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Right call: Assange's lawyer rejects Ecuador's 'trap door deal'

Assange crosshair
© Global Research
Julian Assange
Yesterday, Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno revealed that his country and the United Kingdom had reached an agreement whereby upon Julian Assange's hypothetical exit from London's Ecuadorian Embassy (where he has lived as a de-facto prisoner since 2012) Assange would not face extradition to a country that might execute him.
Initially, Moreno's statement was interpreted in two distinct ways:

1. According to the agreement, Assange would not be hypothetically extradited to any country that executes convicts

2. According to the agreement, Assange would not be hypothetically extradited to a country whose prosecutors would seek the death penalty as a sentence after a hypothetically successful conviction

The agreement was also suspect because the second interpretation of the Ecuadorian President's statement would indicate that Britain is actively preparing to extradite Assange to the United States so long as Assange's American prosecutors would make London a guarantee not seek a death sentence in relations to a secret indictment against Assange that was recently revealed by Wikileaks and other media outlets.

As expected, Assange's lawyers clarified that the "deal" made by Moreno would be subject to the less favourable interpretation - meaning that should Assange voluntarily leave the Embassy, he would almost certainly be extradited to the United States where he would face life in prison rather than capital punishment. Seeing as the United Nations ruled that Assange's detention and persecution is cruel and arbitrary and that he should be able to immediately exit the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as a free man and receive compensation for his wretched ordeal, the idea that life imprisonment is somehow a victory for Assange is insulting to his intelligence and that of his legal team.

According to Assange's lawyer Barry Pollack, "The suggestion that as long as the death penalty is off the table, Mr. Assange need not fear persecution is obviously wrong".

Comment: See also:


Binoculars

New focus for Russiagate: Trump aide's appearances on RT channel

TedMalloch
© AP Photo/Frank Augstein
Ted Malloch
Robert Mueller is allegedly examining a Trump campaign adviser's appearances on the Kremlin-controlled broadcaster RT, offering new hints about the investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and Donald Trump's associates.

Mueller's investigators have asked Ted Malloch, the London-based American academic who is also close to Nigel Farage, about his frequent appearances on RT, which US intelligence authorities have called Russia's principal propaganda arm.

The special counsel's alleged focus on RT is important because the Russian news channel also has a close relationship with the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who in 2016 published tens of thousands of emails stolen from senior Democrats by Russian intelligence operatives.

Malloch disclosed that he was questioned about RT to his friend Jerome Corsi, a rightwing author who is himself a target of the investigation. "They thought maybe he was coordinating with Russia - and RT is Russia," Corsi told the Guardian. Malloch denies any coordination.

Comment: The Guardian goes out of its way to suggest connections and build a story. Not its job.
See also:


Stop

Hired to 'restore order', John Kelly leaving as Trump's chief of staff

John Kelly
© Vanity Fair
President Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who was assigned to bring a level of discipline to President Donald Trump's often chaotic administration, is leaving the post after internal tensions increasingly spilled into public view in recent months, Trump said Saturday.

"John Kelly will be leaving toward the end of the year," the president told reporters as he left the White House for the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.

Trump, who called Kelly "a great guy" despite their clashes, said he will announce a successor - perhaps an interim one - in a few days.

The president was careful not to describe Kelly's exit as a firing, saying that "John Kelly will be leaving - I don't know if I can say 'retiring.'" He thanked the former Marine general for his long years of public service.

Kelly himself has not commented publicly since reports emerged Friday that he would be leaving soon.


Comment: Kelly provided a containment field, of sorts, for an atypical and unpredictable administration with a swiftly revolving door policy. Next?


Arrow Down

Diplomacy is a waste of time with Washington

Tornflag
© AJC.com
The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others. Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility. Trump's JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova's proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended - despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It's just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They're hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren't enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

Zakharova said:
"We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table.

"We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia's alleged violations of this deal."
Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal - especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Comment: If Russia was in it for the short game, it might be inclined to take Lendman up on his list of suggestions. Instead, it cultivates other like-minded nations in long-range economic and humanitarian enterprise and will leave the US to self-destruct.


Attention

Comey clueless about the FISA warrant Hillary bought

Nunescomey
© Manuel alce Ceneta/AP/CNBC.com.
Devin Nunes • James Comey
His sanctimony can't hide his corrupt corner-cutting.

James Comey uncorked the whopper earlier this year that he still "didn't know for a fact" Hillary Clinton financed the infamous dossier of Christopher Steele - an epic lie reminiscent of his denial, leaked through James Clapper and other stooges, that the FBI spied on Trump Tower, even as warrants to spy on Trump Tower sat on his desk!

Comey is set to meet with Congress on Friday, testimony sure to be riddled with the weaseliest of evasions. According to the Hill's John Solomon, House Republicans are aware of emails showing that the FBI and Justice Department knew damn well that the FISA application to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page rested on partisan and flawed opposition research purchased by the Democrats. The House Republicans are calling on Trump to declassify those e-mails.

Comment: See also:


Whistle

The Clinton nightmare: Chief financial officer for Clinton Foundation turns government informant

CreepyClints
© CTN Politics
Donations to the Clinton Foundation plummeted by 90% over a three-year period since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to President Donald Trump. But that may be the least of the her worries.

John Solomon from The Hill dropped another bombshell that will keep the Clintons up at night.

The former Chief Financial Officer of the Clinton Foundation has turned on the crime family and is now working as a government informant. This could spell doom for the Clinton Crime Family.

Comment: See also:


Star of David

IDF's ground-shattering 'tunnel-vision' comparison of Hezbollah to Elon Musk

HezbollahMusk
© AFP/Reuters/Mike Blake
Hezbollah • Elon Musk
In a strange PR ploy, the Israeli military has enlisted the help of tech visionary Elon Musk to blast Hezbollah's tunnel-digging and rocket-building, tweeting that the SpaceX CEO does the same things, only for the greater good.

The Israel Defense Forces, who this week launched an open-ended operation to destroy a web of tunnels stretching from southern Lebanon to northern Israel, revealed their unexpected appreciation for Musk's tech-savvy genius on Saturday.

On its official Twitter account, the IDF wrote that while Musk "builds rockets at @SpaceX and digs tunnels at @boringcompany to help mankind," the Shia militant group "does the same" in Lebanon "to kill Israeli civilians."

Comment: A bizarre comparison - that got a headline. See also:


USA

Trump: General Mark Milley to succeed retiring Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford

GenMarkMilley
© PressTV
US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley
President Trump on Saturday named Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to succeed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

"I am pleased to announce my nomination of four-star General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Army - as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing General Joe Dunford, who will be retiring," Trump tweeted. "I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country! Date of transition to be determined."

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Trump hinted an announcement related to the Joint Chiefs of Staff was forthcoming as he unveiled other picks -- William Barr for attorney general and Heather Nauert for U.N. ambassador.

Comment: More from PressTV:
Milley has served three tours in Afghanistan for the so-called US Global War on Terrorism and served as deputy commanding general of US forces in the country. He also headed US military missions in Iraq, Panama, Haiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Somalia, among other countries.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said, "We are aware of the President's nomination and share his confidence" in Milley to be the Joint Chiefs chairman.
.


Pirates

Russia reports: Syria terrorist eliminations 2018, 100% border radar capabilities

Terrorists in red
© Journal of National Security Law & Policy
Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov has commented on the results of the anti-terrorist operations in Syria in 2018 and the new radar field on the Russian borders.

More than 23,000 terrorists killed

In 2018, Syrian government forces, which gained significant military experience under the direction of Russian military advisers, took control of the de-escalating areas of Eastern Ghouta, Homs and the South, the Russian Chief of Staff said.

"[During the operations] more than 23,000 terrorists were eliminated. 387 villages of Islamist radicals were liberated," Gerasimov said.

In addition, more than 230,000 people were withdrawn from de-escalating areas through humanitarian corridors without casualties among civilians and moderate Syrian opposition groups. More than 40,000 fighters from moderate armed opposition groups have joined the Syrian army, Gerasimov added.

The military recalled that the active phase of the operation to liquidate ISIS in Syria ended in December last year and that today the militants remain only in the region east of the Euphrates River, a territory mostly controlled by the United States.

Powerful radar field

Among other equipment and weapons of the Russian Army, Gerasimov reported that Russia has finalized full radar coverage of its borders.

Bad Guys

Taliban attacks on Afghan soldiers surge with 8 killed and 9 captured in latest battle

Afghan soldiers
© Rahmat Gul/ AP
Nearly 30,000 Afghan soldiers and police officers have been killed since 2015
The Taliban has attacked an army post in Afghanistan's western province of Farah, killing at least eight Afghan soldiers, officials say.

The overnight assault lasted nearly three hours before the militants overran the outpost and took nine other soldiers hostage, council members Dadullah Qani and Gul Ahmad Faqiri said on December 9.

They said the attackers took all of the post's equipment with them.

Provincial police spokesman Mohibullah Mohib said three militants were also killed and four others were wounded in the battle.


Comment: So it seems the Taliban won this one.


Taliban spokesman Qari Yousof Ahmadi posted a video on Twitter showing what he said were the captured soldiers.

Comment: In line with the surge of Taliban attacks, US bombing in Syria also seems to have increased in recent months: Mostly women and children among the 40 murdered by another US-led airstrike in Syria's Deir Ez-Zor