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Four-star general to lead Pentagon investigation into Syria airstrike that killed dozens

General Michael Garrett
© FORSCOM US ARMY
General Michael Garrett
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new investigation into a 2019 U.S. airstrike in Syria that killed dozens of women and children, the Pentagon's top spokesman said Monday.

"The secretary has directed today a review of the civilian casualty incident that occurred on March 18, 2019, in Baghuz, Syria," press secretary John Kirby told reporters.

The investigation will be conducted by Gen. Michael Garrett, the head of Army Forces Command, who will review investigations already conducted on the incident and "conduct further inquiry into the facts and circumstances related to it," according to Kirby.

Garrett will have 90 days to complete the investigation, first reported by The New York Times.

The new high-level review comes after an investigation by the Times, released earlier this month, that detailed the U.S. airstrike that killed 70 civilians and allegations that top officers and civilian officials tried to hide the casualties. The strike, which was carried out by the classified special operations unit known as Task Force 9, was unknown to the public until the Times report.

Comment: As long as the public remains clueless, the military and the government have carte blanche.


Arrow Down

House Freedom Caucus asks McConnell to force government shutdown over Biden's vaccine mandate

Leahy/McConnell
© Kent Nishimura/LA Times/Getty Images/Joshua Roberts
Senator Patrick Leahy • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
The House Freedom Caucus sent a letter Wednesday to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urging him to use "all procedural tools" at his disposal to delay a stopgap measure to extend government funding into January unless Democrats agree to prohibit funding for President Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Lawmakers are rushing to approve a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), ahead of Friday's deadline to briefly extend the deadline to January and avoid a government shutdown. Republicans are hoping to block its passage or at least delay it past the midnight deadline Friday unless Democratic leaders agree to strip out funding to enforce the mandate.

The caucus, chaired by Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., wrote in its letter:
"Today the House of Representatives will pass, over our objection, a continuing resolution to fund government without ending any of President Biden's very damaging, unAmerican, and in the worst cases, unlawful vaccine mandates.

"As you know, the current government funding mechanism expires on Friday night, thus the Senate Republican conference enjoys important leverage against those mandates. We therefore write to request that you use all procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage of the CR unless it prohibits funding - in all respects - for the vaccine mandates and enforcement thereof."
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who chairs the Senate Committee on Appropriations, said he's confident Republicans won't follow through on their threat.

Comment: Default lies with Congress. Send them the bill, not the American public.


V

UK PM held 'crowded' Christmas parties in 2020 whilst country was on lockdown

boris johnson christmas mask downing street

More witnesses detail festivities at Downing Street while the rest of the public were told not to mingle
Boris Johnson is under intense pressure to explain why No 10 staff seemingly held two parties during lockdown last winter as insiders said the prime minister attended one gathering and remarked on how packed it was.

Witnesses have come forward to detail party games and festivities beyond midnight in Downing Street during the winter 2020 lockdown, expanding on reports first made in the Daily Mirror.

Johnson and his press secretary did not deny the events took place though they simultaneously insisted no Covid rules were broken. Without elaboration, they said on Wednesday that they "don't recognise" some of the reports.

Comment: Since the beginning of the contrived crisis there have been endless scandals exposing the hypocrisy of those in society, particularly high level politicians, but even mayors and teachers, who will readily flout the tyrannical restrictions they deem others must suffer, including young children.

For some, such as the teachers, it's likely that they're looking for any outlet to release the pent up stress from the nearly two years of draconian measures and are almost oblivious to what they're doing, however, others, particularly those legislating the restrictions are almost certainly aware of what they're doing but they believe that the nonsensical rules simply do not apply to them, because they're special and not part of the 'great unwashed'. What does that say about the psychology of those people?

Here are just a few of the latest examples:

Austria's politicians:


President Biden & Prince Charles:


Israel's politicians:


UK teachers:


San Francisco Mayor:

See also: And check out SOTT radio's:




Light Sabers

'Hyping a threat for selfish political gain': Beijing slams Australia's Defense Minister's foreign policy 'delusional miscalculation'

china australia
© Getty Images / Oleksii Liskonih
China has called out Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton over an "irresponsible" assessment of its foreign policy, after a speech in which he questioned if a potential takeover of Taiwan would be enough to "satisfy" Beijing.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian specifically referred to Dutton's "irresponsible" remarks and criticized him for "brazenly [distorting]" China's efforts to "safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

In his address at Canberra's National Press Club on Friday, Dutton had warned that the current strategic atmosphere in the region had "echoes of the 1930s" - seemingly referring to the tensions ahead of WWII.

Comment: Even the West's own experts admit that the AUKUS pact is intended as an alliance against China, and so China is simply calling the antagonistic alliance, and the propaganda used to promote it, out for what it is: Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Why You Should Question Media Reports About China 'Causing Covid' And 'Invading Taiwan'




Airplane

The FAA accidentally disclosed more than 2,000 flight records associated with Jeffrey Epstein's private jets

Jeffrey Epstein

The FAA accidentally disclosed more than 2,000 flight records associated with Jeffrey Epstein's private jets
Domestic flight records associated with Jeffrey Epstein's private jets, provided by the FAA, reveal more than 700 previously unknown flights.
  • Insider requested all flight-history data associated with four planes owned by Jeffrey Epstein.
  • The FAA rejected the request but later provided the records in response to an unrelated request.
  • The new FAA records include hundreds of previously unknown flights made by Epstein's jets.
  • They corroborate Insider's reporting on Epstein's travel patterns as documented in court records and flight-signal data.
  • A searchable database now contains 2,618 flights made by Epstein's private jets from 1995 to July 6, 2019.
In January 2020, Insider asked the Federal Aviation Administration for all the agency's flight records, including departure and arrival data, associated with a fleet of private jets owned by Jeffrey Epstein. Filed under the Freedom of Information Act, our request seemed to have a decent chance of success: The agency in 2011 released its entire database of US-based flights to The Wall Street Journal.

Comment: See also:


Black Magic

EU 'loans' ANOTHER €600 million to non-member Ukraine to cover cost of lockdown, country now owes EU €4.4 billion

ukraine IMF
The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has disbursed €600 million in macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Ukraine. This is the second and final tranche under Ukraine's current MFA programme following the first €600m disbursement in December 2020. With this disbursement, the outstanding amount of loans to Ukraine under its multiple MFA programmes reaches €4.4 billion.

This disbursement is part of the €3bn emergency MFA package for ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners, which aims to help them limit the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme is a concrete demonstration of the EU's solidarity with its partners to help respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Comment: It's a 'concrete demonstration' that nonsensical and tyrannical lockdowns destroyed economies and the countries that enforced them have to compromise their sovreignity in needing a bailout. One might suppose that at some levels this was known, and was a desireable consequence. Notably, Lukashenko of Belarus refused multiple offers from the IMF and the World Bank totalling hundreds of millions of dollars to enforce harsh lockdown restrictions, to lockdown, but he refused, and the country has been under attack ever since:


Comment: On November 30th Reuters reported that the IMF announced it is willing to further indebt Ukraine of at least another $2.3 billion if it continues to follow orders. Ukraine, on the other hand, wants $5 billion; unsurprisingly there's no mention of how they intend to pay any of it back:
Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Tuesday Ukraine would seek another International Monetary Fund loan programme when the current one ends in June next year to signal to investors that the country is committed to reforms.

The IMF said on Nov. 24 Ukraine could secure loans worth $2.3 billion next year by sticking to a path of reform to stamp out endemic corruption and organised crime, improve corporate governance, carry out privatisations, ensure the independence of the central bank and judiciary, and maintain fiscal discipline.

Shmygal told Reuters in an interview that he was hopeful of one or two further disbursements under the existing, recently extended IMF programme in the first six months of 2022.

"We would like to negotiate with them to have one or two (loan) tranches during next year," Shmygal said, adding that this would hopefully be in the first six months of 2022. "I believe we will begin negotiations for the next IMF programme because it's what we really need for Ukraine."

Asked how much a new programme with the Washington-based global lender might be, he said another $5 billion - the same size as the existing loan - would be welcome, but what mattered was the programme itself.

"Money is important, but more important is the signal that Ukraine...is on the way of reform. An IMF programme and macro-financial support (from the European Union) are indicators for investors that the country is stable."

Shmygal, who is in Brussels to meet top European Union officials, said he would discuss a continuation of the EU macro-financial assistance programme, but that it would be linked to progress with the IMF.

"We are trying, we do our best to make very fast reforms ... judicial reform is the mother of all reforms in Ukraine," Shmygal said. "The resistance (to change in the judiciary) is so great because this system is corrupted on all levels."

Last week, Ukraine finally won nearly $700 million in new IMF financing and an extension of its $5 billion programme until next June. Loan disbursals had effectively been frozen due to concerns over a lack of progress on reforms.


AKA: Holding a country to ransom?


One of Europe's poorest countries, Ukraine is being urged by the West to reform to help qualify for eventual accession to the EU. The former Soviet republic secured an IMF deal in 2020 as it was dragged into recession by the COVID-19 pandemic.



War Whore

AUKUS aimed at China, US confirms

biden
© REUTERS/Tom Brenner
America's Asia security head has admitted that the AUKUS pact, which includes the sale of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, was created to counter China in the Indo-Pacific.

Speaking on Wednesday, Kurt Campbell, the US coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the National Security Council, told an audience at the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based international policy think tank, that AUKUS was more about taking a stand against China, than technology sharing.

The AUKUS partnership "is both a clear anxiety about what we've seen in terms of certain actions and policies on the part of China, but it is also a determination that no, we have a role in our future and we're going to stand up," he said.

Dollars

15 states threaten to pull $600B from banks that won't give equal service to energy industry

Oil rigs and facility
© Oil Price
Fifteen state financial officers sent a letter to U.S. banks last week noting $600 billion in assets they pledge to take elsewhere if the financial institutions embrace corporate wokeism and prohibit financing to the fossil fuel industry.

Led by West Virginia Republican Treasurer Riley Moore, the group promised "collective action" in the form of an "economic boycott." In a letter they said:
"Just as each state represented in this letter is unique in its governing laws and economy, our actions will take different forms. However, the overarching objective of our actions will be the same - to protect our states' economies, jobs, and energy independence from these unwarranted attacks on our critical industries."
Signatories to the letter putting banks on notice include chief financial officers from Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Alabama, Texas and Kentucky, in addition to West Virginia.

Russian Flag

Russia tells US embassy staff to leave Moscow

Zakharova
© Sputnik/Russian Foreign Agency
Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
American embassy workers who have been stationed in Moscow for over three years have been given just weeks to leave the country, Russia's Foreign Ministry has announced, amid a growing row with Washington over diplomatic visas.

Speaking at a briefing on Wednesday, diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced that
"by January 31, 2022, employees of the US embassy in Moscow who have been on assignment for more than three years must leave Russia. "We consider the American move to be a clear expulsion and intend to react accordingly."
The news comes after Washington reportedly denied extending the visas of dozens of family members of Russian diplomats based in the US.

She said that "such a game" was started by America's policy decisions, rather than because Russia was eager to break off ties.
"We tried long and hard to reason with them and direct them to some constructive solution to the issue, but they made their choice."

Comment: See also:


Eye 1

CIA review shows US intelligence community 'struggled' to brief Trump in 2016

Trump CIA
© Reuters / RT
The U.S. intelligence community "struggled" to brief former President Trump in the weeks before he entered office, according to a newly published account of his transition released by the CIA's academic center.

John Helgerson, a retired intelligence officer who wrote the chapter on Trump's transition in the CIA's book on briefing presidents, wrote that Trump's transition to the White House in late 2016 and early 2017 was "far and away the most difficult" experience the intelligence community (IC) had briefing new presidents.