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Thu, 21 Nov 2019
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Veterans to Congress: End forever wars

Veteran for peace
George W. Bush's War on Terror began eighteen years ago, with no initiative on the part of the U.S. government to bring it to a conclusion. In those two decades, Americans have spent $6.4 trillion and lost seven thousand soldiers.


While the U.S. House of Representatives played domestic politics with the first open impeachment inquiry hearing last Wednesday, a new veteran's organization, Bring Our Troops Home, held its first conference in Washington, DC. After a series of panels and speeches, 120 veterans traveled to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Force and end the "forever wars."

George W. Bush's War on Terror began eighteen years ago, with no initiative on the part of the U.S. government to bring it to a conclusion. In those two decades, Americans have spent $6.4 trillion and lost seven thousand soldiers. Polling this year indicates that a majority of War on Terror veterans now feel that it, and its military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, were not worth fighting at all.

Comment: Good on these devoted men and women for having the courage to speak out against what is probably the biggest crime of this or any other generation: the 'war on terror'.


Attention

The OPCW and Douma: Chemical weapons watchdog accused of evidence-tampering by its own inspectors

OPCW logo
Claims that President Bashar al-Assad's forces have used chemical weapons are almost as old as the Syrian civil war itself. They have produced strong reactions, and none more so than in the case of the alleged attack in April last year on the opposition-controlled area of Douma near Damascus in which 43 people are said to have been killed by chlorine gas. The United States, Britain and France responded by launching airstrikes on targets in the Syrian capital.

Were the strikes justified? An inspector from the eight-member team sent to Douma has just come forward with disturbing allegations about the international watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was tasked with obtaining and examining evidence.

Involved in collecting samples as well as drafting the OPCW's interim report, he claims his evidence was suppressed and a new report was written by senior managers with assertions that contradicted his findings.

USA

It's Trump Vs. The Deep State Vs. The American Citizens

Brennan
© Pete Souza / The White House, Wikipedia Commons
File photo of John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
One of the best side effects of the Trump presidency has been the hostility of the so-called "deep state" or "intelligence community" directed at the president.

This, in turn, has led many Americans to realize that America's powerful, un-elected secret police agencies serve an agenda all their own, and that they choose sides in political controversies. Consequently, polls show one's views of the CIA and the FBI depend largely on one's ideological bent. Polls from Fox News and NBC news in recent years show that as various government bureaucracies have ratcheted up their hostility to Trump, more Democrats and Hillary Clinton voters have said they trust the CIA and the FBI.

Why the president and this deep state should be at odds has never been obvious to casual observers. Last month, however, in an article titled "Trump's War on the 'Deep State' Turns Against Him," the New York Times at last explained that there is indeed very real enmity between Trump and agencies such as the CIA and the FBI. The Times contends that Trump "went to war with the professional staff" of the intelligence agencies and the State Department.

The Times notes Trump has condemned "deep state bureaucrats," and claims Trump's "hostility toward government was strong from the start. He blamed the leak of the so-called Steele dossier of unverified allegations against him on intelligence agencies and never trusted their conclusion that Russia intervened in the 2016 election on his behalf."

Trump was right to be defensive, of course. But that controversy over Russia was never really about what the Russians were up to. The focus was always largely about how much Trump colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election.

Ultimately, the evidence was so non-existent, that after a nearly-three-year investigation, Robert Mueller was unable to establish evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians. As Glenn Greenwald has noted: "not a single American — whether with the Trump campaign or otherwise — was charged or indicted on the core question of whether there was any conspiracy or coordination with Russia over the election."

Whistle

I'm the Google whistleblower. The medical data of millions of Americans is at risk

google logo
© Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images
‘I was worried too about the security aspect of placing vast amounts of medical data in the digital cloud.’
I didn't decide to blow the whistle on Google's deal, known internally as the Nightingale Project, glibly. The decision came to me slowly, creeping on me through my day-to-day work as one of about 250 people in Google and Ascension working on the project.

When I first joined Nightingale I was excited to be at the forefront of medical innovation. Google has staked its claim to be a major player in the healthcare sector, using its phenomenal artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools to predict patterns of illness in ways that might some day lead to new treatments and, who knows, even cures.

Here I was working with senior management teams on both sides, Google and Ascension, creating the future. That chimed with my overall conviction that technology really does have the potential to change healthcare for the better.

Comment: See: Google's 'Project Nightingale' secretly gathers personal health information on millions of Americans


Bad Guys

Top Bolivian coup plotters trained by US military's School of the Americas and FBI programs

Bolivian commanders
The United States played a key role in the military coup in Bolivia, and in a direct way that has scarcely been acknowledged in accounts of the events that forced the country's elected president, Evo Morales, to resign on November 10.

Just prior to Morales' resignation, the commander of Bolivia's armed forces Williams Kaliman "suggested" that the president step down. A day earlier, sectors of the country's police force had rebelled.

Though Kaliman appears to have feigned loyalty to Morales over the years, his true colors showed as soon as the moment of opportunity arrived. He was not only an actor in the coup, he had his own history in Washington, where he had briefly served as the military attaché of Bolivia's embassy in the US capital.

Bullseye

'A classic coup': Bolivia's new government is a 'military regime with no constitutional authority' - Max Blumenthal

bolivian soldiers
© REUTERS/Henry Romero
The political upheaval in Bolivia is a textbook coup that was carried out through violence and intimidation, Max Blumenthal told RT. The journalist marveled that some still deny the unconstitutional nature of the power grab.

Opposition politician Jeanine Añez declared herself interim leader of Bolivia on Wednesday, after President Evo Morales was urged by his country's military chief to step down. But her legitimacy has already come into question. As the editor of the Grayzone Project pointed out, Añez is a fringe figure who garnered only 1.7 percent of the votes cast in Bolivia's last elections.

Realizing that there was no popular support, threats of violence were used to ensure that senators who opposed Añez would not be able to vote on a motion declaring her Bolivia's acting president. According to Blumenthal, politicians belonging to Evo Morales' Movement for Socialism Party, which has a majority in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, "had guns to their heads, their families were threatened, and if they showed up they could have been arrested and killed."
There's absolutely no way that Áñez would have obtained power without the help of the Bolivian military and the police... You essentially have a right-wing dictatorship, a military regime in power now in Bolivia, with no constitutional authority.

Propaganda

The latest false news on the Trump impeachment circus

fake false news
© WSJ
As the media are all out to get Trump, there is no way to get any valid information about the so-called impeachment. But you don't have to pay too much attention to notice that the Democrats and the presstitutes are constantly changing the focus. The alleged whistleblower, who only had hearsay information, if that, has dropped out of the picture, being too compromised by his afflilations and prior meetings with Adam Schiff during which the "whistleblowing" was planned as an attack on Trump.

The Democrats and presstitutes then shifted focus to state department types who also heard second hand from "staff" about the alleged conversation containing a quid pro quo, a claim unsupported by the transcript of the telephone call or by the President of Ukraine. So now a new alleged phone call has emerged, or been invented. The acting ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, a sleazy State Department type, today (Nov. 13) testified that a member of his staff heard Trump in another telephone call asking Sondland about the Ukraine investigation of the Bidens. This second-hand information is described by the presstitute media as a "bombshell." God help us. It is nothing of the sort. But the presstitutes will repeat it until it is.

A person has to wonder how many members of staffs are permitted to listen to telephone conversations between heads of state. In my day it was zero.

Comment: We are witnessing political warfare and a battle of narratives of the first order - where the fate of many lie in the balance. When a fact-based history of this time in the US is finally put together, do not expect it to look kindly on the efforts of Schiff and the pathological political class who have done so much to divide the country in a sick effort to accrue money and power.


Battery

Bolivia: What happens to the lithium industry without Morales?

EvoMoralesQuote
Bolivia's President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. He is now in Mexico. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country. It is important to recall that Bolivia has suffered a series of coups, often conducted by the military and the oligarchy on behalf of transnational mining companies. Initially, these were tin firms, but tin is no longer the main target in Bolivia. The main target is its massive deposits of lithium, crucial for the electric car.

Over the past 13 years, Morales has tried to build a different relationship between his country and its resources. He has not wanted the resources to benefit the transnational mining firms, but rather to benefit his own population. Part of that promise was met as Bolivia's poverty rate has declined, and as Bolivia's population was able to improve its social indicators. Nationalization of resources combined with the use of its income to fund social development has played a role. The attitude of the Morales government toward the transnational firms produced a harsh response from them, many of them taking Bolivia to court.

Over the course of the past few years, Bolivia has struggled to raise investment to develop the lithium reserves in a way that brings the wealth back into the country for its people. Morales' Vice President Álvaro García Linera had said that lithium is the "fuel that will feed the world." Bolivia was unable to make deals with Western transnational firms; it decided to partner with Chinese firms. This made the Morales government vulnerable. It had walked into the new Cold War between the West and China. The coup against Morales cannot be understood without a glance at this clash.

Comment: See also:


Bulb

Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoysky blasts US in NYT interview, calls for 'new Warsaw Pact' with Russia - "They're stronger anyway"


Comment: Some variant of this was always going to come about. That it took them over 5 years of dancing with the devil, and over 10,000 lives, sums up the utter fecklessness and lack of foresight of the Ukrainian political elite.

Putin has been proven correct in his strategy since the Americans' coup in 2014 to just keep Ukraine on a leash but otherwise stay out of it; Kiev would eventually see the light and come crawling back.


A tycoon who spent millions of dollars arming anti-Russian fighters in Ukraine has emerged from the shadows to blast the Europe he once idolized. The oligarch now sees alliance with Russia as the only option for his country.
Igor Kolomoysky
© Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko
Johnny-come-lately: Igor Kolomoysky
Igor Kolomoysky, the oligarch seen by many as the shadow power behind Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has changed his tune sharply from the days of the 2014 Maidan rebellion.

Back then he was an ally of pro-European President Petro Poroshenko, who even appointed him governor of the Dnepropetrovsk region. Once installed there, Kolomoysky placed a bounty on captured fighters from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics, who fought against the new authorities in Kiev, and spent a reported $10 million per month fielding his own private militia, also funding ultranationalist volunteer units, like the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.

"We'll just have to kill them," he said of the rebels at the time.

Comment: This "chancer" who "only wants money" couldn't "see objectively" in 2014 that Ukrainians want "people want peace, a good life, and not to be at war."

But now he does?

We shall see.

In the meantime, what can the Americans do about this? Sanction Kolomoysky? Sanction Zelensky and the Ukrainian govt itself?!


Fire

Democrazis run rampage in Hong Kong - Police chief warns 'society on brink of total breakdown'


Comment: The situation's reaching boiling point in Hong Kong. Stand by for mystery snipers shooting protesters and/or police...


hong kong map riots

Just some of the flash-points across Hong Kong today, 12 Nov 2019
Protests in Hong Kong have reached new heights of violence, with bomb-throwing rioters seizing control of university campuses and pushing out police while authorities admit that the riot-ravaged city hangs by a thread.

Demonstrators armed to the teeth with molotov cocktails, javelins, and (in one case, at least) a chainsaw have seized control of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), pushing riot police off the campus on Tuesday night and leaving a shocking amount of destruction in their wake.

Videos and photos posted to social media show the rioters fortifying their position with barricades and setting "huge" fires on the campus. Classes were unsurprisingly canceled at CUHK and other universities around the city, some of which also played host to clashes between the demonstrators - still dubbed 'pro-democracy activists' in the media despite the increasing levels of violence on display - and police. On at least one campus, rioters stole sporting equipment including javelins and shot puts and weaponized them.