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Sun, 25 Sep 2016
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SOTT Exclusive: Al-Nusra and Al-Cameron agree! Those moderates ain't moderate


One of these guys runs a massive terrorist organization responsible for death and destruction all over the world. The other DOESN'T like pigs.
Isn't it nice when friends agree on all the important things? It just gives me warm snuggly feelings all over my insides.

Propaganda

Lies and omissions in Obama's last State of the Union address

In a sycophantic display of adulation, the U.S. Senate repeatedly cheered as President Obama fed them false and misleading statements.

Between incessant waves of applause breaks and standing ovations, President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address Tuesday night. Boasting about economic growth and military prowess, the president made several misleading statements while failing to disclose numerous politically inconvenient facts.

"Let me start with the economy and a basic fact," Obama stated on Tuesday. "The United States of America right now has the strongest, most durable economy in the world."

Compared to China's recent economic instability and Russia's rampant military spending, the U.S. economy appears slightly more stable while continuing to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. But according to the U.S. National Debt Clock, the U.S. National Debt currently stands at more than $18.8 trillion with federal spending continuing to rise.

"It's not too much of a stretch to say some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job in the same place with a health and a retirement package for 30 years are sitting in this chamber," Obama momentarily paused as arrogant laughter and adulation filled the room. "For everyone else, especially folks in their 40s and 50s, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher."

While briefly addressing wealth inequality and the necessity of immediate campaign finance reform, the president also called for strengthening Social Security and Medicare programs. Praising Vice President Joe Biden for his work with cancer research, Obama suggested leading a path toward obtaining a cure for cancer.

TV

Al-Jazeera America is closing its doors

© AFP
Al Jazeera America is closing its doors, CEO Al Anstey told staffers on Wednesday in an all-hands meeting. The small broadcast channel, which has operated on the periphery of U.S. broadcast media since opening up in 2013, will cease to exist on April 30.

"[O]ur business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace," Anstey said in a memo circulated to staff. "The decision that has been made is in no way because AJAM has done anything but a great job. Our commitment to great journalism is unrivaled."

It's a harsh blow to a staff that only months ago had declared victory over an unsympathetic management that refused to voluntarily recognize a union of its digital employees. Organizers at AJAM kick-started an election administered by the National Labor Relations Board and won with an overwhelmingly majority. "Every employee in the office I work in put a ballot in," said National Editor Gregg Levine.

Levine, among others, told International Business Times that the union fight was another example of the dysfunction coming from the top of the company. "You'd think that Al Jazeera America management would understand where the 21st century is going. But instead they chose to behave in the way they have behaved in general, which was what made it really easy to organize in the first place."

"They don't give you a straight answer, they delay and defer, pretend it's somebody else's decision," he added.

Comment: The reasons given to the public are probably not the real reasons they are closing up shop. For more on Qatar's Al-Jazeera network, see:


USA

US no longer a democracy says Princeton study

© Counter Current News
A groundbreaking study from Princeton University is causing a lot of controversy, but its findings are undeniable.

The university study explain that U.S. democracy is pure fiction. That is, the researchers explain, it simply does not exist.

The scholars behind the study asked the question: "[w]ho really rules?"

Researchers Martin Gilens along with Benjamin I. Page concluded that over the past few decades in particular, the U.S. political system has gradually changed in a way that has warped the Democratic Republic into a nearly pure oligarchy, where the elite 1% rule with almost total influence and control over the government and even police state apparatus.

The researchers drew data from over 1,800 different policy initiatives dating from 1981 to 2002. They concluded that wealthy, well-connected families are the ones who steer the direction of nearly everything politically in the United States.

Arrow Down

Saudi Game of Thrones: What lies beneath Saudi decision to behead Nimr?

© AFP 2016/Alain Jocard
Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud.
What lay beneath the execution of Shiite Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia? The beheading of the peaceful cleric has sent multiple signals: to Tehran, Saudi Shiite opposition and Riyadh's Wahhabi co-religionists, experts say.

The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was a message sent by the King of Saudi Arabia both to his supporters and adversaries.

"The Kingdom has not had its Islamic revolution, a transition from a largely secular rule to a theocratic one, as in Iran in 1979... Saudi has also not seen the unpredictable upheaval of an Arab Spring. It instead has been ruled by the al-Saud family for decades," Peter Van Buren, American author and 24-year veteran of the US State Department, notes in his article for his WeMeantWell.com site.

The American author adds that it is fundamentalist Sunni Wahhabi clerics who provide "religious legitimacy" for the al-Saud family.

There is "something rotten" in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the one hand Riyadh is feeling "betrayed" by Washington who is moving toward new diplomatic relationship with Tehran. Ironically, Iran has rapidly emerged as a leading power after the US invasion destroyed the Iraqi state, Tehran's longstanding nemesis. Unsurprisingly Tehran is now regarded as a rival, a competitor and substantial threat by Saudi Arabia. To add insult to injury, plummeting oil prices have affected the economy of the Gulf monarchy.

Bizarro Earth

Despite the dangers, nuclear war still on the drawing board of the Pentagon

More than 2000 nuclear explosions have occurred since 1945 as part of nuclear weapons' testing.

Officially only two nuclear bombs (Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 6 and 9, August 1945) have been used in an act of war.

The media consensus is that a nuclear holocaust is an impossibility.

Should we be concerned?

Publicly available military documents confirm that nuclear war is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon.

Compared to the 1950s, however, today's nuclear weapons are far more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for a first strike pre-emptive nuclear attack.

Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon's plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books.

War is Good for Business: Spearheaded by the "defense contractors" (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, British Aerospace et al), the Obama administration has proposed a one trillion dollar plan over a 30 year period to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, bombers, submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) largely directed at Russia and China.

A new arms race is unfolding. Russia has in turn responded to US threats through a major modernization of its strategic nuclear weapons arsenal.

Cell Phone

DHS cell phone kill switch plan to remain secret; Supreme Court refuses petition

© sputniknews.com
Here today, gone tomorrow.
Without any explanation, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a petition from a privacy advocacy group seeking to uncover secret Department of Homeland Security documents regarding a cell phone kill switch plan.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has been trying to obtain declassified information on Standard Operating Procedure 303, or the Emergency Wireless Protocols, since 2011, but Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have so far gone nowhere. The secretive program, handled by the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) under DHS, was allowed to remain secret after a federal appeals court found in May that FOIA did not apply to this particular program if DHS believed its release would "endanger" the public.

The appeals court described SOP 303 as a "unified voluntary process for the orderly shut-down and restoration of wireless services during critical emergencies such as the threat of radio-activated improvised explosive devices," reports Ars Technica.

In a 2006 report by NSTAC, other government officials and telecom executives claimed the program is capable of turning off wireless networks "within a localized area, such as a tunnel or bridge, and within an entire metropolitan area."

EPIC first issued FOIA requests regarding the program in 2011 after four downtown San Francisco metro train stations had their wireless signals cut by Bay Area Rapid Transit ahead of anticipated protests. Though the program used by BART was different, its act of cutting off cell phone service in public areas to disrupt protests in the name of public safety set a new precedent. Despite the Supreme Court decision, EPIC was given a highly redacted version of SOP 303 [PDF].

Comment: Cloaked under a big and broad plan is the capability of damping of public service access at any time or excuse. Guaranteed we will uncover more control protocol in place as events expose the trip wires and reveal the masters. The SOP 303 (Office of Primary Responsibiiity: National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications (NCC)), has been in place for about 10 years, traced back to the London subway attacks in which suicide bombers used cellphones to detonate explosives. Subsequent to that event, NYC shut down cell service in the Hudson River commuter tunnels for two weeks. According to the heavily redacted PDF, the NCC Watch is informed of the requirement to disrupt/disable cellular service to a particular site or region by a designated federal/state/local law enforcement official or member of government. Imagine the implications.


Wall Street

Banksters win again: 'Audit the Fed' bill fails in the Senate

When it comes to the Fed, Congress is mired in hypocrisy. The anti-regulation, de-regulation crowd on Capitol Hill shuts its mouth when it comes to the most powerful regulators of all - you and the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, Congress goes along with the out-of-control, private government of the Fed—unaccountable to the national legislature. Moreover, your massive monetary injections scarcely led to any jobs on the ground, other than stock and bond processors.

- From the post: Ralph Nader Destroys the Federal Reserve in Open Letter - Calls it "Out of Control, Private Government"

Snakes in Suits

Blustering Biden: US should not apologize for boats crossing into Iran's waters

© U.S. Naval Forces Central
The US government should not apologize for the two American boats that entered territorial waters of Iran on Tuesday due to mechanical issues, US Vice President Joe Biden said.

"When you have a problem with the boat, [do] you apologize the boat had a problem? No," Biden said in an interview with CBS News on Wednesday. "And there was no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice."

Boat

Iran releases trespassing US sailors after US apology

© Tasnim
US Marines whose boats were seized by IRGC forces after trespassing in Iran's territorial waters.
The ten US Marines who had trespassed on Iran's territorial waters and had been taken into Iranian custody have been released after Americans apologized for the incident. The Public Relations Office of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced the release on Wednesday.

The statement read, "Following the illegal and unpermitted entry of two American Navy vessels into the Islamic Republic of Iran's territorial waters near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf on the evening of the previous day, the vessels stopped, obeying a warning by IRGC vessels, and their crewmembers, who comprised nine male Marines and one female Marine, were placed under arrest."

It added, "After technical and operational examinations done in interaction with the country's relevant political and national security authorities and the establishment of the inadvertent and unintentional nature of the entry by the American Navy crafts and their apology, a decision was made to free them."

The statement said the Americans had pledged not to repeat the mistake, adding, "...the arrested American Marines were released into international waters under IRGC Navy vessels' watch." Meanwhile, an unidentified US official confirmed to the CNN that the 10 Marines had been released and boarded US missile cruiser, USS Anzio.

Comment: Cooler heads prevailed. This could have been a much bigger "deal" breaker.