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Hamas: Blatant US interference in Palestinian reconciliation effort

© matzav.com
Special Representative Jason Greenblatt • President Donald Trump
The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has blasted the US of "blatant interference" in Palestinian affairs after Washington said the Gaza-based group should disarm under an emerging Palestinian unity government.

US President Donald Trump's special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, said on Thursday that any Palestinian government must, among other things, recognize Israel and disarm Hamas, which has defended Gaza against three bloody Israeli wars over the past decade, PressTV reported.

In response to the comments, senior Hamas official Bassem Naim accused the US government of "blatant interference in Palestinian affairs," stressing that "it is the right of our people to choose its government according to their supreme strategic interests."

Naim said Greenblatt was bowing to pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing administration. "This statement comes under pressure from the extreme right-wing Netanyahu government and is in line with the Netanyahu statement from two days ago," he added. Naim was referring to a Tuesday statement by Netanyahu's cabinet, saying Tel Aviv would not engage in negotiations with a future Palestinian unity government that has the backing of Hamas.

Comment: Neither the US, nor Israel should have any say in Palestinian government.


US says Al-Nusra link used chemical weapons - an 'off the hook' investigation statement?

gas attack victim
© Reuters
Victim of gas attack in Telminnes, Syria
The US' admission Al-Nusra linked militants use chemical weapons in Syria could be an attempt to preempt the investigation into the Khan Shaykhun incident by saying "the US government never denied this," says security analyst Charles Shoebridge.

The US State Department has admitted terrorists are using chemical weapons in Syria when referring to the Al-Nusra group, now known as Tahrir al-Sham, in the latest travel alert for the country. Russia's Defense Ministry says it's the first admission of its sort after years of allegations only the Assad government and ISIS carry out chemical attacks in Syria.

RT: How significant is this admission by the US State Department?

Charles Shoebridge: It is significant on one level that it is an admission as is being said. It is obviously a slip-up. It has been let slip not by as you would imagine the usual route. The usual means it would be a State Department announcement or a Pentagon briefing. They have been briefing over the years that the only people that are using chemical weapons, in their view, in Syria is the Assad government. It is on that assertion, rather than an evidenced assertion that only Assad is capable of producing and using these chemical weapons that they have based allegations that, for example, atrocities such as Ghouta in 2013 and Khan Shaykhun this year, that killed many civilians, could only have been carried out by Assad. It is a very weak evidential basis for a claim in any case, but that now is undermined by this. ... And in addition to that in some cases, for example, ISIS have in the past used chemical weapons such as mustard gas. The real significance would be [to say] what kind of chemical weapon they were talking about. Because if it is something like chlorine, this is very easy to produce. If it is something like sarin nerve agent that we saw used recently in Khan Shaykhun, that prompted the American strikes on Assad's air force, allegedly in retaliation for that attack despite any evidence being missing that Assad was responsible for it. That is far more difficult to produce. That may be that they are talking in a generality here.

Comment: So Assad isn't always the 'bad guy.' And, who still has chemical weapon resources? Just to narrow it down: not Russia, not Syria. The US won't finish its toxic chemical weapons destruction until 2023.

See also:

Bad Guys

"Source" tells NBC Niger ambush was result of "massive intel failure"

Myeshia Johnson
Myeshia Johnson cries over the casket of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger, upon his body's arrival in Miami, on Oct. 17, 2017.
A senior congressional aide who has been briefed on the deaths of four U.S. servicemen in Niger says the ambush by militants stemmed in part from a "massive intelligence failure."

The Pentagon has said that 40 to 50 militants ambushed a 12-man U.S. force in Niger on Oct. 4, killing four and wounding two. The U.S. patrol was seen as routine and had been carried out nearly 30 times in the six months before the attack, the Pentagon has reported.

The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly, said the House and Senate armed services committees have questions about the scope of the U.S. mission in Niger, and whether the Pentagon is properly supporting the troops on the ground there.

There was no U.S. overhead surveillance of the mission, he said, and no American quick-reaction force available to rescue the troops if things went wrong. If it weren't for the arrival of French fighter jets, he said, things could have been much worse for the Americans.

Congress also has many unanswered questions about what happened, he said, including about the specifics of the mission that day and the accounts lawmakers have been given about the timeline of the attack and rescue.

Comment: Five questions about the Niger ambush, from Ben Shapiro:
1. Should We Have Been In Niger? A group of American soldiers was reportedly ambushed in Niger by approximately 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters. There are approximately 800 American troops in country; we've been there fighting Boko Haram and ISIS and helping prepare our allies to do the same. These terrorist groups use Niger as a thoroughfare for movement between Northern Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, apparently. The problem is that we have no permission to partake in "offensive air operations," according to CNN. That means that when our guys called for air backup and French Mirage jets arrived, the jets couldn't drop ordnance on the terrorists. Should we have soldiers in places where they can't be defended by air?

2. Why Didn't We Know ISIS Was There? ...

3. What Happened to Sgt. Johnson? ...

4. Why Didn't Help Arrive Sooner? ...

5. Why Did It Take 12 Days For Trump Himself To Acknowledge The Deaths? ...


Samantha Power testifies on intel unmasking, says requests were made under her name, but not by her

samantha power
Congressional testimony by President Barack Obama's former ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, about the "unmasking" of U.S. citizens' names she requested in hundreds of foreign intelligence intercepts by the National Security Agency, has raised new questions about how the sensitive information was ordered up, and subsequently handled.

Power spoke to the House Intelligence Committee on Oct. 13 behind closed doors, and what she said is still cloaked in secrecy. But on Oct. 17, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, told Fox News: "Her testimony is they [the unmasking requests] may be under my name, but I did not make those requests." Gowdy said little else about the session.

The sheer volume of such requests submitted to U.S. intelligence authorities in her name was already unusual. But if she did not initiate them, then who did, and why? Was the resulting information delivered to Power, as the normal protocols of handling such constitutionally-protected information require? Was she even aware of the gush of highly sensitive and secret information solicited under her name?

So far, Power has not responded to queries on those issues, which were emailed by Fox News to her Harvard University office on Oct. 19.


New Silk Road: Xi's road map to the Chinese Dream

Hong Kong
© iStock
It all starts with Hong Kong as a major BRI financing hub
China's Belt and Road Initiative - the New Silk Road - will spark the country's development and turn the dream into reality

Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified company of Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the world will have plenty of time to digest the meaning of "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era."

Xi himself, in his 3½-hour speech at the start of the 19th Party Congress, pointed to a rather simplified "socialist democracy" - extolling its virtues as the only counter-model to Western liberal democracy. Economically, the debate remains open on whether this walks and talks more like "neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics".


Whistleblower calls OSCE "most dysfunctional entity" he's worked with, exposes deceit, corruption, use of brothels in occupied Lugansk

OSCE guys
© Sergey Averin/Sputnik
OSCE monitors seen near the checkpoint in Stanitsa Lugankaya.
On October 19th, 2017, the OSCE reported that its mandate at two Russian Checkpoints had been extended to the end of January, 2018. The Mission's mandate in Ukraine itself on March 16th was extended by one year - to 31st March 2018. This, of course, is normal considering the fact that the deployment of the OSCE in order to monitor the ceasefire is one of the points of the Minsk Agreements signed by OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini, Ukrainian representative Leonid Kuchma, Russian representative Mikhail Zurabov, and the leaders of the DPR and LPR leaders Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky back in 2015. Over the course of the mandate of the OSCE its work has been both critically and positively evaluated, some saying that the Mission's aim is to simply obfuscate the source of shelling, others saying that the employees of the Mission deeply care about the situation and try their best to separate fact from fiction. Looking at the situation objectively and within the framework of proportionate perspective, it does seem that there are more questions than answers concerning the Mission's work in Donbass.

The blowing up of a OSCE vehicle earlier in 2017 certainly sent shockwaves around the organisation, putting into question the safety of its monitors in the Republics. Since then the OSCE has refused in many cases to document the results of shelling, citing their willingness to drive along roads that have not been previously declared as safe for travel. This, of course, is a convenient excuse when the culprit of the shelling of civilian areas is the Ukrainian Armed Forces. But excuses such as the example stated above are only necessary when information about events, such as shelling on residential areas (also known as war crimes), becomes known to the public. But what about events that are not reported by any media or press office?

At the disposal of Stalker Zone is information about such an unreported event: the existence of a brothel in the settlement Severodonetsk on the territory of the Lugansk People's Public occupied by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.


Putin ~ "Everything that we'll be doing must benefit the people and empower humanity, not destroy it,"

Putin at World Festival
© Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the panel discussion 'Youth 2030: The Image of the Future' at the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students.
Humanity is entering a new stage in its development when abandoning moral and ethical values may cause a larger catastrophe than a nuclear war, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the guests of the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi.

The moral and ethical component is an "important circumstance" for any type of activity in modern society, Putin told the young scientists at the festival.


Spain invokes Article 155, will dissolve Catalan parliament, have elections within 6 months - thousands protest, Puidgemont responds

© Agencias
The Spanish government will administer Catalonia directly from Madrid subject to approval by the Senate, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said at a press conference. He added that Madrid wants to curb the powers of the Catalan parliament.

Rajoy declared on Saturday that the government wants to dissolve the Catalan parliament and call a snap election to restore order in the region.

He said Madrid is not revoking Catalonia's autonomy but merely removing local leaders whose actions were against the law. Rajoy said the government was seeking unprecedented constitutional authority to "restore order" in Catalonia.

"There is no country in the world ready to allow this kind of situation within its borders," Rajoy said, as cited by AP. "It is my wish to call elections as soon as normality is restored." The Popular Party led by the Prime Minister controls the majority of the Senate, and Rajoy himself has the backing of major opposition parties.

Comment: Anonymous purportedly hacked the Spanish Constitutional Court's website today.
Spain's Department of National Security said that on Friday the group had announced its intention to target government pages, in solidarity with those seeking independence for Catalonia.

"Hacktivist group Anonymous, through associated Twitter accounts, is announcing a massive cyberattack for tomorrow... under the name '#OpCatalunya' and '#FreeCatalunya'," the Department of National Security tweeted.

A video linked to members of Anonymous suggested that the hacking collective would undertake an operation to 'free' Catalonia.

It was shared online in September, ahead of the 1 October independence referendum.

"We wish to state that the Catalan people's desire to express their will via a referendum is the majority view and cuts across all strata of society and it is in keeping with the civic, peaceful and democratic determination expressed in the multitude of demonstrations held," Anonymous said in its online statement.
Puidgemont called the decision "the worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco." He has called for a debate in the Catalonian parliament, the head of which called Rajoy's decision "an authoritarian coup within the EU." Hundreds of thousands are reportedly protesting the decision:


ISIS plotting "new 9/11", plan to cause "maximum devastation" by bringing down planes

elaine duke
© REX/Shutterstock
Acting DHS head Elaine Duke
ISIS is plotting a 'new 9/11' and will bring down planes to cause maximum devastation, according to Trump's Homeland Security chief.

What's more, the terror group is currently using van attacks - like the one at London Bridge - to keep their members engaged while they raise funds for a 'big explosion'.

Elaine Duke, acting Secretary of Homeland Security says the plan is to recreate the 2001 atrocities where four planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda - two of which were crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center.

Speaking at the US embassy in London, Mrs Duke said: "The terrorist organisations, be it ISIS or others, want to have the big explosion like they did on 9/11. They want to take down aircraft, the intelligence is clear on that.

Comment: That is not very specific. So, is ISIS specifically planning this? Nusra? Some other group? Are they planning such attacks separately? Or in common? If it's the latter, then this is pretty much an admission that ISIS is just a name and all these groups are centrally controlled in some way. Who's pulling the strings? Mrs. Duke has conveniently neglected to mention that the CIA's money has made all this possible.

"However, in the interim they need to keep their finances flowing and they need to keep their visibility high and they need to keep their members engaged, so they are using small plots and they are happy to have small plots."

Gold Bar

Russia triples Gold reserves in preparation for Full-Scale economic war with the United States

Russia war with US with gold
© TheFreethoughtproject.com
The Central Bank of Russia has more than doubled the pace of its gold purchases, and tripled its gold reserves-from around 600 tonnes to 1,800 tonnes-bringing its international gold reserves to the highest level since Putin became President 17 years ago, according to the World Gold Council.

The impetus for the massive increase in Russian gold reserves is their desire to break away from the hegemony of the U.S. petrodollar and dollar-based payment systems. Currently, over 60 percent of global reserves and 80 percent of global payments are denominated dollars, according to James Rickards, author of Currency Wars.

Additionally, the U.S. is the only country with veto power at the International Monetary Fund, known as the global lender of last resort. Thus, one of the most crucial weapons wielded by Russia, in its war to free itself from the hegemony of the petrodollar, is gold.