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Sat, 24 Feb 2018
The World for People who Think

Seismograph

GARGANTUAN sinkhole swallows several cars and building is evacuated in Rome (VIDEO)

Road collapse Rome sinkhole feb 2018
© EPA
Cars lay strewn in the crater after the road collapsed earlier this evening
The cars swallowed by the chasm fell about 10 metres after the road collapsed at around 6pm this evening.

Two nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution and firefighters have since confirmed no one was injured in the incident.

Officials are checking other nearby buildings for structural damage.


Comment: Sinkholes and landslides are occurring with greater frequency all over the world and there is never much of a valid explanation forthcoming. But when we take into account the greater picture we can see it is one part of a series of changes happening on our planet: For more information, see: Sinkholes - A Sign of the Times? and Sinkholes: The groundbreaking truth

As well as our monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - January 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Vader

The IOC betrayed the Olympic movement and all principles of justice by banning clean Russian athletes

olympic and russian flags
© EPA/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE
Twelve days ago, shortly after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ('CAS') cleared 28 Russian athletes of the doping allegations which had been made against them, I expressed the hope that sanity would prevail and that the International Olympic Committee would reconsider its decision to exclude some of these athletes from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

After all the International Olympic Committee's own Schmid commission had reported that there was no proof of a government organised state sponsored doping conspiracy in Russia, and since the athletes had been cleared of the doping allegations there seemed no reason to exclude them.

In the event sanity - or at least justice - did not prevail. Not only did the International Olympic Committee refuse to allowed the cleared athletes to attend the PyeongChang Games, but Thomas Bach - the IOC President, who is himself a lawyer - not only criticised CAS's decision in intemperate terms but actually called for CAS to be reorganised:
We cannot have a situation of CAS losing its credibility with athletes... We have to do our job to make proposals so trust of the athletes can be restored..... [the CAS] ruling was extremely disappointing and surprising.....We feel that this decision shows the urgent need for reforms in the internal structure of CAS.....

Comment: It's truly outrageous, but it appears that almost no one feels any outrage about it.


Life Preserver

Modern "Liberals" Are 1950s Authoritarians

Rob Reiner Brennan Clapper
In the hit 1970s sitcom All in the Family, Rob Reiner played Michael Stivic, whose progressive countercultural 1960s sensibilities made him a perfect foil for his bigoted, conservative father-in-law Archie Bunker's struggles to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Gem

Eva Bartlett talks about Syria, media lies on 'Sputnik Orbiting the World'

Eva Barlett on Sputnik Orbiting the World
© Eva Bartlett
While in the UK giving talks on Syria (and the DPRK/North Korea) last week, I was invited to speak on 'Sputnik Orbiting the World', the program hosted by George & Gayatri Galloway.

The program description:
Speaking truth to power ought to be the duty of journalism but it is not. Speaking the power's "truth" is the way to get and keep the gig in today's media - and if you do so, you'll be richly rewarded with money and flattery.

One of our frequent guests, Patrick Cockburn, had a great journalist father, Claud Cockburn, who said that the relationship of the journalist to power should be that of the dog to the lamp-post. Nothing is true, he'd say, until it has been officially denied. Fortunately, every now and then a journalist emerges who goes where few dare, who speaks what few will speak, without fear or favor. One such journalist is Eva Bartlett, so we invited her into the Sputnik studio to speak truth to power.

Magnify

What the release of the FISA memo really tells us about the US Empire

trump memo
The release of the House Intelligence Committee's memo on the FBI's abuse of the FISA process set off a partisan firestorm. The Democrats warned us beforehand that declassifying the memo would be the end the world as we know it. It was reckless to allow Americans to see this classified material, they said. Agents in the field could be harmed, sources and methods would be compromised, they claimed.

Republicans who had seen the memo claimed that it was far worse than Watergate. They said that mass firings would begin immediately after it became public. They said that the criminality of US government agencies exposed by the memo would shock Americans.

Then it was released and the world did not end. FBI agents have thus far not been fired. Seeing "classified" material did not terrify us, but rather it demonstrated clearly that information is kept from us by claiming it is "classified."

Propaganda

FISA-Gate: The plot to destroy democracy

Memo iceburg
© twitter
You don't need any special analytical abilities to understand "the memo" and its meaning. A simple reading reveals that allegations of skullduggery peeking by the Obama administration during the presidential campaign were entirely accurate: the memo just filled us in on the details. And while the debate has largely been over whether the proper legal procedures were followed by the FBI and administration officials in spying on Carter Page - someone only marginally connected to the Trump campaign - the real question is: why were they sneaking around Page at all?

Oh, he claimed to be an "informal advisor" to the Russian government: he had business interests in Russia and met with Russian officials. Furthermore, and most importantly, he opposed the anti-Russian hysteria that permeates official Washington, and he often said - in public speeches as well as privately - that US sanctions against Russia are a mistake.

But so what? Since when is it illegal to hold these views?

Comment: Intelligence agencies aka "Deep State" always influenced the public perception, politics and elected officials. Once, it is considered conspiracy theory to be ridiculed. These revelations only made them reality. It is interesting to observe that the untouchable "Deep State" is shaken with the release of the memo.The battle is not yet over and it is expected to thin the viel of secrecy that Alphabet agencies enjoyed for generations. See also:


Jet3

Russian Su-25 shot down by militants in Idlib, pilot killed - Russians launch retaliation strikes, kill 30 terrorists (VIDEO, UPDATES)

Fighter plane
© Russian Defense Ministry
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the country's air forces conducted a group strike of the area controlled by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham militants in Idlib, from where a projectile was fired downing Russian Su-25 aircraft.

The Russian Ministry of Defense revealed the preliminary information on the incident, saying that the aircraft might be shot down with the help of a man-portable air defense system. The pilot survived the crash, but was killed during a fight with terrorists.

"The plane was flying over the Idlib de-escalation zone," the military stated.

The Defense Ministry revealed that according to preliminary information as to the possible cause of the downing, the plane may have been shot down by a man-portable air-defense system (MANPAD).


Comment: When Putin announced the withdrawal of a big portion of the Russian military in Syria, he promised that any attacks would be dealt with swiftly and with no mercy. The Russian military has kept their word, conducting "a massive precision weapon strike... on areas controlled by the Al-Nusra [terrorist] group" in response to the killing of their pilot.


The Russian MOD has released footage of their cruise-missile strike on the location of the terrorists responsible for downing the jet and killing its pilot.


Here's video footage of the pilot parachuting down to the ground:



Update 00:00 CET


This 'Tahrir al-Sham' group is claiming responsibility. Al Qaeda, basically:
Tahrir al-Sham released a post on social media quoting a commander in charge of its air raids as saying one of its militants had hit Russian SU-25 during an "air raid" over the city of Saraqeb in the northwestern province of Idlib.
And it appears that they used one of Uncle Sam's MAN-PAD shoulder-to-air missiles. From the same Sputnik source as above:
"When patrolling the Idlib de-escalation zone, a Russian Su-25 aircraft crashed... According to the preliminary information, the jet was shot down from a man-portable air-defense system," Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Benghazi is just the gift that keeps on giving, eh.

Update (Feb. 4): A Syrian special forces operation is reportedly underway in the area where a Russian Su-25 jet was downed by a MANPAD rocket on Saturday. The goal is to find evidence allowing the weapon to be traced to its origin.
The Russian warplane was downed by a shoulder-fired anti-aircraft rocket, according to the Russian defense ministry. Moscow is very interested in establishing how exactly the weapon system got into the hands of the militant group responsible for attack, Russian MP Vikotor Volodarsky told RIA Novosti.

"The group that had the MANPAD has been destroyed by the Russian Air Force. Now the Syrian commandos are working on the ground. If they find elements of that launcher, we could trace its serial number and establish its origin to the factory in a few days, find out how it got there," the Russian MP said. He added Russian planes are providing air support to the Syrian troops.
See also: No anti-aircraft weapons sent to 'our vetted' Syrian rebels - Pentagon spokesman after downing of Russian jet

Update: Video footage has emerged of the final moments of Filippov's fight with jihadists surrounding him. Filippov can be heard shouting "This is for our guys!" before the sound of a large blast. (The new footage begins at 0:37 in the video below.)


As he was surrounded, Filippov detonated a grenade in order to avoid being taken alive, and presumably also to take as many of his attackers with him:
Major Filippov managed to notify of his coordinates back to the airbase in Khemeymim, after which he fired at the approaching jihadists from an automatic pistol Stechkin (APS). He was wounded and surrounded when he decided to blow up a hand grenade so as not to be captured by the enemy.
Roman Filippov

Major Roman Filippov
The deceased Hero was considered one of the best pilots of Russian assault aviation.



MIB

Declassified documents from 1957 reveal CIA-MI6 plot to terrorize Syria, spark fake revolution, assassinate leadership

Image

Catapulting the propaganda: Britain's MI6 has been doing this with their fellow psychopaths in the Mossad and the CIA for a long time...
Documents show White House and No 10 conspired over oil-fuelled invasion plan

Nearly 50 years before the war in Iraq, Britain and America sought a secretive "regime change" in another Arab country they accused of spreading terror and threatening the west's oil supplies, by planning the invasion of Syria and the assassination of leading figures.

Newly discovered documents show how in 1957 Harold Macmillan and President Dwight Eisenhower approved a CIA-MI6 plan to stage fake border incidents as an excuse for an invasion by Syria's pro-western neighbours, and then to "eliminate" the most influential triumvirate in Damascus.

The plans, frighteningly frank in their discussion, were discovered in the private papers of Duncan Sandys, Mr Macmillan's defence secretary, by Matthew Jones, a reader in international history at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Comment: 'The plan' may not have been 'actionized', to borrow spook-speak, back then, but it is precisely what happened to Syria half a century later. The reason why there is a 50-year lag between the earlier articulation of this plan and its execution is because Western powers always use the same basic plan. They just didn't get around to 'doing' Syria until other circumstances permitted.

Keep in mind that the CIA's "fear of the spread of communism" was total BS, of course, just as today's 'fear of Russia' or 'fear of Islamism' is.

As explained by former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell, the real goal was to keep Third World countries as Third World countries by fighting a prolonged Third World War. They knew the Soviets were no threat. But the rise of 'socialist' policies (that is, policies that actually raised people out of poverty, thus strengthening national independence) threatened the US' global order.

John Stockwell - CIA's War on Humans


Blackbox

An Eccentric Tradition: The Paradox of 'Western Values'

moses painting
© Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn / Getty Images
Western values?
It is no secret that former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a fan of Western values.

On more than one occasion he has lamented what he calls "the great Australian silence" - the neglect of "the Western canon, the literature, the poetry, the music, the history and above all the faith without which our culture and our civilisation is unimaginable."

Abbott's predecessor, John Howard, is also known as a stout defender of the Western tradition and its values, and he too worries that we are losing our connection to it: "When we think of our civilisation, we lack an integrated understanding of the contribution of the early Romans and Greeks, the framework of what is frequently called the Judaeo-Christian ethic."

Further afield, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron has preached the importance of Christian values for Britain.

More recently, and perhaps unhelpfully for the cause, Donald Trump has jumped on the bandwagon. In a rare moment of coherence, Trump delivered a speech ahead of the 2017 G20 summit in Poland, urging the defence of "our values" and "our civilization."

Attention

Lookout! Russiagate scandal approaches its implosion point

Russiagate
© Pinterest/KJN
Publication of GOP memorandum on surveillance abuses by Obama's Justice Department threatens to blow lid off the scandal.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the point of crisis in the Russiagate scandal has now been reached, and that it centres on the four page memorandum
prepared by Republican Congressional investigators after their examination of the Justice Department's documents on the evidence provided during the 2016 election by Obama's Justice Department to the FBI to undertake surveillance of members of Donald Trump's campaign.

Publication of this memorandum has just been agreed by the House Intelligence Committee. The final decision whether or not to publish the memorandum lies with President Trump.

I think it is a foregone conclusion that he will decide to publish it, though I expect heavy lobbying from the Justice Department and the US intelligence community to persuade him not to. All I would say about that is that if President Trump allows himself to be persuaded by whatever threats or promises the Justice Department and the US intelligence community make to him, then he is a fool.

I do not know what is in the memorandum, though FBI Director Christopher Wray, who read it on Sunday, was apparently profoundly shocked by its contents, leading him to demand the immediate resignation of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Comment: What's next you ask? The War of the Memos!