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Wed, 21 Nov 2018
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Election fraud scheme on L.A.'s skid row got homeless to sign fake names for cigarettes and cash, D.A. says

skid row
© Los Angeles Times
Skid row in 2016.
A forged signature swapped for $1 - or sometimes a cigarette.

The crude exchange played out hundreds of times on L.A.'s skid row during the 2016 election cycle and again this year, prosecutors said Tuesday as they announced criminal charges against nine people accused in a fraud scheme.

Using cash and cigarettes as lures, the defendants approached homeless people on skid row and asked them to forge signatures on state ballot measure petitions and voter registration forms, the district attorney's office said. The defendants - some of whom were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday - face several criminal charges, including circulating a petition with fake names, voter fraud and registering a fictitious person.

The charges, which were filed three weeks ago but made public Tuesday, followed a Los Angeles Police Department crackdown on suspected election fraud on skid row earlier in the year.

"They paid individuals to sign the names," Officer Deon Joseph, the senior lead officer on skid row,told The Times in September. "That's an assault on our democracy."

Chess

US meddles in selection of new Interpol chief, pressures other countries to vote down Russian candidate because he's Russian

General Aleksandr Prokopchuk
© (L) Sputnik; (R) Wikipedia
Major General Aleksandr Prokopchuk and the Interpol logo
US senators, fired up by the idea that the Russian candidate could lead Interpol, urged nations to vote against him. The Kremlin branded this "intervention" in the voting process.

Electing Major General of the Russian police Aleksandr Prokopchuk as the head of Interpol is "akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse," four US senators said in a statement, released on Monday.


Comment: Pure projection! Electing any person who is subservient to US imperial whims as head of Interpol is putting a fox in charge of the henhouse.


The position in question became vacant after Interpol's President Meng Hongwei was detained in his homeland China, pending a corruption investigation. The new president is due to be elected in Dubai, UAE, on Wednesday. US lawmakers, meanwhile, in a preemptive move decided to dissuade delegates from voting for a Russian candidate.

Republicans Roger Wicker and Marco Rubio, along with their Democratic colleagues, Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Coons, argue that Moscow "routinely abuses" Interpol, using it for "settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists." Without providing concrete cases or examples, they also said that securing the presidency would allow Russia to "harass critics" living abroad and to "aid other authoritarian regimes."

Comment: The anti-Russian racism pouring out of the US these days is Nazi-Jew-hating-level stuff.


Light Sabers

EU intelligence agency in the works? 25 member-states (sans UK) agree to launch 'joint spy school'

eu flag parliament brussels
The defense ministers of 25 EU member countries agreed Monday on a joint EU intelligence school, along with 16 other new projects, as part of their military pact.

The new projects, signed off by the defense ministers of all the EU's member countries except Denmark, Malta and the United Kingdom under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact, range from improving training and facilities to boosting maritime operations and air systems, as POLITICO reported before their official adoption.

The establishment of a joint EU spy school would be a big step forward for the bloc's intelligence community. Until recently, a significant deepening of intelligence cooperation in the Union was blocked by the U.K., which viewed it as unwelcome competition to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, made up of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Britain. With Brexit approaching, London no longer stands in the way.


Comment: This is the crux of the issue: a split in the West between the 'original' anglosphere superstructure - first publicly disclosed in the late 1990s as ECHELON, though of course originally derived from the British empire before it was subsumed under American military authority during WW2 - and the continental European structure known today as the EU.

It's precisely this kind of 'Permanent Structured Cooperation' that the UK has always been uneasy about being subsumed into, much less seeing come about at all. Why 'go foreign', after all, when you can 'keep it all in the (English-speaking) family'?


Comment: The British, needless to say, are not happy about this and similar developments, with UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (yes, he of 'go away Russia' fame) describing Merkel and Macron's recent proposal to create an EU army as "an absolutely crazy idea."

But is it any crazier than a 'North Atlantic Alliance' that includes Colombia and Australia??


Star of David

Dictator of Israel? Netanyahu shuns call for snap elections, names himself defense minister (in addition to being PM, foreign & health minister!)

Netanyahu
© Reuters/Ariel Jerozolimsk
Benjamin Netanyahu meets with IDF
Assuming the position of Defense Minister after several high-profile resignations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, for the sake of national security, warned remaining ministers against pushing for an early election.

While Netanyahu is known for cleverly playing the security card in the past, there's no guarantee that it will be enough to hold his crumbling coalition together this time. The crisis was sparked by the resignation of hawkish Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, due to his outrage with the ceasefire deal agreed by Israel and Palestinian armed group Hamas.
"I would like to say that now when we are witnessing one of the most difficult periods in terms of security, we cannot topple the government and hold an early election. That is irresponsible. We have a year before the election... I hope that all our partners will act responsibly, will not seek dissolution of the government and will work for the benefit of the state of Israel and its security," Netanyahu said.
A week ago, Israel and Hamas were on the brink of a large-scale conflict after Hamas fired more than 400 rockets and mortars at Israel, while the IDF retaliated by sending its warplanes to bomb around a hundred sites in Gaza. When a truce was reached through UN and Egyptian mediation on Tuesday, Lieberman blasted the deal as "capitulation to terror" and quit.

Comment: Netanyahu fearing for his position, fending off corruption probes, and now taking on the DM role in addition to the other portfolios he manages, a case of no rest for the wicked?

The 'only democracy in the Middle East'!

Can you imagine the media reaction if Syria's Assad claimed 4 key offices for himself?

More from South Front:




Bandaid

Virtue-signalling blowback: Twitter CEO Dorsey provokes backlash for holding sign, in India, denouncing India's caste system

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
© Twitter / @annavetticad
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and legal director Vijaya Gadde met with female journalists and activists in India.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is facing accusations of inciting hatred and violence in India, and has upset both activists and Hindu nationalists, by holding a sign denouncing the Hindu caste system.

Dorsey posed for a picture with six women in India brandishing a poster that read "Smash Brahminical patriarchy" during a visit last week to discuss the role of Twitter in the country.

After the photo was posted on the social media platform on Sunday evening, Dorsey was quickly accused of inciting hatred and violence against Hindu nationalists and India's Brahmins, the highest group who sit atop the rigid caste hierarchy.

Comment: DNA evidence suggests that the Indian caste system has existed for thousands of years. Did the Twitter CEO think his virtue-signalling would somehow change that?

More to the point, Twitter uses hysteria as an excuse for its own censorship all the time, so it looks like it finally came back to bite them:


Briefcase

DOJ says federal judge ruling to block asylum restrictions 'absurd' & will be appealed

el salvador migrant flag
© Reuters / Hannah McKay
A migrant from El Salvador making his way to the US border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, November 20, 2018
The Trump administration is pushing back on the decision by a federal judge in California to block asylum restrictions put in place to deal with caravans of migrants that have arrived on the US-Mexican border.

"It is absurd that a set of advocacy groups can be found to have standing to sue to stop the entire federal government from acting so that illegal aliens can receive a government benefit to which they are not entitled," the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a joint statement on Tuesday, hours after a federal judge in San Francisco issued a month-long injunction against the policy, saying it violated federal law.

Bad Guys

The only regime change really needed should be made in Washington

pompeo James Jeffrey
© U.S. Department of State/ flickr
Secretary Pompeo officiates the Swearing-In Ceremony for Ambassador James F. Jeffrey.
One of the things to look forward to in the upcoming holiday season is the special treats that one is allowed to sample. Fruitcake and nuts are Thanksgiving and Christmas favorites. They usually come in tins or special packages but it seems that this season some of the nuts have escaped and have fled to obtain sanctuary from the Trump Administration.

Currently, there is certainly a wide range of nuts available on display in the West Wing. There is the delicate but hairy Bolton, which has recently received the coveted "Defender of Israel" award, and also the robust Pompeo, courageously bucking the trend to overeat during the holidays by telling the Iranian people that they should either surrender or starve to death. And then there is the always popular Haley, voting audaciously to give part of Syria to Israel as a holiday treat.

Arrow Up

Has a possible ray of hope appeared in the relationship between the US and China?

XiTrump
© Unknown
Chinese President Xi Jinping • US President Donald Trump
The New Eastern Outlook has been covering the current shape and transformation of Sino-American relations on a regular basis. This is quite understandable as the discussion involves one of the aspects of the global political game that impacts the development of the situation in not only the Indo-Pacific, but the entire world.

This topic was last reported on one month ago, and at the time the outlook on the actual state of the relationship between the two leading nations was, at best, not optimistic.

The impact of the trade war, which had begun in earnest, is compounded by the latest tensions in the South China Sea, caused by the dangerously close maneuvers initiated by US and Chinese warships on 30 September. A few days later, the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, referring to the latest incident, confirmed the US military's long-term intention to ignore PRC's claims of dominance in vast swathes of and islands in the South China Sea.

As expected, Beijing's reaction towards the decision (also made by the US at the end of September) to sell Taiwan components for its jet fighters for $330 million was negative. This is the second move, of this nature, made by the current US administration. A year earlier the United States signed an agreement with Taiwan to supply it with various U.S.-produced arms worth $1.4 billion.

Comment: Is it a pullback for a scheme never intended to go this far? Or one not working out as planned? Lowering tensions between superpowers would be a welcomed sign.


Heart - Black

The 'resistance' struggles for justification in Trump's prosecution of Assange

Assange
© Associated Press
Julian Assange
Ever since suspicions were confirmed that the Trump administration is indeed working to prosecute and imprison WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing authentic documents, the so-called "Resistance" has been struggling to explain exactly why it is so enthusiastically supportive of that agenda. And when I say struggling, I am being very, very generous.

When news broke that a court document copy-paste error had inadvertently exposed the fact that the Trump administration is pursuing an agenda which experts of diverse political persuasions agree would have devastating effects on the freedom of the press, #Resistance pundit and DC think tank operative Neera Tanden responded by tweeting, "Never mess with karma". As of this writing if you do a Twitter search for the words "Assange" and "karma" together, you will come up with countless Democratic Party loyalists using that concept to justify their support for a Trump administration assault on the press that is infinitely more dangerous than the president being mean to Jim Acosta.

The trouble with that of course is that "karma", as far as observable reality is concerned, is not an actual thing. It's a Hindu religious concept that is supported by no more factual evidence than the Roman Catholic claim that a priest literally turns bread and wine into the body and blood of a Nazarene carpenter who died thousands of years ago. A Democratic pundit using the concept of "karma" to justify enthusiastic support for Trump's fascistic attack on press freedoms is exactly the same as a Republican pundit using "God wills it" to justify the existence of poverty, and it is just as intellectually honest.

But it's also the best argument these people have got.

Comment: For the Greenwald article, go here:
Prosecution of Assange bodes grave threats to freedom of the press - Obama DOJ consensus


Star of David

Israeli sources: Hamas in possession of 'game-changing' missiles

Gate Gaza Strip
© ALRAY
An Israeli website known for its close links to the regime's military intelligence services has admitted that the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas is now possessing "game-changing" missiles that could hit targets in Israel with considerable ease and precision.

The Debka file said, in a report on Saturday, that its sources had identified the type of modern missiles used by Hamas in recent attacks on the Israeli-occupied territories that inflicted considerable damage and casualties on the regime and forced the Israeli government to accept a ceasefire with the Palestinians.

It said, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that the missiles were of the 333mm-caliber type and had a medium range of 11 kilometers. The report added that the missiles were capable of destroying Israel's "artillery emplacements, Iron Dome batteries, armored force concentrations - whether over ground or in trenches, as well as combat engineering equipment and command centers".

"It is not launched from stationary batteries, but from any combat 4×4 vehicle or jeep, each of which carries two rockets," said the report, adding that the main advantage of the missiles was its mobility which allowed Hamas to fire them from any area in the Gaza Strip without Israeli radars noticing them.

Comment: Finally a strategic advantage for the Palestinian resistance. Will Israel be as bold and brazen, or more so?