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Wed, 29 Nov 2023
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Bethlehem dismantling all Christmas decorations 'in solidarity with our people in Gaza'

bethlehem christmas
© People attend Christmas celebrations around the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank.
People attend Christmas celebrations around the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank.
Once a Christian stronghold, Christians are now a minority in the region due to persecution, emigration and low birth rates

City officials in the birthplace of Jesus Christ are tearing down Christmas decorations in solidarity with Palestinians amid Israel's continued invasion of Gaza.

Bethlehem, an ancient city located in the West Bank, declared via social media and official spokespeople that decorations installed in previous years are being removed amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

"Bethlehem Municipality crews announced the dismantling of Christmas decorations installed several years ago in the city's neighborhoods and removing all festive appearances in honor of the martyrs and in solidarity with our people in Gaza," the city wrote on Facebook, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Quenelle - Golden

Russia set for $75 billion surplus - Bloomberg

ruble yuan Russian Chinese currency
© Getty Images / Oleg Elkov
Recovering oil exports have boosted cash inflows, data shows

© Getty Images/Irina Tiumentseva

Russia's current account surplus has increased sharply, propping up the national currency as energy exports recovered despite pressure from Western sanctions, the country's central bank reported on Tuesday.

Comment: That's because the hypocritical and energy poor West continues to be one of Russia's best customers: Pentagon buying Russian oil via Greek intermediaries - WaPo

The current account, which measures the difference between money coming into the country through trade, investment and transfers against outflowing funds, amounted to $53.8 billion for the first ten months of the year, the regulator's data showed.

The October surplus exceeded $11 billion for the second consecutive month after reaching its highest level this year in September. The central bank revised its current account projection for the full year up from $45 billion to $60 billion on the back of soaring oil prices.

Comment: It just goes to show that war and genocide aren't as profitable as national investment and mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries: Israel borrows $6 billion to help pay for its ethnic cleansing in Gaza - backed mostly by US & Europe


Whistleblower David McBride pleads guilty after court rules to withhold evidence over 'security' risk

David McBride
© Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Whistleblower and former military lawyer David McBride pleads guilty to three charges relating to his decision to leak confidential material to journalists at the ABC.
ACT supreme court upholds commonwealth's claim that release of some documents could jeopardise 'security and defence of Australia'.

Whistleblower David McBride has pleaded guilty to three charges after an ACT supreme court upheld a commonwealth intervention to withhold key evidence it deemed as having the potential to jeopardise "the security and defence of Australia" if released.

Originally facing five charges, the former military lawyer pleaded guilty in the ACT supreme court on Friday afternoon to three offences, including stealing commonwealth information and passing that on to journalists at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


See also:


Norway prepares bill to recognize Palestine as independent state

norway gaza
People attend a demonstration for Gaza and for a free Palestine, outside the parliament building in Oslo, Norway, Nov. 4, 2023.
Norway's legislature adopted a resolution urging the government to be "ready to recognize" an independent Palestinian state, as Israel continues to carry out indiscriminate attacks in Gaza, which killed over 11,500 people, mostly women and children.

Norway's ruling coalition made the proposition to counter a resolution by smaller parties calling for immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.

Comment: So the ruling party only did it because their hand was forced? And this way the recognition is delayed?

Passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament, it said the assembly "asks the government to be ready to recognize Palestine as an independent state when recognition could have a positive impact on the peace process, without making a final peace accord a condition."

Comment: See also: UN warns Gaza faces imminent threat of starvation, thirst, and disease outbreaks due to Israel's blockade


Israel borrows $6 billion to help pay for its ethnic cleansing in Gaza - backed mostly by US & Europe

bank israel
© Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg
The Bank of Israel building in Jerusalem.

Israel raises in borrowing bonanza to fund war against Hamas Yield on debt is sharply higher than before the conflict began
Israel has borrowed billions of dollars in recent weeks through privately negotiated deals to help fund its war against Hamas but is having to pay unusually high borrowing costs to get the deals over the line. Since Hamas's attack on October 7, Israel has raised more than $6bn from international debt investors.

This has included $5.1bn across three new bond issues and six top-ups of existing dollar and euro-denominated bonds, and more than $1bn of fundraising through a US entity.

Comment: So it's US and EU entities that are keeping the ethnic cleansing going.

Comment: It's a reminder that genocide is a costly business and wouldn't occur without the backing of the corrupt banking system. But this is, of course, in addition to the 'free' assistance from the US, and UK - albeit paid for by taxpayers - in the form of war ships, secret deliveries, acknowledged weapon shipments, troops, and so on:


IDF's next steps in Gaza: Hostage deal or southern offensive? - analysis

israel hostages gaza street art
© Anat Hermony/Flash90
An artist sprays a graffiti for the release of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in the Jezreel Valley, on October 30, 2023.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant discussed on Thursday moving the war forward to new stages, but conspicuously did not refer to going South.

There is a debate at the highest levels of the government and the IDF about whether the military should already begin its invasion of southern Gaza or whether this must wait for an interim deal on hostages, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Numerous leaks have been made about terms that Israel or Hamas wants as the sides negotiate what might be an interim deal getting significant numbers of Israeli civilian hostages back, but not all hostages, for some kind of pause and prisoner exchange, but not necessarily that Hamas has demanded.


Why Osama bin Laden's 'Letter to America' went viral on TikTok

Osama bin Laden
© Getty Images
Osama bin Laden's "Letter to America" has found a new audience.
Two decades ago, Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader behind 9/11, laid out his attempted justification for the terror attack against the U.S. that killed nearly 3,000 people in his "Letter to America."

This week, that same letter went viral on TikTok among a new generation, many of whom are debating the Israel-Hamas war and the role played by the U.S. For some, a big part of bin Laden's justification — American support for Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories in what the U.N. deems a violation of international law — resonates with what's going on now in the Middle East, leading them to renew calls for a Gaza ceasefire.

In one video (which was still live on the app as of Thursday afternoon) with more than 900,000 views, a TikToker made the claim that "everything we learned about the Middle East, 9/11, and 'terrorism' was a lie." Others on social media have criticized the videos as sympathizing with terrorists and legitimizing violence.

Comment: More from NBC:
TikTok removed the hashtag #lettertoamerica from its search function after videos about Osama bin Laden's 2002 "Letter to America" went viral on the platform and were re-uploaded to the social media platform X. Some social media users suggested that the Al Qaeda founder's document gives an alternative perspective about the U.S.' involvement in conflicts in the Middle East.

Throughout the week, TikTok users had been sharing the link to The Guardian's transcript of bin Laden's letter, which was written about a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the U.S. The Guardian took the letter down from its website Wednesday.

In the letter, bin Laden addressed the American people and sought to answer the following questions: "Why are we fighting and opposing you?" and "What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?" The letter includes antisemitic language and homophobic rhetoric.

The virality of the letter has reignited criticism of the platform, which is owned by China's ByteDance. The app has faced mounting scrutiny in the last year as the U.S. and other countries argue it poses a threat to national security. Since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, critics of the app have alleged that it is using its influence to push content that is anti-Israel and contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests. TikTok has said the allegations of bias are baseless.

Researchers at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which studies extremism on social media, said they found 41 "Letter to America" videos on TikTok. While TikTok has now blocked "Letter to America" from within its search function, videos referring to "Letter to America" are still easily accessible under the search term "Bin Laden," the institute said in its findings.

Bin Laden's letter condemns U.S. support for Israel and accuses Americans of aiding the oppression of Palestinian people. Bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. special operation in Pakistan in 2011, also denounced U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Kashmir, Chechnya and Lebanon.

People online have used bin Laden's words as a springboard for discussion about American foreign policy in the Middle East. Several have said it caused them to re-evaluate their beliefs around the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While people were critical of U.S. involvement in global conflicts, many clarified that they were not praising or defending bin Laden's orchestration of the 9/11 attacks.

Those on the platform citing the letter encouraged people to read it, saying that doing so helped them better understand the U.S.' interventions in the Middle East and the Israel-Hamas war. The videos have also gone viral on X, where some renewed calls for TikTok to be banned.

While the letter has been re-uploaded on TikTok, numerous videos discussing it were removed. TikTok spokesperson Ben Rathe said in an email that videos featuring the letter violate the platform's community guidelines.

"Content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism," Rathe said. "We are proactively and aggressively removing this content and investigating how it got onto our platform. The number of videos on TikTok is small and reports of it trending on our platform are inaccurate. This is not unique to TikTok and has appeared across multiple platforms and the media."

A viral X post from journalist Yashar Ali highlighting the videos received 25.6 million views. That brought more attention to the TikTok discourse. TikTok said that the number of videos about the letter was small but that interest was magnified after they were posted to X.

Ali told The Washington Post that the hashtag was not trending on TikTok when he made his compilation, but he said the number of videos posted on the platform was "not small enough to be minuscule or not important."

In its research, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said references to bin Laden on X jumped more than 4,300%, from Tuesday to Thursday, from just over 5,000 to more than 230,000. References to "Letter to America" jumped more than 1,800%, from just over 4,800 to 100,000, with 719 million impressions across the platform.

On YouTube, searches for bin Laden also jumped 400% from Tuesday to Thursday, according to Google Trends. Instagram's autosuggest function in search assisted users in finding "Letter to America," listing it as a "popular search."

Eye 2

Is the Olena Zelenska Foundation covering for sex trafficking?

Olena and Clintons

Olena awarded a prize by infamous pedophile Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary
After the Maidan coup, Ukraine has become a bonanza for criminals and grifters. One of the preferred ways to turn the suffering of Ukraine into money is by operating a NGO or charity in the country. A pro-western NGO will be showered with unaccountable money from it's patrons with little to no expectation of any real benefit. At their best, these NGOs serve as a conduit for western money laundering operations, but often they are a cover for something even more nefarious.

Of course, the Zelensky regime has been very active in this scheme. One of the premier NGOs in Ukraine is the Olena Zelenska Foundation, created and operated by Vladimir Zelensky's wife, Olena. Dedicated to "rebuilding the human capital of Ukraine", her foundation brings together the support of NATO governments and prominent pro-war westerners for the stated goal of helping Ukraine's children. But like so much in the bandit's paradise of post-Maidan Ukraine, this foundation may be little more than cover for a dark secret.

The Smoke

Employee’s ID

An ID posted by the driver. Source: senenews.com
Recently, a French language video was released on Youtube by an account under the name of Robert Schmidt who claims to have been a driver for the Olena Zelenska foundation. The masked driver claims to have delivered children to the home of far-right French philosopher and filmmaker Bernard-Henry Levy, who greeted them while partly undressed. While the video does not contain any ironclad evidence, these may not be idle accusations. There are worrying links between the Zelenska foundation and the world of sex trafficking.

Comment: Via the National File:
A man who claims to be a former employee of Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska's foundation says that the Olena Zelenska Foundation was involved with child sex trafficking. As a driver of supposedly war-endangered children, the man says that he was forced to drive children from cities in Ukraine and deliver them to pedophiles elsewhere in Europe, including in extremely wealthy and well-connected areas in London and Berlin.

A little-seen video on Youtube entitled "La Fondation Olena Zelenska est impliquée dans le trafic d'enfants" reveals the claims of a masked man who says that he transported children out of Ukraine for Olena Zelenska's foundation, and at least one of the children made him believe that the foundation was engaging in child sex trafficking. The video was uploaded by the account "Daniel Schmidt."


The man in the video makes his claims over the course of more than eight minutes speaking in French. The quotes below come word for word from the English closed captioning translation service on Youtube.

"So, here I am recording this video to tell you about what happened in Olena Zelenska's Foundation when I worked there. After I finish, I'll send you this video via email together with the documents, all the facts of what had happened. To start my story, it was here in France. I had a friend there who worked with different foundations. And he was the one who told me that there is a foundation that pays well in Ukraine, which offers good conditions. And so, I thought, why not? So, I contacted this foundation and then I prepared my documents and I went to Ukraine. When I came, I came to work there as a driver. They offered me this job and I signed the contract. Even the contract was something bizarre. There were clauses, for example, in the contract, that said we must not talk with children, we must not ask questions about host families, things like that. For me it was weird, but I thought, well, I'm a driver it's not my business. I signed the contract. After signing the contract, I was given the pass. This one. Here's the pass," the man said in the video, before showing documentation.

"And then, they gave us a lecture about the job we're going to do there. It was very simple in fact. We would take children from Ukrainian cities. For example, the city, what was its name? Lviv. Another city that was Vinnitsa. We took the children from there, we brought them to the other orphanages that were in league with Olena Zelenska's foundation. And these orphanages were in Europe. Some were in Germany. In France, too, the one I worked with. And also in England. It was there that we brought the children, we put them in orphanages. Then there were staff who took care of them who were looking for foster families. As soon as we find a host family, we take them back from there as a driver and take them to the host family. That's how I made these trips," the man said.

"I went to different cities, different neighborhoods in these cities. For example, some host families lived in rich neighborhoods, like when I went to the Kreuzberg district in Berlin. Another host family, in London, they lived in Dolphin Square. In France, in Paris, there was a family who was on Avenue Foch. And about this avenue, what happened is that I came to Avenue Foch. I came there with a child. I have the document that I will send you via email. I was with this child. His name was Dmitro. I brought him to the host family which lives on Avenue Foch. And the man who came out, he was quite old and he came out half naked. And it really surprised me, what was happening. He winked at the child. He took him by the hand like that. He signed the documents and all that and he closed the door. I told myself that it was necessary at that moment to take note that something was going wrong. But hey, I thought, well, it's not my business," the man said.

"A few days later, yet another story had happened to me. I had to take another child from the orphanage. The child was Volodymyr. (shows the picture of the boy). I had to take him from the orphanage and bring him to a host family. And what surprised me is that a few weeks before that I had brought him to the other host family. I didn't understand what he was doing there. What was he doing in the orphanage if he already had a family? I asked him a question, tried to communicate with him in English. I asked him what's going on. He started crying. I was shocked. I told him that I have to take him to the family but he only cried. I understood that he doesn't want to go there. And we were already in a car at the time. I didn't know what to do, take him to the family or come back to the orphanage, where he doesn't want to go also. I haven't understood anything what was going on with him. And then he started making the gestures. As I understood from these gestures he showed me, that he was touched in intimate places. I get it. It's awful. At that moment I understood everything that was happening. It was really...it's awful what happened with him," the man said.

"I said to myself: calm down. You have to look through the documents, you have to understand what's going on. I started looking through the documents for the family who had took him before. And there I find a name, that it was a certain man whose name was Bernard-Henri Lévy. I don't know anything about this person so I searched on the Internet to see who he is. To find out if he has a Facebook or something like that. And then I found the information about him. And on the Web I found that he is all friendly with pedophiles and he keeps in touch with them," the man said.

"I understood how all these things were set up. Really, everything that's going on there is horrible. I resigned right away. Child sex trafficking, no thank you. I don't want to participate. That's why I'm making this video now. I also hope that you will do your investigation and all this will stop," the man said.

"Thank you for everything. Thank you for the opportunity you gave me to tell everything that happened there," the man said.


German spies issue warning over Russian pranksters

vovan and lexus
© Sputnik/Grigory Sysoev
Russian pranksters Vovan (Vladimir Kuznetsov) and Lexus (Aleksey Stolyarov)
German officials have been warned to be on their guard against Russian pranksters when answering phone calls, Bild has reported. The media outlet cited a memo from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which claimed Moscow was using impersonators to undermine Western governments.

Several top-ranking European officials, including Latvian Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, have fallen for prank calls by Russian duo Vovan and Lexus in recent months, during which the politicians revealed their thoughts on sensitive topics such as the Ukraine conflict.

In a report on Tuesday, Bild claimed to have seen a warning directed by the German domestic intelligence service to the mayor of Hamburg and senators, urging them to take "precautionary measures against a current Russian disinformation campaign."

The outlet further quoted an anonymous BfV officer as saying that the "faking of false identities is used deliberately to spread false information and publicly make Western politicians look like fools." Bild's source went on to claim that "this is part of the Russian secret service's strategy."

Comment: Maybe if Western politicians weren't such idiots they wouldn't look like fools when being 'pranked'.

Bad Guys

UN warns Gaza faces imminent threat of starvation, thirst, and disease outbreaks due to Israel's blockade

© AFP/ Bashar Taleb
An injured Palestinian woman reacts as she stands in the emergency room of the Al-Aqsa Hospital following an Israeli bombardment in Deir el-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip on 15 November, 2023.
UN aid deliveries to Gaza were suspended on Friday due to shortages of fuel and a communications shut down, deepening the misery of thousands of hungry and homeless Palestinians as Israeli troops battled Hamas militants in the enclave.

Comment: There's been very little footage of Israel 'battling' Hamas militants, and that's because Israel has, for the most part, been bombing civilian shelters, residential districts, hospitals, and even the Palestinian parliament building.

The United Nations' World Food Programme said civilians faced the "immediate possibility of starvation" due to the lack of food supplies.

International officials said a humanitarian crisis for the 2.3 million residents of Gaza was entering a new, more dire phase as war entered its seventh week.

Comment: More examples below of Israel's nonsensical propaganda, and war crimes: