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Fri, 24 Feb 2017
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Riyadh-backed Yemeni president says Saudi Arabia gave Yemeni govt $10bn to rebuild

© Naif Rahma / Reuters
Yemen has received $10 billion from Saudi Arabia to rebuild the war-torn country, the Riyadh-backed Yemeni president said.

"Saudi Arabia has provided Yemen with $10 billion," Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi said, as cited by Al Arabiya, during a meeting of his Aden-based government on Wednesday.

A total of $8 billion from the sum will be spent on the reconstruction of government-held areas, with another $2 billion to be used to support Yemen's National Bank, he explained.

According to the president, restoring normal functioning of electricity and the water supply, health, education and communications are among the "urgent priorities" for his government.

Snakes in Suits

Melanie Phillips: The uprising against moral extortion and the return to decency and reason

© SuperScholar
Melanie Phillips
As we never stop being told by furious commentators, Britain and America are descending into a neo-Nazi, xenophobic, fascist hell on earth. Britain's Brexit vote was anti-immigrant. President Trump is a fascist. Steve Bannon, his senior adviser and formerly of Breitbart news site, is a white supremacist.

None of these claims is true. Britain is not anti-immigrant but against uncontrolled mass immigration. President Trump is not a fascist but wants in fact to restore the rule of law and respect for the US constitution. Steve Bannon is not a white supremacist but someone who believes in western national identity based on Judeo-Christian values.

In other words, the opposite of fascism. But those making this charge aren't just diminishing and trivialising the horrors of true fascism or bigotry. They are also demonising all those who voted for Brexit or Trump. Millions of people. One British columnist wrote:
"Compulsive liars shouldn't frighten you. They can harm no one, if no one listens to them. Compulsive believers, on the other hand: they should terrify you. Believers are the liars' enablers. Their votes give the demagogue his power. Their trust turns the charlatan into the president. Their credulity ensures that the propaganda of half-calculating and half-mad fanatics has the power to change the world."

Comment: We might all be in sync with the definition of terms like decency, reason, fascism, moral accountability, but it is the manipulation of these words to meet a biased perspective for a particular and chosen outcome that snags society in confusion and destroys the consensus and confidence of a people. And, that is the game afoot.


Propaganda

In a toss-up between Trump and ISIS, Trump is America's greatest threat

© The Political Insider
Who is more dangerous to the American way of life: ISIS or Donald Trump? The answer is obvious: Trump. This is not some bit of clickbait. I realized anew during Thursday's press flagellation that Trump can wreak far more havoc on America, its vaunted institutions and its people than a terror group on the other side of the world.

First, the facts: Alex Nowrasteh's much-cited Cato Institute analysis of terror attacks on American soil between 1975 and 2015 reveals that an American has a 1 in 3.6 million chance every year of being murdered by a foreign-born terrorist. The rate of death for victims of ISIS is even lower. "The annual chance of being murdered by somebody other than a foreign-born terrorist was 252.9 times greater than the chance of dying in a terrorist attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist," Nowrasteh writes.

You're also 19% more likely to be killed because your clothes catch fire than to be killed by a terrorist in this country. So let's dispense with this notion that our way of life is under siege by ISIS. Terror attacks are horrible and unjustified, but random acts of violence have zero potential to destroy our country.


Comment: Perhaps the public would like to comment on the fear tactics that have riddled the news over the past few years. Perhaps the public would like to have had a say in the decision to train and support ISIS, knowing this scourge has grown exponentially and gone viral in other countries at the hands of the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the UK. Too bad all those teensy statistics don't apply to the countries in which ISIS has infested itself. And, when the hand stops feeding it, what then are the "chances?"


President Trump on the other hand...He's not a murderer. He isn't advocating beheading his opponents (yet). But his early moves — and his obvious mental instability — threaten our way of life. Let us count the ways:

Comment: The better question is: Why is this author comparing the new president to a terrorist organization noted for murder and destruction, funded and supported by the former administration? To quote his words: "It's obvious."


Star of David

Trump reminds Israel & Palestine that both have always desired a 'one-state solution'

© AP Photo/ Evan Vucci
For more than 15 years, the Middle East "peace process" initiated by the Oslo accords has been on life support. Last week, United States president Donald Trump pulled the plug, whether he understood it or not.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could barely stifle a smile as Trump demoted the two-state solution from being the holy grail. Instead, he said of resolving the conflict: "I am looking at two states or one state ... I can live with either one."

Given the huge asymmetry of power, Israel now has a free hand to entrench its existing apartheid version of the one-state solution - Greater Israel - on the Palestinians. This is the destination to which Netanyahu has been steering the Israel-Palestine conflict his entire career.

Comment: Of course Palestinians desire a one-state solution - their land and their rights have been brutally stolen from them for decades. But from a political standpoint their desire may never bear fruit. As Jason Martin wrote in Genocide in Gaza: Viable Palestinian strategic options in the face of Israeli tactics:
The complete occupation of Palestine is a fait accompli. The settlers in the West Bank are there. It's done. They have it, and they'll never give it back.

What about their rights to self-determination? What do you think? If all of the Black Americans decided they wanted a two-state solution in the United States, how well do you think that would work out? The two-state solution isn't going to work, and even if it happens, it will be the end of the Palestinian people forever. Once they are officially a state, Israel will trump up some nonsense rocket fantasy and declare war on 'Palestine' and carpet bomb them even further back than the Stone Age. The day Palestine becomes a real state, Palestinians' days are numbered.

It all comes down to which one you want: A Palestinian State or a Palestinian People. Israel has worked very hard, and very cleverly, to ensure there cannot be both.



Chess

Fmr Ukrainian President Yanukovich calls upon the West to investigate Maidan crimes

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has written to world leaders calling to investigate protesters' deaths and crimes against police during the Maidan protests. He also asked Donald Trump to assess US officials' actions during the Ukraine crisis.

"I would like to emphasize that all bloodshed that ensued further in Ukraine originated from the violence on Maidan [Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square]. Never before did Ukraine see bloodshed on such a scale until the mass shooting of people in Maidan," Yanukovich said in a letter to French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as to the Council of Europe and the European Parliament.

He called upon EU leaders to demand that Ukrainian authorities launch a genuine probe into the killings and other grave crimes committed on Maidan against the police who were on duty "to maintain public order and protect the constitutional order of Ukraine."

Comment: If Trump's ever successful in mending relations with Russia it would spell doom for Kiev's neo-Nazi regime - and they know it. The only reason they exist is to be a 'thorn in the spine' of the Russian bear. With Kiev proving they will never stop their criminal war against the Donbass, in repeated violation of the Minsk Agreements, it's a good time for Yanukovich to call for a new approach to the crisis.

Further reading:


Propaganda

The mainstream media's 5 latest fake news stories about Russia

© imago stock&people / www.globallookpress.com
The Russian Foreign Ministry has begun to identify and expose fake news about Russia. Here are the first 5 over the last two weeks.

Fake and unsubstantiated news about Russia is published by the mainstream media on an almost daily basis. The Russian Foreign Ministry has set out on a mission to identify and expose such stories, launching a special section for it on its official website.

The following is a list of news stories that have thus far been identified by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as containing misleading, inaccurate or false information.

Comment: Fake news has reached a fever pitch - good on the Russian Foreign Ministry for exposing it for what it is.


Magnify

Despite #fakenews propaganda, Trump has nothing on previous presidents when it comes to chaos

If you get most of your news from the mainstream media, you might come to the conclusion that the first month of Donald Trump's administration is unique in the annals of presidential chaos and incompetence. Rather than the "well-oiled machine" touted by Trump, the press portrays his presidency as a jalopy full of circus clowns.

But is that true? Are Donald Trump's stumbles really unique? Have previous presidents been paragons of proficiency and professionalism who've gotten off to a smooth start during their first 100 days?

For an answer, let's go to the presidential videotape.

War Whore

Judge allows State Dept. to keep some Killary emails secret

© Jacquelyn Martin / Reuters
The federal judge who ordered Hillary Clinton's emails released to the public has blocked the publication of 30 records redacted by the State Department, saying that they don't show evidence of government misconduct alleged by a conservative watchdog.

The State Department had withheld the documents under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption designed to protect internal deliberations.

Judicial Watch, whose FOIA lawsuit compelled the release of some 14,000 Clinton emails from the time she served as secretary of state and used a private server, argued that they might show State Department officials colluding to "to create misinformation to minimize the public's perception" of the scandal.

"Judicial Watch has not provided a sufficient basis to believe that the information withheld by the State Department would shed light on any government misconduct," US District Judge James E. Boasberg wrote in a summary judgment on Tuesday, after reviewing the disputed records in private.

Attention

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich: Kiev's military op in E. Ukraine 'crime against own people'

© AFP Photo/ Alexander Nemenov
Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich attends his press-conference in southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, on March 11, 2014
The Kiev authorities should be held responsible for the bloodshed that has gripped eastern Ukraine, as they failed to reach out to the people in the Donbass region, opting for full-fledged war instead, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said.

The smoldering military conflict in eastern Ukraine has been propelled back into the headlines, with a new spike in violence in early February.

The escalation highlighted the fragile nature of the ceasefire and the need for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, the key condition on the way to a peaceful settlement, which was reconfirmed in the recent Normandy format meeting.

In an interview with Russian and Ukrainian media on Tuesday, former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich, now living in southern Russia, argued that the military suppression of unrest in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions was an inherently flawed and ill-conceived decision by Kiev.

Comment: See also: Ousted former President Viktor Yanukovich speaks on Ukrainian crisis


Safe

French deep state on the hunt? Police search Le Pen's National Front HQ over alleged misuse of EU funds - UPDATE

© Reuters
Investigators have raided the headquarters of France's National Front (FN) as part of a probe into allegations the far-right party and its leader, Marine le Pen, misused EU funds to pay staff listed as EU parliament aides who apparently worked elsewhere.

It's the second time in less than a week that police have raided Le Pen's offices in Nanterre, west of Paris. The National Front has slammed the accusations as politically motivated and unsubstantiated.

"For the second time, a raid took place at the same offices, over the same allegations, which confirms that the first raid amounted to nothing," the National Front said in a statement, released in the aftermath of Monday's raid.

The party denounced the move as a "media operation whose sole purpose is to try to disrupt the smooth running of the [Le Pen's] presidential election campaign." The statement also pointed out that the back-to-back searches came at the very moment Le Pen is making big strides in the polls.

Comment: Le Pen has said: France will recognize Crimea as Russian; France should have good relations with Russia; and during her Lebanon trip, said Syrian President Assad should stay in power. Need we say more?
Le Pen told Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri that there was "no viable and workable solution" to the Syrian civil war beyond choosing between Assad and the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, which she said must be "eradicated."

"Since we can't let IS take power, there is no alternative to Assad," she said. "The least bad option is the politically realistic. It appears that...Assad is evidently today the most reassuring solution for France."
She added:
"The way to protect the Christian minority is to eradicate those who have a vision of destroying all the minorities."

"For me to protect Christians is to make sure the Christians stay in their countries," not become refugees, she said.
Update (Feb. 22): The investigation continues, targeting Le Pen's chief of staff and bodyguard:
Earlier Wednesday, Le Pen's chief of staff, Catherine Griset, and bodyguard, Thierry Legier, were detained for interrogation in the case.

Griset and Legier were suspected of being fictitiously employed at the European Parliament as parliamentary assistants, a source familiar with the case told AFP.

Prior to the detentions, Le Pen slammed the case as a "political plot" against her, stressing that the voters would never fall for it.

"The French can tell the difference between genuine scandals and political dirty tricks," the candidate was cited as saying by Reuters.

Le Pen's lawyer Marcel Ceccaldi also labeled the probe a "manipulation," which was aimed at destabilizing her campaign ahead of the vote.