TBR News September 19, 2017

Sep 19 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., September 19, 2017:”Poor Hillary lost what she and her crime partners were positive was a cinch win for the White House and bad loser that she is, her new book blames everyone but herself for her loss. People in Washington who knew her as First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State have all told me what a very unpleasant, often nasty, person she was. I met her once, years ago, in Oakland, California, at a party given by her boss, a left-wing attorney. At that time she was fresh out of law school and worked as an intern for him. She was an in-your-face type who thought nothing about butting in on conversations with her unwanted opinions. Also, she had black hair and brown eyes. Now, she is a blonde with blue eyes, thus attesting to her Nordic origins. All in all, the country is far better off with her screeching in the wings than in the Oval Office. And at least the White House furnishings would not end up in her apartment.”

Table of Contents

  • Hurricane Maria regains strength after battering Dominica
  • S. cracks down on debt collection of private student loans
  • The Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough to Make Public College Free
  • In Catalonia: A Spanish Tiananmen Square?
  • Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly into the Night?
  • The Lucy Stein Gang Rides Into Moscow
  • Showdown in Syria: The reason Russia (not China) is the target of Washington’s wrath
  • Iraqi Kurds push ahead with vote to pressure Baghdad
  • Waving German flag, far-right and anti-Islam groups rally together before vote
  • Claus von Stauffenberg: A Gay Blade Indeed
  • The Shroud of Turin and other entertaining myths

Hurricane Maria regains strength after battering Dominica

September 19, 2017

BBC News

The latest major Atlantic hurricane of the season, Maria, has powered back to category five strength after pounding the Caribbean island of Dominica.

It weakened to a four after wreaking “widespread damage” on the island but is now packing maximum sustained winds of 260km/h (160mph) again.

The storm is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, this season’s other category five hurricane.

Maria is now heading towards the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The governor of Puerto Rico, a US territory, has told the island’s 3.5 million people to seek shelter.

A curfew was imposed on the British Virgin Islands on Monday night and residents have been asked to stay indoors until the storm has passed.

Officials there fear the debris left by Irma earlier this month could now prove extremely dangerous in the winds of Maria.

The new storm is proving particularly treacherous as its strength can change dramatically in a matter of hours.

What do we know of the damage on Dominica?The former British colony, which has a population of 72,000 and is less than 50km long and 25km wide, escaped the worst of Hurricane Irma two weeks ago.

But on Monday the eye of the new category five storm passed directly over, making landfall at 21:00 local time (01:00 GMT Tuesday).

The roof of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s official residence was blown off in the storm.

“My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains,” he said in a Facebook post.

“So far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside.”

Air and sea ports would probably be “inoperable for a few days”, the prime minister added.

Where else has Maria passed?

As the hurricane struck in the middle of the night it has been difficult to assess the extent of the damage so far.

The French territory of Martinique has been hit by power cuts but is thought to have escaped serious damage.

Images show flooding in Guadeloupe while there are reports of flooding, mudslides and power outages in parts of St Lucia.

Jacques Witkowski, the head of French civil security, told reporters that it was too soon to determine whether Guadeloupe escaped major damage, the AP news agency reported.

Where next?

Hurricane warnings have been issued for Guadeloupe, St Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques.

Puerto Rico’s public safety commissioner, Hector Pesquera issued a stern warning to island residents.

“You have to evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” he said. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.”

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said there were 500 shelters that could house more than 100,000 people.

Mr Rossello warned the storm could be “devastating and catastrophic”, adding that he expected to lose a lot of infrastructure, he told CNN.

He added the Federal Emergency Management Agency was on hand to bring drinking water and help to restore power after the storm.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St Eustatius, St Martin, Anguilla and Martinique.

UK territories prepare for worst

How did Maria gather strength so fast?

Maria jumped from a category three to a brutal category five within just a few hours on Monday, which was a shock for people in Dominica.

A factor in its rapid development is that local sea surface temperatures are currently anomalously high by a margin of around one to two degrees, says BBC weather forecaster Steve Cleaton.

The elevated sea surface temperature will have contributed to the rapid development of this system, in concert with other very favourable atmospheric conditions within the locale such as low wind shear, our meteorologist adds.

Will Irma relief work be affected?

Some islands in Maria’s path escaped the worst of Hurricane Irma and have been used as bases to distribute relief to places that were not so fortunate.

Now there are concerns that that this work could be jeopardised if they are badly hit too.

Guadeloupe has been a bridgehead for aid going to Irma-hit French territories, while Puerto Rico has also been offering crucial assistance to its neighbours.

Overseas forces mobilise

Britain, France, the US and the Netherlands all have overseas territories in the Caribbean.

The British government said more than 1,300 troops were staying put in the region and an additional military team had been deployed. A 42-strong military resilience team has also been deployed to the British Virgin Islands.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told AFP that 110 more soldiers would be sent to the region to reinforce about 3,000 people already there.

The Dutch navy tweeted that troops were heading to Saba and St Eustatius to bolster security amid fears of potential looting.

US President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, where the US military has been evacuating personnel.


U.S. cracks down on debt collection of private student loans

September 18, 2017


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said on Monday it had ordered National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts and their debt collector, Transworld Systems, Inc to pay at least $21.6 million in penalties and restitution for illegally filing debt collection lawsuits.

According to the agency, the companies allegedly sued borrowers without being able to prove the debt was owed or pursued collection on loans that were too old to sue over, and relied on false and misleading legal documents. The CFPB said the trusts had filed at least 486 lawsuits on debt where the statute of limitations for collections had expired.

A federal judge must still sign off on the judgments against the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts, a collection of 15 trusts that own more than 800,000 private student loans.

Transworld Systems agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine, stop suing borrowers over expired debts, and take other measures without admitting or denying the CFPB’s findings.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert, editing by G Crosse


The Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough to Make Public College Free

September 18 2017

by Alex Emmons

The Intercept

One of the most controversial proposals put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign was a pledge to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Critics from both parties howled that the pie-in-the-sky idea would bankrupt the country. Where, after all, would the money come from?

Those concerns were brushed aside Monday night, as the Senate overwhelmingly approved an $80 billion annual increase in military spending, enough to have fully satisfied Sanders’s campaign promise. Instead, the Senate handed President Donald Trump far more than the $54 billion he asked for. The lavish spending package gives Trump a major legislative victory, allowing him to boast about fulfilling his promise of a “great rebuilding of the armed services.”

The bill would set the U.S.’s annual military budget at around $700 billion, putting it within range of matching the spending level at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

To put that in further perspective: If the package becomes law, U.S. military spending would exceed the total spending of its next 10 rivals put together, going off of 2016 military spending estimates from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Put another way, with a $700 billion military budget, the U.S. would be spending more than three times as much as China on its military, and 10 times as much as Russia. According to SIPRI, the U.S. already accounts for more than a third of all military spending.

Or with $80 billion a year, you could make public colleges and universities in the U.S. tuition-free. In fact, Sanders’s proposal was only estimated to cost the federal government $47 billion per year.

If the additional military spending over the next 10 years instead went to pay off student debt, it could come close to wiping it out entirely.

But proposals like that are written off as nonstarters, even by Democrats. In her new book, Hillary Clinton compares Sanders’s idea to him nonsensically saying “America should get a pony.” And while concerns about the cost of ponies abound, few Democrats are raising similar concerns about military spending, even when it is meant for a commander-in-chief they consider reckless and unstable.

The Senate voted 89-8, with three senators not voting, to approve the military money. Spendthrift Sanders joined only four other Democratic senators to vote against the bill: Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden from Oregon. Republicans Bob Corker of Tennessee, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah also voted against it.

When Trump submitted a budget proposal in March, which cut social spending dramatically to fund a $54 billion increase in defense spending, Democrats criticized it as a nonstarter. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he “emphatically opposed” the blueprint, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the budget “throws billions of dollars at defense while ransacking” health and education funding.

Before the bill becomes law, it is has to be reconciled with the version the House already passed, which contains a similar $77 billion spending increase. It is likely to become law by the end of the year.


In Catalonia: A Spanish Tiananmen Square?

Spain and the Catalonians are headed for a violent confrontation

September 18, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


One of those crises that no one saw coming is about to rear its head in a very unlikely locale: Catalonia, Spain’s richest province, where the local government has scheduled an independence referendum on October 1.  Of course, some observers – e,g, Julian Assange – did see it coming, but the current trend to find “fascists” under every bed in America may have obscured our ability to detect them where they really live – in Madrid, where the federal authorities are threatening to arrest Catalonian politicians who advocate independence.

Madrid has mobilized 4,000 police to stop the referendum. They are seizing election materials, shutting down web sites, and invading the offices of newspapers: they have threatened 700 pro-independence mayors with arrest and prosecution.

The Spanish position – upheld by the country’s Constitutional Court – is that only the federal authorities can call a referendum, and that in any case all Spanish voters, not just those resident in Catalonia, must be allowed to vote on the question of Catalonian independence. So much for the right of self-determination.

Catalonia has long been a cash cow for the Madrid regime: the province is by far the richest in the country, and contributes much more to the national budget than it receives. With 16 percent of Spain’s population, the region produces 25 percent of the nation’s exports, hosts 23 percent of industry – and receives 11 percent of government expenditures. This essentially parasitic relationship perhaps accounts for the fierce resistance to the secession movement by the rather shaky regime of conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Madrid’s hard-line stance is rather shortsighted when one looks at the matter in purely economic terms. Spain has been skirting insolvency for quite some time now, and the federal authorities have been counting on Catalonia’s contribution to the national GDP – which amounts to 19 percent — to pay the interest on the debt. With Spain having only partially recovered from the economic downturn of 2008, the loss of Catalonia would be a hard blow to Madrid – and yet the policy of confrontation pursued by the shortsighted central authorities promises to make the blow all the harder.

For all the secessionists of Barcelona have to do is to refuse to take on a disproportionate share of the national debt, as they have been doing all along. By refusing to negotiate with Barcelona, and instead resorting to threats of force, the Spanish nationalists are ensuring the worst possible outcome for their own cause.

As I’ve detailed in this space before, Catalonia has a long history as an entity separate and distinct from Spain: it has its own language, Catalan, which is spoken by over 9 million people and is not a dialect of Spanish but rather is descended from the ancient Latin of Roman settlers. The language was banned by the fascist dictatorship established by Gen. Francisco Franco after the Spanish civil war, but revived with the emergence of democracy – although, as we see, attempts to subjugate the Catalonian identity did not cease.

Catalonia’s bid for self-determination is an ideological litmus test, one that tells us everything we need to know about the main forces contending for power in the world. The reason is because the crisis is taking place on the terrain of Europe, in the very midst of the “free” West. Since forever and a day we have been told that the “democratic” West doesn’t commit acts of mass repression against their own people: that the right of “self-determination” is universal, and that that liberal democracy is not about to mimic the methods of, say, Slobodan Milosevic, and put down a popular uprising by force. These methods – they claim — are the exclusive province of “illiberal” regimes, like those in Russia, Belarus, and now Hungary, which has been moved into the “illiberal” camp by its refusal to allow an invasion by Middle Eastern migrants.

Except that the threats and repressive measures of “democratic” Spain have exposed this conceit as nonsense. As October 1 approaches, and Madrid prepares to crush the Catalonian revolution with brute force, the myth of the “democratic” West is being shaken to its foundations – with the growing prospect that violent repression will bring the whole dilapidated edifice down on the heads of the people, both Spaniards and Catalonians alike.

As one might expect, the US State Department is taking the position of taking no position, while not-so-subtly signaling support for Madrid. When Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) came out in support of the Catalonian struggle for freedom, US diplomats in Spain issued a statement in which Washington attempted to do what it does best: talk out of both sides of its mouth:

“We want to reiterate that, as we have said on previous occasions, the position of the United States government over Catalonia is that it is an internal matter of Spain. We are deeply committed to maintaining the relationship with a strong and united Spain.”

So it’s an “internal matter” but we want Spain to stay “united” – i.e., screw the Catalonians. The same position of not-so-neutral “neutrality” has been taken by the European Union, whose “president” says that Catalonia would have to reapply to the EU for membership, a move that the authorities in Madrid would surely block. Thus the threat of economic and physical isolation is being held over Barcelona’s head, as withdrawal from the EU free trade and free movement zones would inflict considerable damage.

With Western elites pushing hard for centralization on a global scale, and the creation of ever-bigger more “inclusive” international constructions – trading blocs like NAFTA and the TPP, and the shoring up of NATO as well as the EU super-state – insurgent trends in the other direction like the Brexit campaign and the Catalonian independence movement are being bitterly resisted by the powers that be. They couldn’t use force to subdue the Brexiteers, of course, but it looks like the centralizers of Madrid are being given the green light to do their worst when October 1 dawns.

This would be a huge mistake that would backfire immediately and explosively. For what the West is facing is the prospect of a Tiananmen Square incident taking place in its very midst – an act of violence that, far from ensuring the legitimacy of the authorities in Madrid, would quickly delegitimize them in the eyes not only of their own countrymen but of the entire world. Catalonia would become the collective embodiment of “Tank Man,” with the Madrid authorities taking the role of the despots of Beijing.

If ever there was a cause for libertarians the world over to rally around, it is the cause of Catalonian independence. Here all the issues that animate anti-statists come together in one neat little package: the right to secede, the right to not be economically exploited by the thieving central state, the right to determine one’s own national and cultural identity and destiny. Recognition of these rights is the very essence of the libertarian philosophy and political theory, just as they were in the case of the American revolution.

Which is no doubt why, when it comes to Catalonia, we haven’t heard a peep out of the cosmotarian contingent of Beltway quasi-libertarians — which tends to be soft on the EU and looks askance at all populist movements just on general principles – except as it impacts marijuana legalization.


Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly into the Night?

Clinton, who has grown increasingly public and vocal in recent weeks, appears ready to drive the bus again. But do we have to be the passengers?

June 9, 2017

by T.A. Frank

Vanity Fair

With Donald Trump busy spreading havoc around the world—most recently tweeting about James Comey’s testimony, or feeding into the crisis over Qatar—it’s reasonable to ask who can be bothered to gripe about Hillary Clinton. But I can. One makes the time. Or maybe one doesn’t, but in a two-party system there’s only one alternative to the party of Trump, and the role of Clinton in that party is therefore important.

Lately, it has been increasing. Hillary has been making high-profile public appearances and started talking frankly about her distaste for Trump and her dismay over the people and things that cost her the election. She has even founded a PAC called Onward Together, a 501(c)(4) that will “advance progressive values.” Whether we like it or not, the Clintons are back in the game. It’s up to the rest of us to figure out if we approve.

Just about everything we do lends itself to a generous or hostile interpretation. Our friends think we feed the poor because we have genuine compassion, and our enemies think we do so because we want to look good. The benign take on motives isn’t always closest to the truth, but it’s the better bet. (On the occasions that I’ve had an inside view of something in the glare of the press, those with the darkest take on it have usually been wrong.) I’ve been tough on Chelsea Clinton—hard not to be—but Hillary Clinton has a much higher accomplishment-to-self-regard ratio. So why not start generously?

Let’s posit that Hillary Clinton loves America and wants the best for it, whatever the merits of her ideas. That comes out even in small ways. When Sid Blumenthal sent Hillary a strategy e-mail headed “Because I like to waste my time,” she responded, “And because you care about our country.” You may see sanctimony there, but I for one see something heartfelt. When comedian Zach Galifianakis asked her if she would flee to “one of the arctics” if Trump won, she responded, “I would stay in the United States. I would try to prevent him from destroying the United States.” As no one doubted she would. The Clintons may be slippery, but they don’t flee. They’re far likelier to go for a Yeltsin-on-the-tank moment if it’s offered. (Of course, in keeping with the rule of generous and hostile interpretations, some dismiss Boris Yeltsin’s heroism that day as grandstanding.)

Like her husband, Hillary also has a resilience that is superhuman. Most of us would find it impossible to live with special prosecutors and countless enemies plotting our downfall, but Bill and Hillary just keep going. Al Gore never seemed to recover from losing in 2000, and he went dark for a long time. But Hillary Clinton is already back in the arena and swinging fists.

In an ideal world, former candidates and presidents would maintain a dignified silence about their rivals or successors, as most past ones have done, but Donald Trump has changed cultural expectations. He observes few niceties, and he lacks restraint or dignity. Expectations of “worthy” behavior from Clinton under the circumstances amount to expectations of unilateral disarmament. What’s more, Clinton talks to countless people who are looking to her for resolve and encouragement and leadership. How can she let them down and go silent?

Or so one could argue.

But we can’t stay friendly to Hillary forever. There’s a fine line—or maybe not even so fine a line—between boosting morale and monopolizing the spotlight. One reason Bill Clinton was able to make a name for himself decades ago was that previous candidates had the grace to get out of the way. Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis weren’t trying to place themselves at center stage during the campaign of 1992. The Clintons, by contrast, kept sticking around. When it comes to power, and a few other things, they can’t control their urges. As a friend of mine recently wrote to me in an e-mail, “They both had to be president?”

Even the name of Clinton’s PAC has a presumptuous ring to it. When someone has driven a bus off the road and hurled passengers out of their seats, it’s a bad time for the driver to stagger back to the wheel and call out “Onward together!” Onward, fine. Together, maybe not.

All of this would be easier to take if Hillary were on a crusade for a distinctive cause, in the manner of Bernie Sanders or Pat Buchanan or Jesse Jackson or Ross Perot. But when she offers her take on the world, she speaks in clichés and vague generalities like “progress” versus “turning back the clock.” Such teleological smugness (to which Barack Obama was likewise prone) doesn’t just attract the ire of conservatives; liberals can get miffed, too. Is “progress” on the side of expanding NATO or the opposite? Is it on the side of greater National Security Agency surveillance or of less? Is it in favor of immigration amnesty or high-tech border sec

Even without a clear cause to illuminate them, Hillary’s beliefs could have been sharpened a lot just by explaining what, in hindsight, she felt Bill got right or wrong in his presidency. But she never offered up such a critique, nor, oddly, did anyone really press her to do so. Throwing open our markets to China as much as we did—that looked wiser back then. So did deregulating the financial industry. So did pushing for three-strikes laws. So did the bailout of Mexico. So did focusing on deficit reduction. So did high levels of immigration. So did humanitarian interventions in the former Yugoslavia. So did welfare reform. Bill’s calls, like all big calls, were controversial, but they were far more justifiable in light of the data we had at the time. But what about with the data we have now?

Negotiating a different landscape requires the Democratic Party to return to some basic questions. Times have changed. America is no longer a lone hyperpower triumphing amid squabbles about same-sex marriage. We’re an overstretched empire fighting about fundamental questions of economy and national identity. The Clintons see that, sort of, but they’re stuck in time. Worse, their network, which is vast and powerful and heavily dependent on them, is stuck in time, too. Precisely when those on the left ought to be negotiating today’s fault lines and creating new coalitions, Democrats are getting dragged back into last year’s fights and letting personal loyalties drown out thoughts about core principles. The indefatigability of the Clintons isn’t just a nuisance but a hindrance.

We can’t expect them to accept this, of course. Psychologist Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, has famously observed that optimists tend to do better in life but exhibit more delusion. They tend to attribute failure to changing external factors rather than enduring internal qualities, blaming outside causes, not themselves. Hillary—who has been pinning her defeat on Comey and Vladimir Putin and the Democratic National Committee and Wikileaks and “a thousand Russian agents” and high expectations and the press and sexism and voter suppression and, for all I know, static cling—is a major optimist. That’s great for persistence and mental well-being. She’s ready to keep driving the bus. But it’s not so great for knowing when to quit. That’s where the passengers come in.



The Lucy Stein Gang Rides Into Moscow

September 18, 2017

by Israel Shamir

The Unz Review

Can the Putin Fans League win municipal elections in New York City? Not bloody likely, you’ll murmur, and probably justifiably so. However, in the municipal elections last week, pro-American forces captured one third of the seats in Moscow. A great shock, slightly mitigated by the media silence that accompanied both the election and its results.

As a rule, I do not dwell much on internal Russian politics (as opposed to foreign relations). They are parochial, obscure and not democratic. That is true for internal politics in every country I am aware of, but in Russia, they aren’t even competitive. Kremlin wiseguys try and fix the results with all the subtleness of Democratic primaries under Ms Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This time they had a seemingly brilliant idea: wouldn’t it be nice if few people would turn up at the election booths? Only those requested to vote? So they had zero publicity, zero announcements, zero TV coverage. People were vaguely aware of the municipal elections but the affair was so low profile that very few cared to attend: slightly over ten per cent of the electorate. The cynical subterfuge flopped badly.

In Moscow (which is the only place in Russia that counts) the three main opposition parties, the Communists and the Nationalists, as well as Kremlin-friendly Socialists, were been decimated. Their votes had been snatched by pro-Western liberals, self-described as “those of good genes”, “the fair-faced ones”, “handshake-worthy”; all these epithets vaguely connected in Russian mind with prosperous Jewishness, of sorts, or with Jewified Soviet nomenclature. The best-known names include Ms Lucy Stein, a young Jewish journalist of some notoriety – she installed plaster copies of her breasts and filmed a staged act of a little boy being roughly treated by Putin’s police. Another one is Mr Maxim Katz, a young Jewish activist – he organized the delivery of flowers to the place of the opposition leader Mr Nemtsov’s assassination, allegedly with some profit for himself.

These youngsters (in their early twenties) have been led by Mr Dmitry Gudkov, a Russian Parliament Member and a son of a Russian Parliament Member. This sounds like the House of Lords, but Gudkov the Senior is an ex-KGB colonel, an oligarch and the owner of a bailiff business, rather than a hereditary peer. Gudkov’s people made a loose coalition with Yabloko (Apple, in Russian), a liberal party of some prominence in the Yeltsin years. They are against Putin’s policies, for the restoration of the Crimea to the Ukraine and for an alliance with the liberal West.

While other parties didn’t give a hoot, the liberals cared to come to the neglected elections, and they delivered their voters to the booths. For that purpose, they imported American technology, and one of Sanders’ operatives, a Russian-born Mr Vitali Shklyarov, who had come to set up what they called “a political Uber”, a web app for fielding candidates and getting voters. In addition, they vastly overspent their competitors.

Democracy in action? Forsooth! This was a clear-cut example of real (as opposed to imaginary) interference in foreign elections. While endless FBI probes have never produced any tangible proof of Russian interference in the US elections, and the Facebook investigation “revealed that it had sold as much as $150,000 in political ads to pro-Kremlin entities between 2015 and 2017”, the US interference in recent Moscow elections had been vast, powerful and effective. The pro-American forces spent over sixty million dollar in Moscow alone by very conservative estimates, and probably much more. And the funds came from abroad.

The very idea of Russian interference in the US elections had been flattering but silly. The Russians are not in the same league, in speaking of political technologies. The Americans are much more masterful, being trained in a competitive environment. The Russians’ only chance to have fair elections is adopting another American technology, namely the active fight against foreign interference. The Kremlin could and should investigate the path of every US buck to the Stein-Katz Gang, and deal with it as harshly as Americans are dealing with imaginary Russian interference. But would they? I doubt it. The wiseguys who mismanaged elections for Kremlin will do all they can to kill the story. No important Russian media carried it, by direct orders from Kremlin.

We have proof to back up our claims of the US interference in the Russian elections: a confession made by the coordinator for Open Russia, a political body created by Mr Michael Khodorkovsky. This oligarch, once the richest man in Russia, did nine years in a Russian jail for massive tax evasion, white-collar crimes, organized crime and conspiracy for murder, as brutal and ruthless a shark as ever swam murky waters of Russian business and politics.

Mr Khodorkovsky had been an American agent of influence for many years. Since being pardoned by President Putin, he moved abroad and became the focal point for the US-led clandestine campaign for regime change in Russia. Together with other exiled (and wanted) oligarchs, Tel Aviv-based Mr Nevzlin and London-based Mr Chichvarkin, Mr Khodorkovsky funnels money to Russia’s pro-Western opposition.

His coordinator Ms Maria Baronova had been quite close to Mr Khodorkovsky but parted with him some time ago. In her Facebook blog she admits that “Gudkov and Katz are a secret project of M. B. Khodorkovsky” while other elements of the opposition are a public project of Mr Khodorkovsky. In other words, the whole campaign has been organized from Washington, or perhaps from Langley.

As we learned from Wikileaks-published State Department cables, this is the current trend of CIA for orchestrating regime change: instead of sending money directly to the opposition with a courier, they employ oligarchs as go-between. This mode has been used in Syria since 2006, as well as in Lebanon, and now is being applied in Moscow.

The winners of the recent municipal elections in Moscow weren’t just the “fair-faced” children of nomenclature, but appointees of the US deep state. They did it using American know-how and American money. This is the real and very successful interference, and the organisers got away with it.

The Russian post-Soviet political system as organized by Putin’s wiseguys should share the blame. The Communists, Nationalists of Mr Zhirinovsky and Socialists of Mr Mironov have been tamed and house-broken so efficiently that they lost their balls, their will power, their desire for victory – and their voters, as well. People stopped to care about them. The ruling party United Russia isn’t better; it is a toothless clone of the toothless CPSU, the late Soviet Union Communist Party that was dismantled by Gorbachev and Yeltsin without a single objection from millions of card-carrying members. It is a party of people who want to have power and its privileges.

The Ukraine had been ruled by a similar Party of the Regions. Led by Mr Victor Yanukovych, the party fell to pieces after the coup, its members deserting the sinking ship as fast as they could. United Russia will also run away in a case of trouble; they will helplessly watch Mr Khodorkovsky enter the gates of the Kremlin and probably applaud him. The United Russia’s 70% of vote is no guarantee of support for Mr Putin’s independent course. It would be better for Putin to rely upon smaller but more reliable and devoted cadres. Lenin used to say, ‘a small anchovy is better than a big cockroach’.

(This is true for other countries, too, as Mr Trump and Mr Corbyn discovered: their big parties just aren’t reliable. A small and reliable party of their dedicated supporters would be a better bet.)

The Kremlin spokesmen comfort themselves and others by stressing very limited powers of the elected deputies. By law, they may deal with municipal questions only. However, it is not unusual for such bodies to reach for more power in a revolutionary situation. In France, in 1789, the elected parliament was intended to be an advisory to the monarch, but very soon it assumed all the powers and chopped off the king’s head. In the USSR, in 1991, the Russian Federation parliament had very few rights being subservient to the Soviet parliament, but it assumed rights and broke up the USSR.

Forget about Mr Navalny. Perhaps we should get used to the idea that the next president of Russia will be called Maxim Katz, and Lucy Stern his Foreign Minister. That is, unless Mr Putin will do a better job at the forthcoming Presidential elections.


Showdown in Syria: The reason Russia (not China) is the target of Washington’s wrath

September 18, 2017

by Robert Bridge


US vilification of Russia began in earnest shortly after Moscow opened a military offensive against Islamic State forces in Syria, where the loathsome terrorist group, when not brandishing arms, was also running a profitable oil export business.

Last year, Russia, without rhyme or reason, was accused of interfering in the US presidential election in order to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. Yet there were other equally qualified states, particularly China, that could have been equally dragged through the American mud, slandered without a shred of evidence against them for such a brazen act. However, Washington wants the world to believe Russia was responsible for such folly, and the reason for that is obvious – Syria, and more specifically, Russia’s stunning success there. And what we know in the aftermath of the USS McCain wreck confirms that.

Dire straits

On August 21, the destroyer USS John S. McCain, named after the grandfather and father of Senator John McCain, suffered a major fender bender with a cargo ship off the coast of Singapore, resulting in the death of ten US sailors. If that was not embarrassing enough for the world’s mightiest naval force, it marked the fourth collision of a US Navy vessel this year. On June 17, the USS Fitzgerald was also involved in a fatal accident when it crashed into a container ship, leaving seven US sailors dead.

Perhaps it is no surprise that all four collisions occurred in the ‘Pacific Theater,’ near China, which has watched with traditional Chinese reticence as the US creeps along with its so-called “pivot to Asia.” This massive rebalancing of US military forces to Asia began with great fanfare under the Obama administration (many observers, however, are of the mind the Asian-obsessed policy, which took Washington’s eye off the ball in the Middle East and elsewhere, will go down as “Obama’s greatest foreign policy mistake”).

Writing in Foreign Policy journal in 2011, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the “rebalancing” of US diplomatic and military forces in China’s backyard as “forging a broad-based military presence” as well as “advancing democracy and human rights.” Clinton placed the proverbial cherry on top of the mud pie when she rather dishonestly declared, “We are the only power with a network of strong alliances in the region, no territorial ambitions, and a long record of providing for the common good.”

Few Chinese, I imagine, could have read those lines without sitting straight-up and spilling their tea.

Back to the mystery of the US naval collisions. Given the surge of anti-Russia hysteria and hostility that has come to dominate the American psyche ever since Hillary Clinton’s fabulous flame-out against the mighty Trump, it is no surprise Russia would appear in the lineup of usual suspects in the USS McCain accident. What is surprising, however, is that other suspects, notably China, are also being given due consideration as well. This should tell us a lot, and it does.

“While accidents and mistakes do happen, the number of collisions in the past year is extremely rare, and it is now within the realm of possibility that these accidents were not accidents,” Omaid Faizyar wrote in RealClear Defense, a website dedicated to military issues. “Both China and Russia have tested their cyber-warfare capabilities at sea with success.”

Indeed, to say China has come to master the subtle art of cyber kung fu would be a considerable understatement. In September 2016, Paul Martini presented a list of just some of China’s alleged cyber achievements: “A massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack knocked offline at least 68 Philippine government websites in July, apparently in response to an international court ruling that denied China’s territorial claims in the region. Just days later, Vietnam’s national airline and major airports were targeted in a series of attacks by the Chinese hacking group 1937CN.”

The report also mentioned how the Chinese “attempted to interfere with US military drones at least once in recent years,” and “shown willingness to use GPS jamming to prevent US aircraft from conducting surveillance missions in the Spratly Islands.”

Do you see where this is leading? Yes, straight to the 2016 US presidential election.

The politics of regime change

Considering the US was fully aware the Chinese were capable of carrying out highly sophisticated cyber-attacks, why wasn’t Beijing also a top suspect for hacking the 2016 US elections? Why was Russia the only suspect standing against the wall in the police lineup? After all, not only did the Chinese have the motive (the Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, remember, was an avid supporter of Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” which was – and still is – seen as extremely threatening to the Chinese), they certainly had the means and opportunity.

Think about it. If China possesses the cyber prowess to hijack a US military drone, or even steer a US warship off course, causing it to actually crash, then – hypothetically speaking, at least from Washington’s point of view – hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) would have been a walk in the park, and even more so since Hillary Clinton was known to have sent sensitive documents over her unguarded personal home computer. In fact, it certainly did not require any state agency for WikiLeaks to acquire the DNC emails, which revealed a lot of unsavory things about the campaign, including that she was fed questions for the debates.

As Trump memorably commented during a presidential debate against Clinton: “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” Trump said. “She keeps saying ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ and maybe it was. It could be Russia, but it could be China, could also be lots of other people. It could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

At this point, we must point out what the Western mainstream media never will: no definitive, concrete evidence has ever been produced to demonstrate Russia was responsible for hacking the DNC, thus sending US-Russian relations, not to mention the Trump presidency, straight to hell in a handbasket.

Instead, the public must be willing to swallow zero-calorie statements that Washington officials regurgitate, like “We are confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” Yet, when we are speaking about the relations between two of the world’s premier nuclear powers, we must be much more than just “confident.” Physical proof must be presented, but to date, there has been none.

So now the question comes down to ‘why’? Why did the US opt to single out Russia as the culprit in this grand fiasco when other powers, not least of all China, also had the hypothetical ability to hack the US elections in favor of Donald Trump? (It needs to be emphasized that “ability” does not equal “willingness,” of course, and considering how Donald Trump seems to have turned out to be the worst nightmare for both Russia and China, working behind the scenes as campaign boosters on his behalf would clearly not have been in their best interests).

The reason is obvious. The unbridled level of US hostility toward Russia has nothing to do with the 2016 elections, but everything to do with an embattled Arab country called Syria. Russia began its military intervention in the Syrian conflict in September 2015 after an official request by the Syrian government for military aid against Islamic State. It speaks volumes about Washington’s real agenda in Syria, which is yet another regime change operation, this time against Syrian President Bashar Assad, that it never attempted to cooperate with Russian military efforts in Syria. In fact, it tried to impede them at every opportunity. In June 2016, for example, when Russian Defense Ministry requested Washington provide Moscow with the coordinates of areas controlled by the US-backed Syrian opposition to avoid any unintended consequences, Washington inexplicably refused, risking a disastrous mishap.

While the Russian military was effectively liberating terrorist strongholds, like Palmyra and Aleppo, US criticism against Russian efforts seldom took a pause. However, the joyous celebrations followed the liberation of these ISIS strongholds vindicated Russia for its actions.

Meanwhile, the source of the problem, which is still very much the elephant in the room, is that the US seems willing, once again, to take its chances by removing an elected leader from office thereby creating a power vacuum, which in all likelihood will be filled by far worse alternatives, perhaps even terrorists. Think Libya. Think Iraq. Russia, however, is adamantly opposed to such interference in the affairs of yet another foreign sovereign state.

As all of this was coming to a boil in Syria, the US campaign between Clinton and Trump was also heating up. And the stakes were as high as ever. The Clinton camp represented a continuation of neocon foreign policy, which remained largely unchanged and very unhinged from the days of ‘war president’ George W. Bush to that of ‘peace president’ Barack Obama. Trump, at least on the campaign trail, promised to end US conflicts, going so far as to suggest walking away from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

And when it became painfully apparent that Hillary Clinton would not carry the day for the military-industrial complex, a convenient scapegoat was needed. After all, who could believe that any American would willfully vote to end exorbitant military misadventures abroad in favor of ‘Make America Great Again’?

Although the scapegoat for Clinton’s epic loss could just as easily had been China, a faction of the US government, the Deep State, the proverbial Swamp, pointed the heavy finger of blame at the one country – Russia – that has dared challenge Washington’s regime change tradition in Syria.

Had China decided to support Syria’s desperate efforts in defeating the terrorists, as well as maintaining Assad’s grip on power against regime change fanatics, Washington would have nominated another bogeyman, named Beijing.


Iraqi Kurds push ahead with vote to pressure Baghdad

September 19, 2017

by Ali Choukeir

Agence France Presse

IRBIL, Iraq: Iraq’s Kurds are planning to vote on their independence in a Sept. 25 referendum, but the poll is more of a tool to pressure Baghdad than a step toward real secession, observers say. Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani announced the referendum in June and has pushed ahead with the vote despite strong opposition from regional powers, the Kurds’ international backers and the central government in Baghdad, which considers it unconstitutional.

In the months since, the streets of the regional capital Irbil have been festooned with red, white and green Kurdish flags and huge crowds have gathered at rallies to support the vote.

The result seems a foregone conclusion. The Kurds – more than 30 million people spread across Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria – have long sought a state of their own.

But with not just Baghdad, Turkey and Iran but also the United States and United Nations opposing the vote, there is little hope that dream will be quickly realized in Iraq.

Instead, observers say, Barzani is using the referendum as leverage in the Kurdish Regional Government’s longstanding disputes with Iraq’s federal authorities.

Barzani is hoping the referendum will deliver “wide-ranging benefits” on issues, including oil exports, budget payments and control of ethnically divided areas, Karim Pakzad of the Paris-based Institute for International and Strategic Affairs told AFP.

He said the Kurdish leader wants to pressure Baghdad to resume payments to the cash-strapped KRG from the national budget, long blocked over the autonomous region’s unilateral oil sales.

Barzani is aiming to win “a greater political and economic role and recognition of the Kurds’ right to exploit and export oil from the north,” Pakzad added.

The other key bone of contention is control of areas with mixed Kurdish and Arab populations, notably the province of Kirkuk.

The KRG has already expanded the territory it effectively controls and its peshmerga forces have seized areas outside its borders from Daesh (ISIS) militants.

But some observers are warning that Barzani’s power play is a dangerous gamble, raising the threat of sectarian clashes.

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk in particular has become a tinderbox.

The province, home to numerous minorities, voted in August to take part in the referendum in defiance of the government in Baghdad.

The government responded by sacking Kirkuk’s Kurdish governor, who has refused to leave his post. Rumors are rife that rival communities are stockpiling arms in anticipation of a conflict.

Hadi al-Ameri, head of the powerful Iranian-backed Badr organization, has warned that the Kurdish referendum could lead to partition and civil war. Ameri has also vowed to defend the unity of Iraq.

Pressure for the vote to be put off has mounted, with Washington urging the KRG to resolve its differences with Baghdad without seeking to divide Iraq.

The United States argues that the vote will weaken Arab-Kurdish joint military operations, which have helped send Daesh into retreat in both Iraq and war-torn Syria.

The U.S. and other Western nations are backing a U.N.-supported “alternative” plan for immediate negotiations on future relations in exchange for dropping the independence referendum.

Turkey, unsettled at the prospect that Irbil might provoke the separatist dreams of its own Kurdish minority, has threatened that Kurdistan will pay “a price” in the event of a “yes” vote.

The autonomous region’s economy is very dependent on oil exports via a pipeline that runs through Turkey to the Mediterranean.

Israel is alone in openly supporting Kurdish independence.

KRG officials have sought to downplay concerns, with the Iraqi Kurdish envoy to Iran Nazem Dabbagh saying in July the referendum was more about “solving problems with Iraq” than breaking away.

Barzani has said a “yes” vote would not lead to a unilateral declaration of ind

Some believe the vote is also designed to help Barzani stay in power, two years after his mandate as president expired.

Kurdish officials said the real test in the referendum will not be the result itself but the level of participation. If participation doesn’t reach 70 percent, the poll will be a failure, they said.

Not everyone in Iraqi Kurdistan supports the vote. Opposition is especially high among the current government’s political rivals.

Rebwar Khudar of the KRG’s Jamaa Islamiya opposition movement argued that the referendum was premature.

“Before the referendum, we must put our Kurdish internal affairs in order and hold a real dialogue with our neighboring countries so they will support us,” he said.

But in Irbil, many members of the Kurdish community are looking forward to having the chance to finally cast a vote for their people’s independence. “I will vote ‘yes’ with all 10 fingers,” said Berwar Aziz, 23, flashing a wide smile in the shop where he sells scarves near in the city’s famed citadel.



Waving German flag, far-right and anti-Islam groups rally together before vote

September 19, 2017

by Oliver Ellrodt and Stefan Remter


DRESDEN, Germany (Reuters) – In the shadows of a Dresden church, hundreds of Alternative for Germany party members rallied with anti-Islam activists, counting down the days to a vote set to make the AfD the first far-right group in parliament in more than half a century.

Supporters of both movements stood side by side waving Germany’s black, red and gold flag – a public demonstration of the fellow feeling between AfD and hardline PEGIDA, though they are officially separate groups.

Outside the city’s towering Frauenkirche – destroyed by Allied bombing in World War Two, then rebuilt after reunification – supporters stood by a huge blue banner that urged people to vote for the AfD on Sept. 24.

One supporter held an AfD poster bearing the slogan: “Get your country back”.

The AfD could become the third largest party with up to 12 percent of the vote, polls show, built on its calls for Germany to shut its borders to immigrants and stop refugees bringing in their families.

The party rejects its mainstream rivals’ efforts to compare it to the Nazis. Some AfD members have also been keen to keep their distance from PEGIDA – full name the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West.

But PEGIDA founder Lutz Bachmann told supporters to cast their ballots for the AfD on Monday night.

“Both votes should go to what is currently the only alternative for Germany, which also bears this name, the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Together, we can make it,” Bachmann said.

In Germany voters cast two ballots in a mixed-member proportional voting system – the first directly for a candidate in his or her constituency and the second for a party. The second vote determines the distribution of seats in parliament.

PEGIDA has been meeting in Dresden regularly for almost three years and at its peak in early 2015 drew crowds of around 25,000 but has since largely disappeared from the headlines as its support base has dwindled.

Alexander Gauland, one of the AfD’s top candidates, told a news conference that Islam was a political doctrine and did not belong to Germany.

The 76-year-old was widely criticized for saying Germans should be proud of what their soldiers achieved during World War One and Two. One of the officers he named was Claus von Stauffenberg, who led an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944 with a bomb in a briefcase.

Von Stauffenberg’s grandson wrote an article for newspaper Die Welt saying he was outraged by Gauland’s comments and his grandfather and other leading figures of German culture would be proud of immigration and diversity in Germany’s history.

On Monday Gauland said recent estimates showed 95 percent of German soldiers were not involved in war crimes and their families wanted to be proud of their sacrifices.

“This has nothing to do with the crimes committed by the leaders. I addressed the individual performance of German soldiers in two world wars. I reiterate that,” he added.

Alice Weidel, the AfD’s other top candidate, said the arrival of more than a million migrants over the last two years had made Germany “a safe haven for criminals and terrorists”.

Weidel, who is openly lesbian, also said that perpetrators of attacks against homosexuals were “always the same,” namely “people with Muslim backgrounds, Arabs”.

Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Andrew Heavens


Claus von Stauffenberg: A Gay Blade Indeed

September 19, 2017

by Christian Jürs

“…..many of Stauffenberg’s fellow staff officers believed he was a fumbling auntie. Or a homosexual to be more formal. He always surrounded himself with pretty young officers whom he preached Greek culture to. He went on about the body beautiful and the soul perfect or however he termed it. Many older, normal, officers found him loud and obnoxious, very dirty in his personal hygiene and strongly objected to his male harem that he dragged around the offices.

Also, this George talked about a secret Germany that was to be led by his special young friends after he had converted them to his perverted way of life. I have many papers which show me that the so-called secret Germany was in reality a clique of homosexuals with an interest in younger men and I think a case might very well be made that some of the plotters who were allied with Stauffenberg were as interested in repealing the very strictly applied State laws against homosexuality as in overthrowing Hitler. The whole business reeked of perversion. Like the Redl case.”

from the CIA file on Heinrich Müller, once head of the German Gestapo and post-war an employee of the CIA

The ugly facets of Stauffenberg’s persona are entirely true and Müller’s inelegant but blunt reports are not fictions designed to entertain Hitler and his entourage.

The comments on the homosexual poet, George, are true. They might be interpreted differently by persons who find themselves in sympathy with his lifestyle but this does not change their veracity. There are still reports in the Munich police files, not generally available to the public, that cover the subject in detail. There is no question that Stauffenberg and his brothers were intimate members of George’s inner circle and accompanied him into exile in Switzerland. The point can be made that Stauffenberg’s sexual activities do not negate his political ones but to understand clearly the nature of the resistance movement, it is necessary to examine not only the motives but the character of its participants.

The Stauffenberg family was, even to sympathetic biographers, strange.

Stauffenberg’s father had been Hofmarschall or major-domo to the King of Württemberg. He managed the King’s financial affairs and after the deposed King died, members of the royal family accused the elder Stauffenberg of dipping into the treasury. The elder Stauffenbergs were considered to be eccentric to a degree. Stauffenberg’s father and uncle did not talk to each other but barked back and forth like dogs. Stauffenberg’s mother wandered about the town of Lautlingen dressed in flowing gowns, reading poetry aloud to no one in particular.

Stauffenberg was initially impressed with Hitler, being attracted to dominant male figures, but soon grew tired of the new head of state and began to seek other father figures.

Often stated to be a brilliant staff officer, Stauffenberg was a competent and energetic planner but was so abrasive and opinionated that he was generally shunned by his peers. Stauffenberg was one of those persons whom one either deeply admires or detests. His personal hygiene left much to be desired. He bathed occasionally, wore clean uniforms when he thought about it, sometimes had his hair cut by a barber and rarely used a toothbrush. These eccentricities, coupled with his loud, insistent domination of any conversation he chanced to encounter, did not endear him to members of the German General Staff whose motto was, “Be more than you seem.”

Merely because Stauffenberg possessed a number of irritating mannerisms does not mean that he was incompetent or in error in his actions. Stauffenberg was in error because he failed. He was also wrong because his overweening ego blinded him to the fact that his attempt was doomed to failure from the start. Killing Hitler and his top military leadership might have pleased Stalin but it would not have stopped the war with any degree of certainty and his plans for a quick and happy ending to the savage conflict are, at this remove, so idealistic as to border on lunacy.

Stauffenberg put a bomb under Hitler’s table and almost literally ran out of the room to watch the carnage at a distance. He was not a martyr in any sense of the word. When he returned to Berlin after a three hour trip by slow aircraft, he found the headquarters of the Reserve Army in a state of torpid inaction. It was at this point that Stauffenberg committed an unforgivable act: he lied to his fellow plotters and told them that he had actually seen Hitler’s corpse with his one good eye. On the strength of his insistence and the knowledge that if they did not take action, the Gestapo would soon be paying a visit to their headquarters in force, the reluctant Generals began to act. With his lie, Stauffenberg doomed most of the men around him to an ugly and degrading road to death but like most fanatics, to Stauffenberg the end justified the means.

A number of apocryphal stories about intended assassination attempts against Hitler have proliferated since the end of the war. Gersdorff’s story about the bomb in his pocket has been proven false and the Schlabrendorff aircraft bomb has been disproved by the discovery of Hitler’s official travel orders of the day in question that show Colonel Brandt on another aircraft. One story relates how intrepid officers were planning to bomb Hitler at an exhibition of new uniforms in Berlin. This failed, the story goes, because a bomb dropped by an Allied pilot destroyed the uniforms and the showing was canceled.

In fact the display was made but not in Berlin and the uniforms in question were not developed until a year after the date of the imaginary attack.

In his book, Putsch, (Wyden, New York, 1970) Richard Hanser discusses the homoerotic nature of George and his movement. The poems to a handsome Munich youth are also mentioned. (pps.54-57.). On the other hand, Stauffenberg biographer Joachim Kramarz devotes an entire chapter to George and his influence over Stauffenberg, mentions the suspicion of homosexuality but dismisses it out of hand. It should be noted that Kramarz has also dismissed any negative report on Stauffenberg as Nazi propaganda designed to smear a great hero of impeccable character and high motives. The forward to his book was written by Trevor-Roper. (Stauffenberg, Macmillan, New York, 1967, pps 29-35.)


The Shroud of Turin and other entertaining myths

September 19, 2017

by Harry von Johnston PhD


A few years ago the so-called Shroud of Turin was front-page news. An image of a naked man impressed upon a linen cloth had been traced by historians as far back as the 14th century, and was rumored to be the actual burial cloth of the Son of God. Scholarly opinion on ancient crucifixion and burial customs, and the almost magical nature of the image itself convinced many people that in touching this cloth they were touching material that had contacted the body of Jesus Himself.

Because of the holiness of this relic, it seemed almost sacrilegious to submit a part of the shroud to radio-carbon dating. So partly for technical reasons and partly from religious inertia, scientific requests for shroud material were refused by its custodians.

No science please.

The advent of more sensitive techniques that used smaller samples to make an accurate dating changed things. In 1988, samples of the shroud were sent to three separate labs, and the results came back, substantially the same, that the linen in the cloth dated from 1260-1390 AD, giving credence to the clear hypothesis that the shroud was a medieval forgery.

Also, a careful analysis of the image purported to be the crucified Jesus disclosed that the figure was made by smearing egg tempera paint over a person and then pressing it onto the cloth.

And in the Vienna cathedral of St. Stephan, in their reliquary room one can see the actual skull of that saint while in another church at St. Polten, one can see the actual skull of St. Stephen as a 15 year old boy.

Will miracles never cease?



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