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Sun, 28 Aug 2016
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Question

Zimbabwe's #ThisFlag protests: Surprise social media phenomenon or US-manufactured uprising?

The largest protest movement to hit Zimbabwe in a decade was kicked off by a relatively unknown Baptist preacher who made a video decrying corruption. Is it an accident that his video went viral, or does the popularity of his message reflect U.S. involvement?

© AP
Zimbabwean pastor Evan Mawarire addressing his supporters at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, July 28, 2016. Mawarire, living in exile in South Africa after launching a social media campaign against President Robert Mugabe’s government has called for a massive uprising against the country’s government.
In reporting on Zimbabwe, the mainstream media gives the impression that recent protests rallying around the Twitter hashtag "ThisFlag" are an epic struggle against a corrupt dictatorship.

Robert Mugabe, the 92-year-old president of Zimbabwe and leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), is presented as a "dictator" and "authoritarian," while his opponents are held up as advocates of democracy and human rights.

In its brief snapshot of Zimbabwe's politics, the Western press portrays Evan Mawarire, a Baptist preacher, as a social media phenomenon and "Zimbabwe's most unlikely dissident." Mainstream media accounts of his movement that spawned the biggest protests against Mugabe in a decade, arrest for inciting public violence, and most recently, his flight to the United States, portray him as kind of Martin Luther King Jr. figure, someone who is leading peaceful protest against corruption.

Comment: See also:
Next in line for regime change? Zimbabwe's close ties to Russia and China have made it an irresistible target


Chess

Turkey 'planned Syria ground operation for over 2 years'

© AFP/File / by Raziye Akkoc
Turkish tanks and hundreds of opposition fighters thrust inside Syrian territory on Wednesday to retake the town of Jarabulus from Islamic State (IS) jihadists and keep Kurdish militia at ba
Turkey had been planning a Syria ground operation for over two years before launching an offensive this week, but it was stalled by the military and various international disputes, an official said Thursday.

Turkish tanks and hundreds of opposition fighters thrust inside Syrian territory on Wednesday to retake the town of Jarabulus from Islamic State (IS) jihadists and keep Kurdish militia at bay.

The operation is Ankara's most significant move since the start of Syria's bloody civil war more than five years ago.

Jarabulus has been under IS control for three years, with the timing raising questions over why Ankara had not launched the operation sooner.

Comment: See also:


Pistol

Russian law enforcers kill 2 militants in Kabardino-Balkaria Republic

© Sputnik/ Aleksei Filipov
Russia's law enforcement agencies killed at least two militants during a special operation in country's southern Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, a source in regional law enforcement agency told RIA Novosti on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, a special counter-terrorism operation was announced in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, and in its Chegemsky District. "According to preliminary data, two militants, who fought back law enforcement officers militarily, were killed during the special operation. An active phase of the operation is over," the source said.

Chess

Damascus accused of using chem weapons, again

© english.al-akhbar.com
The US claims about Damascus alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria remain an extremely important part of Washington's propaganda campaign that is aimed at facilitating its attempts to topple the government of Bashar Al-Assad.

Such claims started circulating in the Western corporate media for the first time back in 2013. Back then the award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh caught the Obama administration lying when it claimed that the Syrian government had used sarin poison gas. Back then the evidence Hersh provided confirmed that both the White House statements and fraudulent propaganda unwound by it in the media, pursued one goal - to create a pretext for armed intervention in Syria and replace the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) with their henchmen, and through this stunt take full control of the country.

During his investigation Hersh established that there was a direct tie between the Obama administration and the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that signed a secret agreement back in 2012 to organize a chemical provocation, using sarin poison gas to push the blame on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later on.

Comment: From the red line to the flat line...someone is crying wolf one too many times. US policy: Back up a lie with the same lie, even if it has been exposed.


Gem

Crimea's 'Iron Princess' heading for Russia's Kremlin


Crimea's Chief Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya is tipped to be Russia's next leader
Crimea's Chief Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya, who shot to fame earlier this year after becoming a Manga sex symbol in Japan, is set to run for a seat in the Duma, the lower house of Russia's Kremlin.

The 36-year-old is included on Forbes' list of most promising politicians and is widely seen to be a potential candidate for the 2018 presidential elections.

It is believed the rising star will run for United Russia - a centrist, pro-Putin party.

Comment: See also: A true hero: Crimean prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya on standing up to Ukrainian fascism and fighting for Crimea


Bad Guys

Yemen: Saudi Arabia 'too arrogant to accept defeat,' rejects exit strategy

© AFP 2016/Mohammed Huwais
Yemen in ruins thanks to US, UK, House of Saud.
Days after over 100,000 Yemenis rallied in Sanaa against Saudi Arabia for the latter's continued shelling campaign, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Riyadh to discuss the ongoing bloodbath. The founder of the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh, spoke with Radio Sputnik about Western involvement and possible outcomes of the war.

Framing the violence in Yemen as a proxy war involving Iran is flat-out wrong, in the words of Shadjareh, who was interviewed by Brian Becker on Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear program. Iran, accused by the Saudis of supporting the Houthi political opposition faction throughout the war, hasn't got any influence on conflict in Yemen, he said. "There's a total blockade of sea, and [Iranian] weapons cannot get through, personnel cannot get through. Iran has no air forces involved," Shadjareh noted, offering that the real driving force of the hostilities in Yemen is Saudi Arabia that has been shelling the country since March 2015.

To justify its attempted invasion, the Saudis used the pretext of spreading democracy, which is patently absurd, given that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, and it practices executions and widely oppresses women, Shadjareh said. Riyadh "wants to be a regional power" and has instigated a number of conflicts, including those in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen, he said. "They want to strengthen themselves so as to ensure the continuation of the royal family's dictatorship." The Saudi's real goal in sending troops Yemen, he said, is to place a puppet president in power who will obey Riyadh. "Here we've got one of the richest countries in the region, or in the world, attacking one of the poorest countries, destroying infrastructure and killing children," he said, speaking of the ongoing Saudi bombing campaign, known to be using US-manufactured weapons.

Comment: There is no respectability left for US, UK and especially Saudi Arabia.


Chess

Kerry's peace initiative demands Yemen's Houthis surrender and disarm

© www.tasnimnews.com
Kerry, at the right hand of Saud.
Visiting the city of Jeddah, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a deal with Saudi Arabia on a new "peace initiative" related to the ongoing Saudi invasion of Yemen. As with all previous such initiatives, Kerry's statement laying out the plan demanded that the Shi'ite Houthis, who the Saudis are fighting, must immediately surrender all territory and unilaterally disarm before being allowed to participate in any talks.

The Saudis attacked Yemen in March of 2015, demanding the Houthis surrender all territory to former President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who lost the capital city to them in a failed military offensive against the Shi'ite north, and subsequently resigned in January.

The US backed the Saudi war, and has been conducting refueling operations for the Saudi warplanes bombing Yemen, which have killed thousands of civilians over the last year and a half, and which are fueling increasing international condemnation.

Though US officials occasionally issue statements urging "all sides" to stop killing civilians, they continue to support the Saudis more or less unconditionally. In the course of Kerry's comments, he quickly shifted focus away from Yemen and angrily condemning Iran as a "threat to the United States," comments which always play well to a Saudi audience.

Comment: Kerry's grand act of diplomacy is more-less staged to stroke and placate the House of Saud, as in condemning Iran, whose arming of the Houthis "poses a threat to the US." (No, wink wink, it just means the longer the war goes on, more arms sales for the US to SA, ka-ching.) Kerry's deal includes the "withdrawal of forces from Sanaa and other key areas", and the "transfer of all heavy weapons including ballistic missiles and launchers from the Houthis and forces allied with them to a third party." Any ideas who that might be? It is unlikely the Houthis are this stupid. However, there are the Saudis...


Jet3

China about to join the fray in Syria? Media sources say Chinese jets will join the fight in Aleppo

Media sources disclosed that a Chinese military delegation in a visit to Damascus explored avenues for the dispatch of a number of warplanes to Syria to intensify war on terrorism in the Middle-Eastern country.

"In a surprising visit, a Chinese military delegation conferred with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij over engagement of Chinese fighter jets in bombardments of terrorist groups' positions in Syria, mainly in Aleppo," Debka file quoted a military analyst as saying.

"Chinese jets may launch bombing of positions of Jeish al-Islami al-Turkistani with over 3,000 Uighur fighter," the analyst quoted senior spy officers of the US intelligence as saying.

Comment: The skies are getting crowded! If true, this is a major signal: two superpowers militarily defending Syria's legitimate government from the scourge of American terrorist scum.


Arrow Up

UN, EU help fund Palestinians to build ICC suit against Israel

© 972mag.com
Palestinian women protesting Israeli police blockade at entrance of Al-Aqsa mosque holy site.
Portion of money given to create empowerment plan for Palestinian women intended to be spent on internationalized activities to fight Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank.

The United Nations and the European Union have actively helped the Palestinian Authority build its global advocacy campaign against the Jewish state; including it's filing of "war crimes" complaints about Israel before the International Criminal Court. Over the last year the UN and the EU were participants in the creation of a $2.1 million empowerment plan for Palestinian women. However, according to the details of the plan, which was unveiled Wednesday in Ramallah, $1.3 million of that sum would be spent on internationalized activities to fight Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank.

The plan was designed with the help of a 481,773 Euro grant from the EU so that Palestinians could comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. The EU grant was issued by the "EU Peace-building Initiative," which focuses on promoting "conditions for a sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict through civil society projects and citizens' positive engagement."

Comment: That Israel denies all wrong-doing...no surprises there. It is way past time for the Palestinians to be heard, validated and allowed legal recourse.


Dollars

Why did tyrannical regimes donate millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation?

© Hassan Ammar/AP
As the numerous and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the tactic of Clinton-loyal journalists is to highlight the charitable work done by the foundation, and then insinuate — or even outright state — that anyone raising these questions is opposed to its charity. James Carville announced that those who criticize the foundation are "going to hell." Other Clinton loyalists insinuated that Clinton Foundation critics are indifferent to the lives of HIV-positive babies or are anti-gay bigots.

That the Clinton Foundation has done some good work is beyond dispute. But that fact has exactly nothing to do with the profound ethical problems and corruption threats raised by the way its funds have been raised. Hillary Clinton was America's chief diplomat, and tyrannical regimes such as the Saudis and Qataris jointly donated tens of millions of dollars to an organization run by her family and operated in its name, one whose works has been a prominent feature of her public persona. That extremely valuable opportunity to curry favor with the Clintons, and to secure access to them, continues as she runs for president.

Comment:
Favor for a favor: Clinton Foundation found to have received donations from repressive nations at the same time Hilary's State Dept. approved arms deals