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Sun, 28 Feb 2021
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Iranian revenge? Owner of UK ship hit by blast in Gulf of Oman reported to be close to Mossad chief

beach Gulf of Oman
© CC BY 2.0/Francisco Anzola
Late afternoon at the beach
On Thursday, according to United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), a British ship was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman, with reports later alleging that it was an Israeli vessel sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore under a Bahamian flag.

The vessel hit by an explosion on Thursday in Gulf of Oman belongs to Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar who is "close to the head of Mossad [Tel Aviv's secret service]", Yossi Cohen, and Iran may have been behind the explosion, a Friday report by Kan claimed.
"The explosion took place last night, south of the Straits of Hormuz, off Oman. The damage is two holes about a meter and a half in diameter, but it is not yet clear to us whether it was caused by missile fire or mines attached to the ship. We have no idea whether this incident is a part of the tension between Iran and the United States and whether it has something to do with the fact that the owner of the ship is Israeli."
Ungar suggested that the incident was most likely linked to previous attacks on shipping in the area.

Comment: More information on this incident:
The company claimed that the blast took place as the vessel with 28 crew members on board was about 44 nautical miles (50 miles) from Oman's capital Muscat.

The blast ostensibly caused several holes in the port and starboard sides of the ship.

The authenticity of the images has yet to be confirmed. Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar remarked:
"Israeli authorities will investigate this together with me. I don't think this deliberately targeted an Israeli-owned ship. That has not happened to me before."
It would not be above Israel to fire on its own if it can implicate Iran.

Brick Wall

Biden's border crisis: Exactly as he asked for

illegal immigrants migrants mexico border
© Associated Press
People who've been taken into custody related to illegal entry cases into the US sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, on June 17, 2017
A new year, a new president, a return of an old problem: unaccompanied children crossing the border in droves.

Thousands of children — usually older teens, 16 or 17, but Border Patrol agents report increasing numbers of kids younger than 13 — are arriving each month from Central America.

On Thursday, a Customs and Border Protection staffer reportedly told top Biden administration officials to expect a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied minors to cross the border in May — the highest level ever.

Comment: The Hill attempts to put a brave face on matters:
Critics saw the opening of the facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, as similar to the hard-line immigration tactics of former President Trump's administration, though Biden insisted his administration's approach was different.

"Our hope and expectation is that won't stay open very long, that we'll be able to provide for every kid who comes across the border safely to be housed in a facility that's licensed," Biden said during an interview with Univision on Friday.

Biden said the shelter was opened because "thousands" of unaccompanied migrant children were crossing the border. He added that his administration had been able to place a "significant number" of them in shelters throughout the country.

The New York Times reported that more than 2,000 unaccompanied young migrants have been intercepted by Border Patrol in the past week.

The president said his administration is working to connect young migrants with their families while they wait for a hearing.

"Get them to the families that they came here to see or they're looking for. And we've already connected thousands of them for the way and so that's our hope, is to unite these children with families while they wait to have a hearing," Biden told Univision.

The interview marked the first time Biden has directly spoken on the situation. The White House has previously said that it was a temporary measure needed to keep young migrants safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

During an appearance on The View on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this was not like Trump's policies and insisted it was the "best decision" to keep kids safe due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"In the time of COVID, that means we needed to open an additional facility so that we could have educational services, so that we could have legal services, so that we could have medical and health services and have those kids there, treated humanly, until we can find proper homes, family placements for these kids," she said.
So, no talk of sending the children back to their parents in their home countries? The Democrats appear to be attempting to ensure a future election base:


How the 2020 US election was hacked

Independent of the question of whether or not votes were stolen, big tech has openly admitted that a few white billionaires hacked the election to install Joe Biden. Time Magazine bragged about their accomplishment in this Orwellian piece written three weeks after Biden was installed in office.
a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.
Time Article
This included a nearly endless stream of misinformation about climate and COVID-19. People were told that they would die unless they voted for Joe Biden.


Crown scores own goal with Queen Elizabeth's tone-deaf vaccine comments

covid vaccine queen elizabeth
© REUTERS/Lee Smith; Ben Stansall/Pool/AFP
(L) A health official prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Hartlepool, Britain (R) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen has implied that Britons who do not wish to take a Covid-19 vaccine are selfish, saying people should think of others and not themselves. Breaking a long tradition of neutrality, the monarch has joined the orthodoxy.

It's arguably the biggest faux-pas in the 69-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Whatever people's feelings about the monarchy in general, it's fair to say that Her Majesty has generally been accorded respect - not least because of the way she has kept out of politics and avoided expressing her opinions on matters which divide the country. Or rather, countries.

The Queen, lest we forget, is not just the head of state in Britain, but also in the Commonwealth, which has a combined population of 2.4 billion people. She has a duty to represent all her subjects - and, by and large, she has done that pretty well since 1952.



'Counter-terrorism'?: Two decades after 9/11, new interactive map details footprint of US war machine in 85 countries

U.S.-led airstrike targeting Islamic State fighters
© Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images
A U.S.-led airstrike targeting Islamic State fighters blasts a densely populated neighborhood in Mosul, Iraq on July 9, 2017.
"The map raises a number of questions. Why is the United States militarily active in so many countries? Are these operations meeting the stated U.S. goals of reducing violence against Americans?"

A new report published Thursday details United States so-called "counterterrorism" operations by the U.S. military in 85 nations since 2018 as part of its "Global War on Terror," the open-ended post-9/11 campaign that has seen over half a dozen countries attacked or invaded, hundreds of overseas military bases built, hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and trillions of dollars spent — with no end in sight.

"If the U.S. is truly to end the post-9/11 wars and related activities around the world, then the U.S. public and its leaders must take a broader view of their reach." — Report

The report — published by the Costs of War Project at Brown University's Watson Institute and USA Today — features an interactive map showing U.S. military operations on every inhabited continent on Earth, including combat, training, exercises, and bases.

Comment: Needless to say, the business of waging war is Very big business, and until elements of the US government and the military-industrial-complex somehow become dissuaded from pursuing such profitable crimes, the carnage will continue. Or escalate. Until the American war machine is brought to heel.


The US airstrike on Syria: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, and the boss before that

biden two masks
Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on February 26, 2021. President Biden travels to Texas to visit a food bank
In his first publicly acknowledged military act as commander-in-chief, President Joe Biden orders an assault on Syria, and proves that when it comes to solving the many problems of the region, he's no better than Trump, or Obama.

President Biden ordered US military aircraft to strike targets on Syrian soil that the US claims were affiliated with two pro-Iranian militias, Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada. The US, working closely with Iraqi security services, has implicated Iranian-backed Shia militias in a recent rocket attack on a US airbase in Erbil, Iraq, that killed a foreign contractor employed by the US and wounded four American contractors and a US service member.

A Pentagon spokesperson, John Kirby, called the attack, which was carried out by US F-15E aircraft and killed up to 17 people, a "proportionate military response" designed to send "an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel."

Bad Guys

Revolution 2020: How did we get here—and how will it end?

biden harris
Understanding what drives the revolution that is destroying the American republic gives insight into how the 2020 election's results may impact its course. Its practical question — who rules? — is historically familiar. But any revolution's quarrels and stakes obscure the question: to what end? Our revolution is by the ruling class — a revolution from above. Crushing obstacles to its growing oligarchic rule is the proximate purpose.

But the logic that drives the revolution aims at civilization itself.

What follows describes how far along its path that logic has taken America, and where it might take us in the future depending on the election's outcome.

Regime Change

Aristotle, in Book 5 of the Politics, describes how revolutions kill regimes (such as America's) that balance the contrasting interests of ordinary people with those of the wealthy, of officials, and of other prominent persons. As the balance between any complex regime's components shifts over time, the system may seamlessly transform into unmixed democracy, oligarchy, or some kind of monarchy. The revolution may be barely perceptible — providing that those who impose themselves, whether from above or below, do so without adding insult to injury.

But, if the party that takes power thereby destroys the friendship that had bound the several parts, even trifling incidents can spiral into all-consuming violence. Thucydides' account of the revolution that destroyed Corcyra during the Peloponnesian War is prototypical. The French revolution, the Spanish civil war, and countless others echo it. Today, the oligarchic transformation of America's republic is turning violent. Aristotle, however, points out that oligarchies born of violent revolution tend to succumb to the very violence that births them, quickly degenerating into some kind of tyranny or one-man rule. Restoration of anything like the original constitutional regime is most unlikely.


Western media claims that Amnesty stripped Navalny of 'prisoner of conscience' status because of Kremlin pressure refuted by NGO

Press Service of Moscow City Court
After leaked documents, reported on by RT, exposed how both Meduza and MediaZona received illicit support from the UK government, the pair fired back with a vicious, and obviously fake, news story - and Western media fell for it.

On February 23, Grayzone News journalist Aaron Maté revealed on Twitter that Amnesty International had rescinded jailed Russian activist Alexey Navalny's "prisoner of conscience" characterization, on the basis he previously "advocated violence and discrimination and has not retracted such statements."

Within hours, the news outlet Mediazona, founded by members of the Pussy Riot punk collective, published an extraordinary exclusive, duly translated by Latvia-based website Meduza. It claimed Amnesty's decision wasn't influenced by Navalny's past statements and refusal to repudiate them, but in fact resulted from a sinister Kremlin-orchestrated "campaign." It's certainly been a highly effective deflection operation, with far bigger outlets - such as British state broadcaster the BBC - uncritically regurgitating the outlandish charge.

Comment: See also: Pro-western liberal, anti-migrant nationalist, or political opportunist: Who exactly is Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny?


Twitter's attempt to suppress Grayzone reporting backfires as warning label becomes meme

warning labels
© MintPress News
"These materials may have been attained through hacking." That is the warning message that any Twitter users coming across a recent Grayzone investigative report are met with, replete with a large exclamation point (!) signaling danger.

The report, penned by Grayzone's editor Max Blumenthal, exposes how influential media outlets like Reuters, the BBC and Bellingcat have been secretly working hand in hand with the British government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to promote regime change inside Russia and lead a campaign of demonization against it internationally.

Comment: See also:

Twitter's discrediting of leaked docs that show UK's covert activities against Russia is a shocking case of media manipulation


Trump Jr. was deposed in inauguration funds probe

Donald jr
© Scott Olson/Getty Images
Donald Trump Jr.
Donald Trump Jr. was deposed early this month as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged misuse of Trump inauguration funds, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

The Feb. 11 deposition with investigators from the Washington, D.C., attorney general's office is part of multiple probes into whether the inaugural committee misspent donated funds from the record $107 million it received.

It specifically looked into a block of rooms at the Madison Hotel, which was owned by Loews Hotels at the time, for which the Trump Organization signed a contract to use during former President Trump's 2017 inauguration. According to the court documents, $49,358.92 was paid for the rooms by the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC).

Court documents point to Lindsay Santoro, who was then Trump Jr.'s executive assistant, as the "point of contact" for the contract regarding the block of rooms. The person who signed and authorized the contract was Gentry Beach, who is described as a close friend of Trump.

According to the documents, Trump Jr.'s deposition "raised further questions about the nature of the Loews Madison invoice and revealed evidence that Defendants had not yet produced to the District."

Trump Jr. testified that he had not authorized Santoro or Beach to "enter into the contract on behalf of the Trump Organization."