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Thu, 29 Sep 2016
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Thierry Meyssan: Why the Syrian cease-fire has failed

Ukraine President Petro Porochenko visiting the Security Council on 21 September.
The Western public was enthusiastic about the US - Russia agreement for a cease-fire in Syria, and believed that it could bring peace. This shows that they have no memory of how the war was started, and no understanding of the goals it is meant to pursue. Explanations...

The cease-fire in Syria lasted no longer than the week of Eïd. There have been many cease-fires since the signature of the peace treaty between the United States and Russia. This one lasted no longer than the current peace or the previous cease-fires.

Let's review the facts - on 12 December 2003, President George W. Bush signed a declaration of war against Syria, the Syrian Accountability Act. After a series of attempts to open hostilities (the Arab League summit of 2004, the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2005, the war against Lebanon in 2006, the creation of the Islamic Salvation Front in 2007, etc.), US special forces took the offensive at the beginning of 2011, organising a hoax intended to make people believe that this was an interior Syrian «revolution». After two vetos by Russia and China in the Security Council, the United States finally accepted a peace treaty in Geneva which they signed, in the absence of the Syrian delegation, on 30 June 2012.
First remark
Those who pretend that the current conflict is not an exterior aggression, but a «civil war», can not explain the consequences of the declaration of war against Syria by President Bush in 2003, nor why the peace treaty of 2012 was signed by the major powers in the absence of any Syrian representative.
Since the signature of the peace treaty, four years ago, the war has started again, despite multiple attempts to find a solution, negotiated alone by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian opposite number, Sergey Lavrov.

Comment: See also: SOTT News Snapshot: Syria ceasefire failure is entirely the U.S.'s fault


'My God, where are you?': Duterte promotes death penalty as certain means of serving justice

© Ted Aljibe / AFP
The Philippines' president said that growing influence of atheism and agnosticism leads to people disrespecting laws and committing heinous crimes. And "if there is no God," capital punishment is the only way to make sure justice is served.

President Rodrigo Duterte has condoned the restoration of the death penalty in the Philippines "because the fear is not there" anymore. According to him, the previous presidents had given in to the pressure of the "bleeding hearts" and the Catholic Church who had been against the death penalty "because only God can kill".

"The problem with that is, I ask you, 'what if there is no God?'" Duterte said to reporters at the presidential palace in Manila.

"When a one-year-old, an 18-month-old baby is taken from the mother's arms, brought under a Jeep and raped, and killed, where is God? And in Syria women and children, who don't want to have sex with ISIS, they are burned. So where's God? My God, where are you?" he addressed the creator directly.

Previously, Duterte promised to personally deal with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists by eating them alive in public.


Kurdish trade unionist 'assassinated' in London cafe, ordered by Turkish spies

© Andy Clark / Reuters
Declassified documents reveal how Turkish spies ordered the assassination of a Kurdish trade unionist in a London cafe, a British newspaper has reported, renewing fears of Ankara's alleged black ops across Europe.

No one was charged with the murder of Mehmet Kaygisiz, 33, who was shot in the back of the head in 1994 while playing backgammon in a north London cafe.

Police at the time thought the crime was related to extortion rackets or growing animosity between Turks and Kurds in London as the Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) guerrilla war intensified in Turkey's southeast.

But evidence has now emerged linking Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) to the killing, according to an investigation by the Times.

Stock Down

Wells Fargo hit with multiple lawsuits over fake accounts, fraudulent sales

© Gary Cameron/Reuters
Six former Wells Fargo employees filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against the bank claiming they were demoted or fired when they refused to participate in the bank's illegal practices of opening fake accounts.

The lawsuit is the just the latest of allegations surrounding fraudulent practices which have mostly revolved around the alleged creation of more than 2 million secret, unauthorized bank accounts. Plaintiffs are seeking $7.2 billion or more in damages.

The federal class-action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court on Monday claims that Wells Fargo violated several laws, including Dodd-Frank and the section of Sarbanes-Oxley that prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers. The suit also says the bank made employees work beyond eight hours a day without paying overtime, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

"I expect many other law firms around the country will be bringing cases," Jonathan Delshad, an attorney, told the Los Angeles Times. He filed the suit on behalf of employees who may have been fired or demoted over the last 10 years for refusing to engage in the bank's illegal practices.

Wells Fargo spokesman Ancel Martinez told the LA Times the bank disagrees with the allegations in the suit and "will vigorously defend against any misrepresentations [they] contain."

Comment: We hope this lawsuit goes somewhere, but it's likely that none of the executives involved will go to jail or be punished in any meaningful way for their actions. That's fascism for you: corporations are protected, the labor force oppressed.


Obamacare fail: Whitehouse plans to veto penalty exemption bill for failed co-op plans

© Kevin Lemarque/Reuters
President Barack Obama is set to veto a Republican-passed bill that gives people an exemption from penalties if they purchase health insurance through Obamacare co-ops, but then lose their plan because the co-op failed.

"These options are available to all consumers in these circumstances, not just those enrolled in coverage through co-ops," said the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday, which issued a statement on the White House's stance on the veto, and argued the measure was unnecessary.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska) "would create a bad precedent for using exemptions from the individual-responsibility provision to address unrelated concerns about the Affordable Care Act," the White House said.

The bill was intended to help enrollees of three nonprofit health insurers set up under Obamacare, known as co-ops, that have failed in the middle of this year, forcing people to find a new plan.

The OMB argued the bill would be a "step in the wrong direction" and weaken the "individual responsibility provision," which in turn would "increase insurance premiums and decrease the number of Americans with coverage."

Comment: See also:

Snakes in Suits

Government shutdown nears after Senate fails to pass continuing resolution over lead-contamination crisis

© Reuters
The federal government may soon be underwater, with the Senate divided over, well, water. The lack of funding for Flint's lead-contamination crisis kept a temporary spending bill from being passed, and now a government shutdown is mere days away.

On Friday at the stroke of midnight, the US government will be officially unfunded and move into shutdown mode, unless the Senate and House of Representatives can recover from what took place Tuesday.

In a 45-55 vote, a continuing resolution bill to fund the federal government through December 9 failed to gain a bare majority in the Senate. It falls far short of the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.


Assistant Secretary of State: We should deploy THAAD anti-missile systems in S.Korea as soon as possible

© Missile Defense Agency / AFP
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
The US will deploy the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea "as soon as possible," Washington confirmed, less than three months after Seoul agreed to host it. The move, opposed by China and Russia, allegedly aims to counter the North Korean threat.

As North Korea continues to disregard UN sanctions by repeatedly testing nuclear technologies and the means by which to deliver them, the US and South Korea are pushing full steam ahead to position the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on the peninsula.

Speaking to House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel told US lawmakers that the ever-increasing threats from North Korea necessitate urgent action.

While refusing to provide a concrete timeline for the THAAD deployment, Russel said that "given the accelerating pace of North Korea's missile tests, we intend to deploy on an accelerated basis, I would say, as soon as possible."

Comment: For further reading:


Russia, China to open new cargo transit corridor through Mongolia by 2017

© AFP 2016/ Greg BAKER
Cargo volumes traveling between Russia and China have been growing rapidly, with Russian haulers set to benefit greatly from the new route that will cut the distance between western Russia and southern China by over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles).

"The signing is planned as early as December this year...According to preliminary estimates, the cargo flow will increase 17-20 percent due to the rearrangement of transport movement. Later, increases of 10 percent per year are possible, which is, in general, in tune with the average yearly Russian-Chinese foreign trade increase," Dvoinykh told the Izvestia newspaper.

Currently, traffic between the two countries is restricted to bordering regions and may only take place along international routes.

The new agreement will allow Russian cargo carriers to reach Beijing and the port city Tianjin in contrast to the current practice of hauling cargo to the nearest border town, according to Dvoinykh.

Comment: China launches new freight train connecting to Moscow

Quenelle - Golden

Zakharova makes a mockery of Samantha Power's UN speech

© Sputnik / Reuters
Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Maria Zakharova and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
Translated by Tom Winter

The official spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, has commented on yesterday's speech by the US's special UN representative, Samantha Power.

As reported earlier, the US' special UN representative called Russia and Syria's actions "barbarism."

Zakharova commented:
"When Samantha Power says something, then one wants to cry out of fear for the future of the world, because it is in the hands subject to these kinds of heads.


After years of fighting Syrian Army finally liberates Old Aleppo


- translated by J. Arnoldski

The Syrian Army has liberated a large part of the Al-Farafira northwest of the citadel of Aleppo, RIA Novosti was informed by a source close to the headquarters of military operations in Aleppo.

"For the first time in several years, we were able to shift the front in Aleppo. We managed to liberate more than half of the Al-Farafira neighborhood. The terrorists retreated, and the operation is ongoing," the source told the agency.

According to the source, the district could be cleaned up in the next few hours. While retreating, the militants left behind ammunition and weapons, including heavy machine guns. The government army suffered no losses. Several soldiers were wounded.

Comment: Further reading: Washington rages as Syrian Army wins back Aleppo