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Shake-up at State level: Tillerson dismisses staffers in droves

© The Event Chronicle
Let Go
Aides to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson purged approximately two dozen State Department staffers on Thursday, in a shakeup that has many officials on edge, fearing that a major restructuring is imminent.

While Tillerson was away on his first overseas trip as Secretary of State attending the G20 in Bonn, Germany, his aides alerted much of the staff working for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices that their services were no longer needed.

Career officials are now extremely worried about their jobs, particularly given how abruptly the firings happened; before assignments had been finished by staffers or any replacements had been hired. "Inside the State Department, some officials fear that this is a politically-minded purge that cuts out much-needed expertise from the policy-making, rather than simply reorganizing the bureaucracy," CBS News reported.

The staffers who were let go act as a conduit between the Secretary and county bureaus. "It is irresponsible to let qualified, nonpartisan, experienced people go before you have any idea of their replacement. You can't do foreign policy by sitting in the White House, just out of your back pocket," Tom Countryman, Former Assistant Secretary for Non-Proliferation, who was let go earlier this month, told CBS.

Many of the people who lost their jobs will reportedly be reassigned to other positions within the department.

Comment: Shakeups in personnel from an incoming administration are nothing new. However, it would be interesting to know who exactly he fired at State, and what their briefs were...


Question

N. Korea denies report man killed in Malaysia airport was Kim Jong-un's half brother

© Kyodo / via Reuters
File photo of Kim Jong Nam
North Korea's envoy to Malaysia has denied that the man killed at Kuala Lumpur airport last week was the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying the Malaysian police's murder investigation cannot be trusted.

Monday's comment, which came hours after the CCTV footage of the purported attack emerged, was the first official statement issued by Pyongyang's representative on the murder of a man identified by Malaysian authorities as Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un's estranged elder half-brother.


Comment: South Korean government officials stated earlier that fingerprint checks proved the man who died in Malaysia was Kim Jong-nam. Now it isn't?

More curious is why the assassination team chose a crowded airport with security cameras everywhere to conduct a 'hit'. Something in raising the fear factor or publicly pitting N-S Koreas against each other? A message? A warning?


"It has been seven days since the incident, but there is no clear evidence on the cause of death and at the moment we cannot trust the investigation by the Malaysian police," the envoy said, as cited by Reuters. "The embassy has already identified his identity named Kim Chol, a DPRK citizen, as mentioned in his passports," the statement added.

The video shows a woman approaching a man from behind and wiping his face with a cloth.


Comment: If the victim was not the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, why was this person killed in such a public place, drawing worldwide attention? Mistaken identity?

More from RT:
The low-quality initial CCTV footage allegedly showing the moment of the deadly attack on the [presumed] half-brother of North Korea's supreme leader has emerged online as tensions between Pyongyang and Kuala Lumpur escalate over his killing.

[The video] purportedly shows the attack on Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13. A woman wearing a white shirt and blue skirt is seen approaching the man from behind - believed to be Kim Jong-nam - and grabbing his face while spraying him with some substance, presumably a fast-acting poison. Presumably, it's the same "LOL-shirt wearing" Indonesian woman, who has already been identified as Siti Aishah and whose been detained by security forces.
See also: Always, always keep in mind, whenever North Korea pops up in the news, that it's ultimately about serving US interests. Without NK 'acting all weird and dangerous', there's no 'legitimate' justification for 400 US military facilities ringing China (via S. Korea, Japan, the Philippines, etc).


Star of David

NYT runs Israeli's op-ed recommending hideous proposal that Palestinians 'emigrate voluntarily'

In the last few days The New York Times has run several opinion pieces from the Israeli or American Zionist point of view. We've seen none from Palestinians. Last Wednesday was a low point. Right alongside Tom Friedman urging Donald Trump to "save the Jews" from division over Israel, the Times ran a piece called, "A Settler's View of Israel's Future," by Yishai Fleshler, international spokesperson for the illegal settler community in Hebron.

The article included a bible lecture about why the two-state solution was dead: "Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people. Our right to this land is derived from our history, religion, international decisions and defensive wars."

Attention

White House reportedly investigating Deputy Chief of Staff and #NeverTrumper Kate Walsh as source of leaks

GotNews reported Sunday that one of the primary sources of the series of leaks that were designed to undermine the Trump Administration and his presidency have been coming from none other than #NeverTrumper Kate Walsh. She is being investigated as one of the primary persons of interest that have been distributing highly confidential information to sources such as The (Failing) New York Times, and others.

When TGP reached out to GotNews founder, Charles Johnson, for comment on the story he said that it was "100% reliable, I'm unwilling to reveal the primary White House sources, but Walsh was behind the leaks."

Comment: Trump tweets that investigation into leaks within intelligence community could be launched


Info

Russia now runs the peace process to end Syria's War, Part 1

Part One

Immediately prior to the resumption of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva on February 23rd, here's a status-report on what has been achieved in these talks so far:

(PRELIMINARY NOTE: Many allegations in this report are contrary to what has been reported by virtually all Western press agencies, and so the documentation behind any such allegation here can immediately be accessed by the reader, simply by clicking onto its link, wherein the untrustworthiness of the Western press can be verified on the given matter, and the facts that haven't been reported by the mainstream media are verified.)

Attention

Russian ambassador to UN Vitaly Churkin has died suddenly in New York, one day before turning 65

© Associated Press photo/Seth Wenig
Vitaly Churkin, who served as Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations since 2006, "died suddenly" in New York, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced.

Churkin would have turned 65 on Tuesday.

The announcement "of the untimely passing away of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin this morning" was met with shock when it was delivered during a session at the UN headquarters.


Comment: Our condolences to his family, friends and the Russian government.


Passport

DHS secretary signs memos with sweeping new guidelines for deporting illegal immigrants

© Larry W. Smith/European Press Agency
A United States Border Patrol agent contains people after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States near McAllen, Texas.
The Department of Homeland Security drafted new guidelines that would speed up deportations and make it more difficult for migrants to claim asylum. The agency plans to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants prioritized for deportation and enlist the help of local law enforcement.

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants inside the United States and at the border.

In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests.

Bad Guys

Chaos in the imperial city: US elite vs. Donald Trump - does it all come down to Russia?

© Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump
The furious opposition President Trump has run into in the first month of his Presidency - and the turbulence in Washington it is causing - is the direct consequence of his wish to reverse US policy and seek detente with Russia.

Donald Trump's now famous claim during his recent marathon press conference that his administration is a working like a "well-oiled machine" has provoked much ridicule.

In reality, as with so much else Donald Trump says, there is more truth to this comment than Trump's critics allow.

MIB

Even as 'debate rages' back home, British officers are STILL training Saudis in how to massacre Yemenis with 'smart' bombs

© Mohamed al-Sayaghi / Reuters
Britain trained Saudi Arabia's air force how to carry out airstrikes with smart bombs despite allegations it is breaching international law in Yemen, official documents reveal.

Evidence submitted to the legal case into the UK's arms sales to Saudi Arabia show the Royal Air Force (RAF) trained Saudi Arabia how to use Paveway IV missiles, according to the Ferret, an investigative news site.

The documents also show that only a "very, very small" number of airstrikes were tracked and that the UK knew little about the Saudis' targeting practises.

Comment: Further reading: US & UK have made Saudi Arabia the world's 'second-largest arms importer'


Quenelle - Golden

Russophobia: Lavrov slams British allegations that Russia plotted Montenegro coup

© Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has dismissed as "unsubstantiated" recent allegations claiming Moscow was involved in last year's Montenegro coup attempt, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was "irresponsible " to make such accusations.

This comes after British newspaper the Telegraph published a report on Sunday which claimed Moscow had conspired to overthrow Montenegro's government. Senior UK government sources claimed that Russia plotted to assassinate Montenegro's prime minister and overthrow its government last autumn, allegedly "to sabotage the country's plan to join NATO."

Last November, Montenegrin authorities announced they had foiled a coup attempt and arrested some 50 people from Montenegro, Serbia and Russia during the country's parliamentary elections.

Comment: As RT reports, the Telegraph article alleged that the 'Russian coup attempt' "would have caused heavy bloodshed and plunged the tiny country into turmoil." Well this is exactly what the West is responsible for, time and time again! Russia is still trying to put out flames started by the West in Ukraine and Syria.

Understandably, the Russian Foreign Ministry took to Twitter to make a mockery of these allegations: