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Fri, 24 Feb 2017
The World for People who Think

Ambulance

Aleppo: World's biggest hostage crisis comes to an end - but the fake news continues

As Syrian government forces recapture more parts of eastern Aleppo, many civilians are risking their lives to flee the besieged opposition-controlled areas, telling the world that the so-called "rebels" stop at nothing to prevent people from leaving.

The Syrian government and its Russian allies have long accused armed opposition groups in Aleppo of holding civilians hostage, whereas western governments and media have been promoting a different narrative in tune with "rebel" and "activist" sources. This narrative is now falling apart.

When government forces first managed to encircle the opposition-held districts of Aleppo in July of this year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the opening of humanitarian corridors "to aid civilians held hostage by terrorists and for fighters wishing to lay down their arms."[1]

Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, said in a July 26 letter to the Security Council that "the Syrian Army informed the civilian residents of those neighborhoods that it has secured safe passages, for those who want to safely exit those areas, and that it has allocated temporary accommodation for them."

Eye 2

US Empire goes from protecting war criminal Cheney from prosecution to honoring him with a bust at Emancipation Hall

© Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
As vice president, Dick Cheney was a prime architect of the worldwide torture regime implemented by the U.S. government (which extended far beyond waterboarding), as well as the invasion and destruction of Iraq, which caused the deaths of at least 500,000 people and more likely over a million. As such, he is one of the planet's most notorious war criminals.

President Obama made the decision in early 2009 to block the Justice Department from criminally investigating and prosecuting Cheney and his fellow torturers, as well as to protect them from foreign investigations and even civil liability sought by torture victims. Obama did that notwithstanding a campaign decree that even top Bush officials are subject to the rule of law and, more importantly, notwithstanding a treaty signed in 1984 by Ronald Reagan requiring that all signatory states criminally prosecute their own torturers. Obama's immunizing Bush-era torturers converted torture from a global taboo and decades-old crime into a reasonable, debatable policy question, which is why so many GOP candidates are now openly suggesting its use.

But now, the Obama administration has moved from legally protecting Bush-era war criminals to honoring and gushing over them in public. Yesterday, the House of Representatives unveiled a marble bust of former Vice President Cheney, which — until a person of conscience vandalizes or destroys it — will reside in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol.

Pistol

Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?

Image
© U.S. Navy
View of the airfield at Naval Air Station (NAS) Ford Island and flames from burning ships in the background taken during the Japanese attack, 7 December 1941.
On Dec. 8, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt took the rostrum before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war on Japan.

A day earlier, at dawn, carrier-based Japanese aircraft had launched a sneak attack devastating the U.S. battle fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Said ex-President Herbert Hoover, Republican statesman of the day, "We have only one job to do now, and that is to defeat Japan."

But to friends, "the Chief" sent another message: "You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bit."

Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoover's explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West.

Edited by historian George Nash, Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.

Caesar

Duterte, fighting for his country and his life, enjoys outpouring of support from Filipinos

© AFLO / Global Look Press
There is a sense of change in those narrow and desperate alleys of the Baseco slum in the Philippines' capital Manila. For the first time in many years a beautiful, noble lady visited; against all odds she decided to stay. Her name is Hope.

Baseco is a tough, crime-ridden region built from cartons and metal sheets, even rusty containers; everything is thrown together in startling fashion, right near the shipyard.

Here, the lips of the people used to be sealed, expressions on their faces incessantly desperate. Now everyone speaks, some even smile shyly, adults and children, women who look sixty at the age of thirty, as well as tough looking men.

"I support Duterte!" declares Ms. Imelda Rodriguez, who works as a physiotherapist here, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development. "Now children get free education and 'medical missions' provide basic medical care. We also receive allowances, and the government provides jobs. We are still lacking electricity, but at least the municipality is providing free drinking water."

Camcorder

Aleppo almost completely liberated - RT journalist first to enter eastern half since 2012 (VIDEO)

© Lizzie Phelan / Twitter
Civilians trapped in Old City finally reunite with families they've been separated from by frontline last 4 yrs.
Battles continue between pro-government forces and insurgents in Aleppo's Old City, with Damascus slowly winning back territory. RT's Lizzie Phelan and her crew were the first journalists to visit the regions just captured by the government.

"It is still not entirely safe here. The opposition forces are only a couple of hundreds of meters away. The area needs to be cleaned from unused weapons and mines left," she reported by phone.

She said her crew saw many weapons abandoned by the militants stashed in buildings, including the home-made gas cylinder rockets they have been using to shell government forces.

"The battle to take the old city over the last few days has been extremely fierce. Opposition forces have been desperate to fight back and prevent government advances. They have been relentlessly shelling the government-held areas of Aleppo. There have been many civilian casualties [there]," Phelan added.

Magnify

Here's why everything you've read about the wars in Syria and Iraq could be wrong

© Anadolu
Aleppo under siege.
The Iraqi army, backed by US-led airstrikes, is trying to capture east Mosul at the same time as the Syrian army and its Shia paramilitary allies are fighting their way into east Aleppo. An estimated 300 civilians have been killed in Aleppo by government artillery and bombing in the last fortnight, and in Mosul there are reportedly some 600 civilian dead over a month.

Despite these similarities, the reporting by the international media of these two sieges is radically different.

In Mosul, civilian loss of life is blamed on Isis, with its indiscriminate use of mortars and suicide bombers, while the Iraqi army and their air support are largely given a free pass. Isis is accused of preventing civilians from leaving the city so they can be used as human shields.

Contrast this with Western media descriptions of the inhuman savagery of President Assad's forces indiscriminately slaughtering civilians regardless of whether they stay or try to flee. The UN chief of humanitarian affairs, Stephen O'Brien, suggested this week that the rebels in east Aleppo were stopping civilians departing - but unlike Mosul, the issue gets little coverage.

Comment: It is hard enough to witness an event and be able to process correctly what one sees. It is even harder to separate out pre-conceived notions about what took place. It is even more difficult to understand and eliminate personal prejudice at an emotional level in order to suss out a particular kernel of truth. Compound these few aspects with information from a secondary source with bias, agenda and intent. The end result may truly be several generations away from reality.

What are the choices left to reporters and journalists trying to do their job? It is up to the journalists and then the news recipients to become so knowledgeable about the situation that they can filter out persuasions and suss out reality, add up the score and see what is and what doesn't fit. Trustworthy news sources are all we have to tell it like it is, no matter what it is.


Gold Seal

Eva Bartlett: How the US/Saudi-backed proxy army targets 'every Syrian' in Aleppo

© Eva Bartlett
Overlooking the terrorist-occupied Bustan al-Qasr district of eastern Aleppo. Nov. 4, 2016
'We were living in security and peace. These areas are being targeted, they want to force us to leave. Every Syrian is being targeted,' one Syrian religious leader told a delegation of reporters who visited Aleppo earlier this month.
In early November, Fares Shehabi, a member of the Syrian parliament from Aleppo, organized a trip to Aleppo for 13 Western journalists, including myself, with security provided by forces in the Syrian Arab Army.

While I had traveled to Aleppo independently as recently as July and August, for many others in the delegation, it was their first visit to the city or their first visit since the war on Syria began in 2011.

On previous visits to Aleppo, I met with the Aleppo Medical Association and saw a maternity hospital hit twice by rocket and mortar attacks by militants under Jaysh al-Fatah (the Army of Conquest), a loose alliance of anti-government terrorist groups. I met with members of a branch of the Syria Civil Defense and Christian and Muslim religious leaders. Just north of the city, I visited Nubl and Zahraa, towns besieged for more than three years by the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front, and other affiliated terrorist factions before the Syrian Arab Army drove them out in February of this year. I saw the liberated region of Bani Zaid and the al-Layramoun industrial district. I interacted with civilians in public parks, streets, and markets.

Ahead of my trip earlier this month, I was interested to see what might have changed following the liberation of still more areas by the SAA. I also hoped to speak with civilians who had fled the terrorist-held areas of Aleppo's eastern districts since I had last visited, during which time eight humanitarian corridors had been established for civilians and members of terrorist factions willing to relinquish their arms or to accept safe passage to areas in Idlib and government-secured parts of western Aleppo.

However, on Nov. 4, no one fled terrorist-held areas of Aleppo. Family members of civilians still there say their loved ones are being used as human shields by groups like the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, or Nour al-Din al-Zenki — the so-called "moderate rebels" and "opposition forces" backed by the United States, NATO, Israel and Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Yoda

Aleppo's liberation is near! Water supply restored, thousands escape to safety of Syrian government (PICS, MAPS, VIDS)

The Syrian army has just taken complete control over the Sheikh Khader and Sheikh faris districts of Aleppo. Engineering units have begun de-mining the neighborhoods.

Comment: South Front celebrates the good news:



See also: Russian Reconciliation Center: 40% of east Aleppo liberated from al-Qaeda


Wall Street

Washington Post's Sloppy 'Journalism' Blames Russia for 'Fake News' Crisis and Trump's Win, While Pushing Neo-McCarthyism

© 21st Century Wire
The mainstream media's post-election hysteria has taken on new level of crazy. It seems that The Washington Post has gone off the deep end this week, claiming that Russia is behind the "fake news" crisis which they claim helped propel an insurgent Donald Trump to victory on Nov 8th, and they are still standing by the official conspiracy theory that Russia has somehow hacked into the US elections. Everything that's wrong with the establishment media is contained within this incredible story...

The hacking claim is nothing new - backed by the White House and trumpeted by Hillary Clinton, the US mainstream media has claimed that Russia has been hacking and manipulating our US elections. The only problem is... it never happened. What's more disturbing though, is the complete collapse in journalistic standards at what used to be considered 'America's paper of record.'

It seems the The Post is playing a key role in waging a new McCarthy-style witch hunt targeting any independent websites which dare to challenge the prevailing anti-Russian party line currently dominating the mainstream political and media establishment - evident beyond any doubt after reading this latest feature in The Washington Post written by Craig Timberg entitled, 'Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, Experts say.'

Comment: The Western hive mind is in its death throes.

As one of the blacklisted news sites, Sott.net wishes to thank WaPo for the free advertising!


Che Guevara

Fidel Castro's legacy: A valuable lesson on Cuban history


Fidel Castro
The death of Fidel Castro brought public comments of some of the most rightwing nutters living in the U.S. and of some of its best people. Whoever wants to discuss Cuba, its past, present and future, should know some history. Here is a copy of a valuable lesson @The New Thinker aka Ejike gave on Twitter:

Viva Fidel. Your revolutionary courage & your commitment to fighting for the self-determination of the Cuban people will never be forgotten

To truly understand Cuba and in fact the rest of Latin America you need to study the Monroe doctrine in 1823

It's important to note that the US in the early 19th century wasn't strong enough to stop Europe from colonizing Latin America... not yet

That ended in the late 1800s. Look up the Cuban War of Independence where the Cuban people had been whooping the Spanish colonial government

Comment: