News Items – 02.12.17

Reuters: Mike Pompeo, the authoritarian new DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) and self-proclaimed eternal fighter of terrorism, just had a wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia (the primary state sponsor of terrorism around the world). Pompeo gave the Saudi Crown Prince a medal — that’s named after ex-CIA Director and Bush-Cheney’s Iraq WMD sycophant George Tenet — “for his distinct intelligence-related counter-terrorism work and his contributions to ensure international peace and security.”

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This is a *very lengthy but necessary* reading, entitled “How the Trump regime was manufactured by a war inside the Deep State,” by Nafeez Ahmed —Visiting Research Fellow at the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University; whose research onroot causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest; recipient of the Routledge-GCPS Essay Prize, Naples Prize for outstanding literature, and Project Censored Awards.

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Lobelog: “Why Is Trump Adviser Wearing Medal of Nazi Collaborators?

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Here is Peter Kuznick — professor of US history at American University and co-writer of “Untold History of the United States” — interviewed by George Mason University’s History News Network.

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The New Yorker: “The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda

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Piers Robinson — professor of politics, society, and political journalism at the University of Sheffield, UK:

Fake news, propaganda and threats to journalism

Russian news may be biased – but so is much of western media

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The Independent: “Former UK ambassador to Syria accuses Foreign Office of lying about the country’s civil war

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Washington Post: “Brazil’s huge corruption scandal is spreading to the rest of Latin America

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The Verge: “A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone”

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Reuters: “Senators [led by Elizabeth Warren] question Goldman Sachs on its role in Trump banking policy,” since Trump, among other ex-Goldman cabinet members, “appointed Gary Cohn, former Goldman president and chief operating officer, to head the White House National Economic Council, a group that coordinates economic policy across agencies.”

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Washington Post: “Shutting down fake news could move us closer to a modern-day ‘1984’”

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Reuters: “A Chinese private equity executive has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with reaping $29.05 million of illegal profit from insider trading ahead of Comcast Corp’s purchase of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.”

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Reuters: “From close-up encounters with Russian warplanes to the threat of attacks from lightweight drones, France’s air force is on alert on two fronts as it confronts a return to Cold War shadow-boxing and heightened domestic security concerns. … According to French officials, Russian bombers take a different route each time: sometimes flying as far south as Gibraltar before turning back, or drawing a wide circle from St Petersburg through Scandinavia, the west of Ireland, Gibraltar, Syria and back to Russia over the Caspian Sea. … France says it is ready to use jamming or GPS blocking equipment, and even a squadron of four specially trained golden eagles, to neutralize drones.”

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Reuters: “Brazil’s one-time richest man Eike Batista will stand trial on corruption charges along with an ex-Rio de Janeiro governor [Cabral] who allegedly took millions in bribes from the former billionaire. … Cabral is accused of leading a ‘criminal organization’ that took 224 million reais in bribes from construction firms in exchange for infrastructure contracts from 2007 to 2014, when he was serving as governor.”

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Reuters: “At least 17 people died and scores were injured in a stampede at an Angolan football match on Friday when hundreds of supporters stormed the stadium gates, a medical official said. … Many fell and were trampled, it said. Ernesto Luis, director general of the local hospital, told Reuters people had suffocated in the crush.”

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Reuters: “[Former AIG CEO] Greenberg, 91, will pay about $9 million and former AIG Chief Financial Officer Howard Smith will pay about $900,000 to settle charges first brought in 2005 by then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The former executives were accused of overseeing a $500 million transaction with General Re, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, that boosted AIG loss reserves. They were also faulted for a transaction with Capco Reinsurance Co that converted a $210 million underwriting loss from an automotive warranty program into an investment loss.”

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Reuters: Trump’s putting his running mate in charge of investigating their own (completely fraudulent) voter fraud claims.

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Reuters: Paraguay gave the remains of the victims of the former US-backed military dictatorship back to their respective families. (Bonus)

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Reuters: “The bomber detonated an explosives-packed car next to an Afghan army vehicle as soldiers arrived at a bank in Lashkar Gah to collect their pay, the Helmand governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak, said. Among the dead were four civilians and three soldiers. Sixteen civilians and four soldiers were wounded, he said.”

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Reuters: “The United States has objected to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ choice of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad as the body’s new representative to Libya. … ‘For too long the U.N. has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,’ [our new nutty neocoUN Ambassador Haley] said. … The Secretary-General..notes that, among others no Israeli and no Palestinian have served in a post of high responsibility at the United Nations.”

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Reuters: Thomas Piketty, the indispensable academic from the Paris School of Economics and author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” is advising the progressive French candidate and supporter of Yanis Varoufakis/Srecko Horvat’s Diem25, Benoit Hamon, just like he did for the UK’s Jeremy Corbyn.

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Reuters: “Hundreds took to the streets in the northern Italian city of Genoa to protest against a meeting of European far-right political groups on Saturday, and tension simmered at times with police. Demonstrators gathered in a square to the east of the coastal city ahead of the meeting, which was organized by hardline Italian group Forza Nuova and went ahead as planned. They waved banners reading, ‘Genoa anti-fascist, free city, defend our country.’ Local media said around 1,000 protesters turned out. … The largely peaceful demonstration was punctuated by isolated moments of tension. Some protesters brawled amongst themselves and others threw smoke bombs at police. Video footage showed protesters and police squaring up to each other in the street near where the meeting was held. A few blows were exchanged, but no injuries were reported.”

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Wall Street Journal: “Sales of Ivanka Trump’s fashion line tumbled 32% at Nordstrom Inc. last fiscal year” even though “the chain’s overall sales rose,” which renders as a non-starter Trump’s claims (which actually boosted Nordstrom’s stock) for Kellyanne Conway’s open salesmanship of Ivanka’s brand.

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The founders of Mossack Fonseca, the firm at the center of the Panama Papers, have now been arrested in another major corruption investigation based in Brazil: the Lava Jato investigation into the massive fossil fuel company, Petrobas. Notably, the judge in the case recently died in a suspicious small plane crash.

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“Private Prison Firm Sees Trump Immigration Push Opportunity,” by ABC:

“The United States’ largest private prison operator said it can provide the additional detention facilities that will likely be needed under President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration. In an earnings call this week, CoreCivic President/CEO Damon Hininger identified the possible opportunity to grow its detention business with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. CoreCivic’s statement further indicates that private prison firms think they could profit from a Trump presidency, who has already issued executive orders aimed at detaining and deporting immigrants who are in the country illegally. Trump is offering a starkly different outlook for the industry than President Barack Obama, whose administration aimed to wind down some private prison use.”

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A new “independent” Russian-language news channel, funded by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, just opened. Foreign Policy doesn’t understand that it’s just RT America in reverse. Foreign Policy even praised that it’ll be working on “bread and butter” issues that Foreign Policy doesn’t even write about, instead favoring a consistently condescending and elitist attitude towards voters, much like Chomsky’s been writing and speaking about for decades (which is part of his contradictory status as practically blacklisted/CIA-monitored dissident and one of the most prolific public intellectuals of our time.

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The Guardian: “US veterans are returning to Standing Rock and pledging to shield indigenous activists from attacks by a militarized police force, another sign that the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is far from over. … ‘We are prepared to put our bodies between Native elders and a privatized military force,’ said Elizabeth Williams, a 34-year-old air force veteran, who arrived at Standing Rock with a group of vets late on Friday. ‘We’ve stood in the face of fire before. We feel a responsibility to use the skills we have.’ It is unclear how many vets may arrive to Standing Rock; some organizers estimate a few dozen are on their way, while other activists are pledging that hundreds could show up in the coming weeks. An estimated 1,000 veterans traveled to Standing Rock in December just as the Obama administration announced it was denying a key permit for the oil company, a huge victory for the tribe. The massive turnout – including a ceremony in which veterans apologized to indigenous people for the long history of US violence against Native Americans – served as a powerful symbol against the $3.7bn pipeline. … Since last fall, police have made roughly 700 arrests, at times deploying water cannons, Mace, rubber bullets, teargas, pepper spray and other less-than-lethal weapons. Private guards for the pipeline have also been accused of violent tactics. … At Standing Rock, indigenous activists say the mass arrests and police violencehave led many of them to develop PTSD, suffering symptoms that many veterans understand well. ‘This historical trauma of indigenous communities in this country is very real. It’s tragic,’ said Crane. ‘The military has a lot of the same problems.’ Aubree Peckham, a member of the Mescalero Apache tribe who has been at Standing Rock for months, was in tears on Friday as she described the way indigenous water protectors have bonded with vets.”

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Video via The Intercept: “Ali Vayeghan Was Deported Under Trump’s Executive Order. Now He’s Back in the U.S.”

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“For first time, Coalition now killing more civilians than Russia,” by Airwars “To date, Airwars researchers have identified 95 separate reported civilian casualty events in January across Iraq and Syria allegedly involving the Coalition. For the same period, 57 alleged Russian incidents took place. … One year ago, in January 2016, Russia killed at least 713 civilians according to Airwars estimates.  That was 14 times more deaths than were attributed to the Coalition for the same month.  But now roles may be shifting. … ‘January was the deadliest month yet for civilians in Mosul,’ says Airwars’ Iraq researcher. ‘More than 50 airstrikes reportedly targeted them, killing in their homes women, children, professors, engineers and physicians.’ In total, at least 133 strikes took place in Mosul during January, according to daily Coalition strike reports.”
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Here’s the New York Times on an interesting scenario of how Netanyahu once slept in Kushner’s bedroom and why Kushner’s role as Trump’s Middle East “peace” representative will be “shaped by the personal” rather than, say, international law:

“When Jared Kushner was 17 years old, he stood where a million Jews had been murdered and listened to Israel’s prime minister stress the country’s importance. … Back then, Mr. Kushner was a high school basketball player, a Billy Joel fan, a quiz team manager and no one’s guess to become a negotiating partner with Mr. Netanyahu. But unlike other students on the trip, he knew the prime minister, who was friendly with his father, a real estate developer and donor to Israeli causes. Mr. Netanyahu had even stayed at the Kushners’ home in New Jersey, sleeping in Jared’s bedroom. (The teenager moved to the basement that night.)”

According to Israel’s  fantastic leading daily newspaper Haaretz, “Trump’s Israel Ambassador Linked to New Expansion of Radical West Bank Settlement,” “Trump Donated $10,000 to West Bank Settlement,” “Kushner Foundation Donated to West Bank Settlement Projects,” “Fund Headed by Trump’s Israel Ambassador Pumped Tens of Millions Into West Bank Settlement,” and “Trump Reportedly Confirms Kushner to Serve as Mideast Peace Broker.”

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Trump Will Try to Smash China-Russia-Iran Triangle. Here’s Why He Will Fail,” by Pepe Escobar:

“The strategy of Henry Kissinger, Trump’s unofficial foreign policy guru, is a mix of ‘balance of power’ and ‘divide and rule.’ It will consist of seducing Russia away from its strategic partner China; keeping China constantly on a sort of red alert; and targeting Islamic State while continuing to harass Iran. … Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, may in fact be a cipher, a privileged ExxonMobil dealmaker, or a Trojan Horse for Kissinger’s views. Tillerson is a trustee of the hardline Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank, along with [longtime war profiteer and international criminal Henry] Kissinger [and Zbigniew Brzezinski].”

More on this from Nafeez Ahmed at Insurge Intelligence.

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Here’s some humorous *satire* from Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker:

Trump Accuses Media of Not Reporting Voices He Hears in Head“: “In a blistering attack on the media, President Trump said on Monday that the press has consistently refused to report the voices he hears in his head every day. … ‘There might be a hundred people protesting outside the White House, and at the exact same time, five hundred voices talking to me inside my head,’ he said. ‘Guess which the press will write about?’ Offering an example of the media’s deceitfulness, Trump referred to the widely circulated story about him hanging up on the Prime Minister of Australia. ‘What they didn’t say is that I had to hang up because I was getting an incoming call in my head,’ he said.”

DeVos Confirmation Makes Immigrants America’s Only Source of Educated People“: “The Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary means that immigrants will be the nation’s only reliable source of educated people going forward, education experts said on Tuesday. Under DeVos, according to Davis Logsdon, the dean of the University of Minnesota’s School of Education, the U.S. will have to ‘drastically increase its inflow of immigrants’ if it wants people capable of performing even the simplest tasks.”

DeVos Comes in Contact with Book for Very First Time“:”On her inaugural day as the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos came into contact with a book for the first time in her life. Cameras were present to capture the historic moment, as DeVos extended her left hand tentatively and eventually touched the foreign object. After touching the book for approximately one minute, DeVos quickly withdrew her hand and appeared drained by the experience. … Across the nation, millions of Americans reacted to DeVos’s confirmation by requesting vouchers that would enable to them to select an Education Secretary of their own choosing.”

Trump Vows to Get Endorsement for Jeff Sessions from Frederick Douglass“: “Infuriated after Senator Elizabeth Warren read a scathing letter from 1986 about Jeff Sessions by Coretta Scott King, Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to secure an endorsement for Sessions from Frederick Douglass. ‘I know Frederick Douglass will write a great letter, much better than that bad letter Coretta Scott King wrote,’ Trump said. ‘I said really nice things about Frederick Douglass last week, so I’m sure he will do this for me.’ … At the daily White House press briefing, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, said that, while Trump is confident that Sessions will be confirmed as Attorney General, ‘a strong endorsement from Frederick Douglass will clearly seal the deal.’ After the press corps reacted with blank stares, Spicer snapped, ‘Do you people even know who Frederick Douglass is?'”

Trump Says He Has Been Treated Very Unfairly by People Who Wrote Constitution“: “Hinting darkly that ‘there’s something going on,’ Donald J. Trump complained on Friday that he has been treated ‘very unfairly’ by the people who wrote the United States Constitution. ‘If the Constitution prevented me from doing one or two things, I’d chalk that up to bad luck,’ he said. ‘But when literally everything I want to do is magically a violation of the Constitution, that’s very unfair and bad treatment.’ In an ominous warning, Trump said that, as of Friday, he was putting the writers of the U.S. Constitution ‘on notice.’ ‘I don’t have their names yet, but that’s something I’m looking into,’ he said. ‘These jokers are not going to get away with this.'”

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Nafeez Ahmed, 2014: “Tony Blair’s Islamist obsession is a smokescreen to defend ‘blood for oil'”

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Alternet: “Why Is the Media Ignoring Leaked US Government Documents About Syria?”

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