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Fri, 23 Feb 2018
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US State Department warns Iraq of 'consequences' if it buys Russian S-400 missile systems

Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems
© Photo by Sputnik news agency
This file picture shows Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems on duty in the Crimea peninsula
The United States has warned Iraq, among a number of other countries, of the consequences of extending military cooperation with Russia, and striking deals to purchase advanced weaponry, particularly the S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Neuert said on Thursday that Washington has contacted many countries, including Iraq, to explain the significance of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), and possible consequences that would arise in the wake of defense agreements with Moscow.

On August 2, 2017, US President Donald Trump signed into law the CAATSA that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

Briefcase

Mueller charges Manafort and Gates with new tax, bank fraud charges - no Russian connection

mueller manafort
Special counsel Robert Mueller turned up the pressure on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates, as a federal grand jury returned a new indictment Thursday charging the two men with tax and bank fraud.

The new 32-count indictment returned by a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia comes after Mueller separately charged the pair in Washington last year with money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents for their work related to Ukraine.

The new indictment accuses Manafort and Gates of dramatically understating their income on federal tax returns filed from 2010 through 2014. The pair is also accused of bank fraud totaling more than $20 million tied to three loans Manafort applied for in connection with various homes he owns.

In all, Manafort and Gates laundered more than $30 million in income, chiefly from their Ukraine work, the new indictment alleges.

None of the charges currently facing the pair appears to relate directly to the core of Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But the special counsel has jurisdiction to pursue certain crimes he finds in the course of his probe and appears to have approval from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to pursue some matters the FBI was investigating before Mueller was named last May.

Some of the alleged bank fraud appears to have overlapped in time with the Trump campaign. Manafort and Gates joined the campaign in the spring of 2016 to help plan for the Republican National Convention, and Manafort was campaign chairman from May until he resigned on Aug. 19. But the White House has subsequently tried to distance itself from him, with Trump saying at one point that Manafort only worked for him for a "very short period of time."

Star of David

Palestinian detainee dies in custody after brutal beating in West Bank (VIDEO)

Palestinian demonstrator
© Mohamad Torokman / Reuters / File
A Palestinian demonstrator in the West Bank
A Palestinian man died hours after he had been severely beaten during an arrest by Israeli forces amid clashes in the West Bank. While the troops are accused of intentionally killing the man, the IDF say he tried to attack them.

The confrontation between the 33-year-old Yassin al-Saradeeh and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) took place in the city of Jericho at dawn on Thursday during a demonstration. The video posted by the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) on Twitter allegedly shows the moment when the man runs towards the Israeli troops after throwing some objects at them. As seen on the footage, the group of at least six soldiers knocks him to the ground, with some of them beating the Palestinian with their guns to the head, before arresting him.

Crusader

Rothschild propaganda rag The Economist portrays Putin as octopus - projection or envy?

octoputin

The title page of this weeks Economist
Now consider one of the earliest cartoons that used this image:

octoroth

The Rothschild banking family of England, Coin’s Financial School, (1894)

Comment: But it's mostly reserved for Russia. This is from 1877:

russia octopus



Sheriff

Trump mulls pulling ICE from uncooperative 'sanctuary' California: 'They'd beg us to come back'

ICE immigration California
© Mike Blake / Reuters
Homeland Security ICE bus is parked outside federal jail in San Diego.
President Donald Trump said he is "thinking about" ordering border patrol and immigration enforcement out of California over the state's sanctuary policies, to demonstrate that it would result in a crime wave.

Trump brought up California's "sanctuary state" policies at Thursday's meeting about school safety at the White House, prompted by last week's mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school.

"Frankly, it's a disgrace. The sanctuary city situation," Trump told a gathering of his Cabinet members, state and local officials. "If we ever pulled our ICE out... in two months they'd be begging for us to come back. They would be begging. And you know what? I'm thinking about doing it."

Comment: And some cold truth: Forensic criminologist: The truth about crime, illegal immigrants and sanctuary cities
I am a former Spanish speaking career detective who investigated violent crimes within the Hispanic and other ethnic immigrant communities.

I am also a forensic criminologist who is a subject matter expert in violent crime who advocates for facts and evidence. Here are some verified crime facts and statistics with you so that you will know the truth about the precarious relationship between violent crime and illegal immigrants.

As Americans, we should only care about three things: (1) are the immigrants in the U.S. illegally; (2) have they committed violent crimes predominantly against U.S. citizens; and (3) had these criminals not been in our country illegally, these crimes, the victimization of our citizens and the costs of their crimes borne by American taxpayers could have been completely avoided.

Previous administrations have deliberately kept Americans in the dark about illegal immigrant crimes

Most states and our federal government have kept information and statistics about illegal immigration, crimes committed by illegals and the costs borne by you the U.S. payer out of public view

[...]

According to the FBI, 67,642 murders were committed in the U.S. from 2005 through 2008, and 115,717 from 2003 through 2009. The General Accounting Office documents that criminal immigrants committed 25,064 of these murders.

To extrapolate out these statistics, this means that a population of just over 3.5 percent residing in the U.S. unlawfully committed 22 percent to 37 percent of all murders in the nation. This is astounding.

Illegal immigrants clearly commit a level of violent and drug related crimes disproportionate to their population

Vetted crime statistics from USDOJ, the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) are both clear and demonstrative that illegal immigrants who comprise only 3.5 percent of our nation's population, are convicted and sentenced for the crime of murder at a rate of three times that of their American citizen and legal immigrant counterparts.



Black Magic

Israel continues to plant Jewish 'tombs' around al-Aqsa Mosque

Israel continues planting Jewish graves around al-Aqsa Mosque

Israel continues planting Jewish graves around al-Aqsa Mosque
The Israeli government is cooperating with Jewish settlement associations to escalate its ongoing Judaization policy at al-Aqsa Mosque and the rest of the Old City in occupied Jerusalem, the PIC reporter revealed.

The PIC reporter on Tuesday quoted eyewitnesses as affirming that Israeli associations started installing fake Jewish tombs around al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli bulldozers were seen carrying Jewish tombstones and planting them around the Mosque to indicate graves, but underneath, there are no bodies, nor skeletons.

Comment: See Also:


Yoda

Syria's UN envoy slams Western silence on fatal terrorist attacks against Damascus civilians

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari
Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari stressed that endangering the lives of 8 million civilians in Damascus in order to protect terrorists in Eastern Ghouta is unacceptable act.

Al-Jaafari made his remarks during a UN Security Council meeting held on Thursday to discuss the situation in Syria.

He added that the draft resolution submitted by Kuwait and Sweden to the UN Security Council was not coordinated with Syria - the very country impacted by that text - in any way, which is a big shame.

The Syrian diplomat noted that terrorist groups situated in the Eastern Ghouta and designated as terrorist organizations by the UN Security Council have been targeting Damascus with hundreds of rocket and mortar shells on a daily basis, causing the death and injury of dozens of civilians.

Comment: See also: Russia says that UN Security Council fails to agree on ceasefire across Syria


Question

Turkish army shells aid convoy entering Afrin - But was it an aid convoy

Turkish Army’s artillery guns and rocket launchers shelled an aid convoy
© By Hawar News Agency (ANHA)
On February 22, the Turkish Army's artillery guns and rocket launchers shelled an aid convoy that was about to enter the Afrin area through the Ziyarah crossing in the northern Aleppo countryside, according to the Hawar News Agency (ANHA).

The ANHA added that thousands of civilians from the Kurdish-held areas in eastern Syria had been onboard the convoy, which was transferring humanitarian aid to people in Afrin.


Comment: The Turkish General Staff has reported about the interception in Afrin of a convoy of 30-40 vehicles belonging to what they described as "terrorists and Kurdish militia groups."
A YouTube video shows Turkish armed forces shelling a convoy of alleged terrorist vehicles, which Ankara said was intercepted 15 kilometers (9 miles) southeast of Syria's Afrin region.

"Only the convoy belonging to PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorist groups was targeted during the operation, and utmost importance was given to not harm any civilians," Anadolu, a Turkish news agency, quoted the country's General Staff as saying.




Light Saber

Russian ambassador to US explains how world military cooperation system should develop

Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov
© Sputnik/ Maksim Blinov
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov
Countries should develop a system of international military cooperation built on a non-bloc basis that would help combat existing threats like terrorism, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said at the embassy event on the occasion of Russia's Defender of the Fatherland Day.

"The world of today faces an unprecedented range of dangerous threats. No one will benefit if a long-term confrontation between different countries or groups of countries is added to that list. We simply have to join forces in combating such evil as terrorism, which truly challenges our civilization," Antonov said on Thursday. "Development of international military cooperation is required more than ever. Our common goal should be developing an equal and indivisible security for all. A system that can adequately respond to modern crises and built on non-bloc basis."

The Ambassador stressed that that's the only way to secure peace and tranquility of the citizens.

Comment: See also: Anatoly Antonov: "Only jointly Russia and the U.S. can solve the security problems"


Dollars

"Give us money, because Russia": Dems demand $300mn to "protect midterms against Russian intervention"

schumer pelosi
© AFP
US House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (L), US Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer are seen during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the US House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC.
US Democratic leaders have called for more than $300 million in new funding to protect upcoming midterm elections from Russian interference.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi demanded a budget boost Wednesday, claiming that the amount is necessary to safeguard November's elections.

The extra money should go to the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Election Assistance Commission, they said in a letter to the Republicans.

"We're not drawing lines in the sand," Senator Schumer told reporters. "We hope we can get bipartisan support."

The Democrats' move was made in the wake of mounting pressure against the administration of US President Donald Trump over possible collusion with Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign and election.

The president and his associates have been under increased pressure since Friday, when special counsel Robert Mueller released an indictment in the ongoing Russia probe.

Comment: That's what you call monetizing hysteria.