TBR News April 30, 2017

Apr 30 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. April 30, 2017: “Down in Virginia is a small city named Charlotttesville.

It has been designated as a future intelligence and governmental center. There are a number of very phony ‘institutes’ there and on various distant hills large antenna are to be seen.

Recently it was being discussed that busloads of workers in vehicles with covered windows were known to have driven up towards Harrisonburg in the hills and there set to digging a large underground command center.

That this was supposed to be a secret program is obvious but the workers talked and now the entire town is aware of this. Perhaps it is intended to be another underground White House or perhaps the DCI wants to use it to raise mushrooms but in either case, people drive up the road to Harrisonburg and point out the windows and talk about buried secrets.

And Washington itself is due to be flooded soon enough.

The Pentagon, which has six floors down (that are never talked about) is near Arlington and if the sea levels keep rising at their current rates, the basements, secrets and all, will be underwater so they, too, will move south.

The American taxpayer is so generous.”

Table of Contents

  • Who Controls the American Media?
  • Donald Trump attacks US media at 100-day Pennsylvania rally
  • Extreme sea-level rise could wreak havoc on California coast, experts warn
  • Turkey targets Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria
  • Trump pledges fealty to NRA gun lobby
  • Pyongyang slams Israel as ‘disturber of peace armed with illegal nukes under US patronage’
  • ‘Apartheid’ furor comes amid 50 years of Israeli occupation
  • Georgia’s “Rose Revolution”: A made-in-America coup

 Who Controls the American Media?

by Germar Rudolf

There is no greater power in the world today than that wielded by the manipulators of public opinion in America. No king or pope of old, no conquering general or high priest ever disposed of a power even remotely approaching that of the few dozen men who control America’s mass media of news and entertainment.

Their power is not distant and impersonal; it reaches into every home in America, and it works its will during nearly every waking hour. It is the power that shapes and molds the mind of virtually every citizen, young or old, rich or poor, simple or sophisticated.

The mass media form for us our image of the world and then tell us what to think about that image. Essentially everything we know — or think we know — about events outside our own neighborhood or circle of acquaintances comes to us via our daily newspaper, our weekly news magazine, our radio, or our television.

It is not just the heavy-handed suppression of certain news stories from our newspapers or the blatant propagandizing of history-distorting TV “docudramas” that characterizes the opinion-manipulating techniques of the media masters. They exercise both subtlety and thoroughness in their management of the news and the entertainment that they present to us.

For example, the way in which the news is covered: which items are emphasized and which are played down; the reporter’s choice of words, tone of voice, and facial expressions; the wording of headlines; the choice of illustrations — all of these things subliminally and yet profoundly affect the way in which we interpret what we see or hear.

On top of this, of course, the columnists and editors remove any remaining doubt from our minds as to just what we are to think about it all. Employing carefully developed psychological techniques, they guide our thought and opinion so that we can be in tune with the “in” crowd, the “beautiful people,” the “smart money.” They let us know exactly what our attitudes should be toward various types of people and behavior by placing those people or that behavior in the context of a TV drama or situation comedy and having the other TV characters react in the Politically Correct way.

Molding American Minds

For example, a racially mixed couple will be respected, liked, and socially sought after by other characters, as will a “take charge” Black scholar or businessman, or a sensitive and talented homosexual, or a poor but honest and hardworking illegal alien from Mexico. On the other hand, a White racist — that is, any racially conscious White person who looks askance at miscegenation or at the rapidly darkening racial situation in America — is portrayed, at best, as a despicable bigot who is reviled by the other characters, or, at worst, as a dangerous psychopath who is fascinated by firearms and is a menace to all law-abiding citizens. The White racist “gun nut,” in fact, has become a familiar stereotype on TV shows.

The average American, of whose daily life TV-watching takes such an unhealthy portion, distinguishes between these fictional situations and reality only with difficulty, if at all. He responds to the televised actions, statements, and attitudes of TV actors much as he does to his own peers in real life. For all too many Americans the real world has been replaced by the false reality of the TV environment, and it is to this false reality that his urge to conform responds. Thus, when a TV scriptwriter expresses approval of some ideas and actions through the TV characters for whom he is writing, and disapproval of others, he exerts a powerful pressure on millions of viewers toward conformity with his own views.

And as it is with TV entertainment, so it is also with the news, whether televised or printed. The insidious thing about this form of thought control is that even when we realize that entertainment or news is biased, the media masters still are able to manipulate most of us. This is because they not only slant what they present, but they establish tacit boundaries and ground rules for the permissible spectrum of opinion.

As an example, consider the media treatment of Middle East news. Some editors or commentators are slavishly pro-Israel in their every utterance, while others seem nearly neutral. No one, however, dares suggest that the U.S. government is backing the wrong side in the Arab-Jewish conflict and that it served Jewish interests, rather than American interests, to send U.S. forces to cripple Iraq, Israel’s principal rival in the Middle East. Thus, a spectrum of permissible opinion, from pro-Israel to nearly neutral, is established.

Another example is the media treatment of racial issues in the United States. Some commentators seem almost dispassionate in reporting news of racial strife, while others are emotionally partisan — with the partisanship always on the non-White side. All of the media spokesmen without exception, however, take the position that “multiculturalism” and racial mixing are here to stay, and that they are good things.

Because there are differences in degree, however, most Americans fail to realize that they are being manipulated. Even the citizen who complains about “managed news” falls into the trap of thinking that because he is presented with an apparent spectrum of opinion he can escape the thought controllers’ influence by believing the editor or commentator of his choice. It’s a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation. Every point on the permissible spectrum of public opinion is acceptable to the media masters — and no impermissible fact or viewpoint is allowed any exposure at all, if they can prevent it.

The control of the opinion-molding media is nearly monolithic. All of the controlled media — television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, motion pictures — speak with a single voice, each reinforcing the other. Despite the appearance of variety, there is no real dissent, no alternative source of facts or ideas accessible to the great mass of people that might allow them to form opinions at odds with those of the media masters. They are presented with a single view of the world — a world in which every voice proclaims the equality of the races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish “Holocaust” tale, the wickedness of attempting to halt the flood of non-White aliens pouring across our borders, the danger of permitting citizens to keep and bear arms, the moral equivalence of all sexual orientations, and the desirability of a “pluralistic,” cosmopolitan society rather than a homogeneous, White one. It is a view of the world designed by the media masters to suit their own ends — and the pressure to conform to that view is overwhelming. People adapt their opinions to it, vote in accord with it, and shape their lives to fit it.

And who are these all-powerful masters of the media? As we shall see, to a very large extent they are Jews. It isn’t simply a matter of the media being controlled by profit-hungry capitalists, some of whom happen to be Jews. If that were the case, the ethnicity of the media masters would reflect, at least approximately, the ratio of rich gentiles to rich Jews. Despite a few prominent exceptions, the preponderance of Jews in the media is so overwhelming that we are obliged to assume that it is due to more than mere happenstance.

Electronic News & Entertainment Media

Continuing government deregulation of the telecommunications industry has resulted, not in the touted increased competition, but rather in an accelerating wave of corporate mergers and acquisitions that have produced a handful of multi-billion-dollar media conglomerates. The largest of these conglomerates are rapidly growing even bigger by consuming their competition, almost tripling in size during the 1990s. Whenever you watch television, whether from a local broadcasting station or via cable or a satellite dish; whenever you see a feature film in a theater or at home; whenever you listen to the radio or to recorded music; whenever you read a newspaper, book, or magazine — it is very likely that the information or entertainment you receive was produced and/or distributed by one of these megamedia companies.

In the seventeen years which have elapsed since 9/11 we see nothing but our continued ignorance of the circumstances surrounding that event, which seems ever more shrouded in mystery. This in spite of the plethora of official reports, issued by the Senate, various congressional committees, and an official U.S. government commission  devoted to the subject, which held public hearings, and published its report. The recommendations in that document are even now being signed into law. Yet our understanding of why and how it happened, obscured by myth and the tricks of memory, seems less than when smoke was still pouring out of the twin towers. This seems distinctly odd, but what is odder still is the development of two parallel theories of what really happened on 9/11 that both point to our two best ostensible friends in the Middle East as complicit in, if not the source, of the terror.

The first suspect is Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of oil, where billionaire sheiks live in incredibly decadent luxury while preaching and subsidizing the austere puritanism of Wahhabist Islam. An entire school of thought has grown up on the right as well as the left, positing a Saudi connection to the 9/11 hijackers that has never been proved. The best the Saudi conspiracy theorists can come up with is the 27 redacted pages of the Senate Report on 9/11, the sort of “evidence” that leaves far too much to the imagination. The first 15 minutes of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 “ replete with lurid images of sinister-looking Saudis in flowing robes“ is the purest and crudest distillation of this theory. Moore, like many on the pro-war right, reiterates the anti-Saudi mantra, reminding viewers that 17 out of 19 of the hijackers were Saudi. Whether or how this means that they were acting on orders from Riyadh is never elaborated on.

There is a purely right-wing version of this theory, without the Bush-bashing, emanating from American pro-Likud circles. Adherents of this approach tried to link the hijackers to a friend of a friend of a friend of a third cousin of someone assisted financially by Princess Haifa, wife of Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar, but nothing ever came of it. The leftist version, however, involves the president and his close advisors as the central co-conspirators: this is the “they bombed themselves” school of thought, which somehow manages to drag in the CIA and any number of top U.S. government officials, all supposedly in on a plan to utilize the attacks as the basis of a coup. The methodology of this school is to ask: Cui bono? Who benefits? And they stop there. Because, after all, what more do we need to know?

Well, a few facts would help. But all we get is the redacted pages of the Senate’s 9/11 report and the hazy, fact-free innuendo of books like Forbidden Truth, which posits a conspiracy by an unholy trinity of the Saudi princes, the all-powerful Carlyle Group, and the Bush family.

On the other hand, Senator Bob Graham has written an entire book based on the accusation that the Bush administration deliberately covered up the involvement of Saudi agents with two of the 9/11 conspirators living in San Diego. Graham, the former head of the Senate intelligence committee, and a rather quixotic presidential candidate, avers there is not only “a compelling case that there was Saudi assistance,” but also points the finger at President Bush, who supposedly ordered the FBI “to restrain and obfuscate” the 9/11 investigation.

While Senator Graham’s foreign policy views are more theory than practice, nevertheless he must be credited with more than a little inside knowledge of the inner workings of the intelligence community. In a PBS interview with Gwen Ifill, the senator was asked if there were certain facts in the Senate committee report “which are classified that Americans should know about but can’t?” Graham’s reply merited mile-high headlines:

“Yes, going back to your question about what was the greatest surprise. I agree with what Senator Shelby said, the degree to which the agencies were not coordinating was certainly a surprise: but also I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States.”

Graham goes on to make clear that he means more than one foreign government was involved in the events leading up to 9/11. They had some degree of foreknowledge if not outight complicity , and they aren’t through with us yet. Graham continues:

“I am stunned that we have not done a better job of pursuing that to determine if other terrorists received similar supports, and even more important, if the infrastructure of a foreign government assisting terrorists still exists for the current generation of terrorists who are planning the next plots. To me that is an extremely significant issue and most of that information is classified. I think overly classified.”

Graham’s lament brings to mind the remark of a government spokesman to Carl Cameron, of Fox News, who reported the following in December 2001:

There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins.’ But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, ‘evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.'”

Now we branch off into the alternate theory, far more controversial than the Saudi conspiracy, which posits that the hijackers were being watched by an extensive Israeli intelligence network operating on U.S. soil. Cameron’s four-part series, broadcast in that bitter winter of 2001, caused a sensation and then dropped into the black hole of journalistic memory, enjoying a periodic revival as various other aspects of the story came out in dribs and drabs.

Salon reported on a mysterious outbreak of suspicious incidents, in the months prior to 9/11, involving young Israelis who claimed to be “art students,” and who made it a habit to approach government facilities as if they were casing the joint. A 60 page interagency report, parented by the BATF, was leaked that documented the activities of this group, which obviously had more to do with the art of intelligence-gathering than with painting. Even more ominously, the young Israelis, in some instances, would approach government employees at home, and clearly had access to information they shouldn’t have.

The Salon piece, by Christopher Ketcham, theorized that the purpose of the “art students” operation might have been to divert attention away from something, to blow a lot of smoke and blind intelligence agencies to activities that were going on right under their noses.

Le Monde followed up with reporting on the geographical synchronicity of the hijackers’ odyssey though America and the location of the various colonies of Israeli “art students,” as if the former were being shadowed by the latter:

“More than a third of these ‘students,’ who, according to the report, moved in at least 42 American cities, stated they resided in Florida. Five at least were intercepted in Hollywood, and two in Fort Lauderdale. Hollywood is a town of 25,000 inhabitants to the north of Miami, close to Fort Lauderdale. At least 10 of the 19 terrorists of 9/11 were residing in Florida.

“Four of the five members of the group that diverted American Airlines flight number 11 – Mohammed Atta, Abdulaziz Al-Omari, Walid and Wahd Al-Shehri, as well as one of the five terrorists of United flight 175, Marwan Al-Shehhi , resided all at various times in… Hollywood, Florida. As for Ahmed Fayez, Ahmed and Hamza Al-Ghamdi and Mohand Al-Shehri, who took over United flight 75, like Said Al-Ghamdi, Ahmed Al-Haznawi and Ahmed Al-Nami, of United flight 93 which crashed September 11 in Pennsylvania, and Nawaq Al-Hamzi, of AA flight 77 (crashed into the Pentagon), they all at one time resided at Delray Beach, north of Fort Lauderdale.

“This convergence is, inter alia, the origin of the American conviction that one of the tasks of the Israeli “students” would have been to track the Al-Qaida terrorists on U.S. territory, without informing the federal authorities of the existence of the plot.”

The Israelis, a silent omnipresent bodyguard, encircled Mohammed Atta and his cohorts, watching, and waiting , for 9/11, the catalytic event that would trigger a war binding the U.S. and Israel closer than ever before, a war that would not end even with the American occupation of Iraq , and would redound mostly to the advantage of the Israelis.

Finally, the respected German weekly Die Zeit capped these revelations with a story entitled “Next Door to Mohammed Atta,” which cited French intelligence and focused on the close proximity of the “art students” and the hijackers in the south Florida town of Hollywood, and environs:

“Not until after the attacks of September 11 did the consequences of the spy ring become clear. Apparently the agents were not interested in military or industrial facilities, but were shadowing a number of suspects, who were later involved in the terrorist attacks against the US. According to a report of the French intelligence agency that Die Zeit examined, ‘according to the FBI, Arab terrorists and suspected terror cells lived in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as in Miami and Hollywood, Florida from December 2000 to April 2001 in direct proximity to the Israeli spy cells.’

“According to the report, the Mossad agents were interested in the leader of the terrorists, Mohammed Atta and his key accomplice, Marwan al-Shehi. Both lived in Hamburg before they settled in Hollywood, Florida in order to plan the attacks. A Mossad team was also operating in the same town. The leader, Hanan Serfati, had rented several dwellings. Everything indicates that the terrorists were constantly observed by the Israelis. The chief Israeli agent was staying right near the post office where the terrorists had a mailbox. TheMossad also had its sights on Atta’s accomplice Khalid al-Midhar, with whom the CIA was also familiar, but allowed to run free.'”

Donald Trump attacks US media at 100-day Pennsylvania rally

April 30, 2017

BBC News

US President Donald Trump has launched a scathing attack on the media during a rally marking 100 days in office.

He told supporters in Pennsylvania that he was keeping “one promise after another”, dismissing criticism as “fake news” by “out of touch” journalists.

Mr Trump decided to skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – the first US leader to miss the event since an injured Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Earlier, huge rallies were held against Mr Trump’s climate change policies.

Mr Trump’s approval ratings hover at around the 40% mark – believed to be lower than any other president at the 100-day marker.

At the rally in Harrisburg, the president said the media should be given “a big, fat, failing grade” over their coverage of his achievements during his first 100 days and told the cheering crowd he was “thrilled to be more than 100 miles from Washington”.

He quipped that at the same time “a large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling themselves” at the correspondents’ dinner “that will be very boring”.

Until now, late president Ronald Reagan in 1981 was the last US leader to miss the annual dinner, when he was recovering from an assassination attempt.

Addressing the journalists and celebrities at the dinner in Washington, Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason defended his profession, saying it was “our job to report on facts, and to hold leaders accountable”.

“We are not ‘fake news’. We are not failing news organisations, and we are not the enemy of the American people,” Mason said.

Turning to his election pledges, Mr Trump said the first 100 days had been “very exciting and very productive”.

He said he was “delivering every single day” by:

  • Ending “jobs theft” and bringing them back to the US from overseas
  • Easing regulations on energy exploration, including halting a “war on coal”
  • Pulling out of international deals not beneficial to the US, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Mr Trump also said the administration of Barack Obama had resulted in “a mess”, stressing that he was ready for “great battles to come and we will win in every case”.

On climate change, Mr Trump said “a big decision” would be taken within the next two weeks.

He earlier described climate change as a hoax, vowing to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement.

But despite Mr Trump’s claim to be keeping his promises, he has failed to start construction on the wall he plans along the US-Mexico border – or to get Mexico to pay for it.

“We’ll build the wall, folks, don’t even worry about it,” the president said.

On another campaign promise, to label China a currency manipulator, he said now was not “the best time.”

How much has Trump achieved so far?

Trump’s promises before and after election

Ahead of the speech, tens of thousands took part in protests across the US against the Trump administration’s stance on climate change. The People’s Climate March was timed to coincide with the 100th day of his presidency.

In Washington, the demonstrators marched from the US Capitol to the White House.

Organisers said they wanted to put the climate debate firmly on the agenda for next year’s midterm elections.

Extreme sea-level rise could wreak havoc on California coast, experts warn

April 18, 2017

by Sandy Mazza


Armed with a growing body of evidence that rising seas could inundate the California coastline sooner than later, state experts are sounding the alarm.

A new report, “Rising Seas in California: An Update on Sea-Level Rise Science,” stresses the potential for extreme sea-level rise because of uncertainties in projections of how ice sheets will melt due to their unique, hard-to-understand physics.

And it warns not to discount long-shot odds, such as a 1-in-200 chance of Southern California waters rising 2 feet above 2000 levels by 2050.

“Sea-level rise will continue to threaten coastal communities and infrastructure through more frequent flooding and inundation, as well as increased cliff, bluff, dune and beach erosion,” the report states.

“Not only are economic assets and households in flood zones increasingly exposed, but also people’s safety, lives, daily movement patterns and sense of community and security could be disrupted.”

Seven researchers with expertise in ocean and climate science wrote the report, which will be adopted by the state’s Ocean Protection Council next year after a series of public meetings. The study updates California sea-level rise research published in 2010 and 2013.

The work was done in collaboration with the National Research Council, National Resources Agency, Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, the state Ocean Science Trust and California Energy Commission.

Beach erosion, flooding

Coastal subsiding and extreme flooding have been – and will continue to be – exasperated by unusual events such as El Nino storms or a major earthquake.

Sand at Cabrillo Beach was nearly totally eroded last year by storm surges at San Pedro’s outer harbor, one of many similar scenarios reported up and down the state’s 1,100-mile coastline.

Rough seas routinely leave behind shorter beaches from Malibu to Long Beach, forcing lifeguards to move back their stations.

In Orange County, king tides have flooded the streets and low-lying homes near the beaches in Seal Beach, Sunset Beach and Huntington Beach, as well as Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, in years past.

Recent weather systems have eaten away at the sand under the Newport Beach Pier. Nearby, this winter’s storm system left 8-foot walls of sand at Balboa Pier.

Just south of San Clemente at San Onofre State Beach, 100 parking spots were lost when part of the parking lot crumbled into the ocean. In November, San Clemente spent $600,000 to replenish the once-sandy North Beach, only to have a large storm eat half of the replacement sand in January, washing it into the ocean.

Such beach erosion and coastal flooding is cyclical but will become increasingly worse as sea levels rise, the report states. The result will be “sea-level-rise rates unprecedented at least in human experience,” the study states.

Sea-level scenarios

In a best-case scenario, research models show a likely ocean-level increase off La Jolla of about 6 inches by 2030 and one foot by 2050. A worst-case scenario predicts the ocean will rise more than 1 foot by 2030 and 2 feet by 2050, according to the study.

The report predicts the most extreme water-level increases will come after 2050, when ocean levels off Southern California could reach 2 to 10 feet above 2000 levels by 2100.

“This report offers an update on this understanding and provides the best available projections of future conditions,” the study says. “Our collective scientific understanding of sea-level rise is advancing at a very rapid pace. We encourage the creation of science-policy processes that are flexible, iterative and adaptive.”

Reducing emissions

The rate of increase will depend on the concentration of human-caused greenhouse gases in the air.

California is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, to 1990 levels, by 2030. This is being accomplished with renewable energy, electric cars, required emissions caps, carbon offset taxes, and other methods.

Also, the uneven melting of Antarctica ice sheets will be a major contributor to rising seas in California.

“For every foot of global sea-level rise caused by the loss of ice on West Antarctica, sea-level will rise approximately 1.25 feet along the California coast,” the report states.

It goes on to warn that “uncertainty about the exact amount of future sea-level rise should not be a deterrent to taking action now.”

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory created maps outlining how the Antarctic ice sheet will retreat, as it melts. The project, dubbed BISICLES, illustrates several likely scenarios for how the floating ice shelves will waste away through 2200. It shows the most dramatic ice reduction occurring after 2100, with significant impacts to begin before that.

Planning for sea rise

Since beach erosion and coastal flooding take place routinely along California, local planners have already implemented fixes along the most vulnerable spots.

In the 1970s, Newport Beach installed a valve system on Balboa Island and the bay side of the peninsula to keep storm drains from backing up with too much water.

Aging seawalls wrap Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island to prevent ocean water from washing into roadways and homes. In Seal Beach, city workers routinely build sand walls each year to prevent flooding of beachside houses.

In Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific prepared a “Climate Resiliency” report to help the city mitigate a variety of climate change and pollution impacts in 2015.

“Over the next few decades, the primary concern is with flooding from coastal storms,” that report states. “Over the longer term, the rise of sea level from climate change will compound the effects of flooding and inundation since storms will be superimposed upon a progressively higher stand of sea level.”

It uses the U.S. Geological Survey’s Coastal Storm Modeling System to predict local impacts.

“The western and eastern corners of southern Long Beach are at high risk of flooding during a 100-year storm (or a large storm surge) with no rise of sea level,” that study states. “Roughly 22,492 people are currently at risk of flooding.”

Sea-level rise will exasperate those high seas by flooding thousands more people during major storms, it states.

Studies to prepare for sea-level rise already have been done, and are continuing, at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Long Beach is considering modifications to its breakwater, while City Hall is logging its greenhouse gas emissions and researching ways to protect Alamitos Bay.

In San Pedro, Port of Los Angeles officials are drafting a study due in 2019 to find vulnerabilities and adaptations to reduce the impact of rising seas.

“The port is taking the potential for sea level rise into consideration as it designs and builds new developments,” spokesman Phillip Sanfield said. “For example, port engineers are designing the soon-to-be built Wilmington Waterfront Promenade with an additional 6 inches of height to account for sea-level rise. Private developers planning the San Pedro Public Market along the port’s main channel have raised the height of the planned building by a few feet in consideration of sea-level rise.”

Staff writer Lauren Williams contributed to this report.

Turkey targets Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria

At least 70 killed in Iraq and Syria, Turkish officials say, in blow against Kurdish forces battling ISIL in the region.

April 25, 2017


Turkish military jets have carried out air strikes against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in northern Iraq and northeast  Syria, killing at least 70 people, according to a Turkish military statement.

A statement released by Turkey’s air force said that it carried out the air strikes against PKK targets located in the Sinjar Mountains region in northern  Iraq and in Karachok Mountains in northeastern Syria on Tuesday.

The targets were hit to prevent the PKK from sending “terrorists, arms, ammunition and explosives to Turkey,” the statement said, adding that the operation was conducted “within the scope of the international law”.

The PKK are Kurdish fighters operating in  Turkey, while the Rojava Defence Units (YPG) are Kurdish fighters operating in northern Syria and the Peshmerga fighters are in charge of security in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The three groups are currently fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

“At least six people were killed, five from the Peshmerga and a sixth from Asayish [Rojava],” Lieutenant-General Jabbar Yawar, secretary-general of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish government, told AFP news agency.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group which tracks the Syrian war, said that at least “We have expressed those concerns with the government of Turkey directly,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

“These air strikes were not approved by the coalition and led to the unfortunate loss of life of our partner forces.”

Earlier, Erdogan said Turkey was “obliged to take measures” that were “shared with the US and Russia”.

Following the attacks, the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs called upon the PKK to “withdraw from Sinjar Mountain and surrounding areas”.

“This painful and unacceptable attack on Peshmerga forces

18 YPG fighters were killed in the air strikes in Syria’s Hasaka province.

The YPG in northern Syria said on its Twitter account that Turkish warplanes targeted the headquarters of the General Command of the YPG in Mount Karachok, near the city of Derik in Hasaka.

The YPG also reported that a media centre, a local radio station, communication headquarters and some military institutions were hit.

The group forms a key component of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and has been closing in on ISIL in Raqqa.

While Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US and Russia were informed of the attacks, the US State Department said it was deeply concerned by the air strikes, which it said were not authorised by the US-led coalition fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

“We have expressed those concerns with the government of Turkey directly,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters

“These air strikes were not approved by the coalition and led to the unfortunate loss of life of our partner forces.”

Earlier, Erdogan said Turkey was “obliged to take measures” that were “shared with the US and Russia”.

Following the attacks, the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs called upon the PKK to “withdraw from Sinjar Mountain and surrounding areas”.

“This painful and unacceptable attack on Peshmerga forces by Turkish warplanes is a result of PKK’s presence in and around Sinjar,” the ministry said in a statement.

“PKK has been problematic for the people of the Kurdistan Region and, despite broad calls to withdraw, refuses to leave Sinjar. PKK must stop destabilising and escalating tensions in the area to allow life to return to the people of the area.”

Later on Tuesday, Turkish security officials said 13 PKK fighters and five Turkish soldiers were killed in operations in the largely Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

The PKK established a presence in Iraq’s Sinjar after coming to help the region’s Yazidi population when ISIL overran the area in the summer of 2014.

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkey-Syria border, said the air strikes come at a moment of strained ties between Turkey and Iraq.

“The Turkish ministry says the air strikes were precise and successful,” he said.

“The Turkish military tipped up its campaign against the PKK on the border area and said it killed a dozen PKK fighters in the past days.”

Turkey sent tanks into the town of Bashiqa in northern Iraq in 2015, saying it was providing military assistance and training for the Peshmerga fighters battling ISIL, our correspondent said.

“The Iraqi government, on the other hand, has been asking the Turkish government to pull out the tanks threatening more confrontations.”

The PKK is designated a “terrorist group” by Turkey, the US and the  European Union.

Trump pledges fealty to NRA gun lobby

April 28, 2017

by Steve Holland


ATLANTA-President Donald Trump pledged to uphold Americans’ right to possess guns on Friday in a speech that he used to revisit some 2016 election campaign themes from his vow to build a border wall to dismissing a Democratic senator as “Pocahontas.”

Trump pledged his allegiance to the powerful National Rifle Association, the country’s leading gun-rights advocacy group, at a convention attended by thousands. Elected in part on a law-and-order platform, Trump was the first sitting president to address the NRA since fellow Republican Ronald Reagan in 1983.

“As your president, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Trump told thousands of people attending the NRA’s annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Trump, whose candidacy last year was endorsed by the NRA, marks his first 100 days in office on Saturday with no major legislative achievements but with a long litany of actions to loosen federal regulations and review free trade agreements.

Stymied by his initial bid to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border when Congress balked at funding the initiative, Trump vowed he will sooner or later build the wall, which had been a signature campaign promise.

We need a wall. We’ll build the wall. Don’t even think about it,” he said.

Politics and his unexpected election victory on Nov. 8 over Democrat Hillary Clinton also featured prominently in his remarks.

Speculating on who might run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, Trump brought up the name of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and used a derogatory nickname he had adopted for her last year.

“It may be Pochahontas, and she is not big on the NRA,” Trump said of Warren, who had once said she had some Native American ancestry.

Pocahontas is a legendary Native American figure from the 1600s.

Trump later attended a fund-raiser for Republican candidate Karen Handel, who will face Democrat Jon Ossoff on June 20 to determine who will win a House of Representatives seat to replace Tom Price, who became Trump’s health and human services secretary.

Trump, at the NRA event, returned time and again to the theme of responsible gun ownership.

“You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” he said. “We want to assure you of the sacred right of self defense for all of our citizens.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Tom Brown)


Pyongyang slams Israel as ‘disturber of peace armed with illegal nukes under US patronage’

April 30, 2017


North Korea has accused Israel of being the “only illegal possessor” of nukes and threat to peace in the Middle East, and threatened Tel Aviv with a “thousand-fold punishment” after Israeli Defense Minister called Pyongyang’s leadership a “crazy and radical group.”

In an interview with Hebrew news site Walla this week, Avigdor Lieberman stated that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is a “madman” in charge of a “crazy and radical group” which is “undermining global stability.”

Pyongyang “seems to have crossed the red line with its recent nuclear tests,” the Israeli defense minister said, according to the Times of Israel.

In response, Pyongyang promised a “thousand-fold punishment to whoever dares hurt the dignity of its supreme leadership,” calling Lieberman’s “sordid and wicked” remarks a part of Israel’s smear campaign to cover up its own crimes.

Firing back at the perceived hypocrisy, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that, unlike Israel, which is a “disturber of peace” in its neighborhood, their country is full entitled to seek deterrence against “US aggression.”

“Israel is the only illegal possessor of nukes in the Middle East under the patronage of the US. However, Israel vociferated about the nuclear deterrence of the DPRK, slandering it, whenever an opportunity presented itself,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, as cited by state-run agency KCNA.

While Israel has never publicly confirmed or denied possessing nukes, it is universally believed to have dozens of warheads, and maintains ambiguous policy that it will not be the first to “introduce” them in the Middle East.

“The DPRK’s access to nuclear weapons is the legitimate exercise of its righteous right for self-defense to cope with the US provocative moves for aggression and the DPRK’s nuclear force is the treasured sword of justice firmly defending peace on the Korean peninsula and in the region,” the North Korean statement added.

Pyongyang went on to call Israel a “culprit of crimes against humanity” and an “occupier” which seeks to dominate the region and oppress Palestinians.

Lieberman’s remarks also sparked criticism at home, with some Israeli politicians noting that their country has enough enemies to create even more with such reckless statements.

“We have enough enemies. Let’s focus on them,” MP Shelly Yachimovich of the Zionist Union said on Twitter.

“The minister of talk is chattering irresponsibly about North Korea. And there is no prime minister to rein in the babbling and posturing ministers,” former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote on Twitter, Times of Israel reports.

Already heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated further on Saturday after the North conducted yet another failed test of its ballistic rocket technology. The test was conducted as US kicked off joint naval exercises with South Korea just after the US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson entered the Sea of Japan.

For some time now, it has been speculated that Pyongyang is also getting ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test. Speaking about North Korea on Saturday, Trump noted that neither China nor the US would welcome a further North Korean nuclear test.

“I would not be happy,” Trump said in a CBS interview for Sunday’s Face the Nation. When asked if the sixth Korean nuclear test would prompt American military action, Trump responded: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”

‘Apartheid’ furor comes amid 50 years of Israeli occupation

April 28, 2017

by Kren Laub

Associated Press

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Labeling Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “apartheid” is like flinging a burning match into spilled gasoline — so combustible are the passions on both sides.

Rima Khalaf did just that when a report commissioned by her U.N. agency at the request of 18 Arab member states accused Israel of having established an apartheid regime designed to dominate the Palestinian people as a whole.

In a swift outcry, Israel slammed the 65-page document as anti-Semitic. The U.S. demanded its removal and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ordered it taken off the agency’s website, saying it did not reflect his views. Rather than comply, Khalaf resigned as head of ESCWA, a Beirut-based agency, one of several U.N. regional bodies dealing with economic and social issues.

More than a month later, Khalaf has no regrets. The report’s charge of apartheid — a “crime against humanity” in the eyes of the International Criminal Court — deserves serious examination, she said in an interview.

“We are not here for defamation,” Khalaf said. “We are here for solving the problem.” The former U.N. undersecretary general said the international community has failed the Palestinians and must sanction Israel if it wants to regain credibility.

Israeli government official Michael Oren disputed the apartheid charge as a “big lie,” portraying the report as the latest attempt to “apply a completely unique standard to Israel which by definition is anti-Semitic.”

Official Israel and its supporters are outraged at comparisons to apartheid-era South Africa, pointing to the many differences: Unlike disenfranchised blacks in segregated South Africa, Israel’s Arab citizens, about 20 percent of the population, can vote, are represented in parliament and on the Supreme Court, and easily mingle with Jewish Israelis in daily life.

“There are no separate bathrooms, there is no apartheid here,” said Oren, a deputy minister of diplomacy. “It’s not just deeply offensive to Israelis. It is deeply offensive to the real victims of apartheid.”

The report says apartheid is more than an exact replica of conditions in pre-1994 South Africa. It notes that international conventions and the ICC define it more broadly, as “inhumane acts” committed in the context of institutionalized and systematic oppression of one racial group by another, with the intention of maintaining that regime.

Such expanded parameters could conceivably apply at least in some of the Israeli-controlled territories, according to critics of Israeli policy.

In the West Bank, military rule has sharply curtailed Palestinian movement, trade and access to resources, while Jewish settlers in the same territory enjoy full rights of Israeli citizens. Jews and Arabs in the West Bank live under different legal systems, with Jews having far more protections.

A Palestinian state carved from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, has been touted as the redress. But 50 years on, a partition deal appears distant, even as President Donald Trump says he’ll try to broker one. Israel has said it is willing to negotiate, blaming Palestinians for past failures, but a majority in Israel’s Cabinet opposes Palestinian statehood, some seek partial annexation of the West Bank, and settlement construction continues unabated.

The report describes a “regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole” in complex ways that it says include a calculated fragmentation. Divided into groups— citizens in Israel, permanent residents in east Jerusalem, stateless occupied subjects elsewhere — Palestinians are prevented from effectively resisting Israeli control, it says.

But the report goes well beyond past warnings by some, including former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, that an apartheid-like situation could emerge unless a two-state solution is reached. It suggests that beyond the question of the occupied areas, Israel itself must eliminate laws that discriminate among Jewish and Arab citizens.

Israel “can be a Jewish state” provided all citizens enjoy equal rights, according to Khalaf, who is of Palestinian origin.

“If this is the case, then the label really doesn’t matter,” she said in the interview in Jordan, where she once held senior Cabinet posts and where she now lives again.

Detailing the most controversial charge of apartheid in Israel itself, the report argues that voting rights of Arab citizens lose significance because Israel’s Basic Law bars any political parties that deny Israel’s identity as both Jewish and democratic. This prevents Arab citizens from “challenging laws that perpetuate inequality,” it said.

Arab politicians in Israel appear divided on the issue.

Some avoid using seemingly provocative terms like apartheid. They prefer to work within the system to try to alleviate what has been widely acknowledged as longstanding official discrimination, such as preferential state spending on Jewish communities.

Others, like parliament member Jamal Zahalka of the Joint List, an alliance of four Arab-dominated parties, say Israel has created a version of apartheid, including discriminatory rules on immigration and land use, even if it differs from the former South African system.

He noted that Jews from anywhere in the world can claim Israeli citizenship while Arab citizens are barred from bringing Palestinian spouses from the occupied territories to live with them in Israel.

Oren said fast-tracking Jewish immigration is a “correction to a terrible historic injustice of 2,000 years of statelessness for the Jewish people.” He also argued Israel is one of many nation-states, and pointed to other countries with preferential immigration rules, such as Germany which repatriated large numbers of ethnic Germans.

“While we recognize the Palestinians as a people, endowed with the right of self-determination in what they regard as their homeland, that recognition is not reciprocated,” Oren said, reflecting the widespread view in Israel that those making apartheid claims want to delegitimize and eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.

Many Israelis feel singled out because only their country has suffered the apartheid allegations so far, despite the fact that there are many cases of discrimination elsewhere, including in the Arab world.

Legally, the crime of apartheid is still largely uncharted territory, said Sari Bashi, the Israel/Palestine advocacy director of the international group Human Rights Watch.

So far, the ICC has not made such a charge, and evidence of racial discrimination is not sufficient to make the case.

“The broader question is whether taken as a whole the entire system constitutes apartheid,” Bashi said. “It’s a question that certainly has not been adjudicated, and we don’t have judicial rulings from other parts of the world that would provide a clear answer.”

U.N. chief Guterres hasn’t discussed the substance of the report despite appeals by Khalaf. But in a recent speech to the World Jewish Congress, an umbrella group of Jewish communities, he suggested he was siding with some of the complaints, saying that “the state of Israel needs to be treated as any other state.”

He stuck by his principles even when it required decisions that “create some uncomfortable situations,” he said an apparent reference to ordering the report removed from the ESCWA website.

“As far as we are concerned, it was not published by ESCWA,” said Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Khalaf, who resigned two weeks before her scheduled retirement, believes Guterres was pressured by the U.S., Israel’s strongest ally, at a time when the Trump administration is threatening to cut U.N. funding significantly. Dujarric declined comment.

President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian government in parts of the West Bank, has praised Khalaf for “courage and support” for the Palestinian people.

Khalaf rejected allegations of bias by those who produced the report. One author is Richard Falk, a former Princeton University professor who published blistering critiques of Israeli policies in his former role as U.N. special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

“Let’s not focus on the messenger,” Khalaf said. “Let’s focus on the facts.”

She said she hopes the debate started by the report will continue.

“This is not a verdict by a court,” she said. “It is a scholarly work. We want to make sure everyone has a chance to look at it and discuss it openly, because we want a solution.”

Mohammed Daraghmeh contributed from Ramallah, West Bank.

 Georgia’s “Rose Revolution”: A made-in-America coup

by Barry Grey and Vladimir Volkov

The United States followed its successful regime change in the strategic Caucasian nation of Georgia with a series of moves aimed at pressing its advantage over its major rival in the region, Russia.

Nine days after Eduard Shevardnadze resigned as president of the former Soviet republic, his US-backed successors joined with the American secretary of state, Colin Powell, to publicly criticize Russia and demand that it remove its troops from Georgia and another former Soviet territory, Moldova. The open conflict between Washington and Moscow occurred at the annual summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), held in the Dutch city of Maastricht.

The American delegation and others persuaded Moldova’s president to reject a Russian plan to station Russian troops in a breakaway region of Moldova until 2020. Powell went on to call on Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, and warned Moscow against supporting separatist leaders in several rebellious regions within Russia’s Caucasian neighbor to the south.

Georgia’s interim president, the former parliamentary speaker, Nino Burdzhanadze, came out of a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, and denounced the Russian leader, complaining that Moscow was “not ready to start new relations with Georgia.”

Washington’s aggressive stand toward Moscow coincided with the announcement that US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld would visit the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Rumsfeld’s visit was more than a show of US support for Georgia’s new rulers. It followed rumblings about possible military confrontations between the new regime in Tbilisi and the breakaway provinces of Abkhahzia and South Osettia in the north, and Adjara in the south.

Last week, Russian president Vladimir Putin hosted talks with the leaders of the three provinces in Moscow, and Aslan Abashidze of Adjara said he was counting on Russian troops based in the Black Sea port of Batumi to repel any aggressive actions from Tbilisi. Abashidze refused to recognize the new regime, closed Adjara’s borders with the rest of Georgia, and threatened to boycott Georgian parliamentary and presidential elections. These elections will be little more than a formality, as the US-backed forces that seized power over the weekend of November 22-23 coalesced around the current mayor of Tbilisi and most prominent leader of the insurgency, Mikhail Saakashvili.

Earlier in the week, President George Bush telephoned acting Georgian president Burdzhanadze and promised to intervene, if necessary, to uphold Georgia’s “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” in the words of a US National Security Council spokesman. Thus, Rumsfeld’s visit had the character of a blunt warning to Russia and suggested a strengthening of the American military presence in Georgia.

A focus of great power intrigue

The US-backed coup in Georgia and Washington’s subsequent diplomatic saber-rattling have had nothing to do with the spread of democracy or similar cliches. Georgia, strategically situated between the Black Sea and the oil-rich Caspian, has long been a focus of intrigue and conflict between the great powers. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the goal of weakening Russian influence and achieving US domination of Georgia and the rest of the Caucasus became a central preoccupation of US imperialist policy.

Yushchenko got the US nod, and money flooded in to his supporters



by Thomas Paine

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. …

I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but “show your faith by your works,” that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.



2 responses so far

  1. Sorry, the sea levels aren’t rising. This has been a long-running cover story for Washington moving certain of its offices elsewhere such as the Denver, Colorado area which is the official capital of the North American Union. As you should know, global warming is an academic fraud and complete scam to pave the way for global governance.
    BTW, I am a scientist and not some rube, such as yourself, who so gullibly and predictably believes every lie out of Washington.
    At least you got part of the MERS story right.

  2. The sea levels are not rising? You are a scientist? Next you will be telling me that there really is an Easter Bunny or that Jesus is arriving at a shopping mall in Florida next Tuesday. Of course the sea levels are rising and of course the massive ice fields on Greenland and the Antarctica are melting. Whenever a major event happens, trust it that there is a segment of the population that will either deny it or invent some wierd story to make themselves look important. As far as the rising sea levels are concerned, there are now dimwits who claim that the East Coast of the United States is sinking! Next, I suppose we will learn from the “scientists” that the Loch Ness monster was seen in Lake Erie where it ate a boat full of cripples out on a church-sponsored Health Day.

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