Sott.net E-mail Edition for Mon, 19 Dec 2016-Russie,Syrie,Chine-et varia

 

 

 

 

Sott.net E-mail Edition for Mon, 19 Dec 2016

 



Monday, 19 December 2016

SOTT Focus

SOTT Earth Changes Summary – November 2016: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Sott.net
2016-12-17 20:24:00

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With liberal elites going into meltdown last month over ‘Trumpocalypse’, the stewards of empire are rapidly losing whatever grip they once had on reality. At the same time, with extreme weather event after extreme weather event impacting every region on Earth, it’s as if this descent into madness is being marked every step of the way by Mother Nature. Disastrous climatic events in November 2016 included:

  • Snow, hail and flooding in the deserts of Saudi Arabia (again)
  • New Zealand’s second strongest tremor in the modern era
  • Johannesburg’s worst flash-flood in living memory
  • Another powerful quake (and another tsunami) off Fukushima, Japan
  • Outbreak of ‘thunder asthma’ in Melbourne, Australia, which killed 8 people and sent another 8,500 to hospital
  • The latest Atlantic Hurricane in the modern era (and the most southerly, and the first to ever make landfall in Costa Rica)
  • Unprecedented ‘superfires’ torching swathes of the US Southeast

Those are just some of the more ‘unusual’ events in our latest Earth Changes Summary video, which also includes the other more ‘normal’ stuff: monster sinkholes swallowing multiple cars, people and homes – deluges washing away more homes, cars and people – massive meteor fireballs panicking people into thinking aliens have invaded – destructive tornadoes touching down in the capitals of Rome and South Africa – record November snowfalls in parts of northern US, northern China, and northern Europe…

We are, of course, being facetious. There’s nothing normal about any of this. We’ve entered a new global climate. Forecasting models are largely redundant at this point. The costs from all this destruction pile up ever higher with each passing month. Until now, elites have either ignored the climate/planetary upheaval, or blamed ordinary people for causing one or another symptom, then carried on milking taxpayers and spreading wars. No doubt, given recent patterns, they’re soon going to start blaming it all on Putin.

These were (some of) ‘the signs’ in November 2016…

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After the Liberation of Aleppo Comes the Psyops War

Paul Mansfield
Sott.net
2016-12-18 18:56:00

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As the Syrian Army completes the liberation of Aleppo from Al-Qaeda-led terrorist groups, you would think that there would be universal celebration of a landmark defeat of international terrorism. Not so, as we are assailed with reports of Syrian-led forces committing cold-blooded executions, women committing suicide, fearing they will be raped by Syrian soldiers, people burned alive, and reports of rape against the civilian population.

The above are all unverified allegations at this stage. They are coming from the opposition militant groups themselves, groups firmly aligned with the opposition and a whole array of « activists » posting on Twitter and Facebook, some of whom are finding themselves becoming instant mainstream media hits.

The most disturbing aspect is that the mainstream media are reporting unverified allegations as fact. This is the definition of fake news.

Reports emerged of at least 82 civilians being executed as the Syrian Army and allied militias clean up the last areas under rebel control. « The reports we had are of people being shot in the street trying to flee and shot in their homes, » said Rupert Colville, a U.N. spokesman. « There could be many more. »

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Russian ambassador in Ankara shot dead in gun attack (Updates)

RT
2016-12-19 17:44:00

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The Russian ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot by a gunman in Ankara, where he was attending a photo exhibition, the Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed.

« This is a tragic day in the history of Russian diplomacy. Today, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov died after being shot at during a public event in Ankara, » Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Monday evening.

The assault on the Russian ambassador is an « act of terrorism, » she added.

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« We are in touch with Turkish officials, who assured us that there will be a thorough and comprehensive investigation [into the case], » Zakharova said.

The ambassador, Andrey Karlov, was shot as he was delivering a speech on the opening of the exhibition « Russia in the eyes of Turks. »

Photos purportedly showing the perpetrator bearing a firearm are now increasingly circulating on social media. Users are also posting pictures which they say show the Russian ambassador lying on the ground after having been shot.

Comment: Absolutely, this is pure provocation. Just over a year ago, NATO’s fifth column inside Turkey shot down a Russian bomber…

‌Strange world we live in, where the Russian ambassador in Turkey was killed because his country was fighting terrorists in Syria, while the US ambassador in Libya was killed in 2012 because he was supplying the same terrorists with weapons.

Update (19:57 CET): Video of the lunatic immediately after killing the ambassador has surfaced:

Also, reports say that shooting has been heard at or near the US embassy in Ankara. The U.S. State Department is warning Americans to avoid the embassy due to the « ongoing security incident ». The embassy, 2.5 miles from the gallery where Ambassador Karlov was assassinated, is on lockdown.

Update (20:24 CET): The attacker has been identified as Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a member of the Ankara Riot police born in 1994 and a graduate of the Izmir Police School. He was not on duty at the time of the attack. (More pictures of the attacker here.) His mother and sister have been detained by police.

Update 8:59 CET

Video of the attack itself (warning: distressing) has surfaced…

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Puppet Masters

Chinese editorial causes media to go ballistic over China-US relations

RT
2016-12-19 17:40:00

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Comments by US President-elect Donald Trump cause Chinese people to worry that he’ll treat China-US relations as « child’s play, » a state-run newspaper said in an editorial, adding that he « bears no sense of how to lead a superpower. »

The Monday editorial in China’s Global Times follows the latest series of social media attacks on Beijing by Trump.

« Trump is not behaving as a president who will become master of the White House in a month, » the newspaper wrote. « He bears no sense of how to lead a superpower.

« Now people don’t know if Trump is engaged in a psychological war with China or he is just unprofessional, even though he will be sworn in soon, » it added. « One thing for sure is that Trump has no leverages to maneuver the world, nor can he reshape China-US relations and the way the two major powers interact.

« But if he treats China after assuming office in the same way as in his tweets, China will not exercise restraint, » the newspaper warned, adding that Trump’s tweets give people cause for concern.

Comment: This is a non-story being made into a drama. Trump is doing his negotiating thing, while a Chinese newspaper is doing their thing. RT has been making it a big deal that the paper is state-run but so is RT. Interests can be aligned but it’s not like the government is micro-managing opinion pieces. Get over it!
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Possibly Tillerson can open up the Russian Arctic for Exxon

RT
2016-12-19 12:03:00

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If the ExxonMobil CEO is confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of State, the evolving relationship between Russia and the United States will take an interesting turn. Rex Tillerson could be in a position to hand his former company a major victory if he helps orchestrate a removal of U.S. sanctions on Russia.

The close ties between Exxon’s Tillerson and the Kremlin – and Russian President Vladimir Putin specifically – have raised concerns in a few corners of Washington, which could complicate Tillerson’s nomination. While some Democrats are outraged that the CEO of one of the largest oil companies will be put in charge of U.S. international climate policy, many more have suddenly taken up an anti-Russian stance to oppose Tillerson’s nomination, likely in order to land a blow against Trump. Hawkishness against Russia is typically the purview of the Republican Party, and indeed a handful of hawkish Republicans are uncomfortable with the Trump administration’s, as well as Tillerson’s, willingness to countenance a better relationship with Russia. But they will probably get over it.

Comment: If we look at how Russia is approaching many other countries with trade deals and joint projects for the betterment of all parties, it is very likely the US and Russia could create the same ability to mutually benefit from a working arrangement or two and de-escalate tensions around the world. Tillerson does, at this time, appear to be the pivot.
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Calexit movement opens California embassy in Moscow

RT
2016-12-18 23:48:00

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A campaign calling for the independence of California from the United States has opened an « embassy » in Moscow. The movement, Yes California, is hoping for a « Calexit » break from the US. Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Louis Marinelli, leader of the movement, said the embassy will not deal with diplomatic issues, but will act as more of a cultural center that will educate Russians about California’s history, boost trade ties and promote tourism.

« We’re not requesting military assistance from Russia, » Marinelli explained. « We’re certainly going to request recognition of our independence and recognition of our [2019] independence referendum result, as we’re going to request that the entire international community recognizes the results. »

The California independence movement gained some traction, particularly on social media, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory in November. It describes itself as a « nonviolent campaign to establish the country of California using any and all legal and constitutional means to do so. »

On Sunday, Marinelli added that he wishes to « lay the groundwork » for bilateral relations between an independent California and Russia. « We’re opening up a conversation in Russia and it’s a much smaller degree to [than] the Americans when they wanted their independence from the British empire. They went and pursued military assistance and so on and so forth. We’re not doing anything like that. »

The campaign hopes to hold a referendum on independence in spring 2019 should they be able to gather the 500,000 signatures required for it to be put to a public ballot.

Marinelli has previously filed several ballot initiative proposals relating to secession for California. However, none of them has been successful in gathering enough signatures to go to a public vote.

Comment: The « California Exodus? » A cultural embassy in Moscow is a bold statement by Yes California to support the concept of creating the country of California. Dependent on the next two years, Calexit’s timetable for referendum 2019 may gain significant traction if Trump’s administration happens to pitfall domestically and internationally like the outgoing Obama debacle. Has the US learned any lessons or will the future be a double down of oppression, economic devaluation and moral disintegration? So far, the door is all but closed on the self-annihilation of the US; thus the reality of other states — Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Texas — to exit looms larger. This is a wake up call for the US to get its priorities in line with its people, not its people in line with its priorities.
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Putin outlines the road map for Syrian peace settlement

Alexander Mercouris
The Duran
2016-12-18 00:00:00

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Russia’s President Putin proposes a peace conference to seek a settlement of the Syrian conflict in the Kazakh capital Astana. Proposes Turkey as co-sponsor. Proposal however elicits hostile reaction from the Western powers.

In the aftermath of the Syrian army’s victory in Aleppo Russian President Putin has been going all out to achieve a peace settlement in Syria. To this end Russia’s Foreign and Defence Ministers spoke with their Turkish and Iranian counterparts yesterday, and Russia is inviting Iranian President Rouhani to visit Moscow. There is also talk of a tripartite summit involving Russia, Turkey and Iran to discuss a Syrian settlement.

Putin is also talking about a ceasefire between the Syrian army and the non-Jihadi opposition, and the convening of a peace conference bringing together the Syrian government and the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition to be held in the Kazakh capital Astana.

What is striking about the latter proposal is that it appears to cut across the existing UN led peace conference, which is supposed to be taking place in Geneva, and which the US, the other Western powers, and the Gulf Arab states, have been attending. By contrast, at Saudi Arabia’s insistence, Iran’s role in the Geneva conference has been restricted even though Iran is a major player in the Syrian conflict. Putin’s proposed conference at Astana would by contrast place Iran centre stage, and appears to be intended to limit the negotiations to settle the conflict to the leading powers directly involved in the conflict in Syria: Russia, Turkey and Iran.

Putin’s proposal is a follow up on the negotiations that led to the final agreement for the withdrawal of the Jihadis in Aleppo, which in the end took place bilaterally between Russia and Turkey, cutting out the US.

Comment: It is not unreasonable for Putin to move ahead with a peace settlement, considering the number of times Russia approached the US and was given the bum’s rush. It is obvious the US wants to extend the hostilities and foment a global conflict, all the while more and more innocent lives are sacrificed every single day the Western tantrum is allowed to continue. It shall be interesting to observe Turkey’s role in this peace process, given its volatile temperament and self-serving motives.
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Putin: Russian ambassador’s murder provocation aimed at undermining peace process in Syria

RT
2016-12-19 20:42:00

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The fatal attack on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, who was killed by a gunman on Monday, is « clearly a provocation » aimed at undermining both Russian-Turkish relations and the settling of the Syrian crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

« This murder is clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the improvement and normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, as well as undermining the peace process in Syria promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in settling the conflict in Syria, » Putin said in a statement on Monday evening.

The « only response » to the attack that Moscow « should offer » is « stepping up the fight against terrorism, » the president added.

« The killers will feel it, » Putin said.

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Brussels police carry out security operation in Schaerbeek

RT
2016-12-19 20:23:00

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The Schaerbeek area of Brussels was reportedly on lockdown for a period this evening as police carried out a security operation.

One person was arrested during the operation, La Dernière Heure reports.

The Brussels prosecutor’s office will hold a press briefing on the operation Tuesday at 11 am. It said earlier that no more information on the operation would be given tonight.

Several deployments took place in the vicinity of Liedts Square, according to Brussels Nord police, as reported by 7Sur7.

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CIA Director John Brennan may face investigation for leaking ‘Russian hacker’ story to the Washington Post

Alex Christoforou
The Duran
2016-12-19 19:53:00

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Fox Business News discusses a potential investigation involving CIA Director John Brennan over whether he leaked information about the Russian hacking investigation to the media.

John Brennan takes his cues directly from Barack Obama, which means the entire CIA, Russian hack investigation, was initiated and conducted under Obama’s direct order.

The Russian hack, media spin, has been and remains a political play. National security has very little to do with it.

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Breaking news: 3 people shot and wounded at Islamic centre in Zurich, Switzerland

Darren Boyle
Daily Mail
2016-12-19 19:43:00

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Three people have been shot and wounded at an Islamic centre in Zurich, Switzerland.

Local media have reported that three people have been wounded at the religious building in the centre of the city.

There are no details yet as to the severity of the injuries or the motive behind the attack.

Zurich Police said several people had been hurt in the vicinity of the centre but would not release any more details.

It is understood the gunman has fled the scene and authorities have launched a manhunt.

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Iranian President unveils landmark Charter on Citizens’ Rights

Sputnik
2016-12-19 19:43:00

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A special official for supervising the implementation of the Charter provisions will be appointed.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unveiled on Monday the Charter on Citizens’ Rights, guaranteeing right to a fair trial, nationality, freedom of speech and movement among other basic human rights, local media reported.

« All the nation, each and every citizen should be regarded as equal before the law; no one would seek the status the oligarchic nepotism bestows upon its ‘insiders’ in flagrant violation of others’ rights… this Charter was a promise which should have been fulfilled to address only a small part of the demands by the public, » Rouhani said at the unveiling ceremony in Tehran as quoted by Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

Comment: Hopefully this will result in one less thing the West can complain about Iran.
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Sudden Ukrainian offensive in Lugansk ends in heavy losses and retreat

J. Arnoldski
Fort Russ
2016-12-19 19:12:00

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Since yesterday evening, reports have been incoming from the frontline in Lugansk that the Ukrainians have violated the Minsk Agreements for the nth time, this time shelling militia positions with artillery and attempting an offensive on the Uglegorsk and Debaltsevo fronts in the Lugansk People’s Republic.

The attack has been halted, but firefights are ongoing. The attack was presumably being led by neo-Nazi volunteer battalions.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled the residential area of Kalinovka near Debaltsevo 150 times with artillery prohibited by the Minsk Agreements before attempting to break through the defense positions of the Lugansk People’s Militia.

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Sam Brownback’s links to anti-Putin cabal cost him a Trump Cabinet position

Wayne Madsen
Intrepid Report
2016-12-19 18:54:00

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Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback desperately wants a position in the Trump administration. However, with almost all of Trump’s cabinet positions already spoken for, with the exception of Agriculture Secretary, it would appear that the uber-conservative governor and former U.S. senator may join New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and former U.S. House Speaker on the also-ran list in Trump’s political version of « Celebrity Apprentice. »

What sunk Brownback’s chances of moving from Kansas back to Washington, DC, was his chumminess with the political opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin while he served as a senator. In 2005, Brownback chaired the Congress’s Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), also known as the Helsinki Commission. Brownback used his chairmanship to bash Putin’s policies, especially with regard to Russian legal action taken against prominent Russian Jewish oligarchs, including former Yukos Oil chairman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, his partner Leonid Nevzlin, Mikhail Chernoy, and former Russian media moguls Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky.

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‘Clash of the Titans’: As Trump-CIA showdown escalates, expect heads to roll

Ricky Twisdale
Russia Insider
2016-12-19 19:39:00

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German online media is reporting on the growing confrontation between the CIA and President-elect Donald Trump.

Citing the Washington Post, German Economic News related that the rank and file of the CIA is not sure if they will be able to work under President Trump:

The Washington Post, usually kept well informed by intelligence circles, is reporting great apprehension in the CIA over the president-elect. The Post cites an anonymous CIA man as saying, « I don’t know what the endgame is. After the inauguration we will be in uncharted waters. »

These reports come as the CIA, or elements of it in collaboration with the mainstream media, have virtually declared open war on the President-elect, attempting to discredit his election victory and either prevent his inauguration or handicap his influence by alleging serious interference by Russia in the election.

And it’s not only Trump himself they are worried about. Trump’s picks for national security advisor and CIA director are also provoking a serious backlash:

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Israel cannot decide if Russian presence in Syria is mildly good or very bad

Adam Hill
Russian Insider
2016-12-19 18:39:00

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Ben Caspit, an Israeli journalist with the Jerusalem Post and the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper, has conducted a very interesting interview with an unnamed « high-ranking Israeli security official » for the Washington-based Al-Monitor paper. The interview largely centered on the question of how has Russia’s intervention in Syria affected Israel’s security and freedom of action in the region.

Firstly the unnamed official insists that Russia and Israel maintain a positive relationship in the region:

Asked about the relationship built up between Israel and Russia along the northern front, he said, « It is a very complex. It is a very sensitive relationship that is important to both parties. It certainly weighs in on the positive end of the scale, but that does not mean that there are no problems or complicated issues that must be resolved. »

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Tehran threatens retaliation if Washington nixes Boeing deal

RT
2016-12-19 10:57:00

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Iranian officials have warned they will seek the return of « prepayments with interest » in a multibillion-dollar deal to buy dozens of Boeing jets if it is scuttled by Donald Trump’s incoming administration.

A $16.6 billion contract for 80 passenger planes was sealed by the Islamic Republic and the US aircraft maker Boeing a week ago. It is the first deal between the two countries in almost forty years.

« Both [Tehran and Boeing – Ed.] were willing to reach a conclusion sooner, and fortunately it took place before the new government [in the US takes office], » said Farhad Parvaresh chief executive of state-owned airline Iran Air, as cited by the Wall Street Journal. « Both sides are committed, and there are scenarios in the contracts for violation of commitments or case of force majeure to deal with those cases. »

Boeing wanted to close the transaction before the year-end so it could be included in its order book. President-elect Trump has criticized the company about the cost of building the next version of the Air Force One presidential jet.

Comment: While it should come as no surprise that the US Congress would vote for continued non-sensical sanctions against Iran, it will be interesting to see how closely Trump follows his own illogical anti-Iran rhetoric (should he make it to and past inauguration time).
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92yo Zimbabwean leader Mugabe endorsed to stand in next election

RT
2016-12-19 10:32:00

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Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old leader Robert Mugabe has been endorsed as his ruling party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 national election.

The Zanu-PF party declared its support for Mugabe in the south-eastern town of Masvingo on Saturday, with the party’s youth group suggesting that the longtime ruler should stay in power for life, AP reports.

Youth wing leader Kudzai Chipanga said Mugabe’s birth certificate and ID should be changed to « President Robert Mugabe. »

Various party members also sang the praises of their leader. Cabinet minister Supa Mandiwanzira made a pun using his name, saying: « I am not super, Mr President. It is you who is super. »

Comment: See also:
  • Next in line for regime change? Zimbabwe’s close ties to Russia and China have made it an irresistible target
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Society’s Child

Berlin outraged as German-funded school in Turkey ‘bans mention of Christmas’ or so media reports

RT
2016-12-19 05:11:00

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Berlin says it’d raise a « completely unacceptable » issue with Ankara after reports emerged that teachers at elite gymnasium in Istanbul, co-funded by the German government, were ordered to stop telling students anything about Christmas rites. The school denies the accusation.

« It is a great pity that the good tradition of the intercultural exchange in the pre-Christmas period was suspended at a school with a long history of German-Turkish tradition, » the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, referring to the claims by German teachers in the prestigious Lisesi High School, which is supported by the German government. The teachers said that they were reprimanded by the school’s Turkish administration for bringing up Christmas-related topics in class.

The email, sent by the German staff of the school, who are subordinate to the Turkish administration, was seen by DPA news agency. It says that « it ensues from the notice of the Turkish administration, that from now on nothing should be told, worked on as well as sung, about the Christmas traditions and the Christian festival in the classroom. »

The email was sent by the German administration to teachers, employed at the school at the expense of the German authorities, upon a meeting called on by their Turkish superiors. At the meeting the teachers were warned against disseminating « the rumors » among the students with their unauthorized Christmas-themed teaching.

Shortly after the memo was leaked to the media, the incident threatened to spiral into a full-fledged diplomatic row as the school’s conduct caused a stir in the German media and provoked sharp criticism from an array of high-ranking officials.

Comment: This ‘media lie’ syndrome of creating a false cause to initiate, increase, exacerbate an effect, is cropping up in many countries where Western influence and purposes cross paths with a rebellious nature or political endgames. Purposeful divisiveness is a tool of manipulation and control, mass-produced courtesy of MSM.
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War on Christmas escalates as FFRF atheists threaten lawsuit for a nativity scene

Ken Klukowski
Breitbart
2016-12-18 00:00:00

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Militant atheists at the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) are threatening to sue St. Bernard, Ohio, over the city’s Nativity scene — a Christmas display depicting the scene of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem in the Holy Land. If FFRF follows through and files in federal court, that case could result in a historic restoration of religious liberty nationwide.

St. Bernard is a suburb of Cincinnati. For many years, the city has displayed a crèche — i.e., a Nativity scene — during the Christmas season. It is accompanied by non-biblical seasonal holiday displays as well, making this outdoor crèche similar to the one the Supreme Court upheld in its 1984 case Lynch v. Donnelly.

However, in 1989, the Supreme Court moved to the left on this issue, holding by a narrow 5-4 vote in County of Allegheny v. ACLU Greater Pittsburgh Chapter that a crèche erected on the grand staircase of a Pittsburgh courthouse violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause (which provides that Congress cannot establish a religion, a rule the Court in 1947 extended to state and local governments). In Allegheny, the justices voted 6-3 to allow a menorah and Christmas tree in the park outside the courthouse.

That case was strongly denounced by originalists and conservatives because it invented a brand new standard called the « endorsement test » for the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Under this new rule, any government action involving faith or religion is unconstitutional if some « reasonable observer » would believe the government was endorsing religion.

Comment: Open-minded, unprejudiced, unbiased…the definition of ‘tolerant’ is not applicable to this group of ‘unfortunate’ atheists who live in this horribly non-customized world. We are becoming a people of narrowing foci, unable to allow for differentiation and choice, provoking increasing societal battlegrounds where none should exist. The penalty: more definitions, more laws, more tests begetting more definitions, more laws… The prognosis: Societal rigor mortis, a state accommodating complete control by the PTB.
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Cop nearly kills handcuffed boy by shoving him through window – loses only 5 days vacation

Justin Gardner
Source
2016-12-19 20:09:00

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Video footage has emerged of NYPD Sgt. Eliezer Pabon suddenly shoving a handcuffed 14-year-old boy against a plate glass window, which shattered and almost killed him. Javier Payne had to undergo 4 hours of surgery to remove shards of glass from his lung and near his heart.

After finding Sgt. Pabon guilty of excessive use of force, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Trials Nancy Ryan docked the Bronx cop a mere five days of vacation. The punishment was far less than the 30 days lost vacation the NYPD suggested when it filed administrative charges against Pabon.

The lame excuse for discipline is even more outrageous when compared to a punishment handed down to another Bronx officer, Joseph Spina, who was docked eight vacation days for saying he wouldn’t have voted for mayor Bill de Blasio. That incident was caught on film when Spina gave a driver a summons.

With the two punishments, New York City’s police accountability system is showing just how flawed and subjective it can be.

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9 dead, many injured as truck plows into Christmas market in Berlin in likely terrorist attack

RT
2016-12-19 20:09:00

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A truck has ploughed into a Christmas market in western Berlin killing nine and injuring several people, according to police.

The incident happened on one of Berlin’s largest Christmas markets, located in the western Charlottenburg district. It is also close Berlin’s key shopping mile Kurfuerstendamm and a famous Gedaechtniskirche (Memorial church) tourist site.

« We can confirm nine fatalities & many injured. A lot of our colleagues are at #Breitscheidplatz to investigate the background, » a message on the official police Twitter account said.

A police spokesperson told German media that they are treating the truck incident in Berlin as a terrorist attack.

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Deadly duty: 107 reporters killed in Syria since conflict began

RT
2016-12-19 20:02:00

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Syria was the deadliest country for journalists in 2016, according to a report. At least 14 journalists were killed there in the line of duty this year alone, bringing the total number of war reporters who have died since the conflict broke out to at least 107.

According to the report by international press freedom group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), deaths in combat or crossfire reached their highest number since 2013, as conflicts in the Middle East showed no sign of ending.

Journalists sent into the thick of the action appear to be at high risk of not only losing their lives, but of being kidnapped and executed by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups.

« Islamic State is responsible for the disappearance of at least 11 journalists since 2013. They are feared dead, but do not appear in CPJ’s data on killed journalists because their fate cannot be confirmed, » the report said. It added that the two professions that proved to be the most dangerous in 2016 were those of photographer and cameraman.

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The most vulnerable victims of the Syrian war – the children of Aleppo tell their stories

Sputnik
2016-12-19 20:26:00

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In the past few days, the weather in Aleppo has been cold but sunny, temperatures hitting highs of 12° Celsius and lows of 7° over the weekend. In the daytime, the temperature in the city’s ruined buildings is lower than in its streets. Schools have yet to be rebuilt, and the streets are filled with children. The arrival of a news correspondent generates interest, and the children enthusiastically answered questions from a Sputnik Arabic correspondent.

Fatima, a resident of the al-Shiar district, formerly controlled by militants, told Sputnik that more than anything, she wished « for the suffering to end. » Before the city was engulfed in battle, Fatima attended school with her friends, and dreamt of the future. But with the arrival of the terrorists, her dreams collapsed, her school turned into a pile of rubble.

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Fatima, her family, and the entire district faced a shortage of food and medicine throughout the years of occupation. Any actions to resist the occupying militants were punished mercilessly, she said.

Sputnik met Mahmud, a frail boy with hungry eyes, in another part of the city.

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Together with his younger brothers, the boy is looking for any part time work he can find to contribute to the household budget. His father lost his job, a loaf of bread costs 800 Syrian pounds (about $4 US), and a small cylinder of gas 25,000 pounds (about $110).

Many of the city’s children have been put to work in dangerous occupations – in quarries, bakeries, and the shoe industry, to try to support their families, putting their health at risk and becoming vulnerable to exploitation. But they have had little choice; Aleppo’s children have grown up fast.

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Despite media freak-out, data shows fake news sites have little impact

Peter Hasson
The Daily Caller
2016-12-18 09:51:00

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Despite a media blitz portraying fake news sites as having a real impact in national politics — and even capable of affecting the outcome of a presidential election — fake news sites struggle to reach any sort of real audience.

Fake news site DenverGuardian.com, subject of coverage from the New York Times and the Washington Post, is ranked 91,688 in web traffic in the U.S., according to web analytics firm Alexa. To put that number in perspective: the site supposedly impacting the national political scene is more than 84,000 slots behind the website for a Virginia community college.

On Sunday, the New York Times devoted front-page coverage to a site called the « Patriot News Agency. » The Times’ story emphasized the fact that « operators of Patriot News had an explicitly partisan motivation: getting Mr. Trump elected. »

But « Patriot News Agency » is even less popular than the « Denver Guardian, » ranking in at 184,898 in the country, according to Alexa. The site’s Facebook page has 113 total likes at this time.

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Duped by CIA propaganda: Misguided celebrities attack Trump over violence in Aleppo

Jerome Hudson
Breitbart
2016-12-16 00:00:00

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Celebrities rushed to social media this week to condemn the carnage Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has inflicted on his own people in Aleppo — and some in Hollywood also attacked President-elect Donald Trump over the tragedy.

Leading the charge to tie Trump to Assad’s atrocities in Syria, Spotlight actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted a Huffington Post article: « As He Slaughters Civilians In Aleppo, Bashar Assad Prepares To Make Nice With Donald Trump. »

Comment: Paul Craig Roberts put it very succinctly when he recently said:

Trump’s critics on the left and right and among the liberals and progressives have stupidly played into the CIA’s hands. I tried to warn them not to judge Trump by the past associations of his appointees as no change was possible without strong knowledgeable appointees. Those who romanticize Bernie Sanders are out to lunch. A person as weak as Sanders proved to be, completely collapsing in the face of his stolen presidential nomination by Hillary, could not possibly have prevailed over the powerful oligarchic groups that rule America. When we finally get a president-elect strong enough to bring change from the top down, the leftwing-liberal-progressive elements join the CIA in denouncing him!

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World Health Organization: Russia’s ‘generous support’ to Syrian citizens ‘impressive’

Sputnik
2016-12-19 19:02:00

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Russia provided generous support to Syrian citizens at a time when they needed it most, Elizabeth Hoff, the World Health Organization representative in Damascus said on Monday.

« I was impressed with the generosity and support provided by Russia at a time when [Syrian citizens] needed it most, » Hoff told RIA Novosti.

The representative noted that several thousand people in East Aleppo still need to be evacuated which could take a few days.

Comment: Russia delivered over 40 metric tonnes (40 US tons) of gifts to the children of Syria gathered in Russia within the Children of Russia to the Children of Syria campaign, to the Hmeimim airbase, Russian Defense Ministry said Monday.

« Backpacks with candy, crafts and stationery have been collected by… cadets, pupils of Ministry of Defense boarding school and ordinary students from Tula, Moscow, Vladimir, Vologda, Tver, Kaluga, Kostroma and other regions, » the ministry said.

Personnel of the the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation at the Hmeimim airbase are passing gifts to the children in all government-controlled regions of the country.

Russia has been providing consistent humanitarian aid to Syrians who have been gravely affected by the civil war in the country.

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The hopeless Afghan struggle to save boy sex slaves

Anuj Chopra
AFP
2016-12-19 17:47:00

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Quivering with quiet rage, Shirin holds a photo of his teenage brother-in-law, who now lives as the plaything of policemen, just one victim of a hidden epidemic of kidnappings of young boys for institutionalized sexual slavery in Afghanistan.

Shirin is among 13 families AFP traced and interviewed across three Afghan provinces who said their children were taken for the pervasive practice of « bacha bazi », or pedophilic exploitation, in Western-backed security forces.

Their testimonies shine a rare spotlight on the anguished, solitary struggles to free sons, nephews and cousins from a tradition of culturally-sanctioned enslavement and rape.

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How would the baby in a manger fare in the American Police State?

John W. Whitehead
The Rutherford Institute
2016-12-19 17:33:00

« Jesus is too much for us. The church’s later treatment of the gospels is one long effort to rescue Jesus from ‘extremism.' »—author Gary Wills, What Jesus Meant

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Jesus was good. He was caring. He had powerful, profound things to say—things that would change how we view people, alter government policies and change the world. He went around helping the poor. And when confronted by those in authority, he did not shy away from speaking truth to power.

Jesus was born into a police state not unlike the growing menace of the American police state.

But what if Jesus, the revered preacher, teacher, radical and prophet, had been born 2,000 years later? How would Jesus’ life have been different had he be born and raised in the American police state?

Consider the following if you will.

The Christmas narrative of a baby born in a manger is a familiar one.

The Roman Empire, a police state in its own right, had ordered that a census be conducted. Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary traveled to the little town of Bethlehem so that they could be counted. There being no room for the couple at any of the inns, they stayed in a stable, where Mary gave birth to a baby boy. That boy, Jesus, would grow up to undermine the political and religious establishment of his day and was eventually crucified as a warning to others not to challenge the powers-that-be.

However, had Jesus been born in the year 2016…

Rather than traveling to Bethlehem for a census, Jesus’ parents would have been mailed a 28-page American Community Survey, a mandatory government questionnairedocumenting their habits, household inhabitants, work schedule, how many toilets are in your home, etc. The penalty for not responding to this invasive survey can go as high as $5,000.

Instead of being born in a manger, Jesus might have been born at home. Rather than wise men and shepherds bringing gifts, however, the baby’s parents might have been forced to ward off visits from state social workers intent on prosecuting them for the home birth. One couple in Washington had all three of their children removed after social services objected to the two youngest being birthed in an unassisted home delivery.

Had Jesus been born in a hospital, his blood and DNA would have been taken without his parents’ knowledge or consent and entered into a government biobank. While most states require newborn screening, a growing number are holding onto that genetic material long-term for research, analysis and purposes yet to be disclosed.

Then again, had his parents been undocumented immigrants, they and the newborn baby might have been shuffled to a profit-driven, private prison for illegals where they would have been turned into cheap, forced laborers for corporations such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret. There’s quite a lot of money to be made from imprisoning immigrants, especially when taxpayers are footing the bill.

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Residents return to ‘normal’ life in liberated but ruined East Aleppo

RT
2016-12-19 17:31:00

 

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