From the first moment chemical weapons were used on the Syrian battlefield, the American public was led to believe that only one side could possibly be responsible. The constant refrain in the echo chamber of US government officials and the mainstream media was that only the Assad government possessed chemical stockpiles and the technological capability of deploying such heinous weapons, therefore blame for each and every chemical attack from Ghouta to Khan Sheikhoun was laid at the feet of Assad and the Syrian military. And yet last Wednesday, for the first time, the US State Department casually dropped an important admission into its officialSyria travel warning for American citizens: that the core rebel group currently operating in northwest Syria not only possesses but has used chemical weapons – to the point that the State Department considers it a major enough threat to publicly warn citizens about. The armed opposition group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), is referenced early in the document: “Terrorist and other violent extremist groups including ISIS and Al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham [dominated by Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization], operate in Syria.’ HTS is the group now holding Idlib province, which it captured in 2015 as part of a coalition of armed groups given direct support from a US-led operations room in southern Turkey – this according to prominent pro-opposition analyst Charles Lister.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 22, 2017.
Update (1510ET): Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont addressed Catalans, Spaniards, and the rest of Europe on TV saying that the Spanish states’ imposition of Article 155 means “liquidation of our self-government and cancellation of the democratic will of Catalans”. Puigdemont said Rajoy had set out to “humiliate” Catalonia in an “attack on democracy” and said removing powers from Catalonia was the “worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco”. Puigdemont also said Spain “closed the doors ot a request for talks, and should set a date to discuss the attack” and “Catalan institutions cannot accept attack by Spain.” In a striking accusation, the Catalan president said that “Catalan institutions dealt a coup by Spanish state.” Puigdemont then switched to English to appeal to Europeans, says democracy also at risk in Europe: “Catalonia is an ancient European nation”. He also announced a session in Catalan parliament to debate “the attempt to liquidate our self-government”. Puigdemont concluded by saying “Long live Catalonia” to which a silently listening crowd suddenly burst back into cheers and chanting. However, Puigdemont did not specifically declare independence, but said Catalonia will not accept Madrid’s plan to curb region’s powers, leaving one tiny, final loophole… * * * As we detailed earlier, with Spain officially pulling the trigger on Article 155, and activating the Spanish Constitutional “nuclear option” this morning, when PM Rajoy said he would seize control of the Catalan government, fire everyone and force new elections in six months, attention has shifted to the Catalan response. And as we waited for the official statement by Catalan separatist president Carles Puigdemont, expected at 9pm local time, we found him taking to the streets, where he led hundreds of thousands of independence supporters in protest around Barcelona on Saturday, shouting “freedom” and “independence” following the stunning news from Madrid earlier on Saturday.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 21, 2017.
In yet another shocking example of the violent rhetoric coming from the hard-left, a socialist student group at Iowa State University has used their social media account to threaten to murder conservatives. The threats have come in a series of Tweets that have left many horrified over the calls for violence. Amazingly, the school itself has claimed that calling for murder is ‘protected free speech.’ In one recent Tweet the group, Young Democratic Socialists of America, (YDSA) publicly calls for exterminating what amounts to tens of millions of Americans. ‘The left has done a good job radicalizing juggalos, weebs, furries, but I will not rest until ‘hXc’ stands for hang+Xterminate capitalists,’ the school administration backed group declared before eventually deleting the Tweet. As Campus Reform noted, after the students brought the tweet to the attention of the university, they were told that this ‘falls under free speech’ while being offered ‘resources’ if the student felt threatened by a literal call for extermination. That’s right, school officials are defending this groups right to call for us to be murdered. Can you imagine if the roles were reversed?!
Freed of any need to be marginally politically-correct, former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon took his fight to the Republican establishment during a speech to a capacity crowd at an almost oxymoronic California Republican Party convention. The ubiquitous protesters were there… But were kept behind steel barricades on a plaza across an entrance road at the hotel and no arrests were made, as Bannon blasted former President George W. Bush for ’embarrassing himself’ for his comments suggesting a Trump America led to ‘nativism’ and ‘casual cruelty.’ Bannon said Bush has no idea whether ‘he is coming or going, just like it was when he was president.’ ‘There has not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush’s,’ Bannon added, as boos could be heard in the crowd at the mention of Bush’s name. As AP reports, the remarks came during a speech thick with attacks on the Washington status quo, echoing his call for an ‘open revolt’ against establishment Republicans.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 21, 2017.
A socialist student group at Iowa State University has repeatedly made threatening comments about conservatives on social media, but the school says the comments are protected speech. In one recent tweet, the school’s Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapter called for the hanging and extermination of all ‘capitalists.’ ‘The left has done a good job radicalizing juggalos, weebs, furries, but I will not rest until ‘hXc’ stands for hang+Xterminate capitalists,’ the group wrote in an October 4 tweet that has since been deleted. After students brought the tweet to attention of the university, it replied via twitter by stating ‘this falls under free speech’ and then offering available ‘resources’ to student if they ‘feel threatened or harassed.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 20, 2017.
In yet another stunning example of the left openly floating the idea of using the government to stifle free speech on the internet, the former Democratic chair of the FEC has written a piece that essentially calls for the regulation of ALL political content on the internet while threatening the American people with lawsuits if they fail to comply. Ann Ravel, who led the FEC under the Obama Administration and now is a lecturer at Berkeley, co-authored the piece with Abby K. Wood, a professor at the University of California, and a student at USC Gould School of Law, Irina Dykhne. The shocking proposal by the trio uses the purposefully undefined term, ‘disinformation’ as the reasoning behind what would be an unprecedented crackdown on free speech by both the government and media platforms across the web. In the proposal, government regulators would target Americans who shared stories that were deemed ‘fake news’, even going as far as to threaten them with libels suits if they shared the ‘disputed’ content after a warning from the ‘acceptable speech overseers. The entire proposal is a must read but some of the more shocking segments include: (take note that this is indeed a direct threat to sue Americans who share content the establishment has labeled disinformation)
A meeting of the College Republicans at the University of California, Santa Cruz was taken over and subsequently shut down by hard-left students who literally screamed that the groups very existence was a threat to their safety. The leftist group initially organized the effort to derail the free speech of Republicans on campus in a Facebook post that openly called for shutting down the groups ‘right of assembly’ while also labeling mainline conservatives as white supremacists and fascists. ‘White Supremacist, fascist-sympathizing College Republicans are having a meeting at McHenry library, room 0332. Everybody be aware of this violent racist activity happening everyday on this campus!’ wrote a student. ‘We need a movement of people on this campus that rejects the ‘right of assembly,’ or ‘right of free speech’ for white supremacists and fascists.’
This post was published at shtfplan on October 19th, 2017.
In one of the most reckless and chilling attacks on free speech, the former chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Berkeley lecturer Ann Ravel is pushing for a federal crackdown on ‘disinformation’ on the Internet – a term that she conspicuously fails to concretely define. Ravel is pushing a proposal that she laid out in a a paper co-author with Abby K. Wood, an associate professor at the University of Southern California, and Irina Dykhne, a student at USC Gould School of Law. To combat ‘fake news,’ Ravel and her co-authors would undermine the use of the Internet as a forum for free speech. The regulation would include the targeting of people who share stories deemed fake or disinformation by government regulators. The irony is that such figures are decrying Russian interference with our system and responding by curtailing free speech – something Vladimir Putin would certainly applaud.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.
Former President George W. Bush came out swinging against the current administration on Thursday, and while he did not name President Castro, Dubya blasted that “bigotry seems emboldened” in the U. S., while urging the country to accept “globalization” – the same globalization which both the IMF, the BIS and even the Federal Reserve now agree and warn has led to record wealth inequality in the US – while rejecting “white supremacy.” “Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed,” Bush said. Former Pres. George W Bush: "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication." pic.twitter.com/KyQK5vul3j — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 19, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.
The newest edition of the book Fahrenheit 451 is going to be out soon, and ironically, it must be heated up to be read. For those who haven’t read the book Fahrenheit 451, it’s coming highly recommended. It tells the story of a dystopian society in which books are outlawed and burned by firemen to prevent citizens from reading them. It follows one fireman’s journey of following orders and questioning authority. Ray Bradbury’s iconic book was originally published in 1953 and will leave a permanent reminder tucked away in the mind as to why free speech should never, under any circumstances, be culled. Simon and Schuster’s website says this is what the book is about: Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family.’ But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.
This post was published at shtfplan on October 19th, 2017.
‘Fascists are divided into two categories, the fascists and the anti-fascists’ ~ Ennio Flaiano In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist. Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political. It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as ‘fascists’. Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence. Historical Pretensions Antifa first came to prominence from its role in reversing Berkeley’s proud ‘free speech’ tradition by preventing right wing personalities from speaking there. But its moment of glory was its clash with rightwingers in Charlottesville on August 12, largely because Trump commented that there were ‘good people on both sides’. With exuberant Schadenfreude, commentators grabbed the opportunity to condemn the despised President for his ‘moral equivalence’, thereby bestowing a moral blessing on Antifa. Charlottesville served as a successful book launching for Antifa: the Antifascist Handbook, whose author, young academic Mark Bray, is an Antifa in both theory and practice. The book is ‘really taking off very fast’, rejoiced the publisher, Melville House. It instantly won acclaim from leading mainstream media such as the New York Times, The Guardian and NBC, not hitherto known for rushing to review leftwing books, least of all those by revolutionary anarchists. The Washington Post welcomed Bray as spokesman for ‘insurgent activist movements’ and observed that:
In a move that is set to further infurate the Catalan separatists for whom the breakaway region’s police chief has emerged as a quasi-folk hero, and prompting an even more vocal push for independence, moments ago the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office petitioned Madrid Judge Carmela Lamela, investigating charges of sedition in Barcelona on September 20, to jail Catalan Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero on remand, court reporters for Spanish media tweeted.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.
I wasn’t expecting the email below when I came back from lunch today. Somehow I seemed to have pissed someone off at Amazon. I have no idea what violation they are talking about and, of course, there is no appeal process. The only thing I can think is they thought my donation appeal below the Amazon button was somehow related to clicking on the Amazon button. We’ll never know. All I know is that my largest stream of modest revenue is now gone. The ad revenue had been sufficient so that I haven’t felt the need to solicit for donations, but it is no longer sufficient for the amount of work I put into this website day in and day out, 365 days per year. So, here is my solicitation for donations. I think it’s a pretty good site. I try to keep it interesting. I try to keep it a sanctuary of free speech. I’ve now been banned by the two biggest ad revenue generators – Google & Amazon. If you want to keep it alive, please consider donating something through my donation button, or sending something to my PO Box. I thought it was a nice touch by Amazon concluding their termination email with Warmest Regards. 🙂 I didn’t make me feel warm. Hello from the Associates Program, We are writing to tell you that effective as of today’s date, Amazon is terminating your Associates account. Under the terms of the Operating Agreement, we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This decision is final and not subject to appeal.
Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times, Puigdemont’s political twist could invoke a lethal response from Madrid: suspension of Catalonia’s government Call it theatre of the absurd – with a lethal subtext. Under pressure from all corners – even Donald Tusk, president of the EU Council – in his fateful date with destiny Carles Puigdemont, President of Catalonia, came up with some last-minute judo dialectics. He issued a non-denial denial Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Spain. What was declared was immediately suspended; the Republic of Catalonia lasted for six seconds. The deft political gambit left Madrid predictably bewildered. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a.k.a. nano-Franco, issued an ultimatum; you have five days to say if you declared independence or not. Independent of the answer, Madrid’s nuclear option remains on the cards; infamous article 155 of the Constitution, which calls for the suspension of Catalonia’s government and parliament from six to 12 months. Yet that may come with a twist; a 155 in slow motion, parallel to the hazy offer of starting a process, in six months maximum, leading to Spanish constitutional reform. Madrid needs Catalonia for this reform to succeed. So, essentially, Puigdemont just needs to say ‘no’ for the train to start rolling.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.
Authored by Dmitiry Minin via The Strategic Culture Foundation, The Turkish media is reporting that a staffer at the American consulate general in Istanbul was recently arrested under the serious charge of attempting the ‘destruction of the constitutional order,’ ‘espionage,’ and seeking ‘to overthrow the government.’ To be specific, ties have been uncovered between the man under arrest and some prominent members of Fethullah Glen’s movement (FET), which is banned in Turkey. Previous accusations had been made against General Joseph Votel, the commander of US CENTCOM and an expert in covert operations, alleging that he had cooperated with the conspirators who attempted a military coup in Turkey in July 2016. And this is only the tip of a very cold and growing iceberg that has gradually been disrupting the relationship between these formerly close allies – the US and Turkey. Not even President Erdo?an’s visit to the US this year could buck these trends. Observing that relations between the two countries have been deteriorating for more than a decade, US columnists, for example – Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner – reflexively sum it all up as evidence of the deleterious influence of Vladimir Putin. In his assessment of the most recent meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents in Ankara, that journalist points to the fact that Recep Erdo?an called Vladimir Putin ‘my dear friend’ and even ‘stroked his ego’ by speaking to him – horror of horrors! – ‘in Russian,’ as though that were a crime.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.
On July 21, 1821, John Quincy Adams, who would go on to become the sixth president of the United States, warned that if America were ever to abandon its founding principle of non-interventionism in foreign affairs, she might well become the dictatress of the world. Adams issued his warning in a speech he delivered to Congress, a speech that has gone down in history with the title ‘In Search of Monsters to Destroy.’ Adams was referring to the fact that the United States was founded as a constitutional republic, one whose military forces did not go around the world helping people who were suffering the horrors of dictators, despots, civil wars, revolutions, famines, oppression, or anything else. That’s not to say that America didn’t sympathize with people struggling to experience lives of freedom, peace, and prosperity. It was simply that the US government would not go abroad to slay such monsters. Here is how Adams expressed it: Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.
After German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted late last year that she had ‘lost control’ of Germany’s refugee crisis after adopting an ‘open door’ policy that fueled an unprecedented spike in crime, her weakened ruling coalition announced Monday that it would seek to impose new restrictions on the number of refugees admitted to the country. Germany famously admitted nearly one million refugees from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and other war zones in 2015, a five-fold increase over the previous year. Migrants repaid Germany for its openness by committing 142,500 crimes during the first six months of 2016, including several high-profile sexual assaults. And now it seems Merkel has hit a wall and folded… Merkel announced the policy change on Monday during a joint news conference with Horst Seehofer, leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union – the more conservative partner to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union – following discussions in which the two parties sought compromises on a number of issues following poor results in the federal elections two weeks ago, according to CNN.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.
The White Helmets. Who are they, who created them, and what purpose do they serve in Syria? These questions remain largely unanswered by the governments, corporate media and NATO member-aligned NGOs, including the UN, that have focused their efforts on regime change in Syria for the last seven years. The White Helmets have achieved an almost cult-like status thanks to a diverse, well-oiled and multilaterally-funded support system. Their pictures adorn the front pages of most corporate media sites whenever Syria is mentioned. Their unprecedented success can be attributed to a top-drawer PR campaign – one that has been maintained to the highest standards ever since the White Helmets became the public face of ‘first responders’ in Syria following their establishment in March 2013. Such a publicity coup would not have been possible without some heavyweight organizations working behind the scenes to create a brand that would eclipse all others in Western public perception.
You are probably aware that you are incompletely informed about what is brewing in Myanmar, and you probably haven’t heard about the military coalition that is preparing to attack that country. And yet, as Thierry Meyssan reveals here, these current events have been in preparation by Riyadh and Washington since 2013. Don’t take sides before you read this article and digest the information. Pursuing its Grand Strategy of extending the theatre of war , the Pentagon is at the same time preparing the instrumentation of the Kurds in the Greater Middle East, a civil war in Venezuela and a war of attrition in the Philippines. However, these conflicts will have to wait for the implementation of a fourth theatre of operations – namely Burma, China’s next-door neighbour. During the meeting of the UN Security Council on 28 September, the US ambassador and several of her allies accused Myanmar’s coalition government of genocide . This loaded word – which, in European law, designates the massacre of a great number of people, but in US law applies to a method of killing, even if the criminal kills only one person – is enough for Washington to justify a war, with or without the backing of the Security Council, as we saw in Yugoslavia . The meeting of the Security Council was held at the request of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In order to make the facts correspond to their narrative, the United States, the United Kingdom and France, which had celebrated Aung San Suu Kyi and the Buddhist monks for their non-violent resistance to the dictatorship of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) during the Saffron revolution in 2007 , simply redefined the Burmese army, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi , and all the Buddhists in the country  as ‘the bad guys’.
Statement from the U. S. Mission to Turkey pic.twitter.com/RjTU3BfSXZ — US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) October 8, 2017
On Friday, we reported that in a move that looks suspiciously like retaliation, Turkish police on Wednesday arrested a local employee of the US embassy in Istanbul and charged him with espionage and trying to overthrow the government. The arrest stemmed from the man’s alleged support for Erdogan’s scapegoat for “fill-in-the-blank“, US-based Cleric Fettulah Gulen, who was blamed for 2016’s fake coup attempt and pretty much everything else that’s wrong in Turkey. Predictably, the US government slammed the crackdown, with embassy officials telling the WSJ that ‘these allegations are wholly without merit” adding that ‘baseless, anonymous allegations against our employees undermine and devalue this longstanding partnership.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 8, 2017.