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Fri, 04 Dec 2020
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Israel carried out Iranian scientist's assassination, media claims citing US official

assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
© REUTERS / West Asia News Agency
Iran has already accused Israel of carrying out the hit, but has yet to present evidence to substantiate the claim. Tel Aviv itself has neither confirmed nor denied the accusations, but has been actively opposed to the Iranian nuclear programme that the murdered scientist was working on.

Israel orchestrated and executed the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on 27 November, CNN reported citing an anonymous US administration official. The source noted that normally Tel Aviv warns the White House about its upcoming covert operations, but did not elaborate on whether this was the case with Fakhrizadeh murder.

coffin of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
© REUTERS / WANA NEWS AGENCY
Members of Iranian forces carry the coffin of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during a funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran November 30, 2020

Comment: If Israel was behind this recent murder, it certainly wouldn't surprise us given its very long and bloody track record:


Candle

2,783 of Azerbaijan's troops died during Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - report

tank
© Reuters / Aziz Karimov
A destroyed tank in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan has released its first official data on casualties from the conflict over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh, which ended with a Russian-brokered truce in November. The Defense Ministry in Baku said 2,783 troops were killed.

More than 100 servicemen were also registered as missing in action during the fighting with Armenia-backed forces who previously held all of the region, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced in a Facebook post on Thursday.

More than 1,240 troops who were injured during the conflict have been undergoing medical treatment, it added. The names and other details about the deceased servicemen will be made public later, with a special commission working to make that happen, the ministry said.

Comment: See also: Nagorno-Karabakh war could've ended weeks ago - Putin


Newspaper

US to withdraw some Baghdad embassy staff as tensions spike in region

us embassy iraq
© Reuters
US embassy in Iraq
The U.S. government has decided to withdraw some staff from its embassy in Baghdad through the final weeks of the Trump administration, officials say, as tensions rise throughout the region.

A person familiar with the withdrawal described it as a temporary "de-risking" that will continue until after the Jan. 3 anniversary of the slaying of senior Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani last year by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad. The individual spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss security matters. The number of personnel to be withdrawn was unclear.

The State Department provided no official confirmation of the drawdown but said that ensuring the safety of U.S. government personnel and facilitates was its "highest priority."

Comment: See also: What War Was Trump Trying to Stop by Killing Iranian General Soleimani?


Snakes in Suits

France's ex-interior minister accused of 'concealing evidence' in case of 80 year old woman killed by police tear-gas grenade

Redouane
© Clément Mahoudeau, AFP
A portrait of 80-year-old Zineb Redouane, painted on a window in Marseille, during a tribute to the Algerian national who died after she was hit by a tear gas canister.
Algerian national Zineb Redouane died shortly after she was struck by a tear gas grenade in her apartment in Marseille. Two years after her tragic death, relatives have filed a legal complaint against former interior minister Christophe Castaner for "concealing evidence" while investigative journalists have challenged the findings of a ballistic report that cleared officers of wrongdoing.

On December 2, 2018, 80-year-old Zineb Redouane died on an operating table at La Conception hospital in Marseille, hours after she was struck by a tear gas grenade fired into her apartment by riot police.

Redouane, an Algerian national, was standing at the window of her fourth-floor apartment in central Marseille when the canister struck her in the face. Relatives said she was trying to shut her shutters amid the chaos of clashes between police and "Yellow Vest" anti-government protesters in her street.

Comment: See also: French parliament drops ominous draft 'global security' law following massive protests


Newspaper

Iran's Guardians Council will suspend IAEA inspections if sanctions are not eased

Rohani

Iranian President Hassan Rohani speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran on December 2
An Iranian constitutional watchdog has approved a law requiring the government to suspend United Nations inspections of the country's nuclear facilities and step up uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers if sanctions are not eased in one month.

The Guardians Council approved the legislation on December 2, a day after it was passed in parliament in what was seen as a show of defiance after the killing of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist last week.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani criticized the law as "harmful" to diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and easing U.S. sanctions.

Comment: See also:


Padlock

The Cost of Resistance

Hallam/Assange
© Jamie L. Lowe, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons/KJN/Business Insider
Roger Hallam • Julian Assange
Two of the rebels I admire most, Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher, and Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, are in jail in Britain. That should not be surprising. You can measure the effectiveness of resistance by the fury of the response.

Julian courageously exposed the lies, deceit, war crimes and corruption of the ruling imperial elites. Roger has helped organized the largest acts of mass civil disobedience in British history, shutting down parts of London for weeks, in a bid to wrest power from a ruling class that has done nothing, and will do nothing, to halt the climate emergency and our death march to mass extinction.

The governing elites, when truly threatened, turn the rule of law into farce. Dissent becomes treason. They use the state mechanisms of control - intelligence agencies, police, courts, black propaganda and a compliant press that acts as their echo chamber, along with the jails and prisons, not only to marginalize and isolate rebels, but to psychologically and physically destroy them.

Comment: We are all too familiar with the criminal treatment of Julian Assange and the demonization of what he stands for, but perhaps not with Roger Hallam currently suffering a similar travesty of rights abuse and human degradation.


Arrow Down

Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield

Trump
© Getty Images/Meliman
US President Donald Trump
President Trump on Tuesday night threatened to veto a defense bill if it does not include the repeal of a legal shield for internet companies, throwing down the latest gauntlet in a fight over a piece of must-pass legislation.

Trump's warning took aim at Section 230, which gives tech companies protections for third-party content posted on their platforms and allows them to make "good faith" efforts to moderate content. The president and other Republicans have claimed that social media firms use the law to unfairly censor conservatives.

"Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to 'Big Tech' (the only companies in America that have it - corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity. Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand," Trump tweeted.

"Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk. Take back America NOW. Thank you!"

Comment: The Hill reveals its lefty bias. Trump remains steadfast in his criticism of social network platforms and their abuse of control. Freedoms were compromised; voices banned; one party benefited. The evidence is pouring in.

See also: Defense bill does not include move to scrap Section 230, according to Senator Inhofe


Cards

Trump's ace: Win or lose he can still devastate the Deep State with these perfectly-timed moves

SnowdenTrumpAssange
© EPA-EFE/AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Wired/KJN
Edward Snowden • US President Donald Trump • Julian Assange
President Trump is still fighting hard to prove widespread fraud and reverse the initial results of the 2020 election. Even if the president fails to secure reelection, his presidency is not over yet. Two months remain before the next inauguration. There is much that President Trump can and should do right now. All of the actions below will set the table for a successful second term should President Trump win in court, but even if he doesn't they will stick one last finger in the eye of the corrupt elite cabal that hates him and his supporters so much.

1. Pardon Julian Assange and Edward Snowden

President Trump's pardon of General Michael Flynn the day before Thanksgiving was a welcome start. But President Trump shouldn't just pardon those who took personal risks by associating with him.

Julian Assange has done everything that journalists are supposed to do, and everything which America's fake press has abandoned in favor of left-wing activism. Assange has revealed the secrets of the powerful and how they really operate. He exposed the lies of officials like James Clapper. He embarrassed Hillary Clinton and the wider Democratic party by releasing emails that revealed the party's internal corruption. For all this, he spent years under house arrest in the U.K., and now the Department of Justice is fighting to extradite him so he can spend the rest of his life in an American prison.

Trump should put an end to this. Nothing would infuriate Washington more than to see Assange a free man. That is exactly why Trump should do it.

The same goes for Edward Snowden. The Deep State is obsessed with arresting Snowden for exposing their systemic spying operation against the American people. For seven years, Snowden has lived in exile. Meanwhile, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who should have gone to prison for lying to Congress, is trotted out on CNN as a distinguished (and highly-paid) expert.

Comment: Does anyone seriously think Trump would ever leave office with merely a whimper? Four feisty years say otherwise.

See also:
Election hot take: 5 reasons pardoning Assange could drastically enhance Trump's legacy


Dollar

Leaked emails: Anders Aslund, Atlantic Council's Russia-basher in chief, tried to solicit funds from Russian billionaires

Anders Aslund
© Getty Images/Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Sputnik/Valery Melnikov
Anders Aslund
Internal Atlantic Council emails reveal the NATO-connected 'think tank' aggressively schmoozed the obscenely wealthy owners of Russia's Alfa Bank, in order to secure a slice of their vast riches.

The communications have been released publicly as a result of the ongoing defamation case brought against Fusion GPS and its founder and chief Glenn Simpson in a Washington, DC court, by Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan, the owners of Alfa Bank. The three allege false allegations against them in the 'Trump-Russia dossier', produced for Fusion GPS by former MI6 operative Christopher Steele, damaged their reputation.

The now-notorious and utterly discredited dossier alleged they and the bank maintained a covert communications channel with Donald Trump, and moreover delivered "large amounts of illicit cash" to Vladimir Putin when he was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg in the 1990s.

In July, the trio were awarded damages in a separate action brought against Orbis Intelligence, Steele's private espionage firm, in London after Judge Mark Warby ruled the dossier's allegations were "inaccurate or misleading" and the former spy had failed to take reasonable steps to verify the claims.

Comment: See also: Putin expels the families


X

Defense bill does not include move to scrap Section 230, according to Senator Inhofe

Trump Inhofe
© Win McNamee/Getty Images
US President Trump and Sen. Inhofe
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe has indicated that the current National Defense Authorization Act legislation does not eliminate Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

President Trump on Tuesday tweeted that he would veto the defense bill unless it does away with Section 230, which pertains to protection -- a liability shield -- for companies regarding content posted by users. It also relates to issues of content moderation.

The Oklahoma Republican senator indicated that while he shares the president's desire to scrap Section 230, such a move is not included in the current defense bill. "First of all 230 has nothing to do with the military," Sen. Inhofe said, according to The Hill. "And I agree with his sentiments we ought to do away with 230 but you can't do it in this bill. That's not a part of the bill."

Comment: Tulsi Gabbard endorses Trump's elimination of Section 230 shielding Big Tech:
Donald Trump's demand to repeal an old rule shielding tech giants from liability for things users publish has been endorsed by maverick Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, prompting speculation that her party will disown her again.

Gabbard, whose term representing Hawaii expires in January, voiced her support for President Trump on Twitter. "Please don't back down. The freedom and future of our country is at stake," she wrote on Tuesday, in response to his demand to repeal Section 230.


The piece of legislation was adopted in the 1990s to protect the budding internet sector from lawsuits over things that users publish on their platforms. Because of it, companies like Facebook and Twitter are not treated as publishers that can be held accountable for the content that they provide access to. Critics say the provision has outlived itself, giving undue protection to dangerously powerful corporations.

Open support for a Trump proposal coming from a Democratic party member is a rare thing in the highly polarized American political landscape. Gabbard's breaking of the ranks stirred anger and prompted predictions that she would be "canceled" again.


Gabbard consistently rejects the partisanship divide that many other US politicians currently accept as a fact of life. Just a few days ago, she voiced her support for a Supreme Court decision that temporarily suspended Covid-19 restrictions placed on religious institutions in New York.

Gabbard openly criticized the provision during her primary campaign and in October co-sponsored a bill which would amend Section 230.
Trump doubles down on repealing Section 230 but congresspersons answer back:

"230 has nothing to do with the military," said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.). "I agree with his sentiments ... but you can't do it in this bill. That's not a part of the bill."

"I would hope that he would not actually follow through with that because the NDAA is critical," Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said regarding Trump's veto threat over Section 230.

Congressional negotiators began signing a compromise bill between the House and Senate versions, known as a conference report, Wednesday evening without any language on Section 230.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), meanwhile, has said he "cannot support" the NDAA because it doesn't contain Section 230 reforms but does contain language regarding the Confederate-named bases, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was supportive of Trump "using all the leverage he can" to reform the tech protection.

However, those voices of support appear to be in the minority, with Republicans in Senate leadership noting that the NDAA must be passed.

"I don't think the defense bill is the place to litigate that," Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said. "There will be enormous support for getting the defense authorization bill passed and hopefully signed into law."
Tulsi Gabbard is one of the few in Congress that puts the wellbeing of the country ahead of partisan politics.

See also: