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Sun, 23 Oct 2016
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Mosul: 550 families taken by ISIS as human shields

© Rodi Said / Reuters
Iraqis who fled violence in Mosul rest in the desert upon reaching Syrian territory.
Islamic State militants have taken some 550 families from villages around Mosul, and are thought to be holding them as 'human shields' close to jihadists' locations in the strategic Iraqi city, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office said. Citing "corroborated information," UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said the office is also investigating reports that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants had killed 40 civilians in one village, Reuters reported.

Earlier this week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) sounded the alarm amid the carnage surrounding the recapture of Mosul and concerns that IS militants may unleash chemical attacks and use tens of thousands as human shields. "Tens of thousands of people may be forcibly expelled, they will be getting trapped between fighting lines under siege, they may even be held as human shields," IOM's chief of mission for Iraq, Thomas Weiss, told Reuters.

The battle for Mosul, which was held by Islamic State since 2014, began on Sunday, and has since intensified. The Iraqi military and US-led coalition said that the operation to retake Mosul may last weeks or even months. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Thursday that the battle for Mosul is decisive both militarily and ideologically because it's about "stabbing Islamic State in its very heart."

The UN says Mosul could require the "largest and most complex" humanitarian relief operation in the world, with up to 1 million people forced from their homes as a result of the operation against Islamic State militants.

Comment: See also: Red Cross expects 1 million Iraqis displaced due to siege of Mosul, can only help 300,000


Eastern Syria: Satellite imagery shows reconstructed T-4 Military Airport for Russian use

© Aldin Abazovic
Earlier today, Al-Masdar News learned of the Russian Air Force's plans to use the T-4 Military Airport to launch attacks against the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in eastern Syria.

With help from geo-location expert, Aldin Abazovic (@Ald_Aba), Al-Masdar was able to obtain the exact location of this runway at the T-4 Military Airport in east Homs.

The Russian Air Force was unable to use this airfield for several months due to the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorists near the Al-Sha'er region.

This reconstructed airfield will play an integral role in the Russian Air Force's campaign against the Islamic State terrorists in the weeks to come, as the latter's combatants flee Mosul for Syria.


Killary-loving Vox Media discreetly spreading anti-Russian propaganda?

© Vox Media
Was it a simple mistake or liberal left anti-Russian propaganda?

In a recent piece I was writing for The Duran on the third US presidential debate, I noticed an interesting "typo" from a part of the debate transcript that I was researching on various web sites.

The transcript which had this "mistake" was from Vox Media, and involved a question from Mike Wallace regarding a no-fly zone in Syria.

Notice at the end of the question when Wallace specifically asks, if a Russian plane violates the no-fly zone does "president Clinton shoot that plane down?


Podesta Files Show Think-Tanks Writing US Foreign Policy

America knows the leverage corporations have on Washington, but the latest WikiLeaks files on Podesta show how big the influence truly is.

WikiLeaks just released the 9th set of intercepted emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign boss John Podesta [Sott eds: Wikileaks has published an 11th set since this was first published]. The current batch contains clues that suggest corporate control mechanisms that lead straight to President Obama.

At least one email shows how those mechanisms ultimately affect United States policy abroad. As election day approaches, more and more evidence suggests Donald Trump is right in his accusations that a corporate oligarchy runs America.

By now all the world knows about Obama administration's funding and arming of so-called "moderates" inside Syria. It's also widely accepted Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey have ended up assisting terrorists. What few people understand, however, is exactly how America's foreign policy on Syria was and is formulated.

Black Cat

Killary sez: '17 intelligence agencies confirm Russia behind email hacks' - NOT a fact

© Wikileaks/Twitter
Briefly, because I'm trying to get some work done instead of expending energy on this horrific, disgusting election cycle...

In last night's debate, Clinton stated that "17 intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russia is behind the email hacks" which were then turned over to Wikileaks.

Never mind that the mainstream media and the elites are very selective about when to condemn hacked document dumps. As I wrote yesterday before the debate:
It is interesting to note the difference in the treatment of email dumps based on whether it criticizes or supports the Establishment.

In the Panama Papers, hacked emails revealed mass tax avoidance schemes executed primarily by non-insulated political outsiders. Obama deemed it "important stuff" and called for international tax reform in the wake of the revelations contained therein.

But when the Podesta emails reveal ongoing, systemic, baked-in wrong-doing on the part of anointed political favourites, the bogeyman of "Russian state-sponsored hackers" is trotted out, hell-bent on throwing the election and Obama (as per the aforementioned quote) starts talking about "folks needing some kinda Ministry of Truthiness".
As I also covered yesterday, Glenn Greenwald exhaustively back-traced where the 'Russia-hacked-the-election' meme came from and that it was pure spin. The original author who set the entire farce in motion later admitted it was all a mistake, and in his own 'Mea Culpa' revealed that according to the subtext of extensive emails from a Newsweek reporter pressuring him to allow the lie to live, it was US intelligence agencies pushing to spread this narrative. (NSA whistleblower William Binney said the hack itself was the act of a disgruntled employee within a US intelligence agency).

Comment: Well, he suggested that. More likely, it's a disgruntled Clinton insider. Yes, even her 'closest' can't stand her, as revealed in some of the Podesta emails.

Comment: Relations between US intel and the intel agencies of its most obsequious vassal states are such that the US govt could plausibly find 17 agencies 'committed' enough to 'fall on their swords' and 'take one for the team'. Just think of how Denmark, the UK and Australia said the airstrikes against Syrian forces in Deir ez-Zor last month were their doing (when everyone and his dog knows perfectly well it was the US 'secret govt' network).

Book 2

France-Qatar pay-to-play: New book stirs up sсandal among French governing elite

© Krokodyl / Wikipedia
Embassy of Qatar in Paris.
A political scandal is brewing in France after newspaper Le Point published excerpts from the book 'Notre tres chers emirs'. It shines light on French politicians who allegedly accepted payments from Qatar in exchange for favors.

The title of the book by journalists George Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot translates as 'our very dear emirs'. As in English, 'very dear' can also mean 'very expensive'.

"For New Year's Eve, Mohammed al-Kuwari gave the French parliament France-Qatar friendly group Rolex watches or shopping vouchers for luxury stores," a passage from the book reads.

Published on October 20, the book looks at French MP Jean-Marie Le Guen, among others.

The book alleges that for a sum of €10,000 (US$10,900) a month, Le Guen proposed to ensure that Qatar would not get any bad raps from MPs and senators of the ruling Socialist Party or other members of the Government.

Bad Guys

Chaos ensues in Kirkuk as ISIS militants enter houses, mosques, take civilians hostage

© Ako Rasheed / Reuters
Peshmerga forces with Kurdish security personnel gather at a site of an attack by Islamic State militants in Kirkuk, Iraq, October 21, 2016
Islamic State militants have reportedly entered houses and mosques in Kurkuk, Iraq, and taken civilians as hostages. They have also broken into a kindergarten building, according to a Rudaw news agency report citing the city's police chief.

This latest intrusion comes just hours after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) "sleeper cells" launched an attack on government buildings in the city that sparked clashes with security forces, and also as Iraqi forces continue their offensive on the IS stronghold of Mosul.

"It was expected that ISIS sleeper cells would make a move one day in Kirkuk now that the Mosul offensive has started and they want to boost their own morale this way," Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim told Rudaw earlier on Friday.

"Some of [the militants] have hidden themselves inside mosques and tall buildings and try to shoot as snipers, but our forces are in control and in places where escalations were feared it was all controlled. Strong forces combined of security, police, and anti-terrorism are all inside Kirkuk today," he said.

"They were sleeper cells...many women and children fled to Kirkuk as refugees and it is possible that some militants had come with them," Kiruk added, referring to the attackers.

Comment: Update as ISIS tries to control government buildings:
Islamic State militants have launched an attack against government buildings in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. A curfew has reportedly been imposed amid ongoing clashes, and casualties have been reported.

Police told Rudaw that several Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants launched an attack against the buildings in the early hours of Friday.

Clashes between militants and security forces ensued, and at least three car bombs were detonated. At least six IS fighters were killed in the clashes.

Among the attacked buildings was a security building and a former police station, which the militants occupied for a few hours before they were driven out by special anti-terrorism forces.

However, Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim told Rudaw that militants have not seized any government buildings.

"The militants were not able to take any government building or even enter them," he said, noting that "the security forces brought it all under control."


Brit magazine editor admits to RT that Putin & Russia 'hysteria' is good for business

© The Spectator/Twitter
The figure of Putin and hysteria about Russia in West are good for business, Freddy Gray, The Spectator deputy editor, said after the UK magazine put the Russian leader and the RT logo on its cover.

The Spectator ran two articles on Russia in its latest issue, with the first piece by Paul Wood speculating if Moscow was trying to tricking the world into thinking it is planning an invasion of the Baltic States.

In the second entry, Rod Liddle urged the West to stop saber rattling against Russia, and suggested that Putin is on top in the propaganda war.

"Our readers are very interested in Putin," Gray told RT. "We have two articles in this issue that look at the matter of Putin, the matter of the Baltic States and also Syria, and, generally, the Western hysteria towards Russia, which we, in the office, all feel is very unhelpful to the West. It's obviously a good selling subject for us, but it doesn't mean that we're covering it in a biased way."

According to him, The Spectator finds itself in a unique position of "not being Russophobic, but also not being Russophilic."

The British journalist said the Western "hysteria" about Russia can be explained by "some deep psychic need for an enemy, which Putin is filling very neatly for us at the moment."

"A lot of it might be to do with the American election. Hillary Clinton is going to come in very soon, it looks like," he said.

Comment: Deep psychic need in Anglo-Americans' minds for an enemy only partly explains it: Russia, in whatever form it took, has ALWAYS been subject to this russophobia! It waxes and wanes in intensity, but it's always there.

The real reason for today's rampant hysteria is that, this time, the AAs are about to be knocked off their perch - for good - and if they don't quite know it yet, they certainly 'sense' it.

Eye 2

US sees chance to exploit Thailand's transition to destabilize Asia

The passing of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej marks a historical, cultural, and geopolitical event of yet unknown proportions. His time as Thailand's head of state spanned decades, and the stabilizing progressive nature of his reign has transformed Thailand into an economically and culturally significant center of power within Southeast Asia and in Asia itself.

With his passing, the Western media, long attempting to undermine him in life, took the opportunity to defame him in death, claiming he resided over a "divided" nation bound to unravel with his passing.

They also took the opportunity to defame and distort the character of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's heir, Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. Despite the baseless gossip and speculation about the Prince's private life, his public life has been marked with distinction in service to the nation, serving as a special forces operator in combat along Thailand's borders, a trained pilot, and a regular figure presiding over public functions.

Comment: More analysis on Thailand's transition:


Killary lied to the world by creating fake Israeli-Palestinian "peace process"

© Free thought Project
Establishment figures on the left and right, such as Marco Rubio, are beginning to publicly fret about Wikileaks and what it could do to them. For now, the attention is on Hillary Clinton, whose corruption and true positions have been exposed on a number of issues.

Clinton's long career in the highest levels of government has given Wikileaks plenty of material to publish, while Donald Trump's character as an arrogant woman-groper is being revealed from his time in the entertainment business.

Julian Assange said he does have some information about Trump, but there is a strange reality there:
"I mean, it's from a point of view of an investigative journalist organization like WikiLeaks, the problem with the Trump campaign is it's actually hard for us to publish much more controversial material than what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth every second day," Assange said.
The horrible prospect of Trump or Clinton - both highly disliked by the populace - becoming president is the result of a system that is indeed rigged into a two-party dictatorship with the illusion of choice. Ben Swann explains some of it here.