Qatar Seen Rejecting List of Severe Demands to End Gulf Crisis

Qatar’s foreign minister on June 19 said his country wouldn’t bargain away what it sees as its sovereign rights and called on the Saudi alliance to conduct negotiations in a ‘civilized way,’ after first lifting the blockade. He said Qataris were united behind their emir, and called Al-Jazeera and foreign policy as internal affairs not open to negotiation.
The boycotting nations demanded that Qatar stop all funding for individuals, groups or organizations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt, Bahrain, the U.S. and other countries, and hand over any individuals wanted in these countries.
Qatar gas wealth enabled it to develop foreign policies that came to irritate its neighbors. It backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and armed factions opposed by the U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia in Libya and Syria. Gas also paid for Al-Jazeera, which at various times has embarrassed or angered most Middle Eastern governments.
The channel has supported dissidents against Arab dictators. Over the years, it enraged Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian leaders who have often stopped its transmissions and kicked out its staff.
‘Qatar may not fully comply with the list, but it has to take these demands into consideration and finally make a move toward reviewing its foreign policy and the editorial line of the main media outlet, Al-Jazeera,’ Nader said.

This post was published at bloomberg

Inside Myanmar’s ghost town capital city, which is 4 times the size of London with a fraction of the population

The capital city of Myanmar, Naypyidaw, is 7,054 square kilometres in size, roughly four and a half times the size of London (1,569 square kilometres), according to The Independent.
But the city is a ghost town. Its population is only 924,608, compared to London’s 2016 estimate of 8.63 million.
The capital of Myanmar was moved from Yangon to Naypyitaw (which means Seat of the King) by the then-military regime in November 2005.
According to The Guardian, it is rumoured to have cost $4 billion (3.2 billion) to construct the city, with 20-lane highways and wide streets designed for a future of expansion. It has reliable electricity, golf courses, hotels, shopping malls, and restaurants and cafes with fast and free wi-fi, uncommon throughout the rest of the country.
However, despite billions in government investment, the city has struggled to attract Burmese locals or substantial numbers of tourists. Guardian reporters who visited the city in March 2015 said: “The vast highways are completely empty and there is a stillness to the air. Nothing moves.”

This post was published at Business Insider

White House Accuses Syria Of Planning Another Chemical Attack, Warns “Will Pay Heavy Price”

Less than three months after the US launched 49 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in early April, allegedly in retaliation for a chemical attack conducted by Assad forces, in an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, on Monday night the White House warned that the U. S. has ‘identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime’ in Syria and warned that Assad would ‘pay a heavy price’ if one took place.
Such an attack ‘would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,’ White House (outgoing) spokesman Sean Spicer added, noting the activity is ‘similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.’
‘As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,’ the White House added on Monday night.
According to AP, a non-governmental source with close ties to the White House said the administration had received intelligence that the Syrians were mixing precursor chemicals for a possible sarin gas attack in either the east of south of the country, where government troops and their proxies have faced recent setbacks.
Further quoted by AP, several State Department officials typically involved in coordinating such announcements said they were caught completely off guard by the warning, which didn’t appear to be discussed in advance with other national security agencies, perhaps an indication of just how powerful the Deep State has become under Trump. Typically, the State Department, the Pentagon and U. S. intelligence agencies would all be consulted before the White House issued a declaration sure to ricochet across foreign capitals.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 27, 2017.

Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Travel Ban

Donald Trump was vindicated by the Supreme Court regarding the dispute over the provisional entry ban for citizens from six countries. The Supreme Court of the United States overturned the provisional injunctions of subordinate authorities. Of course mainstream media is once again misrepresenting the decision. The New York Times wrote: ‘On Monday, the justices agreed to review both appellate decisions, but their unsigned opinion did not address the merits of those cases. ‘
The ‘unsigned opinion’ was Per Curiam meaning it was the UNANIMOUS decision of the entire court and this did not requite an opinion written by one Justice. This is a STAY to allow Trump to do what the travel ban was all about – a review. Such stays are typically Per Curiam when granted for the Supreme Court rarely grants such a stay. Here we have two lower courts interfering with the Executive Powers, for which there was absolutely NO historical precedent. If ISIS openly sent in 1,000 people to be terrorists, they would be able to freely enter all because the lower courts were playing politics rather than law.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jun 27, 2017.

McCabe’s Revenge: Circa Suggests Flynn Investigation Was Launched As Pure Retaliation

Andrew McCabe has long been a controversial figure at the FBI. His position as Deputy Director of the FBI came under intense scrutiny during the Clinton email investigation after it came to light that his wife, Jill McCabe, took nearly $500,000 from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to fund her Senate campaign. Of course, Terry McAuliffe is a long-time confidant of the Clinton family and was rumored as a potential running mate for Hillary. But sure, no reason to be wary the McCabe was put in charge of supervising that particular investigation.
But now, at least according to a new report from Circa, McCabe may have other conflicts, including a personal vendetta against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, that have not yet been disclosed. According to Circa, Flynn apparently enraged McCabe a few years back after he intervened on behalf of an FBI Special Agent, Robyn Gritz, who had accused McCabe and other top FBI officials of sexual discrimination.
The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.
Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.

Russian Submarine Test-Fires ICBM

The Russian Northern Fleet’s Project 955 underwater missile cruiser, aka submarine, Yuri Dolgoruky has successfully test-fired a Bulava missile from the Barents Sea and hit all the designated targets at the Kura practice range in Kamchatka, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
“The Project 955 Borey-class underwater missile cruiser Yuri Dolgoruky has made a successful launch of a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile from the designated area of the Barents Sea towards the Kura practice range in Kamchatka. The launch was made from the submerged position in compliance with a combat training plan,” the Defense Ministry said.
It is unclear if the Russian launch was in response to any recent US or NATO drills: at the end of May, the Pentagon conducted its first successful test interception of a simulated ICBM attack, modeling a possible escalation in hostilities with North Korea.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.

Three CNN Employees ‘Resign’ Over ‘Russia Collusion’ Fake News Retraction

.@CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on. — Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) June 24, 2017

A few days ago we noted that CNN was forced to retract one of their bombshell ‘Russian collusion’ stories when it was apparently revealed that the whole thing was nothing more than their latest, anonymously-sourced fake news debacle. Like most CNN stories on the topic, this one carried a salacious title (“Congress was investigating a Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials”) which implied some nefarious plot by the Trump administration to stage a coup in the United States.
Within 36 hours, however, CNN was forced to retract the story and issue an apology to Anthony Scaramucci (presumably for the whole libel thing).

That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.
Now, according to a new report from the Washington Post, the fake story has resulted in the ‘resignation’ of three CNN ‘journalists, including the Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas Frank
Now for the consequences. CNN announced on Monday afternoon that three network officials are leaving their jobs over the incident: Frank, the reporter on the story; Eric Lichtblau, a recent CNN addition from the New York Times who edited the piece; and Lex Haris, the executive editor of ‘CNN Investigates.’ The moves follow an investigation carried out by CNN executives over the weekend, with the conclusion that longstanding network procedures for publishing stories weren’t properly followed. ‘There was a significant breakdown in process,’ says a CNN source. ‘There were editorial checks and balances within the organization that weren’t met.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.

The Federal Government Owns 61 Percent Of Idaho, 64 Percent Of Utah And 84 Percent Of Nevada

Did you know that the federal government owns 28 percent of all land in the United States? Today, the feds control approximately 640 million acres of land, and after decades of very poor management, many are calling on the states to take a larger role. This is particularly true in the 11 western states where the federal government collectively owns 47 percent of all land. East of the Mississippi River, the feds only own 4 percent of all land, and there is no reason for such a disparity to exist. In Connecticut and Iowa, the federal government only owns 0.3 percent of all land. Such an arrangement seems to work very well for those states, and so why can’t we dramatically reduce federal land ownership in the western states as well?
Of course the federal government will always need a very small amount of land for certain national purposes, and nobody is disputing that. According to the Heritage Foundation, the following are the primary purposes that federal land is being used for…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on June 26th, 2017.

Airbnb Just Made Itself Even More Unpopular in Barcelona

Organized criminals from Russia are subletting apartments to tourists, as locals struggle with soaring rents.
Relations between the ultimate disruptor of global tourism, Airbnb, and Barcelona City Council, just took another turn for the worse following news that organized criminals from Russia are making massive profits by subletting apartments in Barcelona to tourists through the online site.
For the San Francisco-based company, any further damage to its Barcelona market could be very costly. With over 23,000 registered dwellings, the city is far and away the most important Spanish destination for the platform’s users and the sixth biggest in the world, behind Paris (1), London (2), New York (3), Rio (4) and Los Angeles (5), five cities that are significantly larger than Barcelona.
Last year the council slapped the company with a 30,000 fine for advertising lodgings that did not have permits to host tourists. The fine was later annulled by court order on the grounds that ‘sharing economy’ regulation is currently in a legal vacuum. That hasn’t stopped the Council from imposing a 20-fold hike in the maximum fine that can be levied on home rental sites, to 600,000.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones – Jun 26, 2017.

Trump Responds: “Unanimous Supreme Court Decision A Clear Victory For Our National Security”

pic.twitter.com/MW1ZddE7CZ
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 26, 2017

Many have been waiting with bated breath all morning for Trump’s response on the Supreme Court’s decision regarding his travel ban. While we expected that response would come in the form of a snarky tweet, it has unfortunately been revealed via a more carefully crafted official statement.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.

Report: Syrian Government Not Responsible for Alleged Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack

Early on the morning of April 7, American warships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime. But in a report published on Sunday at the German newspaper Die Welt, veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh throws cold water on the claim of Syrian culpability, exposing yet another instance of military action based on flawed – or in this case, entirely nonexistent – intelligence.
Russian Intelligence and the April 4 Strike
On April 4 at about 6:55 a.m., Syrian time, the Syrian government carried out an airstrike on a two-story cinder block building determined by Russian intelligence to be a rebel command center, where commanders of the Syrian opposition’s most radical Islamist factions frequently met. The strike killed up to four jihadist leaders, according to an intelligence estimate.
Hersh sets the scene:
The Syrian target at Khan Sheikhoun […] was depicted as a two-story cinder-block building in the northern part of town. Russian intelligence, which is shared when necessary with Syria and the U. S. as part of their joint fight against jihadist groups, had established that a high-level meeting of jihadist leaders was to take place in the building, including representatives of Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida-affiliated group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on June 26, 2017.

Medieval Times in the Modern Middle East

If geopolitics studies how nations behave, then the nation is singularly important. Nation-states are the defining feature of the modern political era. They give people a collective identity and a pride of place… even when their borders are artificially drawn, as they were in the Middle East.
Constantly in conflict with the notion of nationalism, especially in such a volatile region, are transnational issues. These are issues like religion and ethnicity that cannot be contained by a country’s borders. Arab nation-states are now failing in the Middle East, and though their failure is primarily due to their governments’ inability to create viable political economies, transnational issues – especially the competition between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam, as well as the struggle within the Sunni Arab realm – are expediting the process.
The Failure of Pan-Arabism
Transnational issues have long bedeviled the countries of the modern Middle East. Major Arab states like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq began to flirt with pan-Arabism – a secular, left-leaning ideology that sought political unity of the Arab world – not long after they were founded. It threatened entrenched powers, particularly Arab monarchies like Saudi Arabia. But for an ideal that promoted unity, pan-Arabism was a notably fractured movement, with claims of leadership coming from the Baath party in Syria and Iraq to Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. Whichever form it took, it advocated a kind of nationalism that defied the logic of the nation-state.
Pan-Arab nationalism failed because it couldn’t replace traditional nationalism and because it advocated something that had never existed in history. But the countries that rejected it never really developed into viable political entities. Autocracies and artificial, state-sponsored secularism kept them fragile, held together mostly by the coercion of state security forces.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on JUNE 26, 2017.

Justice Thomas Calls Out The Supreme Court For Not Believing In The Second Amendment

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had stern words for his colleagues when the Court declined to hear a case challenging California’s handgun laws, saying that the jurists do not understand the importance of self-defense.
The case, supported by the National Rifle Association, involves San Diego resident Edward Peruta, who challenged his county’s refusal to grant him permission to carry a concealed firearm outside of his home.
‘For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous,’ Thomas wrote after most members of the court declined to hear the California case.
‘But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it,’ Thomas said.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on June 26, 2017.