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Sat, 22 Jul 2017
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Propaganda alert: U.S. State Department claims that Iran is 'foremost state sponsor of terrorism'

Iran continued to be the "foremost state sponsor of terrorism" in 2016, with groups supported by the country maintaining their ability to threaten the United States and its allies, a new report by the U.S. State Department says.

The report released on July 19 also noted that the Islamic State (IS) militant group, which it blamed for multiple attacks and "atrocities," was rapidly losing ground in Iraq and Syria, but it warned that fighters returning home could pose risks for countries in Central Asia and the Balkans.

The Country Reports on Terrorism has been issued annually since 2004 under a mandate that requires the State Department to provide Congress with regular updates on terrorism throughout the world.

The report took aim at Iran in a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and the United States, which has long accused Iran of sponsoring international terrorism and destabilizing the region. Iran has also been targeted by U.S. sanctions over its weapons programs and human rights violations.


Comment: Yes, even though Iran has complied with an internationally brokered nuclear arms agreement, how dare it have a strong enough military force to repel attacks from countries like, well, the U.S.!


Snakes in Suits

James Corbett: Our Leaders Are Psychopaths - An Introduction to Political Ponerology (VIDEO)

They walk among us. On the outside. they're just like you and me, but on the inside they are unfeeling automatons who care only for themselves. They are the psychopaths, and they are in control of our governments, our corporations, our military and all of the positions of power. Join us this week on The Corbett Report as we delve into Political Ponerology, a diagnosis of our politicians and a brief look at the bigger picture.

NOTE: This is a visualization of Episode 090 of The Corbett Report podcast, first released on June 14, 2009.



Comment: Political Ponerology is a seminal book that describes what is quite probably THE great problem of our time.


Info

Hungary sides with Poland in EU row, tells Brussels to back off

© Günter Flegar / Global Look Press
Hungarian Parliament, Danube, Budapest.
The Hungarian foreign ministry has declared its support for Poland which is under fire from the European Commission over its domestic judicial reforms.

"We stand by Poland, and we call on the European Commission not to overstep its authority," Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement Thursday as quoted by Reuters.

Budapest pointed out that Brussels should not "act like a political body" and criticized it for attempting to interfere in the domestic affairs of other states.

Chess

'Russia and China responding jointly to the threat of American imperialism'

© Edgar Su / Reuters
Washington refuses to wake up to the new reality of a multipolar world; China and Russia are no longer willing to accept the American writ, those days are over, political commentator John Wight told RT.

The British Royal Navy scrambled to shadow three Chinese warships passing through UK waters heading to war games with Russia in the Baltic Sea.

The Chinese flotilla had been conducting exercises in the Mediterranean, before moving round Europe.

On entering the North Sea, Dutch vessels escorted them further on their journey.

Beijing's ships will join a few Russian ones to take part in joint exercises on Friday.

USA

The Imperial City's Fiscal Waterloo

It's all over now except the shouting about Obamacare repeal and replace, but that's not the half of it.

The stand by Senators Lee and Moran was much bigger than putting the latest iteration of McConnell-Care out of its misery. The move rang the bell loud and clear that the Imperial City has become fiscally ungovernable.

That means there is a chamber of horrors coming. With it, an endless political and fiscal crisis that will dominate Washington for years to come. Its cause is deep and structural.

Attention

Say what?! NYT argues that stressful speech you disagree with is the same as physical violence

BEWARE THE SCARY DEATH WORDS!!

Snowflakes don't like being called snowflakes. The derogatory term perfectly encapsulates both their extreme fragility and their tendency to melt down at a moment's notice, so they really can't stand it. It probably causes them a lot of stress. So, of course, people keep using it.

That, if the New York Times is to be believed, could probably be considered some sort of assault.

People who say things often do so without any regard for the health and safety of those who might hear their words. At best, they're callous and selfish. At worst, they're murderers. Their weapon of choice? ...Unpleasant opinions.

Comment: See also: Former SJW: Regressive Leftism represents a "normalization of political violence"


Smoking

General Counsel for Philip Morris gives testimony on 'illicit' tobacco trade

The Philip Morris International general counsel gives expert testimony at US Commission hearing on global threats posed by illicit tobacco.

Marc Firestone, senior vice president and general counsel of Philip Morris International, today appeared as an invited witness before the Commission on Security and Cooperation to offer expert testimony in support of the Commission's objective of addressing the security and economic threats posed by the illicit trade in tobacco. The hearing was held on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The Commission is a bipartisan body of the United States Congress with representation from the US House of Representatives and Senate.

Global illicit tobacco trade

'PMI has a clear business imperative to combat the problem of the illegal tobacco trade and ensure our products are legally sold in the market for which they are intended,' Mr Firestone stated. He highlighted that the global illicit tobacco trade annually deprives governments of 40-50 billion USD in lost tax revenue, a figure greater than that of the illicit trade in oil, wildlife, timber, arts and antiquities, and conflict minerals combined. Mr. Firestone noted that 'criminals are the only promoters of the global illegal tobacco trade.'

Comment: Some excerpts from Mr. Firestone's testimony:
However, the threat posed to safety, security, and the rule of law in Europe, the United States and around the globe is where the interests of our company and the concerns of this Commission most pointedly intersect.

The concern for this issue is shared by multiple agencies within the U.S. government, including the State Department, which released a December 2015 interagency report entitled, "The Global Illicit Trade in Tobacco: A Threat to National Security." In this report, the State Department described the problem as follows:

Like other forms of illicit trade, the illicit trade in tobacco products, commonly referred to as cigarette smuggling, is a growing threat to U.S. national interests.Internationally, it fuels transnational crime, corruption, and terrorism. As it converges with other criminal activities it undermines the rule of law and the licit market economy, and creates greater insecurity and instability in many of today's security "hot spots" around the world.

[...]Threats to Security:

The increasing threat to security was recently illustrated by the European Commission:
"The illicit tobacco trade has long been recognized as a main source of revenue for organized crime, and, in some cases, terrorist groups. The new European Agenda on Security adopted by the European Commission on 28 April 2015 recognizes the importance of fighting cigarette smuggling as a means of cutting off criminal groups from this revenue source."
Illicit tobacco trade as a threat to the national security of the United States:
The past two decades have provided a number of cases demonstrating the direct link between cigarette smuggling and serious organized criminal and terrorist activity in the United States. Illicit cigarette tax stamps helped to fund one of the convicted bombers in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and U.S. government reports have found that illegal cigarette smuggling networks here in the U.S. are being used to fund terrorist networks in the Middle East like Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda. As an American company, we are particularly troubled by these cases and supportive of any efforts the U.S. government takes to shine a light on this problem.
Security threats in other parts of the world:

At the 2009 International Law Enforcement Intellectual Property Crime Conference, Ronald K. Noble, INTERPOL Secretary General, stated:
Paramilitary groups and organized crime rely on counterfeiting - especially of cigarettes - to reap huge profits and even to fund terrorist activities.
Experts have also said illegal cigarette trafficking is a source of funding for terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS). According to one of the witnesses appearing before this commission today, Dr. Louise Shelley:
Oil is not ISIS' only source of revenue...Still more funding comes from the sale of counterfeit cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, cell phones, antiquities and foreign passports. - Foreign Affairs Magazine, 2015.
Christian Eckert, France's Minister of Budget, also recognized the link between terrorism and illicit trade in an interview in 2014, where he stated the following:
What is clearly evolving is to involve Customs in the fight against terrorism. It is demonstrated and known that many jihadists are involved in petty crime (counterfeit, contraband of tobacco, drugs).
Tobacco is being associated with criminality and terrorism. Reminiscent of Hitler's anti-smoking propaganda, the PTB seem to be laying some groundwork. It may be a leap, but it seems that 'smokers are terrorists' or 'smoking is terrorism' is just a thought away...


Magnify

Awkward: Chelsea Clinton blasts new DOJ asset forfeiture policy as Orwellian, but Bill Clinton signed it into law in 2000

Think people on both sides of the aisle can agree that this new DOJ asset forfeiture policy is some serious BS ...

But for the daughter of the president who only made asset forfeiture worse in 2000 to pretend she's super concerned about it now is just obnoxious.


Thinking Chelsea Clinton should probably avoid any and all references to Orwell. Just sayin'.

MIB

F. William Engdahl interview: The US Empire, the CIA and the NGOs

The CIA recruited the Muslim Brotherhood to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which led to the withdrawal of the Soviets from the Hindu Kush. Since then, the CIA used the mercenaries to fight more proxy wars in the Balkans, Chechnya, and Azerbaijan. Due to the wars of aggression against Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen the US and its vassal states created sectarian violence that led to civil wars. Right now, the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood are present in the form of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

No one has studied this triad more intensively than F. William Engdahl who is a renowned geopolitical analyst, risk consultant, author, and lecturer. Engdahl was born in Minneapolis, MN, and grew up in Texas. After earning a degree in politics from Princeton University, and graduate study in comparative economics at Stockholm University, he worked as an economist and investigative journalist in the US and Europe. He was named Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology and delivers talks and private seminars around the world on different aspects of economics and politics with the focus on geopolitical events. For the last 30 years, Engdahl has been living in Germany.

He has written numerous best-selling books on oil and geopolitics, The Lost hegemon: Whom The Gods Would Destroy, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, and not to forget: Target China to name only a few. His books are translated into 14 foreign languages.

Arrow Up

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert: Russia and US beginning strategic stability dialogue

© EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
Ryabkov and Shannon "will exchange scheduling proposals in the near future," the State Department official has confirmed

Russia and the United States are set to launch a dialogue on strategic stability involving both ministries in charge of foreign policy and other related agencies, a State Department official told TASS after a recent round of Russian-US consultations on the "irritants" in bilateral relations.

The July 17 round of talks in Washington aimed at eliminating various troublesome issues in bilateral ties was held between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.