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, in Moscow.

The signing came aimed heightened tensions and sanctions between Russia and the EU over the military conflict in Ukraine.

President Putin, however, stressed that the agreement, as well as Russia-Cypriot ''friendly ties aren't aimed against anyone."

"I don't think it should cause worries anywhere," he said.

During his press conference at Tass news agency's headquarters, Anastasiades stressed that Moscow and Nicosia haven't signed any new agreements, but only prolonged those that were in place before.

Comment: See also: While the West continues to bash Putin, Putin continues to behave like a gentleman.

Question

Why is there a Department of Homeland Security in the first place?

homeland security
© The Daily Beast
When it’s not making us take our shoes off, it’s trampling our civil liberties and ‘building’ centers that don’t exist. Enough already.
Are you nervous, America?

If nothing happens before Friday, the mighty Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—every bit as much a WTF legacy of George W. Bush as those surreal White House Christmas videos that featured Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson talking to Barney "the First Dog" like the Son of Sam killer—will lose its funding due to a budget fight between congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama.

And when DHS funding ends, then...well, nothing much, actually, it turns out.

Without funding, about 30,000 "non-essential" DHS employees will be told not to show up for work. The other 210,000 or so workers who are considered "essential" and "exempt" will still have to punch the clock, although most of them won't get paid until after the budget stalemate is ended. Not optimal, but not the worst outcome, either.

Comment: A shutdown of the DHS sounds like a good idea, but like all good ideas in the US government, it probably won't happen.

Oscar

'Jihadi John' radicalized by UK govt? So says UK charity

jihadi john

Jihadi John.
Following the identification of the British extremist formerly known as Jihadi John, thought responsible for the execution of a number of ISIS held hostages, a charity has blamed the UK government for his radicalization.

Jihadi John was revealed on Thursday by the Washington Post to be Mohammad Emwazi, a young British man from West London who was known to British security services.

The Home Office refused to confirm his identity due to operational risk, claiming lives were at stake if his identity was publicly known.


Comment: So which Home Office 'operations' were at risk? Inquiring minds want to know. Some already have an idea or two...


Emwazi is thought to have killed American journalist James Foley in a video released last August.
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