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Sat, 01 Oct 2022
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IDF to use armed drones for targeted killings in West Bank

drone
© IDF Spokesperson's Unit
IDF Drone
IDF commanders in the West Bank have been given the green light to use armed drones to carry out targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists, with the approval of Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi.

According to sources, commanders will now be allowed to use the platforms not only as cover and intelligence for forces during operations but also to carry out strikes should armed gunmen be identified as posing imminent threats to their troops.

The order comes as Israeli security forces have encountered a significant rise in shooting attacks and massive gunfire during arrest raids, specifically in the northern West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus.

On Wednesday, four Palestinians were killed and 44 others injured during an arrest raid that saw heavy gunfire targeting troops who had entered Jenin's refugee camp to arrest Abd al-Rahman Hazem, brother of the terrorist who killed three civilians on Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Street in April.

Kohavi later met with Central Command chief Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs and West Bank Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Avi Blot, and was presented with an updated assessment of the region. During the meeting, the use of the aerial platforms was discussed by the senior officers.

Stock Up

GOP Rep. Chip Roy blasts Democrats for handling of stock trading bill

Pelosi
© Screengrab
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy is ripping Democrats for claiming publicly that they support a bill aimed at preventing lawmakers from insider trading.

In a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Texas Republican slammed Democrats for not moving with any urgency to at least hold a vote on the STOCK Act.

Roy noted that he had worked with Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger on the bill that would prevent lawmakers and members of their families from trading individual stocks. He wrote:
"As you are aware, the House floor schedule this week contains the 'Possible Consideration of Legislation Related to the STOCK Act.' I am glad to see the House finally taking up the idea of reforming policies related to Member stock trading. However, as one of the original sponsors of reform language — notably introducing HR336, the TRUST in Congress Act, some 2 years ago with my Democrat colleague from Virginia, Abigail Spanberger — I was interested to see the 'final' language via Jake Sherman's Twitter account last night.

"The state of the House of Representatives is absurd — and that is not a partisan statement. Like virtually every other legislative idea or proposal, we have not had any robust debate on reforms to member stock trading or even a 'Member Day' hearing that would allow each member of the House to air individual views on the matter. This complex issue requires thought, debate, amendment, and a full airing in committee to build as much bipartisan agreement as possible rather than the normal cram-down from the top that permeates literally everything we do."
Roy said members' investments and their committee work have sparked strong bipartisan concerns about conflicts of interest. Pelosi's team dismissed Roy's concerns and accused him of politicizing the issue.

Comment: The Pelosis' stock scam? "Russia made them do it."


Whistle

Memory holed, part II: The "rigged" election

envelope
© Washington Post
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton raised doubts about elections in the same way, before and after votes.

Matt Orfalea's follow-up video his "The Russians Hacked the Election" piece rescues for posterity another key piece of history likely to be suppressed: the fact that both Democrats and Republicans raised doubts about the legitimacy of the election process. This took place not only after 2016, but both before and after the 2020 vote.

These campaigns were two sides of the same coin. Trump raised doubts about the reliability of mail-in votes, and admonished supporters ahead of time that a Trump loss should be understood as a fix. Meanwhile, Democrats and media figures — as well as a seemingly endless succession of named and unnamed intelligence sources — argued Russians were bent on corrupting the vote. Hillary Clinton went so far as to say Joe Biden shouldn't concede "under any circumstances."


Comment: May as well have two random citizens draw straws for an election outcome. At least then we could watch it happen.


Magnify

Unpacking the Ukraine 'Game Change': Is a major conflict inevitable?

Russia referendum
© REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/Strategic Culture
Any political solution – however theoretical, at this point – would involve Moscow sitting with the collective West. Kiev had become a bystander.
Russia is preparing for an escalation in this war. She is augmenting her forces to the minimum level that could deal with a major NATO offensive. This decision was not precipitated by a significant attrition in the existing force. The facts are clear: The militias of Donetsk and Luhansk represent the majority of the Russian allied forces fighting in the Donbas. The militias have been reinforced by contract soldiers from the Wagner Group and Chechen fighters however, rather than by regular Russian forces.

But this is about to change. The number of Russian regulars fighting in Ukraine will rise dramatically. However, the referenda in the Ukrainian oblasts come first; and those will be followed by the Government of Russia and the Duma accepting the results and approving the annexation of these territories. After that is concluded and the territories assimilated into Russia, any attack on the new Russian territories would be treated as an act of war against Russia. As former Indian diplomat, MK Bhadrakumar, notes, "The accession of Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye creates a new political reality and Russia's partial mobilisation on parallel track is intended to provide the military underpinning for it".

Black Magic

Germany to spend €200 billion in attempt to stabilize soaring energy costs

Habeck Scholz
© AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck (L), Chancellor Olaf Scholz (C) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (R) brief the media.
Germany's government says it will spend up to €200 billion to help consumers and businesses cope with rising energy prices.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Thursday that the government is reactivating an economic stabilising fund and "will do everything it can" to bring prices down.


Comment: Without Russia's critical supplies, there's not much it can do. Well, unless they plan on going all Weimar and literally burning money to stay warm.


Prices for natural gas -- used to heat homes, generate electricity, and power factories -- have surged across Europe amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


Comment: Russia's special operation in Ukraine didn't stop energy supplies, the West sanctioned itself out of the market.


Germany previously used the so-called "defensive shield" to support the country during the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will cap the price German customers pay for gas and relieve them from inflation.

Comment: The taxpayer is being saddled with debt it will never be able to be repay all because its officials have chosen to submit to the US in its proxy-war on Russia; the same US which rightly stands accused of literally blowing up Germany's best chance for making it through the burgeoning crisis:

Although, it seems that Britain will be indebting its citizens the most:






Quenelle

Hungary's Orbán announces referendum on Russia sanctions, 'were not decided democratically but by bureaucrats & elites'

Orban
© DPA
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks at a press conference in Budapest. Marton Monus/dpa
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has announced a referendum on the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU due to the war in Ukraine.

"The sanctions were not decided democratically, but were decided by Brussels bureaucrats and European elites," he said on Monday. "Although Europe's citizens are paying the price, they were not asked," he added.

Orbán has been raging for months against the sanctions imposed on Russia, even though Hungary has always voted in favour of the sanctions packages at the Council of the European Union, which has to take these decisions unanimously.

The country, however, was able to negotiate an exemption from the Russian oil embargo.

Comment: If the parties policies are 'confirmed' then it's probably because they, in large part, reflect the will of the people. It's notable that Hungary is one of the few countries to have these kinds of consultations and referenda over significant issues, because elsewhere in Europe politicians daren't, and, if they do, as has been the case with independence or EU membership, they either ignore the results or force citizens to re-vote until they 'get it right'.

Making this an issue of a democratic vote is a smart move by Hungary, because the West is apparently so besotted with its facade of democracy that proof such as this makes it a little harder for the establishment to smear. All the same, its propaganda arms will simply go into overdrive, as they already have done in Brussels calling Hungary an 'autocracy', or 'not a full democracy'.


MIB

German spies secretly helping Ukraine - media

The headquarters of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) in Berlin, November 06, 2019.
© Sean Gallup/Getty Images
The headquarters of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) in Berlin, November 06, 2019.
The BND also reportedly backed the illegal 2003 US invasion of Iraq, despite Berlin's official line.

German foreign intelligence service BND has been forwarding satellite imagery, radio and phone intercept data to Kiev for months, helping the Ukrainian war effort while Berlin has officially maintained it wasn't party to the conflict, Zeit magazine revealed on Wednesday.

The information "can be incorporated into war planning and help the Ukrainian army to assess the combat effectiveness and morale of Russian units or to check their positions," Zeit wrote, describing it as the German contribution to the "turning point" on the battlefield.

Zeit also revealed that German spies fed the US some intelligence from Baghdad during the 2003 Iraq invasion. Berlin had officially declined to share information with Washington during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, reportedly to BND's frustration. This time around, however, the spies unanimously decided that the "exceptional historical situation" warranted helping the Ukrainians.

Comment: See also:


Snakes in Suits

The Justice Department Was Dangerous Before Trump. It's Out of Control Now

Justice Department Was Dangerous Before

Clockwise from top left: The “Blind Sheikh,” attorney Lynne Stewart, singing Attorney General John Ashcroft, Enron defendant Ken Lay
The current Trump investigation is just the latest chapter of a long-brewing civil liberties nightmare.

On Monday, August 8, Justice Department officials spent nine hours raiding the Mar-a-Lago home of Donald Trump, carrying out 12 boxes of material. When criticism ensued, FBI spokespeople in wounded tones insisted the press eschew the harsh term "raid," and use "execution of a search warrant" instead.

"Agents don't like the word 'raid,' they don't like it," complained former assistant FBI counterintelligence director turned MSNBC analyst Frank Figliuzzi. He added with unintentional irony: "It sounds like it's some sort of extrajudicial, non-legal thing."

But it was a raid, as the surprisingly enormous number of people who've been on the business end of such actions since 9/11 will report. The state more and more now avails itself of a procedural trick that would have horrified everyone from Jefferson to to Potter Stewart to Thurgood Marshall. Investigating, say, one lawyer, prosecutors raid a whole firm, taking everything — emails, client files, cell phones and personal computers — then have a supposedly separate group of lawyers, called a "taint" or "filter" team, examine it all. In this way they learn the private details of hundreds or even thousands of clients in a shot, all people unrelated to the supposed case at hand.

Attention

Who profits from Pipeline Terror?

Secret talks between Russia and Germany to resolve their Nord Stream 1 and 2 issues had to be averted at any cost.
Putin and Demented
The War of Economic Corridors has entered incandescent, uncharted territory: Pipeline Terror.

A sophisticated military operation - that required exhaustive planning, possibly involving several actors - blew up four separate sections of the Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipelines this week in the shallow waters of the Danish straits, in the Baltic Sea, near the island of Bornholm.

Swedish seismologists estimated that the power of the explosions may have reached the equivalent of up to 700 kg of TNT. Both NS and NS2, near the strong currents around Borholm, are placed at the bottom of the sea at a depth of 60 meters.
Gas Pipelines
© The Cradle
The pipes are built with steel reinforced concrete, able to withstand impact from aircraft carrier anchors, and are basically indestructible without serious explosive charges. The operation - causing two leaks near Sweden and two near Denmark - would have to be carried out by modified underwater drones.

Every crime implies motive. The Russian government wanted - at least up to the sabotage - to sell oil and natural gas to the EU. The notion that Russian intel would destroy Gazprom pipelines is beyond ludicrous. All they had to do was to turn off the valves. NS2 was not even operational, based on a political decision from Berlin. The gas flow in NS was hampered by western sanctions. Moreover, such an act would imply Moscow losing key strategic leverage over the EU.

Diplomatic sources confirm that Berlin and Moscow were involved in a secret negotiation to solve both the NS and NS2 issues. So they had to be stopped - no holds barred. Geopolitically, the entity that had the motive to halt a deal holds anathema a possible alliance in the horizon between Germany, Russia, and China.

Binoculars

Court orders production of Seth Rich laptop

seth rich
Today, a federal judge ordered the FBI to "produce the information it possesses related to Seth Rich's laptop."
seth rich
This case involves a multi-year fight by attorney Ty Clevenger to obtain records relating to the FBI/DOJ investigation of Seth Rich, particularly whether Rich was involved in the hack of the DNC or had communicated with Wikileaks.

This fight dates back to 2017 and includes two FOIA lawsuit. In the first lawsuit, the FBI produced no responsive documents. The parties knew the FBI had something, and so this sparked a second lawsuit - where the FBI somehow found 20,000 pages of potentially responsive documents. The court explains:
seth rich
Of those 20,000 pages, the government found 1,596 pages of responsive documents, of which the government withheld 1,469 pages under various FOIA exemptions (privacy, law enforcement exemption, etc.).

The FBI also withheld the contents of Seth Rich's personal laptop, which it possesses, in its entirety, alleging the privacy of Rich's family in "preventing the public release of this information" outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

The court rejected that argument, stating "the FBI has not satisfied its burden of showing more than a de minimis privacy interest that would justify withholding information from Seth Rich's laptop."