Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00 UTC
Trump's original order temporarily banning all refugees in addition to visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations was blocked in the courts. The directive, which affected people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen, sparked confusion at airports and protests across the country and overseas.
The White House said it would rewrite the order to try to address the constitutional objections raised by a U.S. appeals court in San Francisco, which said the order appeared to discriminate on the basis of religion, and other lower-level U.S. courts that are reviewing the order.
Comment: Stay tuned. Round two.
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:27 UTC
According to information received from Anadolu Agency reporters in Al-Bab, the FSA is currently clearing the city center of mines laid by Daesh. "The city center is under FSA control now. We're moving forward, considering mines and explosives around," Ahmed al-Shahabi, the FSA field commander, said as cited by Anadolu.
Al-Bab is one of Daesh's last remaining strongholds near the Turkish border. Capturing the city is of strategic importance to Turkey in order to prevent the Syrian Kurds taking it and unifying their own territories.
Earlier, it was reported that the Turkish military operation in Syria's al-Bab has entered the final stage. Turkey's units entered central al-Bab, the operation is being conducted in coordination with Russia to prevent clashes with Syrian government forces.
Comment: Russian and Turkish cooperation follows a January 12th agreement allowing their respective air forces to coordinate operations in Syria. At the time it was speculated that US involvement so close to the Turkish border would offer the Syrian Kurds an advantage, one Turkey doesn't want. Keeping the Turkish forces and YPG separated and out of clash with the Syrian army, and the US-added consideration for a safe zone, has been a logistic challenge in this area. It all depends on well-organized cooperation and the willingness of the various factions to abide by unified decisions and to follow through as required.
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:52 UTC
However, Wilders has put his campaigning on hold amid safety concerns after a man from a team assigned to the politician by the Department of Safety and Security was arrested, according to reports in the Dutch media. The member of the Dutch security forces is suspected of leaking police information to people linked to the criminal underworld, according to De Telegraaf, although it is not clear what details may have been passed on.
The breach reportedly involves a security detail known as the Iris Unit, which escorts politicians and is also responsible for protecting members of the royal family. "Tremendously disturbing news," Wilders tweeted in reaction to the reports. "If I can't blindly trust the service that has to protect me, I can no longer function."
Comment: Netherlands promises to be another messy election if the leak and threat are real. If not, the candidate has undercut his position. Not an easy choice to make.
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:12 UTC
The visit marks the first from an acting Israeli premier to Australia. Around 650 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in Sydney on Thursday to protest the visit, carrying a poster of Netanyahu with a Hitler-esque moustache and labeled 'Fascist'.
Others in the crowd carried placards branding Netanyahu a 'war criminal' and 'terrorist', according to the Jerusalem Post, and lambasted the Australian government's strong ties with Israel.
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:08 UTC
Comment: Considering the entire Obama Administration was completely devoid of ethics and democratic principles, this non-profit organization is obviously just a front for destabilizing the current administration.
"As people who had the privilege of serving at the highest level of our government, we understand those guardrails, where people might come up against them and what the tools are that we have as private citizens to hold our government accountable," Bassin told Politico.
Comment: Perhaps the citizens of the US should hold Obama, Killary, and the entire Obama foreign policy team accountable and demand the government charge them for treason and put them in jail for their war crimes. That would be accountability!
United to Protect Democracy, named after an expression in Obama's farewell address, has already raised $1.5 million and hired five staffers. The watchdog intends to double the number in the coming weeks, according to media reports.
Bassin explained that UPD may serve as a platform for government employees who are worried about ethics violations within the White House.
UPD has already filed 50 Freedom of Information Act requests, with the intention to obtain documents from the government and potentially file lawsuits.
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:03 UTC
In an effort to create more political friction for the White House than there already is, liberal, filmmaker and activist, Michael Moore launched The Resistance Calender, a website aimed at empowering liberals by pairing them with daily anti-Trump actions in which they can attend.
To the untrained eye, Moore's website, ResistanceCalendar.org, looks decent. It boasts an early-90's color scheme and is rather simple to navigate. It's basically, an online bulletin board which caters to leftists looking to take action by mobilizing against Trump.
The website allows users to "submit" or "add" an event by simply filling out an online form which asks users for their name, their email, the link they wish to promote and a description of the event. Under the "Monthly" tab I counted 55 different events taking place on Today alone with Saturday the 25th looking busy also.
Comment: Michael Moore is also selling his 10-step action plan to make 'Trump toast'.
HOW TO STOP TRUMP (Pocket Edition) by Michael Moore
1. THE DAILY CALL: You must call Congress every day. Yes - YOU! 202-225-3121. It will take just TWO MINUTES! Make it part of your daily routine. It's even better to try their direct line. For Senators, find their numbers here: http://bit.ly/2kko0Ao. For the direct line to your Congressman/woman in the House of Representatives: http://house.gov/representatives. But here's the best way to call them: Go to the App Store and get "5 Calls". The app will dial the friggin' phone for you and give you talking points for when you speak to your reps. Remember -- a call a day keeps the Trump away.
2. THE MONTHLY VISIT: To add even more pressure, SHOW UP! Your member of Congress has a local office in your town or somewhere nearby. So do both of your U.S. Senators (often in the nearest federal building). Go there and ask to speak to them or their aides about the issues you care about. And when they have a town hall meeting, be there!
3. YOUR RAPID RESPONSE TEAM: You and 5 to 20 friends must form a Rapid Response Team so that when we need to leap into action (like we did at the airports the hour after Trump signed his Muslim Ban), we can email and text those closest to us to make an instant plan.
4. JOIN! JOIN! JOIN!: If you haven't already, it's time to join some of our great national groups: Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, ERA Action, MoveOn.org - the list goes on and on. And all the new groups that have sprung up to fight Trump: IndivisibleGuide.com, TownHallProject.com, Organizing for Action (ofa.us), ActionGroups.net, etc. Go and so many more. Sign up!
5. WOMEN'S MARCH NEVER ENDS: The historic, record-breaking January 21st Women's March on Washington -- and the hundreds of other Marches that day across the US and the world, with over 4 million in attendance! -- inspired millions and ignited hundreds of local movements. Every day now dozens of actions continue to take place as if the Women's March never ended. It hasn't. Join it! Go to my RESISTANCE CALENDAR (www.resistancecalendar.com) where you can find out what actions are taking place near you.
6. TAKE OVER THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: The old guard of the Party has twice in 16 years presided over the majority of Americans electing the Democrat to the White House -- only for us all to see the losing Republican inaugurated as President. How is it that we have won the popular vote in SIX OF THE LAST SEVEN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS -- the Republicans have only won ONCE since 1988 -- and yet, we hold NO power in any branch of government?! We must elect reform and progressive candidate, Congressman Keith Ellison, as the new DNC chair. Keith is a former community organizer, the first Muslim elected to Congress, and a key backer of Bernie Sanders. Sign his petition of support at www.keithfordnc.org/howyoucanhelp. And locally, you need to start attending your county Democratic meetings. If possible, organize your friends and others and take over your local Democratic organization.
7. LET'S FORM BLUE REGIONS OF RESISTANCE: People keep saying, "I live in a Blue State - what can I do?" Show the rest of America what it could look like in a state where Trump isn't in charge! New York should go ahead and offer Free College for All. California can create its own Universal Health Care. Oregon can stop mass incarceration of African Americans. Hawaii can enact its own climate change laws. Important historical note: Before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, California and New York passed their own state laws to make it legal. This greatly helped pave the way for CHOICE being the new normal - and, three years later, for the enactment of Row v. Wade.
8. YOU MUST RUN FOR OFFICE: I know, that's the LAST thing you want to do. But if we keep leaving the job up to the dismal, lame, pathetic political hacks who have sold us all down the river, then what right do we have to complain? This is only going to get fixed when you and I decide we are willing to put in our time -- even if it is a brief time -- and run for office. Run for school board, town council, state senate in 2018. I ran when I was 18 and got elected. You can, too. At the very least, run for precinct delegate. The time commitment is just 3 hours a year! Call your city or county clerk and find out how to get on the ballot. If you'll do it, I'll do it.
9. JOIN THE ARMY OF COMEDY: Trump's Achilles heel is his massively thin skin. He can't take mockery. So we all need to MOCK HIM UP! I truly believe the final tipping point for Trump will be when he implodes from all the laughter -- the mocking, the unbearable ridicule of tens of millions of Americans that will discombobulate him and force him out of the White House. I don't know what happened to Trump in boarding school at 13 and I don't care. Whatever it was, let's use it. He's used all the other things he picked up over the years - misogyny, bigotry, greed - against the powerless and the unfortunate. It's time to laugh him outta town. And if there's one thing we all could use right now is a good laugh -- AND the possibility of a much-shortened presidential term.
Please share this and spread the word. Follow me on Twitter (@MMFlint) and Facebook (facebook.com/mmflint) and I'll keep posting ideas on what we all can do. We can stop him. We can nonviolently block and obstruct halt the damage he's doing. But it's going to need -- and take -- ALL HANDS ON DECK!
The Free Thought Project
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:35 UTC
Yet even with the bipartisan parade of politicians, including former president Barack H. Obama, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and others, the American people have not been presented one shred of evidence to suggest the Russians attempted to meddle with the elections. Free thinkers everywhere are scratching their heads, and asking themselves if they're supposed to believe the so-called leaders in Washington, without being presented with any proof the Kremlin had anything to do with Clinton's loss.
The bully in Washington may have used his executive powers to go after states such as Indiana, that "resisted then-President Barack Obama's attempt to increase federal involvement in state and local election systems by designating them as 'critical infrastructure' for national security," writes DCNF's Richard Pollack. To better describe the hacking attempt, Pollack described it as a "scanning assault."
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:34 UTC
De Menezes was shot in the head 11 times on a train at Stockwell Underground Station, south London, after being mistaken for a terrorism suspect.
His bereaved family say Dick's appointment proves that "police officers can act with impunity."
Comment: That does seem to be how law enforcement works. Make it clear you operate with a seeming lack of concern for human life, and you are ripe for a promotion.
Dick was appointed chief of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on Wednesday, making her the first woman in history to head the UK's largest police force in its 188-year history.
Comment: The Menezes operation wasn't 'botched': it was a successful hit. As an electrician working on the Tube, De Menezes saw something he shouldn't have; something that exposed 7/7 as a false-flag terror attack. In any event, it's more likely Dick took the fall for de Menezes' murder. The gunmen who killed de Menezes were from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment of British military intelligence, and likely took orders from way over Dick's head.
Controlling information: Twitter adds measures for censoring 'abusive or low-quality tweets' to combat abuse, harassment
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 19:13 UTC
The changes include extra measures to stop suspended users from creating new accounts, "safer search results," and the collapsing of "potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets."
"Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus," claimed the company in a blog post update on Tuesday. "We stand for freedom of expression and people being able to see all sides of any topic. That's put in jeopardy when abuse and harassment stifle and silence those voices. We won't tolerate it and we're launching new efforts to stop it."
"Building on the work we began in November, we're continuing to work on ways to give people more control over what they see on Twitter," they continued. "Last week, we introduced an improvement to reporting abusive Tweets that gives people experiencing targeted harassment more ways to report it. Today, we're announcing three changes: stopping the creation of new abusive accounts, bringing forward safer search results, and collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets."
12 years after £1 million pay-off by UK government, British ex-Gitmo resident turns up as dead 'ISIS suicide-bomber' in Mosul
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:16 UTC
Al-Britani is thought to be Jamal Udeen Al-Harith, born Ronald Fiddler, a former Guantanamo detainee from Manchester who was released from the US prison camp in 2004, after being captured in Pakistan in 2002.
He was reportedly paid £1 million by the UK government to keep quiet about British complicity in torture and abuse.
Comment: As a long-term member of 'the database' (al Qaeda), the British security services no doubt knew exactly where he was and exactly what he was doing.
We're not at all surprised. The two founders of 'Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula' were also Gitmo graduates. Clearly, at least some of the 'detainees' were held there (and in other 'black sites') in order to 'turn them', further indoctrinate them, maybe even train them, then pay 'em loads of money and set them loose in order to ramp up, not damp down, the 'War on Terror'.
That's Western liberal democracy for ya folks: gotta have an enemy to justify the war crimes!
Update (Feb. 23): PM May reportedly downgraded surveillance on Fiddler while she was home secretary, but her spokesperson referred to comment when asked about it. The claim comes from two ex-Labour home secretaries, David Blunkett and Jack Straw, who say surveillance stopped prior to him going to Syria.
Straw followed up the attack, telling the Independent: "One of the things that she [May] did do [as Home Secretary] was weaken the ability of government to keep terror suspects under effective surveillance."Fiddler's family deny the claim that he received as much £1 million in compensation from the UK government.
While security officials confirmed al-Harith and other Guantanamo detainees were monitored after their release, they said the scale of it depended on the extent of the threat they posed to the public.
"There is a finite amount of resources and a valued judgement has to be made on how these resources are allocated," a senior source told the Independent.
Richard Barrett, the former head of counter-terrorism at MI6, told the newspaper: "This guy came out of Guantanamo Bay ten years before he left for Syria. That would be a hell of a long time to keep someone under close surveillance, almost impossible, and against his civil liberties.
"When he came back from Guantanamo Bay the assessment was made by the British and Australian services that he posed no threat and for the ten years that he was in the UK and maybe even for a period after that, he did not pose any direct threat to the British public in the way that we would understand it."
On Wednesday, it was revealed Tony Blair's government lobbied for the release of al-Harith despite never regarding him as innocent.
David Cameron's government agreed a total package of £10-20 million in damages for British citizens and long-term residents who were held in Guantanamo in an out-of-court settlement in 2010.More background on Fiddler's past. Note the last line:
The Tory government is now facing pressure to prove that £10-£20 million paid to terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay did not end up in the hands of IS, after it emerged that four of the 17 British detainees thought to have been given compensation have been accused of links to Islamic groups or individuals in Syria.
Writing in Thursday's Daily Telegraph, Lord Carlile QC, the former terror law watchdog, said: "I hope that what he [al-Harith] did with the money was the subject of careful monitoring, something on which we are entitled to some reassurance from the authorities."
Lord Carlile, who said the payment should never have been made, added: "I am concerned about the monitoring of money received by people who have been identified as terrorists. I would hope that the money was followed with care to avoid large sums being paid over to terrorist groups."
In a statement to the BBC al-Harith's family denied he received as much as £1 million in compensation, claiming the figure was "a group settlement including costs for four innocent people including Jamal." They blamed his treatment at Guantanamo Bay, where he was held by the US, for his subsequent involvement with the terror group.
Catherine Philp, correspondent for the Times, wrote on Thursday that al-Harith was barely able to speak when she met him in a Kandahar jail shortly before he was taken to Guantanamo Bay in 2002. "He doesn't speak. He was mentally tortured by the Taliban," she wrote.
The father-of-five flew to Pakistan after the September 11 attacks and spent time in a Taliban jail, alongside political prisoners and foreigners, before American forces moved in and took him to Guantanamo Bay. Interrogators found he provided useful information about the Taliban's methods, and believed he had spent time with Osama Bin Laden in Sudan. But he was released from the notorious prison camp in 2004, after two years, repatriated to the UK by private jet and released without charge.
Speaking to the BBC soon after his return to the UK he described being frightened to leave Guantanamo because he was so used to life there, and his hatred for the Americans who held him there. "When they were taking us out I could see the British plane waiting for us - they had to walk us over the 300 metres - and we got put in front to the British Bobby and the American soldier was taking off my chains I wanted to spit in his face but you have to hold yourself inside."
He also spoke of his determination to sue for compensation, and revealed the Americans were only convinced he had a clean criminal record because he worked for MI5, which he laughed about on live TV.