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Sat, 10 Dec 2016
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Congress demanding answers from Pentagon on $125bn waste report

© OSD Deputy Secretary of Defense / Flickr
The House Oversight Committee wants to know why the Pentagon buried a proposal to save $125 billion, requesting a copy of the full report - and an explanation - from the Department of Defense.

Thirty-one lawmakers on the committee sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday, asking why he ignored the proposal to save enough money to "cover the operational costs for 50 Army brigades, or 3,000 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force, or 10 aircraft-carrier strike groups for the Navy."

They were referring to the January 2015 study by the Defense Business Board, commissioned by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work. The DBB found that $134 billion a year was spent on a bureaucracy employing over a million contractors, civilians and office personnel, and recommended reforms that would save $25 billion a year over five years.


U.S. should admit game over in Syria

© Rodi Said / Reuters
A U.S. fighter stands near a military vehicle, north of Raqqa city, Syria
With Aleppo on the brink of liberation from US-supported 'moderate' jihadi rebels, Barack Obama's White House is in damage control mode — but it's about time they admit it's game over.

After major advances by Syrian forces into rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Washington suddenly came to the Russians with a plan last weekend. The US would do its best to get the rebels out of eastern Aleppo and any remaining would be designated as terrorists and thus become legitimate targets for Syrian forces.

The proposal floated around for three whole days before Washington retracted it to reportedly work on some new ideas.

At the rate the Obama administration moves with regard to Syria, you'd think there was no urgency attached at all. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has repeatedly aired his exasperation during breaks in talks that go on for hours longer than necessary, while his counterpart John Kerry seemingly checks with all and sundry in Washington before saying yes or no to anything.

The fact that the White House can't seem to stick to one plan for more than three days — this isn't the first time they've retracted their own proposals — indicates not only their desperation as the clock runs out on Obama's presidency, but also highlights a general incoherence and total lack of clarity or consistency that has characterized the America's Syria "strategy" for years.

But while the US side has been trying to decide which way is up, the war hasn't waited for Obama's foreign policy circle to all start singing from the same hymn sheet. The latest victories for the Russian-supported Syrian army are proving decisive and it's predicted that government forces may have complete control of Aleppo within days. That certainly won't be the end of the war, but it may be a step in the right direction in terms of weakening the Islamist opposition.

Comment: A succinct round-up of America's actions aimed at destroying a country that stood in the way of the Empire's plans. Reality is now smacking the Empire in the face.

Star of David

Israeli IDF defends fake Lebanon military buildup map as Hezbollah's 'war crime illustration'

© Ramzi Haidar / AFP
Lebanese Hezbollah members

A "declassified" map of an alleged Hezbollah military buildup in southern Lebanon shared by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been exposed by Twitter users as a fake, forcing the IDF to admit the picture was just a "visual illustration" of the militant group's "war crimes."

The map titled "Declassified map of Hezbollah's military infrastructure in Lebanon" was posted on the official IDF Twitter account on Tuesday, highlighting 85 towns and villages in the southern part of the country.

Spots, showing civilian settlements were surrounded by numerous multicolored dots, labeled with names such as "weapon warehouse" or "rocket launcher" and other military facilities.

The tagline of the image said "Hezbollah's hiding behind Lebanon's civilians," while the tweet's caption was the simple and rather dramatic statement, "this is a war crime."

Light Saber

Iceland's Interior Minister ran off planeload of FBI agents sent in 2011 to frame Assange

© Chip East / Reuters
The US sent a "planeload of FBI agents" to Iceland in 2011 to frame WikiLeaks and its co-founder Julian Assange, according to a former Icelandic minister of interior, who refused them any cooperation and asked them to cease their activities.

In June 2011, Obama administration implied to Iceland's authorities they had knowledge of hackers wanting to destroy software systems in the country, and offered help, then-Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, said in an interview with the Katoikos publication.

However, Jonasson said he instantly became "suspicious" of the US good intentions, "well aware that a helping hand might easily become a manipulating hand."

Later in the summer 2011, the US "sent a planeload of FBI agents to Iceland seeking our cooperation in what I understood as an operation set up to frame Julian Assange and WikiLeaks," Jonasson said.

Icelanders seemed like a tough nut to crack, though.

"Since they had not been authorized by the Icelandic authorities to carry out police work in Iceland and since a crack-down on WikiLeaks was not on my agenda, to say the least, I ordered that all cooperation with them be promptly terminated and I also made it clear that they should cease all activities in Iceland immediately," the politician said.

Comment: Jónasson should be commended for his principled stand on human rights. It's no small thing to stand up to the American bullies.


Propaganda Alert! White House calls for 'full review' of mythical Russian hacking based on secret 'intelligence' reports

© Gary McCoy
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton's chances.

"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. "That's the consensus view."

Comment: So there you have it. They have no evidence, they never did. The Fake News empire made up the Russian Hackers meme, just as they made up everything else.


What victory looks like: Streets of Old Aleppo covered in hair as 'moderate rebels' shave their beards and run

© RusVesna.su
Once all the rage in Aleppo, jihad beards have suddenly become extremely unpopular.

A quick update from Aleppo, which is now 85% under Syrian control, according to all reliable reports.

As Aleppo residents rush into government-controlled areas, Al-Qaeda affiliates and other democratic groups encircled by Assad and his allies are shaving their freedom beards and bouncing. Martyrdom will just have to wait, we suppose:


Red Flag

Activist Larry Lessig who served on George Soros-financed boards behind scheme to take Trump's electoral college votes

© Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Harvard law professor and progressive activist Larry Lessig has announced that he is teaming up with a California-based law firm to offer "free and confidential" legal services to any members of the Electoral College who will vote against President-elect Donald Trump in violation of state law.

Lessig, a one-time presidential candidate, has served on the boards of numerous groups financed by billionaire George Soros.


Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard smokes CNN shill: 'US is funding terrorists' in Syria

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) may have more sense than all the other democrats (and most republicans) in congress put together.

Ms. Gabbard appeared on the Chutzpah News Network (CNN) and answered questions about her alignment with President-elect Donald Trump on foreign policy. Gabbard denounced the US policy of regime change and support for radical Islamic terror in Syria, accusing Washington of direct material support to the terrorists.

Comment: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is one of the few sane minds in the US governments.


Twitter cuts ties with software firm believed to help law enforcement spy on activists

© Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Twitter is doubling down on its commitment to opposing police use of its data for surveillance. The social network has severed its contract with Media Sonar, which produces surveillance software used by 19 local government agencies.

The social media giant cut Sonar off in October as part of its commitment to opposing the use of its data by companies that offer mass surveillance tools to law enforcement. Media Sonar was guilty of doing so, Twitter confirmed to the Daily Dot on Friday.

Media Sonar's access to API, Twitter's public platform for developers, was shut down, and Twitter told the Daily Dot that if they try to create more," we will terminate those as well and take further action as appropriate."

Media Sonar's sales representatives pitched the cloud-based surveillance program as being "specifically designed for law enforcement" and their promotional material contains "an effective list of high frequency social media terms that can help identify illegal activity and threats to public safety."

A copy of their material was obtained by the ACLU who discovered that much of the terminology contained on the list pertained to anti-police brutality movements, such as Black Lives Matter. A separate column for Mike Brown-related keywords was included in the 2015 material.

Take 2

Democrats outraged as Trump may stay on as 'Celebrity Apprentice' executive producer

© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
Executive Producer and host Donald Trump (C) speaks about the NBC television show "The Celebrity Apprentice" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 16, 2015.
President-elect Donald Trump may be giving up his salary, but he will reportedly be staying on as executive producer of reality show "Celebrity Apprentice." While critics have denounced this as conflict of interest, Trump's campaign chief compared it to golfing.

Trump will keep his executive producer credit on the show, the show business magazine Variety reported on Thursday. In the credit sequence, Trump's name will be shown after the show's creator Mark Burnett and before Arnold Schwarzenegger, the current celebrity host.

Having been a star of the show for seven seasons, Trump bowed out in February 2015, before launching his presidential bid in June.

"Were we so concerned about the hours and hours and hours spent on the golf course of the current president? I mean presidents have a right to do things in their spare time," said Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, appearing on CNN's 'New Day' on Friday.

"Whether it's President Obama or President Donald Trump, the idea that these men are going to be all work and nothing else all the time is just unrealistic because it's never happened in our lifetimes," Conway said, adding that work is Trump's hobby.