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Sun, 16 May 2021
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Ukraine court orders house arrest of opposition leader Medvedchuk, suspected by Kiev of 'treason'

Medvedchuk
© Reuters/Serhii Nuzhnenko
Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk at court hearing in Kiev May 13, 2021.
Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the largest opposition bloc in the Ukrainian parliament, has been placed under house arrest and had his passport taken away, after the authorities in Kiev said they were investigating him for treason.

A judge in Kiev on Thursday denied the prosecutors' request to jail Medvedchuk, but placed him on round-the-clock house arrest until July 9. His passport was also confiscated. A group of lawmakers had offered to pay Medvedchuk's bail, while outside the court a group of nationalists had gathered calling for his imprisonment.

Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova announced on Tuesday she was seeking his arrest on charges of treason and attempted theft of "national resources in Ukrainian Crimea [sic]."

Venediktova also said that the SBU - Ukraine's successor to the Soviet-era KGB security agency - had failed to find Medvedchuk during a raid on his home, and that his whereabouts were unknown. Appearing in court on Thursday, however, the opposition leader told reporters that the case is "fabricated" and that he will consult with his lawyers about what steps to take next.

Comment: See also:


Bandaid

Pelosi says masks still required in House chamber despite CDC guidance

Pelosi
© AP/Getty Images
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi enmasked
Off with the mask? Not so fast, if you're a member of Congress.

Despite updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating that fully vaccinated people can "resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic" without wearing a mask or social distancing, House members are still required to keep their masks on in the chamber except when speaking during debate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN reporter Manu Raju she would not change the rule despite the new CDC recommendations. "No," she said, according to Raju on Twitter. "Are they all vaccinated?"

A few hours later, Capitol Attending Physician Brian Monahan confirmed in a memo that the chamber's mask requirement would "remain unchanged until all Members and floor staff are fully vaccinated." Monahan added that the new CDC guidance does apply in House office buildings and all other areas.

Comment: Along with Covid, the mask of democracy is slipping as well. The 'vaccination' (what you have been led to believe) has long expired.


Star of David

Israel posts fake videos to justify Gaza slaughter

Gaza destruction
© Ashraf Amra/APA images
Palestinians inspect a building damaged by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on 12 May 2021.
The Israeli government posted a two-and-a-half-year-old video from Syria, claiming it was from Gaza, in order to justify its ongoing bombing campaign that has killed dozens of Palestinians since Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Arabic spokesperson Ofir Gendelman tweeted a 28-second video on Tuesday. The video shows the rapid firing of rockets from next to what looks like an apartment building. "Another video showing how Hamas is firing rockets at Israel from populated areas in the Gaza Strip."

He then accused Hamas, the Palestinian resistance faction that governs Gaza's internal affairs, of "targeting civilians while using them as human shields."

The words "Gaza now" are watermarked on the video in English and Arabic.
Another video showing how Hamas is firing rockets at Israel from populated areas in the Gaza Strip. This is a double war crime: targeting civilians while using them as human shields.

1/3 of these 250+ rockets fell inside the Gaza Strip, killing Palestinians. #GuardiansOfTheWalls pic.twitter.com/GP9Hh52RW6

— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) May 11, 2021

Comment: For Israel, the war on Palestine is won by shifting blame and social 're-media' - nothing fair or true about it. It's unbelievable!


Star of David

Arrogance: Tel Aviv hit AFTER Gaza buildings bombed - Israel ignored Hamas warnings

rocket israel bus
© Ahmad Gharabli / AFP
Firefighters examine a bus in the town of Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, that was hit by rockets fired from Gaza
Israel deliberately destroyed a residential tower in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday despite warnings from Palestinian resistance groups not to target civilian infrastructure.

Videos circulated on social media show the al-Hanadi apartment building collapsing after it was struck by an Israeli missile.

Comment: Not content with dispalcing one group of families, Israel brought down a second building containing not only apartments but several media groups.
Footage from the embattled Palestinian enclave purported to show Al-Jawhara Tower as it took a direct hit from an Israeli war plane early on Wednesday morning, sending a massive column of smoke into the night sky. It is at least the second large structure in Gaza City severely damaged in recent air raids, with the Hanandi Tower, reportedly a residential complex, reduced to rubble on Tuesday night.


The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) posted footage of an airstrike on a high-rise soon after the initial videos began making the rounds, claiming the building included Hamas "intelligence headquarters" and an "information department." It is unclear if the grainy IDF video depicts Al-Jawhara or another structure, however.


While Al-Jawhara Tower appeared to sustain catastrophic damage in Wednesday morning's strike, it is not the first time it was targeted by Tel Aviv, with Israeli warplanes bombing the same structure during fighting in 2014. At the time, the Committee to Protect Journalists noted the building housed both Palestinian media outlets as well as apartments.
During their 51-day bombardment of Gaza in 2014, Israel had the nerve to boast that their heinous action was a "symbol" comparable to 9-11! These are truly sick puppies.
An Israeli general likened Israel's bombing of three landmark towers in the Gaza Strip last year to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Speaking at the Future Forces for Homeland Security conference in Herzliya last week, Major General (ret.) Gershon Hacohen said:
"I need symbols, I'm talking about symbols. It is no simple matter. Because if I destroyed three towers in Gaza towards the end of Operation Protective Edge, and inflicted not only pain in the economic sense but also a symbol, and like the Twin Towers in New York were a symbol, what is significant is not only the physics but the significance of the matter."
During the final two nights of the 51-day war on Gaza last summer, Israeli warplanes dropped American-supplied bombs on the Zafer Four tower, the Italian Compound, the Basha tower, and a four-story mall in Rafah. The mass destruction left hundreds of families homeless and struck a heavy blow to Gaza's already crippled economy. These attacks were carried out when the ceasefire was imminent. The Italian Compound and Basha tower were destroyed only a few hours before the announcement of the ceasefire agreement.

Contrary to Israeli propaganda which claimed that the towers housed Hamas "command centers," the general's statement confirms my reporting from Gaza: the Israeli military chose these targets so as to attack the professional class, which is considered unsympathetic to the political goals of Hamas. These attacks are part of Israel's continued strangulation of Gaza's economy. Unemployment is now at 55%, the highest in the world.

Hacohen's speech to a crowd of military and weapons industry figures was entitled, "Future battlefields and functions of the future soldiers in future military tactics." Hacohen retired last fall.

Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip remains covered in rubble. The eight-year Israeli/Egyptian siege continues unabated and has prevented the delivery of reconstruction materials that were promised in Cairo. While indirect negotiations for a long-term ceasefire drag on, it is abundantly clear that another major Israeli attack on Gaza in a matter of when, not if.

With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation.



USA

The U.S. has been through a vaccine rollout before - Here's what went wrong

Gerald Ford receiving vaccine
© David Hume Kennerly/Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
President Gerald Ford receiving the swine flu vaccine from his White House physician, Dr. William Lukash on October 14, 1976.
In the mid-70's, the US government launched a full-scale campaign to vaccinate mass numbers of Americans against what was supposed to be the deadliest flu pandemic that never actually occurred. As a result of the government push for widespread inoculation, many were harmed by the rushed vaccines.
"This government-led campaign was widely viewed as a debacle and put an irreparable dent in future public health initiative, as well as negatively influenced the public's perception of both the flu and the flu shot in this country." - Rebecca Kreston, writing for Discover Magazine
After a soldier named David Lewis died from a newly emerged form of influenza, then-US Secretary of Health F. David Mathis announced that this virus indicated "a return of the 1918 flu virus that is the most virulent form of flu," and in extension the most deadly pandemic since the start of the 20th century.

The CDC decided that in order to prevent another pandemic, 80% of Americans would have to be vaccinated immediately. Ultimately, 46 million Americans received the vaccine for a virus which never actually emerged.

Boat

Duterte tells China Philippines ships aren't backing down in South China Sea - "You can kill me if you want, but I will remain here"

philippines ships
© REUTERS / PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD
Duterte is protesting the presence of Chinese ships in the South China Sea, while Beijing insists that its actions are in accordance with international law.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that he will not withdraw ships from disputed areas of the South China Sea as he refuses to bow to pressure from Beijing.

"We have a stand here and I want to state it here and now again that our ships there... we will not move an inch backward," Duterte said in a televised address.

The Philippine president reiterated that waging war against China was not an option but expressed his willingness to end friendly relations with Beijing.

"I do not want a quarrel, I do not want trouble. I respect your position and you respect mine. But we will not go to war," Duterte said.

"I really will not withdraw. You can kill me if you want to kill me, but I will remain here. This is where our friendship will end," he added.

Attention

The Age of Fear

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." — Hermann Goering, Nazi leader
Age of Fear
© CPO Magazine
With all that is crashing down upon us, from government-manipulated crises to the blowback arising from a society that has repeatedly prized technological expedience and mass-marketed values over self-ownership and individual sovereignty, those coming of age today are facing some of the greatest threats to freedom the world has ever witnessed.

It's downright frightening.

Young people will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be threatened, intimidated and beaten by militarized police. They will be the subjects of a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies and government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment's notice.

As such, they will find themselves forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands that "we the people" be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences.

It's a dismal prospect, isn't it?

Unfortunately, we failed to guard against such a future.

Worse, we who should have known better neglected to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to resist oppression and survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America.

We brought them into homes fractured by divorce, distracted by mindless entertainment, and obsessed with the pursuit of materialism. We institutionalized them in daycares and afterschool programs, substituting time with teachers and childcare workers for parental involvement. We turned them into test-takers instead of thinkers and automatons instead of activists.

We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well — where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings.

We have allowed them to be manipulated by a corporate culture that simply wants money and control. However, as Aldous Huxley warned: "The victim of mind-manipulation does not know he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free."

No, we haven't done this generation any favors.

Based on the current political climate, things could very well get much worse before they ever take a turn for the better. Here are a few pieces of advice that will hopefully help those coming of age today survive the perils of the journey that awaits:

Wolf

Richard Grenell: Susan Rice the 'shadow president' and 'no one is paying attention'

Susan rice

Susan Rice
Rice is one of the many officials from the Obama administration that landed jobs in the Biden White House

Richard Grenell, the under President Trump, said in an interview with CPAC that he believes Susan Rice has assumed the role of a "shadow president."

Rice, who served as national security adviser under President Obama, was tapped last December by President Biden to take charge of the White House Domestic Policy Council. It is in that role that Grenell believes she is exerting her influence.

"Biden is too weak to stop the progressive left from taking over... [Vice President] Kamala [Harris] does not understand what's going on...We have a shadow president in Susan Rice and no one is paying attention," he said.

Comment: Who's surprised really? For decades, Rice has been one of the swampiest of swamp creatures as part of the unholy warmongering triumvarete along with Hillary Clinton and Samantha Powers.


Headphones

CIA spying scandal in Switzerland shows the best way for intelligence services to read your messages is to own the platform

CIA, cyber lock
© Getty Images / matejmo; (inset); Wikipedia
The CIA's role in the Crypto AG case makes clear that spies don't need a way into messaging apps, but a secret bird's-eye view from the word go. This is far more effective than any 'backdoor' foreign powers may have access to.

On May 12, the head of Switzerland's federal intelligence service (Nachrichtendienst des Bundes, NDB), Jean-Philippe Gaudin, announced his resignation.

Local media reports say Gaudin's departure stems from a falling-out with Defense Minister Viola Amherd over his handling of the Crypto AG scandal - namely, he failed to inform her about the affair until it was already public knowledge.

In February 2020, it was revealed that the company, which produced encryption machines for use by foreign governments, was secretly bought in 1970 and controlled thereafter by the US Central Intelligence Agency and West Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst. This connivance meant the pair - and by extension the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its UK counterpart and close collaborator, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) - could easily decode any messages sent on Crypto AG's devices.

Black Magic

Israel's pogroms in Jerusalem could spark the destruction of al-Aqsa

Palestinian man runs as Israeli forces fire tear gas at the Al Aqsa Mosque
© Mahmoud Illean | AP
A Palestinian man runs as Israeli forces fire tear gas at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 10, 2021.
As the holy month of Ramadan comes to a close, it is becoming clear that the violence against Palestinians in Jerusalem has been ramped up in a coordinated effort by the Israeli government, the Jerusalem municipality, the Israeli police, and violent Zionist gangs.

These latest events must be seen in the larger context of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in general, and of Jerusalem in particular. They should also be seen in the context of internal Israeli politics. Jerusalem is burning and Israeli politicians go on about their business of mud-slinging as if this was not their problem and not a single one thinks anything is wrong with the way the Israeli authorities are handling the situation.

Sheikh Jarrah

That the assault on the residents of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jerrah — which holds a particularly important historic, cultural and political significance to the city — is happening at this particular time is not a coincidence.

The neighborhood is home to the Orient House, which, aside from being a symbol of Palestinian independence in the city, is perhaps the most impressive home built in the neighborhood and one of the finest in Jerusalem.

Comment: And if such a thing should happen, much of the non-elite arab and muslim world will unite and converge on Israel in an unrivaled display of defiance that is sure to presage an even larger defence against the Zionist nation's forces. We ain't seen nothing yet. But we may be witnessing the first real stirrings of it: See: Nasrallah: Israel's demise is imminent