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Tue, 21 Nov 2017
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Eva Bartlett's Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under "Moderate" Rebel Rule

© AP/Hassan Ammar
A young boy rides his bike through the destruction of the once Jalloum neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria after it was liberated from Syrian rebels, Jan. 20, 2017
Since the liberation of Aleppo, and the restoring of peace to Madaya and al-Waer, most Western media have gone silent on the areas, even though it is now possible to visit all of them and hear from civilians who lived under the rule of "moderate rebels," which is exactly what jounalist Eva Bartlett did.

In early 2016 the hillside town of Madaya, just northwest of Damascus, was the focus of sudden Western and Gulf media campaigns featuring harrowing photos of emaciated elderly and children splashed widely across print, online and social media. Throughout 2016, these stories continued in Madaya, as well as in al-Waer, Homs, and in eastern-Aleppo areas.

The Syrian government was accused of not allowing in food and medical aid, of deliberately starving its people; the terrorists' presence was largely unmentioned. On Madaya, The Telegraph ran a headline, "Starving Syrians in besieged town of Madaya are reduced to eating cats and dogs," and subheadline, "The people of Madaya outside Damascus - besieged by regime forces and Hezbollah since July - are surviving on boiled leaves and street animals," with no mention of al-Qaeda or Ahrar al-Sham.

The Independent accused the "Assad regime" of deliberately starving 40,000 civilians and, while citing the Red Cross in the article, neglected to cite that organization stating it had sent in food aid in October 2015, and also failed to mention al-Qaeda's presence in the town. In the same vein, the New York Times ran a piece stating aid was denied from coming in, while also ignoring the realities on the ground and prior aid deliveries.


The Sinister War On Cash As A Means of Eliminating Our Privacy and Autonomy

Has it ever occurred to you that when you have no cash, you have no privacy?
An operation that began as a seemingly obscure academic discussion three years ago is now becoming a full-blown propaganda campaign by some of the most powerful institutions in the industrialized world. This is what rightly should be termed the War on Cash. Like the War on Terror, the War on Cancer or the War on Drugs, its true agenda is sinister and opaque. If we are foolish enough to swallow the propaganda for complete elimination of cash in favor of pure digital bank money, we can pretty much kiss our remaining autonomy and privacy goodbye. George Orwell's 1984 will be here on steroids.

Let me be clear. Here we discuss not various block-chain digital technologies, so-called crypto-currencies. We are not addressing private payment systems such as China's WeChat. Nor do we discuss e-banking or use of bank credit cards such as Visa or Master Card or others. These are of an entirely different quality from the goal of the ongoing sinister war on cash. They are all private services not state.

What we are discussing is a plot, and it is a plot, by leading central banks, select governments, the International Monetary Fund in collusion with major international banks to force citizens-in other words, us!-to give up holding cash or using it to pay for purchases. Instead we would be forced to use digital bank credits. The difference, subtle though it may at first seem, is huge. As in India following the mad Modi US-inspired war on cash late in 2016, citizens would forever lose their personal freedom to decide how to pay or their privacy in terms of money. If I want to buy a car and pay cash to avoid bank interest charges, I cannot. My bank will limit the amount of digital money I can withdraw on any given day. If I want to stay in a nice hotel to celebrate a special day and pay cash for reasons of privacy, not possible. But this is just the surface.


Donald Trump and American History have been assassinated

© Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
When Trump was elected I wrote that it was unlikely that he would be successful in accomplishing the three objectives for which he was elected - peace with Russia, the return home of offshored US jobs, and effective limits on non-white immigration - because these objectives conflicted with the interests of those more powerful than the president.

Heart - Black

Van Mows Down People on Barcelona's Ramblas: 13 confirmed dead, dozens injured - UPDATES

The van thought to have been used in the attack.
Up to 13 people are feared dead and dozens have been injured after a van crashed into a crowd of people in central Barcelona, as police confirmed that one suspected attacker has been arrested.

Catalonia's TV3 reported that 13 people had died and dozens were injured, but these numbers have not been confirmed by Spanish authorities. Catalan police have so far confirmed one death and said 32 people have been injured, 10 of them seriously.

Spanish police, who are treating the incident as a terrorist attack, said the "massive crash" happened on Las Ramblas in an area of the city popular with tourists.

This is the latest terrorist attack using a vehicle in Europe, following similar atrocities in Nice, Berlin and London that have claimed more than 100 lives in total.

Television pictures showed a crashed van stopped on top of a Joan Míro mosaic halfway down Las Ramblas. It reportedly entered the wide boulevard where it meets the Plaça de Catalunya, then drove towards the port area, meaning it would have covered more than 500 metres.

Comment: Coming just a few weeks before Catalonia's referendum, this event will surely be used by Spanish authorities to argue for a 'No' vote. After all, if this kind of attack can happen in the heart of Catalonia, surely Catalonians are safer, and therefore better off, in the bosom of the Spanish state.

Coming just a few days after the 'car attack' in Charlottesville in the US, it is also a 'timely' reminder to the people of Western nations that the world is a very dangerous and threatening place, and all right-thinking people should place their trust and faith in the protective power of their respective states.

Update 1

The first footage of the crash scene has made it online. An eyewitness told RT:
"I saw bunch of people running and screaming," said Sissing, on holiday in Spain from the UK. "The van was speeding through under the trees in the pedestrian area. The van was going - I don't know - at 80 to 100kmh. It was really fast. It was knocking people down - maybe 10 or 15 people. Then the van stopped, and it was pretty badly damaged when I saw it. There were hundreds of people there. Then accelerated again, and kept on going. I saw at least 10 people on the ground, some receiving treatment."
RT journalist Daniel Chalyan was on the scene:
"There was panic. People were running everywhere down the wrong side of the street. No one knew what had actually happened - people said that someone had planted a bomb," Chalyan said. "Police ordered us to hide. I am in a clothing store with two owners, and six customers. The windows are shuttered, we are on lockdown and still can't get out, though the situation outside is getting calmer."
Police reportedly have one suspect in custody in connection with a terrorism charge. Spanish media are circulating a photo and name (Driss Oukabir) alleged to be of a suspect.

And now, on cue: ISIS has claimed responsibility, via its Amaq "news agency".

Update 2

A Spanish news station reports that, surprise surprise, a passport was conveniently found inside the van used in the attack. Also, the CIA reportedly warned the Catalan police of a possible van ramming attack a few months ago. The more news that comes out, the more this begins to look like state-sponsored terror.

Update 3

Driss Oukabir has handed himself in to police, claiming that his identity stolen and that he had nothing to do with the attack.

The driver of the van remains at large. Police just say 'he ran off on foot...'

Update 4

Two men are now in custody, but neither was the driver. One is Moroccan, the other from Melilla, a Spanish enclave. A second van was found north of Barcelona, in the town of Vic; it was reportedly intended to be a getaway vehicle.

At 7:30pm local time, a second attack took place at a police checkpoint on Barcelona's Avinguda Diagonal. Two officers were run over; the driver was shot dead by police. It's not yet clear if this is connected to the van attack.

Another incident - a house explosion last night at a house in Alcanar that killed 1 (a Moroccan) and injured 6 - is believed to be connected with today's attack. Firefighters found about 20 gas cylinders at the scene and documents that police say link the site to today's attack.

Update 5 (Aug. 18)

In another one of those strange coincidences, the mother of a woman who survived the Bataclan Theatre attack in France witnessed the Barcelona attack. See RT's interview with the mother here. 119 were injured in the van ramming, 15 seriously. The death toll is now up to 14. More footage of the aftermath here. And the first CCTV footage of the van itself, briefly visible through the window of a museum:

Two more men have been brought into custody, bringing the total to 4 (3 Moroccans and 1 Spaniard), but the driver is still yet to be identified, according to Catalan regional police official Josep Lluis Trapero.
"None of the four detainees arrested [following] the Cambrils and #Barcelona attacks had a history of terrorism-related offenses," Catalan police tweeted.

The detained suspects were preparing a bigger attack, according to police. "They were preparing one or several attacks in Barcelona and an explosion in Alcanar stopped this as they no longer had the material they needed to commit attacks of an even bigger scope," said Trapero said, as cited by AFP.

Police said they are investigating if the terrorists had been being planning the attacks for some time. "We work with the hypothesis that the suspects were preparing both attacks for some time in this building of Alcanar. It was a group, we do not know the specific number, but we do not rule out having other attacks in mind. They are all identified," he said.
At least one of the suspects was arrested in the town of Ripoll, police said earlier. "There could be more people in Ripoll connected to the group,'' regional Interior Ministry chief Joaquim Forn told TV3 television, as cited by AP. He added that "a numerous group" could be behind the attack, in an interview to Onda Cero radio.
Turns out Catalan police allegedly were warned by the CIA of a possible attack on Las Ramblas 2 months ago:
The CIA told Los Mossos, the Catalonian regional police force, that Barcelona was a top target for jihadist terrorists as recently as June this year, El Peridoco, a local paper, reported on Friday.

"Two months ago the Central Intelligence Agency passed a notice to the Catalan autonomous police," the paper said. "It even warned of the risk to Las Ramblas," the pedestrian thoroughfare hit by an attack on Thursday.

The Telegraph could not immediately verify the report.
Update 6

Another attack, this time at Cambrils near Barcelona: At least six injured after car rams pedestrians at Cambrils seafront near Barcelona, five suspected terrorists killed in police shootout

Update 7 (August 19)

In the Cambrils attack, one Spanish police officer reportedly killed 4 of the attackers while protecting his wounded partner. After ramming 4 people on the beach promenade, their car hit a police cruiser and overturned:
The terrorists got out of the vehicle and attempted to stab pedestrians with knives and an axe. They were wearing items resembling suicide vests which turned out to be fake.

Two officers were inside the police car. One of them suffered head and leg injuries in the crash and his partner was forced to confront the attackers on his own.

He shot and killed four of them.

Graphic footage of the confrontation, obtained by La Vanguardia, captured the moment one of the terrorists was being gunned down by the officer with several onlookers watching on in shock.

The perpetrator is seen taunting the officer, shouting: "Allahu akbar," and ignoring commands to surrender and lay down. After the first shots were fired at him, the suspect falls to the ground, but quickly stands up and continues running until more bullets hit him.

The name of the policeman who killed the four terrorists remains undisclosed. La Vanguardia reports that psychologists counseled him after the incident.

The fifth attacker managed to flee while injuring a woman who later died in hospital. He was shot dead by another police unit shortly afterwards.

Police identified all 5 terrorist cell members killed in Cambrils, but are still unsure if one of them was the driver of the van involved in the Barcelona ramming earlier.

Three Moroccans and one Spaniard have been detained in relation to the Catalonia vehicle ramming attacks. Police said the cell of at least 12 members were preparing a bigger bombing attack. Out of 3 remaining identified suspects, two might have been killed in the blast in Alcanar, and at least one - Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22 - is still at large.
All five of those killed are Moroccans: Omar Hychami, 21, born in Morocco; 19-year-old Moroccans Houssaine Abouyaaqoub and Said Aallaa; Mohamed Hychami, 24, born in Morocco and Moussa Oukabir, 17.

Authorities are linking the Cambrils and Barcelona attacks, calling them a 'plan B' after the bomb plot was disrupted by the seemingly accidental explosion in Alcanar.

Update 8 (August 20)

A missing Australian boy has been confirmed dead in the attack. Authorities say the Sagrada Familia was the prime target of the botched bomb plot. No word on how exactly the police have confirmed that, however (perhaps from those in custody?). Here's the latest on the house explosion:
Examining the ruins of the Alcanar explosion site, investigators found an arsenal of explosive material; including dozens of tanks of butane gas and traces of the triacetate triperoxide (TATP) explosive, dubbed the 'Mother of Satan.'

Triacetone triperoxide has been used by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorists before - the 7/7 bombings in London and the November 2015 Paris attacks. TATP which looks like a white powder is highly unstable and difficult to detect; but it can explode with a force that's roughly 80 percent as strong as TNT. Terrorists presumably planned to detonate the gas by using TATP explosives.
Police raided the house of a local imam, Abdelbak Es Satty, believed to be connected with the group.
Officers were reportedly seeking to find DNA samples of the cleric, identified as Abdelbaki Es Satty, which might link him to the terrorist hideout in Alcanar, where an explosion destroyed a house on Wednesday.

The Alcanar house reportedly served as the base from which the terrorists were preparing their attacks. The imam went missing several days ago and was last seen Tuesday, Reuters reported citing Es Satty's landlord.

Investigators believe he might be one of the two dead persons discovered in the rubble of the house in Alcanar.

Authorities did not find the imam in the small apartment. One of the rooms, reports say, was sublet to a Moroccan. In the living room, police discovered a mattress with the sheets on the floor, a five-seater corner sofa and a TV, El Pais reports.

Es Satty has been a practicing imam in Ripoll since 2015 and taught Arabic classes to young children of the congregation. He is believed to be the religious mentor of several of the identified terrorists who lived in the same town, namely: brothers Driss and Moussa Oukabirm as well as Mohammed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub, who is considered the mastermind of the Barcelona attack and currently on the run.
Satty could have also influenced Said Aallaa, another terrorist cell member, who came from the town of Ribes de Freser, 13 kilometers from Ripoll.

The Ripoll imam was allegedly imprisoned at Castellón jail between 2010 and 2012 for drug-related offenses, according to anti-terrorist sources cited by El Confidencial. Neighbors of the cleric, however, note his humble behavior and his ability not to stand out from the crowd.
See also: Update 9 (August 21)

The suspect at large - Younes Abouyaaqoub, believed to have been the driver of the Barcelona attack - was shot and killed (though an earlier report said shot and arrested) today in Subirats, about an hour away from Barcelona. He was reportedly wearing a fake suicide belt.
Local media said police managed to find and shoot him on a road near a sewage treatment plant.
Police have also confirmed that one of those killed in the Alcanar explosion was imam Abdelbaki Es Satty:
"On Tuesday morning, he left saying he was going on vacation to Morocco," said fruit-seller Nordeen El Haji, 45, who four months ago moved into the apartment that Satty occupied in Ripoll.

The decrepit two-room flat rented for 150 euros ($175) a month has a view of the tree-covered Pyrenees and the red roofs of the quaint Catalonian town, 90 kilometres (50 miles) north of Barcelona.
"He spoke little, spent time with his computer in his room, and had an old mobile phone with no internet, and few books," said Satty's flatmate.
As local media speculated on the influence of the imam on the young attackers, his flatmate said that in the last four months, he had not hosted any youths in the apartment.

"This imam was normal and ordinary in public," said Mohamed Akhayad, a 26-year-old Moroccan electrician-mechanic, who sometimes went to the prayer hall that opened in 2016 where he preached.

"If he ate up the brains of these youths, he must have done it secretly, in a secret place," he said at the main Moroccan cafe in town.
Another Moroccan, who did not want to give his name, described the imam as "very solitary, and hung out more with these youths than with people of his age".

The 43-year-old man said he knew the young suspects in the attacks, as he had organised football matches with them.
In Sant Pere street where the imam lived, a 64-year-old local, Francesc Gimeno, said the man "had a reputation of being very Islamist".

"He wanted all the Moroccans to think like him, putting religion above all," said Gimeno, saying he also "required Moroccan women in town to cover themselves".

But Hammou Minhaj, 30, a Moroccan and secretary of Ripoll's Muslim community, said: "He doesn't say that here at the mosque. Outside, I don't know."

Satty arrived in Ripoll in 2015, said Minhaj.

- 'Knows the Koran better than us' -

But then "he went to Belgium as imam, at least that's what he said, before returning to Ripoll," added Minhaj.

"He started as an imam in our new mosque in April 2016. What's important is that he knows the Koran better than we do."

But at the end of June, the imam asked for three months' leave to go to Morocco on holiday, Minhaj said.

In Belgium, the mayor of the Vilvorde region told AFP that Satty spent time in the Brussels suburb of Machelen between January and March 2016.

Brussel's Molenbeek suburb -- on the other side of the city -- has gained notoriety as a hotbed of international jihadists after the March 2016 Brussels attacks and the November 2015 Paris assaults.

In the Moroccan town of M'rirt, relatives of the 22-year-old who police believe drove the van into crowds in Barcelona, Younes Abouyaaqoub, also accused the imam of radicalising the young man as well as his brother Houssein.

"Over the last two years, Younes and Houssein began to radicalise under the influence of this imam," their grandfather told AFP
A neighbour close to the Abouyaaquob family, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the imam "had recruited Moroccans of Ripoll and planned the attacks".

"He took leave from the mosque saying he had to return to Morocco to deal with inheritance problems. So another imam was found to replace him at the mosque, but a few days before the attacks, he was seen in Ripoll," added the source, who also has family in the small town.
Update 10 (Aug. 22)

Barcelona attack suspect tells court that cell planned bigger attack with explosives


Chomsky gets it right: Antifa is wrong in principle, self-destructive and a major gift to the militant right

The violent tactics employed by Antifa are actually fueling the militant right and perpetuating an endless feedback loop of violence and hate.

Progressive intellectual icon Noam Chomsky has publicly stated that the Antifa movement, while being embraced by the mainstream media after the recent violence in Charlottesville, will only serve to embolden militant right-wing extremists - essentially creating a feedback loop of escalating violence.

"As for Antifa, it's a minuscule fringe of the Left, just as its predecessors were. It's a major gift to the right, including the militant right, who are exuberant," Chomsky told the Washington Examiner.

While the mass media has taken up the cause of portraying Antifa as freedom fighters who defend against "Nazis," the reality is starkly different, as many of the activists affiliated with the movement consider themselves left-anarchists or socialists, who often wear all black and masks to conceal their identity.

Chomsky said, "what they do is often wrong in principle - like blocking talks - and [the movement] is generally self-destructive."


Hyper-activists target Confederate monuments across U.S. as Baltimore calls for them to be torn down - UPDATES

© WNCN-TV video screenshot
Activists deface public property in Durham, NC.
Monuments to Confederate generals and to those who fought for the South during the American Civil War have been targeted by protesters in a number of US cities, following the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A protester in Richmond, Virginia climbed on a statue of Confederate General J.E.B Stuart and placed a black flag on the monument, cheered on by other demonstrators.

"Tear the racist statues down," the crowd yelled as the masked man ascended the memorial.

Comment: Protestors have already defaced two such monuments in Durham, NC, and Atlanta, GA, in the past 3 days. RT reports on the events in Atlanta:
Several dozen activists marched into Atlanta's Piedmont Park on Sunday evening and gathered around the Peace Monument, defacing it with red spray paint. Video from the scene shows one masked activist climbing on top of the statue and wrapping a chain around it. At one point, a piece of the monument fell on one of the protesters.

The protest was organized by All Out Atlanta, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described as a collection of "progressive and other left-leaning groups," including "antifa" and Black Lives Matter.

"Liberal society has blood on its hands," the group said in a press release cited by the newspaper. All Out Atlanta also accused the American Civil Liberties Union of being "spineless" for defending "fascists' right to assemble" in Charlottesville.

... a group of black-clad, masked "antifa" activists shouted abuse at a lone police officer trying to stop them from tearing down the Peace Monument. The Journal-Constitution reported that Black Lives Matter protesters shielded the officer, who was African-American, from "antifa" activists.

One person "who spoke briefly of reconciliation was met with boos and catcalls," the paper reported.

On Monday, the group that erected the monument in 1911 said it would raise money for repairs. John Green, a former commander of the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard, said that removing the monument from the city park was "not an option."
According to the official Georgia tourism site, at the monument's dedication in 1911, "over 50,000 veterans from both the North and the South, many of whom once fought each other, marched in a parade down Peachtree Street" to Piedmont Park.
Symbol of peace and reconciliation: still racist, apparently. As for Durham:
A protester climbed a ladder on the side of a Confederate monument outside a Durham, North Carolina, courthouse Monday evening as chants of "We, we are the revolution!" and "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!" rang out below.

Raw video showed a yellow line tossed up to her, which she secured around the statue's neck - and then the protesters below pulled the line and toppled the statue into a crumpled heap. And the crowd, not surprisingly, went wild.
© WNCN-TV video screenshot
And for good measure, protesters gave the statue extra doses of punishment.

They took turns giving it the middle finger and spitting on it.

And they also stomped and kicked it "Office Space"-style:

Durham police told WNCN-TV that they monitored the protests to make sure they were "safe" but didn't interfere with the statue toppling since it occurred on county property.

Durham County Sheriff's deputies videotaped the statue toppling, the station added, but didn't intervene, either.

After the statue came down, protesters began marching and blocking traffic, WNCN said.

"Today, we got a small taste of justice," protester Jose Ramos told the station after the statue was pulled down.

"When I see a Confederate statue in downtown Durham, or really anywhere, it fills me with a lot of rage and frustration," protest organizer Loan Tran said to WNCN.

Protest leaders told the station Monday's demonstration was in reaction to the deadly clash of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend and was meant to "smash white supremacy."

"People can be mobilized and people are angry and when enough people are angry, we don't have to look to politicians to sit around in air conditions [sic] and do nothing when we can do things ourselves," Takiyah Thompson, a protester, added to WNCN.
Isn't destruction of public property a crime? More to the point, do these "protestors" not see the logical consequence to their actions? Update: While no one was arrested for tearing down the statue in Durham on Monday, today County Sheriff Andrews announced that investigators are working on identifying the vandals and bringing criminal charges against them.
"We decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority," Andrews said in a statement posted on his agency's website. "As the Sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct."

He continued: "My deputies showed great restraint and respect for the constitutional rights of the group expressing their anger and disgust for recent events in our country. Racism and incivility have no place in our country or Durham."
Update (Aug. 16): It looks like Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott's calls for "immediate" removal were literal. On Monday, the Baltimore City Council passed a resolution for the monuments' removal, and overnight last night, four were removed by city crews.

As for the Durham vandalism, arrests have been made:
The protester who climbed a ladder to help bring down a Confederate soldier statue was arrested Tuesday, and Sheriff Mike Andrews said his office will pursue felony charges against others.

"Let me be clear, no one is getting away with what happened," Andrews said.

Takiyah Thompson, a member of Workers World Party and student at N.C. Central University, was arrested after activists held a press conference at NCCU Tuesday afternoon.

In a release Thompson said she was the one who tied a rope around the soldier's neck so that others could pull the statue to the ground.

The protest left The Confederate Soldiers Monument, dedicated on May 10, 1924, headless on the grass.

Thompson was charged with participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H Felony) and inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F Felony), the Sheriff's Office said.

She also was charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to real property, both misdemeanors.
Activists are demanding all charges be dropped and that Gov. Cooper call for the immediate removal of all other Confederate statues.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called his city's Confederate statues "monuments of propaganda", acknowledging the growing calls for their removal:
"This is simple. We could remove them, the question is, how do we heal on this issue? To do that we have to talk and listen to one another," said Rawlings.

Coupled with citizen input, the task force will report to the city council during the next 90 days.
This comes after "a coalition of Dallas community and religious leaders issued a letter calling for such action". Yet another group made up predominantly of African Americans has called for them to stay. See: Mostly black group works to protect Confederate statues in Dallas

Meanwhile, black lawmakers in the Capitol are saying its 9+ Confederate statues should go:
"We will never solve America's race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States in order to keep African-Americans in chains. By the way, thank god, they lost," Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) told ABC News.

However, a CBC aide told The Hill that the group is not currently working on any legislative efforts, like resolutions or letters, on Confederate statues in the Capitol. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the sole African-American member of the Mississippi delegation, said: "It is past time for action to remove all Confederate symbols in the U.S. Capitol and on the Mississippi state flag." Previous calls for their removal have been unsuccessful. Only states have the power to remove those statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection. Rep. Hank Johnson, another Black Caucus member, has a slightly different take, however: "Congressman Johnson believes we should revise and supplement history with statues of other Americans who have contributed to our collective experience and story. The goal should be revision and inclusion as opposed to the obliteration of the nation's history," Johnson spokesman Andy Phelan said.
Update: Three more of the Durham activists have been arrested: Dante Strobino (35), Ngoc Loan Tran (24) and Peter Gull (39). All three, like Thompson (already arrested), are associated with the World Workers Party. Tran and Strobino are charged with felonies relating to inciting and participating in a riot that damaged property.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has called for the removal of a giant mountainside carving depicting Confederate figures, saying it "remains a blight on our state".
Removing the faces of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson would take a monster of a sandblaster and require a change in state law. The Georgia code has a clear mandate for the memorial, saying it should be "preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause."

Lawmakers and civil rights groups have called for the removal of Confederate symbols at the memorial for years. After the 2015 shooting deaths of nine black worshipers by a white supremacist in Charleston, several legislators pushed for a boycott until Rebel flags at the site come down.
© Stone Mountain/AJC file
Update: A judge in Gwinnett County, Georgia, has been suspended for saying: "The nut cases tearing down monuments are equivalent to ISIS destroying history."
On Saturday, Hinkle had written that protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia were "snowflakes" with "no concept of history," as they came to counter a rally of white nationalists who gathered to oppose the planned relocation of a statue to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

"In Charlottesville everyone is upset over Robert E. Lee statue," Hinkle's post said. "It looks like all of the snowflakes have no concept of history. It is what it is. Get over it and move on. Leave history alone - those who ignore history are deemed (sic) to repeat the mistake of the past."

That post was written approximately an hour before a car crashed into a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, killing a woman and injuring 19 other people. Police have charged the driver, who reportedly took part in the white nationalist rally, with second-degree murder.

"I have suspended Judge Hinkle effective immediately while I consider the appropriate final action," Gwinnett County Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) Tuesday.

Hinkle told the AJC he didn't "see anything controversial" about the posts.

"But you know, with the way things are going in the world today, I guess everything's controversial," he told the outlet.
Hysteria. His comment shouldn't have been controversial. In the face of public outcry, the civil way to remove an offensive statue or monument is to do so legally, and preserve the works for history - if such a step must be taken. Destruction of works of art and history is a crime. The library of Alexandria had some offensive books in it. The statues destroyed by ISIS were of heathen gods and ancient killers. Neither of those things justify the willful destruction of history. So yes, there is a comparison to be made between ISIS, book-burning Nazis, and monument-destroying leftists.

Update (Aug. 17): Trump's Interior Department has stated it won't be removing monuments to Confederate soldiers at national battlefields that are "an important part of our country's history."
"The National Park Service is committed to safeguarding these memorials while simultaneously educating visitors holistically and objectively about the actions, motivations and causes of the soldiers and states they commemorate," spokesman Jeremy Barnum told E&E News.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he supports Trump "in uniting our communities and prosecuting the criminals to the fullest extent of the law."

"The racism, bigotry and hate perpetrated by violent white supremacist groups has no place in America," Zinke told E&E News. "It does not represent what I spent 23 years defending in the United States military and what millions of people around the globe have died for. We must respond to hate with love, unity and justice."

The National Park Service maintains numerous monuments to Confederate soldiers at battlefield sites across the country.

For example, Gettysburg, Penn., has 12 monuments to Confederate soldiers. The Battle of Antietam, which took place near Sharpsburg, Md., in 1862, has six Confederate monuments.

A Gettysburg National Military Park spokeswoman told The Evening Sun Wednesday they were not removing Confederate monuments to those who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

"These memorials, erected predominantly in the early and mid-20th century, are an important part of the cultural landscape," Katie Lawhon said.

Zinke told reporters in July that battlefield monuments were worth preserving for their historical value.

"Don't rewrite history," Zinke said Antietam National Battlefield. "Understand it for what it is and teach our kids the importance of looking at our magnificent history as a country and why we are what we are."
Donna Brazile has called for the removal of 8 Confederate statues displayed in Congress. Amy Moreno writes, for TruthFeed:
The left is continuing their push to erase all Confederate monuments.

Just like ISIS, liberals are running from town to town, tearing down our Confederate statues, in the name of progressiveness and political correctness.

It's one of the most disgusting and disturbing things I have witnessed from the left.

Confederate statues today...

What will it be tomorrow?

Books, movies, classic music?

Where does the left-wing purge of all "offensive" culture end?
Update: The number of Durham arrests is now up to 8.
Hundreds of people tried to symbolically turn themselves in before being directed away from the courthouse. "We do not want charges, especially felony charges brought against those who acted in our best interest," activist Serena Sebring told reporters at the courthouse Thursday. Sebring said she was not involved in Monday's action but was rallying with hundreds of others in support of those arrested and charged.
Four more activists turned themselves in Thursday, with the solidarity group accompanying them to jail. They have been identified as Raul Jimenez, 26, Aaron Caldwell, 24, Elena Everett, 27 and Taylor Cook, 24, all residents of Durham. They have been charged with three misdemeanor counts of causing injury to property and defacing a public monument, and two felonies for participating and inciting a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500. They will appear in court on Friday.

Caldwell told the Durham Herald-Sun he was notified by a legal team associated with the activists that there was a warrant for his arrest.

The crowd then returned to the courthouse where three other activists, who were arrested by Durham County sheriff deputies Wednesday, were scheduled for a court hearing. Those were identified as Peter Gilbert, 36, Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35 and Loan Tran, 24 all of Durham.
"Our response to the charges that have been brought against myself and others involved and Takiyah, are [that] the charges are outrageous, the charges are unnecessary," Tran told the Herald-Sun. Tran added that the charges represented "a deeply racist, white supremacist system that is more interested in preserving its relics of white supremacy." She said people in her community are more concerned with issues surrounding policing, incarceration, education and immigration justice, "issues that are impacting our people every single day."

The three activists were given a court date of September 12.
Local lawmakers tried to intervene on behalf of the activists. Durham City Council member Charlie Reece approached Sheriff Mike Andrews not to press felony charges against the accused. Reece had questioned whether the statue, which he called a "hunk of junk metal" was worth $1,500, according to the Herald-Sun.
No, not outrageous or unnecessary. Just because you have an idiosyncratic view of history, that does not mean destroying public property, and art no less, is okay. It's still illegal. The United States during the Civil War was "deeply racist", on both sides. That doesn't mean that history should be effaced and destroyed. Instead it should be understood. But emotion trumps understanding for activists like this.

Update (Aug. 18): Vandals defaced (literally) a Robert E. Lee statue near the entrance of Duke Chapel in North Carolina on the night of the 16th/17th. And a statue of Supreme Court justice Roger B. Taney (who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision upholding slavery and denying African Americans citizenship) was legally removed from Maryland State House grounds this morning.

In other news, VICE magazine tweeted a call to blow up Mount Rushmore (and subsequently deleted it). They explained that the tweet was a failed "rhetorical device", misguided and insensitive. It's unclear what point they were actually trying to make. Since VICE isn't exactly right-leaning, they presumably weren't intending on pointing out the absurdity of destroying history.

Update (Aug. 19): A handy list of monuments removed, covered, or vandalized recently:
A statue of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to African-Americans, was removed from the grounds of the Maryland State House Friday and trucked away to storage. Three of four voting members of the State House Trust voted to move the bronze statue, which was erected in 1872.

The city removed a granite fountain Friday that stood in a park as a monument to Confederate soldiers since 1916. One of a few people on hand to oppose the removal was detained when she defied orders to vacate the grounds of the fountain. She was later released.

The city near the Canadian border removed signs identifying Pickett Bridge, which was named for Confederate Capt. George E. Pickett. North of Vancouver, former highway markers honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis were splashed with red or black paint at a park on private land Friday.

The Dallas-area theme park Six Flags Over Texas will no longer fly the Confederate flag. The park named for the six flags that have flown over the state said Friday that will now fly six American flags.

Transit officials will alter subway tiles at a Manhattan station that have a cross-like design similar to that of the Confederate flag. The design at the 40th Street entrance to the Times Square stop isn't flag-related but transit officials said they want to avoid confusion about their meaning. Earlier this week, plaques honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee were removed from the property of a now-closed Brooklyn church. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called on the Army to rename two streets at Fort Hamilton that honor Lee and another Confederate general.

A statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Duke University was found defaced Thursday. The statue in the entryway to Duke Chapel had damage to its nose. Another monument of a Confederate soldier that stood in front of a government office building in town was pulled down by protesters Monday night. Four people have been arrested, and authorities say more arrests are planned. Earlier, two statues in Wilmington were defaced with spray paint.

A statue outside a courthouse dedicated to Confederate soldiers was vandalized. Obscenities and other graffiti were spray-painted on the 1908 monument sometime before dawn Thursday. The damage was repaired.

A plaque honoring confederate soldiers was removed Wednesday from a cemetery and a second monument will be taken down later. The plaque lauded "the valiant" Confederate soldiers buried there. Mayor Paul Soglin said the Civil War was "a defense of the deplorable practice of slavery."

A Confederate monument outside Phoenix was found covered in tar and feathers on Thursday. Earlier, the Confederate Troops Memorial outside the Arizona Capitol was spray-painted white. It was the second time in a week that the memorial had been vandalized.

Four Confederacy-related monuments were hauled away on trucks under cover of darkness late Tuesday night and early Wednesday. Mayor Catherine Pugh said she was concerned that such statues might spark violence.

A 1914 monument honoring fallen Confederate soldiers was splattered with paint earlier this week. Opponents are signing a petition to have it removed from a neighborhood near the University of Tennessee campus.

A 52-foot-tall obelisk honoring Confederate soldiers and sailors was covered by wooden panels at the mayor's order. The 1905 monument is in a downtown park. The cover-up Tuesday prompted a lawsuit by Alabama's attorney general, who argues that it violates a new law prohibiting the removal of historical structures, including rebel memorials.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where many movie legends are interred, removed a 6-foot Confederate monument that was erected in 1925. The stone and attached plaque stood near the graves of more than 30 Confederate veterans and their families.

The city removed a plaque naming Confederate President Jefferson Davis from a downtown plaza Wednesday. The 1926 plaque honored San Diego as the Western terminus of the Jefferson Davis Highway between Virginia and California.


How to know you're in a mass hysteria bubble

© Unknown
History is full of examples of Mass Hysterias. They happen fairly often. The cool thing about mass hysterias is that you don't know when you are in one. But sometimes the people who are not experiencing the mass hysteria can recognize when others are experiencing one, if they know what to look for.

I'll teach you what to look for.


Left inflames tensions further, Muslim civil rights org calls for removal of ALL Confederate references throughout USA

© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The executive director of CAIR, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization, called for cities and states to scrub all Confederate references in light of the white supremacist terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.
America's largest Muslim civil rights organization is asking state and local governments across the country to remove or change the name of anything named after Confederate sympathizers.

Nihad Awad, national executive director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, told the Daily Caller on Monday that doing so would be a "fitting response" to the deadly domestic terror attack that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In that attack, James Fields, an alleged white supremacist, plowed over a group of people on a pedestrian walkway in downtown Charlottesville, killing one woman, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 others.

White supremacists showed up in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general.

Comment: It doesn't sound like the left is looking for peaceful resolution to the building tensions in the US, instead they're pouring gasoline onto a nasty fire.


Welcome to Charlottesville - proof that political correctness is destroying America

© Joshua Roberts / Reuters
White supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017.
The events that just rocked Charlottesville, Virginia are symptomatic of every ailment now infecting the US political body - extreme political correctness, intolerance of free speech, and a police presence that seems designed to promote violence rather than curb it.

If ever there was a lightning rod for attracting the disciples of Liberalism and political correctness, the new creed that is destroying honest debate and discourse in the 'Land of the Free,' you could do no worse than a bronze statue of Robert E. Lee in the town square. For those who never heard of the man, Lee was a very skilled general who led the South's Confederate forces against Lincoln's Union during the Civil War, the bloodiest US military conflict to date.


Sanity from The Nation: DNC hack was probably an inside job

Former NSA experts say it wasn't a hack at all, but a leak-an inside job by someone with access to the DNC's system.

It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee's mail system was compromised - a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting on behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president's ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia's energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation's economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War's worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC's mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that "hack" and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.