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Fri, 02 Dec 2016
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Snakes in Suits

Analyst predicts Western nations will come under pressure to probe Clinton Foundation spending

© AP Photo/ Matt Dunham
Western European nations are facing growing pressure to end their financial contributions to the Clinton Foundation and investigate its spending, investment analyst Charles Ortel told Sputnik.

"The penny has dropped: The governments have decided not to fund Clinton Foundation activities anymore," Ortel said Tuesday. "Canada, Sweden and Ireland are countries that may undertake investigations or end their practice of contributing large sums to the Clinton Foundation."

He was commenting after Norway and Australia announced last weekend that they were ending their annual contributions to the charity, founded in 1997 by then-US President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton.

Boat

Greece will permit Russian tankers transit

© Sputnik International
Dimitrios Velanis, Special Advisor Russian Relations
Dimitrios Velanis, the special advisor on Russian relations to the Greek prime minister, told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that Greece will not take any action against Russia should Russian tankers carrying fuel for the country's air forces in Syria travel through Greek territorial waters. The EU currently bans the supply of jet fuel to Syria from EU countries under EU Council Regulation 1323/2014 ban. The embargo applies whether or not the fuel originated in the European Union.

"I would answer with the words used by the Russian Ministries of Defense and of Foreign Affairs, which were that the sanctions put in place by the EU and by NATO do not affect Russia, since it is not a member of these organizations," Velanis said. "We understand that Russia's intervention in Syria, with its navy and air forces, needs of course to keep them going. Planes don't fly without fuel.

"We know that Russian planes bomb terrorists, and not the Syrian people, unlike what is written in several Western news sources. To say that Russia is attacking peaceful ideals is 100 percent false. The Western media does not portray what is really happening, and similarly there is plenty of propaganda against Russia. But the Greek people understand this," he said.

Bad Guys

Parliament rules Tony Blair not accountable for Iraq deception

© Toby Melville / Reuters
Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair
MPs have voted down a motion on whether or not former Prime Minister Tony Blair should be held to account for allegedly deceiving Parliament to take Britain into the 2003 Iraq invasion.

The motion was led by Scottish National Party (SNP) foreign affairs spokesman Alex Salmond and a range of other MPs from the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru - as well as some from the Labour and Conservative camps.

Some 439 MPs voted in defense of Blair while only 70 voted he should be held to account.

The motion said the Chilcot report, published in July, "provided substantial evidence of misleading information being presented by the then prime minister and others on the development of the then government's policy towards the invasion of Iraq."

It was opposed by the section of right-wing Labour MPs who subscribe to Blair's ideas, several of whom argued that the debate was an SNP ploy to split Labour.

Propaganda

Marie Antoinette moment: Liberal order gatekeepers are headed for the guillotine

In a surprising moment of self-awareness, Wolfgang Münchau just published an editorial in the Financial Times comparing the gatekeepers of the "global liberal order" (the FT included) to Marie Antoinette and the House of Bourbon, blindly "let them eat cake"-ing their way toward their own guillotine.

Münchau knows of what he speaks; as associate editor of the Financial Times he is in the unenviable position of acting as the spokesman for the banksters ensconced in the City of London. And in case you haven't noticed, the banksters aren't exactly the most popular people in the world right now. But don't take my word for it, take his:
"Some revolutions could have been avoided if the old guard had only refrained from provocation. There is no proof of a 'let them eat cake' incident. But this is the kind of thing Marie Antoinette could have said. It rings true. The Bourbons were hard to beat as the quintessential out-of-touch establishment.

"They have competition now.

"Our global liberal democratic establishment is behaving in much the same way. At a time when Britain has voted to leave the EU, when Donald Trump has been elected US president, and Marine Le Pen is marching towards the Elysée Palace, we — the gatekeepers of the global liberal order — keep on doubling down."

Comment: Further reading:


Snakes in Suits

Trump announced he'd be leaving his business 'in total' to focus on presidency

© Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Flags fly above the entrance to the new Trump International Hotel on its opening day in Washington September 12, 2016.
Seeking to quell controversy over potential conflicts of interest between his impending presidency and his business empire, President-elect Donald Trump announced he would be leaving his business "in total" to focus on the White House.

True to form, social media-savvy Trump made the announcement on Wednesday in a series of tweets and a Facebook post. He said he would address "leaving my great business" at a December 15 press conference in New York City, with his children present.

"While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses. Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!"

Star of David

Political infighting: Israeli parliament postpones vote on West Bank settlement bill

© AFP 2016/ THOMAS COEX
The Israeli Parliament on Wednesday made the decision to postpone the vote on a bill that would retroactively legalize thousands of settler homes on the West Bank's private land, amid disputes between Israeli lawmakers, local media reported Wednesday.

The draft settlement bill proposes to allow Israeli settlers to remain on the Palestinian territory, while offering financial compensation to owners of the land. It has already been approved in the first reading.

According to the Jerusalem Post, a fraction of the Kulanu party has been in disagreement with the Likud party over the option of blocking court orders on legalization of settlements. Likud supported the inclusion of the option in the bill, while Kulanu opposed. As a result, Kulanu withdrew the bill from parliamentary discussions, the media reported.

Pistol

Obama expands global reach of US Special Ops death squads

© Signs of the Times
In major actions reported only briefly by the establishment press, President Obama has given vast new scope to the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), authorizing it to carry out assassinations across the globe.

The units of JSOC have long been employed by the chiefs of the six major regional military commands, such as Centcom, which covers the Middle East and Central Asia, to conduct counter-terrorism operations. One such unit, Seal Team Six, carried out the assassination of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.


Comment: The evidence for this operation was never verified, nor the body examined and identified -- if there really was one. He most likely died years earlier of illness. Obama's version was show and tell, and take the credit.


Obama has approved a proposal to give JSOC independent authority to operate outside the regional commands, essentially as a globalized assassination force. JSOC units will bypass the regional commanders and report directly to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the Pentagon.

Comment: We already knew the trajectory of the Obama and Clinton team: The United States of Global Dystopia with secret laws, secret budgets, secret kill lists and massive abuse of power. Apparently a good majority of Americans sensed a different option with Trump, a chance for something -- anything -- better. Perhaps Trump has figured that out and will act accordingly...that is if he doesn't find himself the target of Obama's JSOC.

See also:


Umbrella

Obama expands terrorist umbrella to include jihadist Somali group, redefines 'Terrorism'

© AFP PHOTO/Mohamed DAHIR
Young fighters from Al-Shabab come together to count their bullets in Mogadishu, 2009.
The outgoing Obama administration recently broadened the umbrella of the war on terror by placing the jihadist Somali group al-Shabaab (the youth) under armed conflict legislation drafted by Congress to target terrorist groups involved with the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Shabab was not organized until after 2007, and as an entity could not have been involved in 9/11. Obama's expansion will likely be used to legalize an escalation in counterterrorism measures and airstrikes in support of the Somali government and the African Union.

The decision to target groups far from Al Qaeda's base in Afghanistan is expected to be announced next month in a list of global deployments detailed in a letter to Congress. This major expansion has raised the eyebrows of anti-war activists and foreign policy experts, but it is not the first instance of the US relaxing its own self-imposed restrictions for battling militant groups abroad.

In a June letter to Congress Obama amended 9/11 legislation to include "associated forces" of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who aimed to "achieve strategic effects," against the Afghan government. This also allowed Washington to "prevent a strategic defeat" of Afghan forces, effectively giving the US the ability to target groups who may not be a direct threat.

Comment: Typically the excuse dictates the legislation. Obama is a master at the reverse: The legislation dictates the excuse.

See also: Obama expands global reach of US Special Ops death squads


Info

First group of militants leaves town near Damascus under deal with government

© Sputnik/ Iliya Pitalev
The first group of militants has left the Syrian town of Khan al-Shih southwest of Damascus in the last 24 hours within the framework of a local ceasefire agreement with government forces, a military source told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

The evacuation agreement between militants and government forces was proposed on Saturday. A 48-hour ceasefire was announced, after which the militants were allowed to leave for rebel-held territory in the Idlib province in the north of the country.

"The first group has already left Khan al-Shih together with their families. The rest will leave on Wednesday, they will go to the city of Idlib," the source said. The same source said on Monday that the evacuation of more than 2,500 people from Khan al-Shih had started.

SOTT Logo S

Modern Operation Mockingbird: "Everyone Who Disagrees with Me Is a Russian Propagandist"

SOTT.net recently had the honor of being smeared as a vehicle for Russian propaganda. The dubious, anonymous "PropOrNot" site listed us as one among 200 or so such websites - witting or unwitting dupes of the Kremlin's propagandists. Thankfully, we're in mostly good company. It's hard to know whether to take them seriously or not. The site gives the impression of perhaps being a too-clever hoax, which would be hilarious given that the Washington Post among others actually takes them seriously. I mean, come on, the first thing you see on their website is a fake interview, conducted by a comedian, with two actors pretending to be Russian propagandists!)

But leaving that aside, it's still rich. Pretty much every alternative news website you can think of is included on the list. PropOrNot's logic seems to run something like this:
  1. Western governments and media say A. (A is true.)
  2. Russian government and media says not-A. (Not-A is not true.)
  3. Alternative media also says not-A.
  4. Therefore, alternative media are either witting or unwitting peddlers of Russian lies.
First, this assumes that the western media and government are telling the truth. Second, it assumes that the Russian government always lies. So the alternative media is put in awkward and contrived position: anytime the Russian government tells the truth, and the alternative media makes the same claims, the latter can simply be written off as Russian propaganda. Which is total nonsense. The fact that the people behind PropOrNot, if they're sincere in their claims, think this is the case says a lot about what they think of their readers: they think they're idiots.