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Mon, 16 Jan 2017
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America's spies 'warned Israel not to share intelligence with Trump'

Donald Trump (right) has denied explosive allegations contained in a dossier compiled by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele
US spies warned their Israeli counterparts that Russia may have "levers of pressure" over Donald Trump and told them to be careful about sharing intelligence with the White House in case it was passed on to the Kremlin, according to Israeli media reports.

The American intelligence officials reportedly told the Israelis not to share sensitive information with Mr Trump's aides until the incoming president's relationship with Russia had been fully investigated.

The claim was made in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth and cannot be confirmed.

A spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu did not respond to a request for comment, and the CIA also declined to comment.

But if true it underscores the extraordinary state of relations between Mr Trump and US intelligence, with American spies openly warning foreign allies that the new president may be compromised by Russia.

The Yedioth Ahronoth story, written by the investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, claimed to have details about a recent meeting between American and Israeli intelligence officials.

"Israeli officials who attended that meeting said that their American counterparts spoke despairingly about the election of Trump, who has repeatedly lashed out at the American intelligence community," Mr Bergman wrote.


Turkish MPs approve two constitutional amendments to enhance president's powers

© Murad Sezer / Reuters
Turkey's Parliament has approved two constitutional amendments giving more powers to the president, who will now be able to sponsor new legislation and appoint the cabinet, local media report. The changes come at the expense of MPs' rights to oversee the government.

MPs adopted three more items from the 18-article amendment bill during a heated vote on Thursday and early Friday, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The package of amendments to the country's constitution is meant to advance President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's desire for 'strong leadership,' according to the local media.

Article 8 has been particularly criticized by the opposition, as it empowers Erdogan to represent Turkey as "head of state," according to NTV broadcaster. With the proposed changes, the president will be able to appoint and dismiss cabinet ministers, public officials, and the president's staff. He will also have the authority to sponsor new legislation and submit it to the Parliament for review, Hurryiet said.


Ex-President of Czech Republic: Citizens want to trade with Russia and reject the Euro

© Sputnik/ Anton Denisov
Citizens of the Czech Republic remain opposed to joining the euro area, and want anti-Russian sanctions to be lifted, the country's former President Vaclav Klaus told Sputnik.

Sanctions against Russia haven't achieved anything and should be lifted, former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus told Sputnik.

"I think it would be rational to abolish them, nothing has been achieved by these sanctions, and the Czech Republic, I think, is not a fanatical supporter of these sanctions," Klaus said.

"I think these sanctions have undoubtedly weakened the Russian economy. God knows, I would like to see some kind of quantitative assessment, where it is concretely expressed. I think that, on the one hand, it has weakened trade, but more importantly, it has worsened the investment situation and led to number of foreign companies no longer investing in Russia - and that is a more serious effect than narrowing the range of goods. Of course, I know well that some of our businesses have paid for it. I just think it's stupid."


Trump open to ending sanctions on Russia & 'One China' policy

President-elect Donald Trump has expressed openness to lifting sanctions against Russia under certain conditions, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. When asked about the 'One China' policy, he said, "everything is under negotiation."

In the hour-long interview on Friday, Trump said he is willing to keep the sanctions that the Obama administration recently imposed on Russia "at least for a period of time."

Trump stated, however, that he would consider lifting the restrictions, depending on how helpful the Russians are in the fight against terrorism, as well as assisting with other goals that he feels are important to the US.

"If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody's doing some really great things?" Trump said.

The president-elect added that he would be prepared to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin once in office.

"I understand that they would like to meet, and that's absolutely fine with me," Trump said.

Bad Guys

Cruisin' for a bruisin': Ukraine carries out more missile drills near Crimea

Ukrainian air defense forces have conducted new tactical drills in Kherson Region, bordering Crimea, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

On Friday, the Ministry's press service issued a statement that "air defense units from operational and tactical group South together with combat support units conducted special tactical exercises" in Kherson, the Ukrainian region immediately north of Crimea.

According to the Ministry, the drills included the use of aerosol maskirovka, concealed deployment, as well as joint movement of units over great distances. The press release highlighted that the units involved engaged in exercises during both day and night. The tactical exercises were held in intense conditions with the intensive use of simulated air targets.


Int'l Humanitarian Organizations nowhere to be seen in Aleppo - Russian MoD

© AFP 2016/ George OURFALIAN
The peaceful life in liberated Aleppo is restoring despite the fact that international humanitarian organizations have not provided assistance to the city since its liberation a month ago, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

International humanitarian organizations provide no assistance to the civilians of liberated Aleppo, while the fact that the Western media ignores the assistance issue is surprising, a representative of the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.

"A month has passed since the liberation of Aleppo. However, the international humanitarian organizations still do not provide real assistance to the civilian population. Meanwhile, the peaceful life in the city is restoring," Gen. Maj. Igor Konashenkov said.

He added that the civilians were returning to their homes, sometimes clearing the remaining mines themselves.

Star of David

Israeli embassy agent Shai Masot: Who's Lying?

© UK Embassy in Tel Aviv
Israeli strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan’s denial that an Israeli embassy agent caught plotting to “take down” British politicians works for his ministry is contradicted by undercover footage.
Israel's strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan has denied outright that an official at Israel's London embassy exposed plotting to "take down" UK lawmakers deemed hostile to Israel works for his ministry.

But the embassy official, Shai Masot, revealed to an undercover reporter working for Al Jazeera that he was indeed working on a secret project for Israel's ministry of strategic affairs.

In the fourth and final part of Al Jazeera's groundbreaking film The Lobby, to be broadcast on Saturday, Masot will be seen telling the reporter that he is involved in a project to set up a front company run by the strategic affairs ministry to help fight the BDS - boycott, divestment and sanctions - movement.

Comment: See also:

Gold Coins

The 'Kudrin plan' for Russia: Cut inflation down to 2%

Alexey Kudrin
Former Russian Finance Minister reveals first details of his plan, which amounts to maintaining the Russian government's present counter-inflation policy beyond the present target of 4% until inflation falls to 2%.

One of the big unanswered questions about Russian economic policies which has baffled economic commentators since former Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin was reappointed to an advisory post by Russian President Putin a few months ago was what his plan for the Russian economy would be.

It has also been interesting to see how it would differ from what the Russian government is already doing.

Comment: Putin appointed Kudrin as part of the president's economic council back in April of 2016. Check out:


The war for your mind: Fake 'Trump Dossier' could have been easily falsified

As more and more evidence comes to light proving that the Trump Dossier is a fake the claim the US intelligence community and the Western media could neither verify nor refute it is shown to be untrue.

As was easily predicted, with every passing day the tissue of nonsense which is the Trump Dossier falls apart further.

Its many factual errors made that inevitable.

Quenelle - Golden

Trump willing to end sanctions as long as Russia helps the U.S.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he will keep U.S. sanctions against Russia in place for now but is open to lifting them if Russia is helpful to the United States.

In an hour-long interview published on January 13, Trump also said he is not committed to a "one China" policy on Taiwan that has been in place for decades, reopening a major issue that Beijing has regarded as a nonnegotiable matter.

With regards to both Russia and China, Trump suggested that he will use previous U.S. policies as leverage to gain concessions that he is seeking on trade, the battle against terrorists, and other issues from the nation's two biggest strategic rivals.

Comment: Further reading: The 'Year of Trump': Risks and opportunities for 2017