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Sat, 22 Feb 2020
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Democrats resurrect 'Russiagate' to go after both Trump and Bernie Sanders, hide their own election trickery

clinton and warren
© Reuters / Carlos Barria
Establishment Democrats have now used the claims of 'Russian meddling' to go after their own progressive wing as well as President Donald Trump. The bogus accusation seems to be nothing more than cover for their own wrongdoing.

Moscow is now supposedly helping Bernie Sanders in the 2020 US presidential election - that is, if you believe the anonymously sourced Washington Post "bombshell." This follows a New York Times claim on Thursday that the Kremlin is "again" betting on Trump, written by known partisan hacks and likewise based on anonymous sources.

In the minds of the 'Russiagate' cult, the Kremlin is backing Sanders either to get Trump re-elected, or to get a "socialist" president. Never mind that Russia is not socialist, try arguing that there has been precisely zero evidence - now, or back in 2016 - that Russia has backed any US candidate, and watch people's heads explode. Much like the vaunted US "intelligence community," they want to believe. That's the only way they can explain the mind-breaking shock of Hillary Clinton losing to Trump.

Eye 2

Billionaire machinations make it likely Elizabeth Warren will win the Democratic nomination

warren sanders bloomberg Las Vegas debate
© John Locher / Associated Press
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, left, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have their say at the February 19,2020 Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas.
Bernie Sanders — the only Democratic Presidential candidate who is supported by no billionaire — is now clearly in a position where he has the support of more Democratic Party voters nationwide than does any other candidate. Therefore, the Democratic National Committee will likely hand its nomination to Elizabeth Warren, who is the only other contender in the contest who even possibly might be sufficiently preferred by Democratic Party voters for those voters to accept their Party's Presidential nomination being handed by its billionaires to someone else. No other nominee than she would be even possibly acceptable to both the billionaires and the voters. She would be the only compromise candidate (compromise between the Party's billionaires and its voters). She — and she alone — has been competing against Sanders as being an opponent of control over the Government by America's billionaires, and her statements in that regard have convinced a sufficient number of Democratic Party voters so that they will possibly be enough to defeat Donald Trump in the final election on November 3rd. Trump, of course, is funded by Republican Party billionaires. Therefore, as in 2016, it would be a contest between Democratic billionaires versus Republican billionaires. Here is how it would be done this time:


Pending successful reduction in violence, US-Taliban to sign deal next week

taliban talks
© Aleksandr Zemillanichenko/AP
Taliban representatives and US talks in Qatar
A deal between the United States and the Taliban is expected to be signed on February 29 provided a "reduction in violence'" due to enter into force at midnight proves successful, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on February 21.

The United States and the Taliban have been engaged in talks to facilitate a political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan and reduce the U.S. presence in the region, Pompeo said in a statement.
"In recent weeks, in consultation with the Government of National Unity, U.S. negotiators in Doha have come to an understanding with the Taliban on a significant and nationwide reduction in violence across Afghanistan. Upon a successful implementation of this understanding, signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement is expected to move forward. We are preparing for the signing to take place on February 29."
Pompeo added that intra-Afghan negotiations will start soon thereafter, with the final aim of delivering "a comprehensive and permanent cease-fire and the future political road map for Afghanistan."

In a written statement, the Taliban confirmed the planned signing of a deal on February 29 "in front of international observers" and said that "the groundwork for intra-Afghan talks will be resolved," although it did not mention when such talks would start. The Taliban had previously refused to speak directly to the Afghan government, which it labeled a U.S. puppet.

Earlier on February 21, a senior Afghan official and several Taliban leaders said that the week-long "reduction in violence" will begin at midnight local time on February 22. "We hope it is extended for a longer time and opens the way for a cease-fire and intra-Afghan talks," Javed Faisal, Afghanistan's National Security Council spokesman, was quoted as saying. The talks between U.S. and Taliban representatives began in Qatar in 2018.

Comment: Sputnik, 21/2/1010: Afghan forces put on standby
Afghan troops will remain on standby even as the seven-day "reduction in violence" is set to take effect at midnight, the spokesman of the Afghan Security Council revealed on Friday.
"They will be just on standby and protect themselves from attacks and will not attack the Taliban. Afghan national forces will send first responders to places controlled by the Taliban," Javed Faisal said.
A high-ranking official in the restive Nangarhar province said that the Taliban were expected to cut back on attacks on public areas, roads, military bases and public services by 80 percent.

The US-Taliban agreement was met with relief in Afghanistan. Afghan lawmaker Saima Khogyani said the arrangement would bring almost two decades of fighting between the US and Taliban closer to an end. "That peace is the dream of our nation and now we get closer to this process," she stated.


Putin, Erdogan intensify contacts regarding Idlib; air concerns but no peace yet

rocket launcher
© AFP/SANA/file photo
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked Syria over the phone, as their troops squared off in Idlib province. The topics of Syrian sovereignty and terrorist threat loomed large.

Putin expressed "serious concern about the ongoing aggressive actions of extremist groups," and emphasized the need for "unconditional respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Syria, the Kremlin readout of Friday's phone conversation said. Moscow and Ankara agreed to "intensify bilateral interagency consultations on Idlib," along with intensive military contacts.

It wasn't clear how that would translate on the ground in Idlib, where Turkey keeps sending troops and tanks.

Ankara's redout provided to the Turkish press says that Erdogan told Putin that "Assad regime's actions and the consequent humanitarian crisis must be stopped in Idlib."

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul ahead of the phone call with Putin, the Turkish leader said there will not be a truce unless the Syrian forces stop their "cruelty." "Unless the regime stops the persecution of the people of Idlib at this point, it is not possible to withdraw from there," Erdogan said, according to Daily Sabah.

Comment: RT, 22/2/2020: Turkish soldier killed
A Turkish soldier identified as Mecit Demir has been killed in a bombing in Idlib, the governor's office of the southern Turkish Gaziantep province said in a Twitter post.

Most recently, Turkish artillery struck Syrian positions as militants launched a "major offensive" to retake lost ground. The barrage ceased, though, when Moscow contacted Ankara. The Syrian Army supported by the Russian Air Force also managed to repel the attack.

Moscow also stepped up its diplomatic efforts to ease tensions on the ground. Yet, despite the "intensified contacts" between presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayip Erdogan, the fight in Idlib has showed no signs of waning so far.
Sputnik, 22/2/2020: France, Germany call for ceasefire
French President Emmanuel Macron said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were calling on parties to the Syrian conflict to respect the ceasefire in the province of Idlib amid the ongoing escalation of tensions in the region.

"We believe that this situation could be settled only via a call for an immediate cessation of hostilities", Macron said at a press conference in Brussels on late Friday. He described the situation in Idlib as dangerous, adding that the current hostilities may result in a further uncontrolled escalation of violence.
"We know that today Idlib is facing a humanitarian disaster amid the ongoing offensive of the forces loyal to the Syrian regime, backed by Russia", the French leader said, adding that the hostilities left some hospitals and offices of non-governmental organizations ruined.
Macron also called for resuming the political settlement and Istanbul-format talks, which involve France, Germany, Russia and Turkey.


Syrian media releases video of repelling militant attack in Idlib

Siria idlib
© AFP 2019 / Omar Haj Kadour
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) released a video of how Syrian forces repelled militants near the village of Nerab, west of Sarakib in Idlib province.

Footage taken from a drone shows the destruction of terrorist armed vehicles, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and pickup trucks loaded with weapons.

On Thursday, the Russian Defence Ministry said that militants supported by Turkish artillery had breached the defence positions of the Syrian army near the villages of Qmenas and Nerab in Idlib. A Russian Su-24 jet opened fire on the militants, helping the Syrian troops repel the advancing fighters. The Turkish Defence Ministry later reported that two Turkish soldiers had been killed and five injured in an air attack in Idlib, adding that over 50 Syrians had been killed as a result of return fire.

Comment: For news about the Syrian army's offensive against terrorist-held Idlib, and the jihadists counter-offensive, see: In addition to Aleppo international airport opening for the first time in 8 years, the Damascus-Aleppo road has also officially opened to traffic.

Eye 1

Macron expels Yellow Vest leader from farming fair during visit

yellow vest
Eric Drouet, a leading public figure of French yellow vest protests, was expelled from an agricultural show in Paris on Saturday by President Emanuel Macron's bodyguards, media said.

The truck driver who rallied crowds against the government's plan to hike fuel tariffs in late 2018 called for a protest at the International Agricultural Show, which French presidents traditionally visit.

He was spotted in front of a cereal stall when a group of protesters around him started shouting "Dictatorship!" at the sight of Macron, the BFMTV news channel reported.

Comment: It's unlikely Macron's presence was welcomed by many of the farmers: See also: Yellow Vests & brass necks: The brutality of Macron's crackdown continues to be invisible

And check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal #26: Globalization vs Nationalism - The Hidden Causes of The Yellow Vest Protests in France

Eye 1

Leaked reports show EU scheme for pan-European network of facial recognition databases

simulating facial recognition software  poster
© REUTERS/Thomas Peter
A man walks past a poster simulating facial recognition software.
A police investigator in Spain is trying to solve a crime, but she only has an image of a suspect's face, caught by a nearby security camera. European police have long had access to fingerprint and DNA databases throughout the 27 countries of the European Union and, in certain cases, the United States. But soon, that investigator may be able to also search a network of police face databases spanning the whole of Europe and the U.S.

According to leaked internal European Union documents, the EU could soon be creating a network of national police facial recognition databases. A report drawn up by the national police forces of 10 EU member states, led by Austria, calls for the introduction of EU legislation to introduce and interconnect such databases in every member state. The report, which The Intercept obtained from a European official who is concerned about the network's development, was circulated among EU and national officials in November 2019. If previous data-sharing arrangements are a guide, the new facial recognition network will likely be connected to similar databases in the U.S., creating what privacy researchers are calling a massive transatlantic consolidation of biometric data.

Comment: Handing over even more power to people and bureaucracies that have proven themselves to be either systemically corrupt or woefully inept seems to be a rather risky endeavor for what is, as of right now, a demonstrably inaccurate and Orwellian program:


Here we go again: Trump dismisses new US intel claims of Russian interference in 2020 re-election bid

© AP
US President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump has rejected reported assertions by U.S. intelligence officials that Russia was interfering in the 2020 presidential election in a bid to help his reelection campaign.

In a post on Twitter on February 21, Trump described the reports as "another misinformation campaign...launched by Democrats in Congress."

The same day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also rejected the reports as "more paranoid announcements. They have nothing to do with the truth," Peskov said.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, and AP separately reported on February 20 that the warning was given during a closed-door briefing by U.S. intelligence officials on February 13. They cited two officials familiar with the briefing who asked for anonymity.

The Times said the briefing angered Trump, who said Democrats would use the information against him.

The Kremlin on February 21 denied that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election campaign. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on February 21 that the warnings made by U.S. intelligence officials were false. "This is another in a series of paranoid reports, and we regret to say that they will become more frequent as the election approaches," Peskov said. "They certainly have nothing to do with the truth."

Comment: Trump's still tweeting:

Team Bloomberg made fools of themselves by tweeting "Feel the Burn" in Russian:

And it's no shock that Hillary Clinton is jumping on the bandwagon:

Some of the Twitter responses to Clinton here are priceless. But as RT points out, there's more to the story. Or, to be more precise, less to the story:
Efforts to get to the bottom of precisely what it was claimed the Russians were actually doing to help Trump in 2020 have come up empty. CBS reporter Catherine Herridge said the ODNI officials who briefed the House on the alleged meddling had no "signals intelligence" or any tangible material to offer as proof. The response was more than a little redolent of the "17 intelligence agencies" - which morphed into three, then became hand-picked agents from three - who had insisted, citing classified information the public simply wasn't permitted to see, that they had proof of a Kremlin-directed influence campaign intervening on behalf of Trump in the 2016 election. The unclassified section of their report - which included a lengthy discussion of RT programs long off the air - did not inspire confidence, however.

Perhaps having learned their lesson, intelligence officials speaking to the New York Times claimed that Russians weren't doing all the influencing themselves this time - instead, they were conning gullible Americans into repeating their talking points. "Undermining confidence in American election systems" (not exactly rocket science after the Iowa caucuses and 2016 in general) and "sowing doubt over close elections and recounts" would be two dead giveaways that one was dealing with a victim of Russian influence operations, the officials said.
In other words, normal people are saying things the U.S. intelligence agency doesn't like, ergo they are Russian puppets.

Finally, arch-slimeball Eric Swalwell took to CNN to make an even bigger fool of himself and show just what an idiot he actually is (as if it wasn't obvious already):


Tulsi Gabbard: How Democrats' impeachment campaign helped Trump

trump and nadler
© Chelsea Stahl / NBC News
Donald Trump must be defeated: Another four years of him as president would be a disaster. Unfortunately, as I warned, the Democrats' hyper-partisan impeachment process has increased the likelihood that he will be re-elected. After Trump's acquittal in the Senate, his approval rating reached the highest levels since he took office. And the risk that he will win in November is much greater than before.

This was entirely foreseeable.

For years I have stressed the need for our leaders to make decisions based on thoughtfulness and foresight — not just emotion, or what may "feel good" in a given moment. This is especially important in the area of foreign policy, as politicians' desire to "do something" too often overrides careful consideration of the unintended consequences of the actions they take. Time and time again, their poor judgment has led to worse outcomes in the countries where we recklessly intervene, and for our own country's national security.


Was MH17 properly investigated? Leaked documents cast doubt

MH17 wreckage
© AP/Peter Dejong
MH17 wreckage
In this article the contents of four leaked MH17 Joint Investigation Team documents are analysed by me on behalf of Bonanza Media:

DOC 1. Is a 'Record Of Interview' (ROI) between an officer of the Australian Federal Police and journalist Billy Six.

DOC 2. As part of 'OPERATION AVENELLA' imagery specialist Shaun Ellis and geospatial specialist Tim Johns from Australia examined four images.

DOC 3. WITNESS TESTIMONY is a Record Of Interview with a witness refuting the claim Ukrainian Air Force did not fly.

DOC 4. LETTER about BUK Positions from the Dutch Military Information and Investigation Service legal affairs department addressed to the public prosecutor at the National Prosecutor's Office on Counter Terrorism.

Comment: See also: