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Sun, 22 Oct 2017
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Bad Guys

The British 'Mother of ISIS' lobbies for the dismantling of Iraq

© AFP 2017/ Ramzi Haidar
While the Iraqi government forces sweep Kirkuk clean of the Kurdish occupation, one writer strongly pushed pro-Kurdish/anti-Iranian views. Three pieces by Emma Sky appeared in three prestigious imperial outlets within just four days. They are noticeable for the slander and lies. Obviously they are part of a well prepared lobbying campaign.

The author is not an neutral observer or academic specialist. Emma Sky is the person most responsible for messing up Kirkuk. She is also a 'Mother of ISIS'.

On October 16 Emma Sky published in Foreign Affairs: Mission Still Not Accomplished in Iraq - Why the United States Should Not Leave.

Target

Mueller team under fire by fellow attorneys for history of questionable tactics

© Getty Images
Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team running the Russia collusion probe are being accused by fellow attorneys of employing aggressive and questionable tactics in past cases, potentially putting a dent in his straight-shooter image.

As the investigation heats up and key players like former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and press secretary Sean Spicer are interviewed by investigators, several attorneys with experience in federal cases spoke out with their concerns this week.

Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts, wrote an opinion piece accusing Mueller of once trying to entrap him when Mueller was acting U.S. attorney in Boston. "I have known Mueller during key moments of his career as a federal prosecutor," Silverglate wrote for WGBH News. "My experience has taught me to approach whatever he does in the Trump investigation with a requisite degree of skepticism or, at the very least, extreme caution."

Comment: Sounds like a 'pile-on' group of agitators who want to tank this investigation by smearing Mueller and his team. All the cited instances, so far, are hearsay, opinion and innuendo up for interpretation without documentation or facts.


Snakes in Suits

FBI Chief Christopher Wray: 'Our integrity will be tested'

© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/KJN
FBI Director Christopher Wray
The FBI's new director, who took over the law enforcement agency after President Donald Trump fired its former chief, warned Thursday that officials at the FBI and across the federal government will face pressure to act unethically and need to resist it.

"At some point for everybody in this room and everybody in my organization, our integrity will be tested," Christopher Wray told a Washington audience of investigators who work for federal government inspectors general. "It happens to everybody. It happens to all of us. It could be at a time where we're being asked to make a decision that is inconsistent with what we know is right and what we know is true, where we'll be asked to do something without fully thinking it through."

During his 20-minute speech, Wray offered no specifics on ethical challenges he expects to face or has dealt with in the past, but he implored the internal government watchdogs in the room not to give in to such pressure, even in cases where they think they might get away with it.

"It could be at a time we think no one will notice, no one will know," the FBI chief said. "I would argue that actually those are the times where we need to stay most true to our core integrity and our professionalism. To think critically and thoughtfully and to do what's right, not just for ourselves individually so we can look ourselves in the mirror as leaders, but for our agencies and the government and the public that we all serve."

Comment: So far, so good...hopefully a grand departure from the workings of his predecessor, James Comey.


Snakes in Suits

Shake-up at the DNC: Longtime officials ousted in party rift

© DNC/WND.com/KJN
A shake-up is underway at the Democratic National Committee as several key longtime officials have lost their posts, exposing a still-raw rift in the party and igniting anger among those in its progressive wing who see retaliation for their opposition to DNC Chairman Tom Perez.

The ousters come ahead of the DNC's first meeting, in Las Vegas, Nevada, since Perez took over as chairman with a pledge this year to unite a party that had become badly divided during the brutal Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton 2016 primary race.

Complaints began immediately after party officials saw a list of Perez's appointments to DNC committees and his roster of 75 "at-large" members, who are chosen by the chair.

The removal and demotion of a handful of veteran operatives stood out, as did what critics charge is the over-representation of Clinton-backed members on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, which helps set the terms for the party's presidential primary, though other Sanders and Ellison backers remain represented.


Comment: Hardly functional, at this point the DNC is hoping that widening social representation will regain and increase its following. Instead, owning up to law-breaking and nefarious activities, an apology to constituents and a thorough examination of its missing integrity would be the correct beginnings.


USA

Hamas: Blatant US interference in Palestinian reconciliation effort

© matzav.com
Special Representative Jason Greenblatt • President Donald Trump
The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has blasted the US of "blatant interference" in Palestinian affairs after Washington said the Gaza-based group should disarm under an emerging Palestinian unity government.

US President Donald Trump's special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, said on Thursday that any Palestinian government must, among other things, recognize Israel and disarm Hamas, which has defended Gaza against three bloody Israeli wars over the past decade, PressTV reported.

In response to the comments, senior Hamas official Bassem Naim accused the US government of "blatant interference in Palestinian affairs," stressing that "it is the right of our people to choose its government according to their supreme strategic interests."

Naim said Greenblatt was bowing to pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing administration. "This statement comes under pressure from the extreme right-wing Netanyahu government and is in line with the Netanyahu statement from two days ago," he added. Naim was referring to a Tuesday statement by Netanyahu's cabinet, saying Tel Aviv would not engage in negotiations with a future Palestinian unity government that has the backing of Hamas.

Comment: Neither the US, nor Israel should have any say in Palestinian government.


Biohazard

US says Al-Nusra link used chemical weapons - an 'off the hook' investigation statement?

© Reuters
Victim of gas attack in Telminnes, Syria
The US' admission Al-Nusra linked militants use chemical weapons in Syria could be an attempt to preempt the investigation into the Khan Shaykhun incident by saying "the US government never denied this," says security analyst Charles Shoebridge.

The US State Department has admitted terrorists are using chemical weapons in Syria when referring to the Al-Nusra group, now known as Tahrir al-Sham, in the latest travel alert for the country. Russia's Defense Ministry says it's the first admission of its sort after years of allegations only the Assad government and ISIS carry out chemical attacks in Syria.

RT: How significant is this admission by the US State Department?

Charles Shoebridge: It is significant on one level that it is an admission as is being said. It is obviously a slip-up. It has been let slip not by as you would imagine the usual route. The usual means it would be a State Department announcement or a Pentagon briefing. They have been briefing over the years that the only people that are using chemical weapons, in their view, in Syria is the Assad government. It is on that assertion, rather than an evidenced assertion that only Assad is capable of producing and using these chemical weapons that they have based allegations that, for example, atrocities such as Ghouta in 2013 and Khan Shaykhun this year, that killed many civilians, could only have been carried out by Assad. It is a very weak evidential basis for a claim in any case, but that now is undermined by this. ... And in addition to that in some cases, for example, ISIS have in the past used chemical weapons such as mustard gas. The real significance would be [to say] what kind of chemical weapon they were talking about. Because if it is something like chlorine, this is very easy to produce. If it is something like sarin nerve agent that we saw used recently in Khan Shaykhun, that prompted the American strikes on Assad's air force, allegedly in retaliation for that attack despite any evidence being missing that Assad was responsible for it. That is far more difficult to produce. That may be that they are talking in a generality here.

Comment: So Assad isn't always the 'bad guy.' And, who still has chemical weapon resources? Just to narrow it down: not Russia, not Syria. The US won't finish its toxic chemical weapons destruction until 2023.

See also:


Bad Guys

"Source" tells NBC Niger ambush was result of "massive intel failure"

© WPLG / AP
Myeshia Johnson cries over the casket of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger, upon his body's arrival in Miami, on Oct. 17, 2017.
A senior congressional aide who has been briefed on the deaths of four U.S. servicemen in Niger says the ambush by militants stemmed in part from a "massive intelligence failure."

The Pentagon has said that 40 to 50 militants ambushed a 12-man U.S. force in Niger on Oct. 4, killing four and wounding two. The U.S. patrol was seen as routine and had been carried out nearly 30 times in the six months before the attack, the Pentagon has reported.

The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly, said the House and Senate armed services committees have questions about the scope of the U.S. mission in Niger, and whether the Pentagon is properly supporting the troops on the ground there.

There was no U.S. overhead surveillance of the mission, he said, and no American quick-reaction force available to rescue the troops if things went wrong. If it weren't for the arrival of French fighter jets, he said, things could have been much worse for the Americans.

Congress also has many unanswered questions about what happened, he said, including about the specifics of the mission that day and the accounts lawmakers have been given about the timeline of the attack and rescue.

Comment: Five questions about the Niger ambush, from Ben Shapiro:
1. Should We Have Been In Niger? A group of American soldiers was reportedly ambushed in Niger by approximately 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters. There are approximately 800 American troops in country; we've been there fighting Boko Haram and ISIS and helping prepare our allies to do the same. These terrorist groups use Niger as a thoroughfare for movement between Northern Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, apparently. The problem is that we have no permission to partake in "offensive air operations," according to CNN. That means that when our guys called for air backup and French Mirage jets arrived, the jets couldn't drop ordnance on the terrorists. Should we have soldiers in places where they can't be defended by air?

2. Why Didn't We Know ISIS Was There? ...

3. What Happened to Sgt. Johnson? ...

4. Why Didn't Help Arrive Sooner? ...

5. Why Did It Take 12 Days For Trump Himself To Acknowledge The Deaths? ...



Blackbox

Samantha Power testifies on intel unmasking, says requests were made under her name, but not by her

Congressional testimony by President Barack Obama's former ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, about the "unmasking" of U.S. citizens' names she requested in hundreds of foreign intelligence intercepts by the National Security Agency, has raised new questions about how the sensitive information was ordered up, and subsequently handled.

Power spoke to the House Intelligence Committee on Oct. 13 behind closed doors, and what she said is still cloaked in secrecy. But on Oct. 17, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, told Fox News: "Her testimony is they [the unmasking requests] may be under my name, but I did not make those requests." Gowdy said little else about the session.

The sheer volume of such requests submitted to U.S. intelligence authorities in her name was already unusual. But if she did not initiate them, then who did, and why? Was the resulting information delivered to Power, as the normal protocols of handling such constitutionally-protected information require? Was she even aware of the gush of highly sensitive and secret information solicited under her name?

So far, Power has not responded to queries on those issues, which were emailed by Fox News to her Harvard University office on Oct. 19.

Gear

New Silk Road: Xi's road map to the Chinese Dream

© iStock
It all starts with Hong Kong as a major BRI financing hub
China's Belt and Road Initiative - the New Silk Road - will spark the country's development and turn the dream into reality

Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified company of Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the world will have plenty of time to digest the meaning of "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era."

Xi himself, in his 3½-hour speech at the start of the 19th Party Congress, pointed to a rather simplified "socialist democracy" - extolling its virtues as the only counter-model to Western liberal democracy. Economically, the debate remains open on whether this walks and talks more like "neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics".

Attention

Whistleblower calls OSCE "most dysfunctional entity" he's worked with, exposes deceit, corruption, use of brothels in occupied Lugansk

© Sergey Averin/Sputnik
OSCE monitors seen near the checkpoint in Stanitsa Lugankaya.
On October 19th, 2017, the OSCE reported that its mandate at two Russian Checkpoints had been extended to the end of January, 2018. The Mission's mandate in Ukraine itself on March 16th was extended by one year - to 31st March 2018. This, of course, is normal considering the fact that the deployment of the OSCE in order to monitor the ceasefire is one of the points of the Minsk Agreements signed by OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini, Ukrainian representative Leonid Kuchma, Russian representative Mikhail Zurabov, and the leaders of the DPR and LPR leaders Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky back in 2015. Over the course of the mandate of the OSCE its work has been both critically and positively evaluated, some saying that the Mission's aim is to simply obfuscate the source of shelling, others saying that the employees of the Mission deeply care about the situation and try their best to separate fact from fiction. Looking at the situation objectively and within the framework of proportionate perspective, it does seem that there are more questions than answers concerning the Mission's work in Donbass.

The blowing up of a OSCE vehicle earlier in 2017 certainly sent shockwaves around the organisation, putting into question the safety of its monitors in the Republics. Since then the OSCE has refused in many cases to document the results of shelling, citing their willingness to drive along roads that have not been previously declared as safe for travel. This, of course, is a convenient excuse when the culprit of the shelling of civilian areas is the Ukrainian Armed Forces. But excuses such as the example stated above are only necessary when information about events, such as shelling on residential areas (also known as war crimes), becomes known to the public. But what about events that are not reported by any media or press office?

At the disposal of Stalker Zone is information about such an unreported event: the existence of a brothel in the settlement Severodonetsk on the territory of the Lugansk People's Public occupied by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.