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Thu, 29 Sep 2016
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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.


Dollar

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.

Rocket

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:


Chess

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.

Quenelle

After years of fighting Syrian Army finally liberates Old Aleppo

© AFP 2016/ GEORGE OURFALIAN

RIANovosti
- 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


Gear

US propaganda machine now in overdrive: Dead set against Russia's anti-terrorist war in Syria

Over the weekend the Western press was blasting Russia and Syria for alleged war crimes in their assault on the terrorist controlled part of East Aleppo. A typical headline from The Washington Post reads "US accuses Russia of 'barbarism' and war crimes in Syria." Meanwhile, the Long War Journal declares "US hits another Islamic State chemical weapons facility in Iraq." UK's foreign minister Boris Johnson is crying foul that Russia should be investigated for war crimes. The Western media of course is now in high gear fanning the flames, charging Putin and Assad with war crimes due to apparent heavy civilian losses. Reports range up to 139 casualties this weekend alone. If readers take these latest proclamations at face value, they would automatically conclude that America and its Western vassals are the true holier-than-thou good guys in the Middle East fighting the bad terrorists Islamic State while Russia and Syria as the US demonized enemies are the ultimate bad guys mercilessly committing crimes against humanity.

Let's first address the report that the US bombed a terrorist chemical weapons factory in Iraq. Hands down the US is the single biggest perpetrator ever using chemical warfare in crimes against humanity. Between dropping two atomic bombs when Truman knew that a defeated Japan was already wanting to surrender to the unprecedented tonnage of napalm bombs used over Tokyo in the final year of World War II (in just a two day period in March 1945, the US dropped over 1500 tons of napalm bombs), to the even more napalm used at 125 tons a day for three years less than a decade later to kill upwards of 5 million Koreans during America's first undeclared war, followed by 400,000 more tons of napalm and 20 million gallons of Agent Orange dumped during the Vietnam War that eliminated up to 3.4 million South East Asians (Vietnam Red Cross estimated 4.8 million deaths from Agent Orange alone), the US has a very long history of flagrantly violating international law banning chemical and biological warfare ever since the 1925 Geneva Protocol to its 1993 renewal. Not that a law ever stopped US exceptionalism from wrongdoing, those wars were just the beginning.

Arrow Down

No Justice for 9/11 victims - Obama chooses politicking over America's natural rights

© Peter Morgan / Reuters
Am American flag flies near the base of the destroyed World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2001.
There will be no closure or justice for the families of the victims of the 9/11 attack. There will be no accountability where accountability is due, there will be no trial and no further inquiry. Politicking those days supersede even patriotism.

While few ever expected US President Barack Obama to do the right thing - at least not by his people's standards, and certainly not to risk of driving a wedge in between geostrategic alliances, the sting of betrayal nevertheless came as a shock.

Actually let me rephrase that: Americans expected, although they did not believe, that their president would speak for justice and decency, even in the face of capitalism's siren call. Today the American presidency has placed itself beyond the interests of its people to represent that of others.

Interestingly enough this new political development was announced by non-other than Obama himself when he took to the floor of the United Nations General Assembly.

Comment: See also: Obama set to veto legislation of 9/11 victims' bid to sue Saudis