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An Open Letter to Australia’s Politicians in Opposition to the Proposed Metadata Retention Laws March 17, 2015 – Written by: Rob Marsh

An Open Letter to Australia’s Politicians in Opposition to the Proposed Metadata Retention Laws

I recently wrote a rather long article on the potential dangers of new metadata retention laws to the fabric of our society and the functioning of our democracy. There is no issue I feel more passionate about in our society today, as it affects literally every one of us. We are witnessing the creation of the greatest weapon of oppression in the history of man, to quote Edward Snowden, and as individuals, citizens of a democracy, and human beings, we owe it to ourselves and each other to do what little we can to stall and hopefully stop this legislation from passing into law.

To that end, I’ve prepared an open letter to the politicians of this country outlining the failings of the legislation and other relevant information around metadata collection and the relation thereof to human rights.

Please send this to as many members of parliament as you can, and please share this template on your social media walls and any political groups you may be a part of. The more people that know that this is happening and that recognise that they are personally implicated in it, the more chance we have of stopping this draconian imposition on the freedoms of all Australians, rich and poor, powerless and powerful, male and female, old and young.

With your help, I sincerely believe we can make a positive difference.



An Open Letter to the Politicians of Australia on the Potential Adverse Effects of Proposed Metadata Retention Legislation on Human Rights and the Functioning of Our Democracy

This letter contains many references to the Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation, where there is a number or text enclosed in brackets like so: (5.17), refer to the appropriate section of the report.

[Politician’s name],

I am writing to you to express my deep and sincere concern with regards to the proposed Metadata Retention legislation that the government wishes to pass by the 27th of March 2015.

This legislation represents, contrary to the claims of those with vested interests in seeing the legislation pass, a grave threat to the right to privacy, freedom of speech and association that is fundamental to a well-functioning democracy.

You may not be aware of what the legislation addresses, or what the “telecommunications data” it refers to actually entails.

Nicola Roxon, in a statement to the Attorney General, describes telecommunications data as: “Telecommunications data is information about the process of communication, as distinct from its content. It includes information about the identity of the sending and receiving parties and related subscriber details, account identifying information collected by the telecommunications carrier or ISP to establish the account, and information such as the time and date of the communication, its duration, location and type of communication. (5.7)

The proposed legislation, based on the definitions above, would give the Australian government unprecedented access to nearly every aspect of the online activity of it’s citizens, and the ability to infer a disturbingly accurate “pattern of life” from the collected data.

For example, you may have your cellphone’s GPS services enabled to use Google Maps. That data, in conjunction with your phone records and timestamps on the above data could clue in a security agency as to your most likely whereabouts on any given day. This poses an enormous risk to freedom of the press, as governments could use these capabilities to track journalists and their sources to frequented meeting places, limiting concerned parties’ abilities to bring sensitive information to the public for democratic review.

“The database will contain every page they accessed – every article they’ve read on a newspaper site, any online political activity, any purchases on ebay, books bought from amazon, Facebook pages visited etc.” – Ian Quick

In the words of former NSA/CIA Director Michael Hayden:

“We kill people based on metadata.”

Fears about the above stated powers and the implications thereof have been echoed by several EU countries.

The Romanian Court, with regards to local metadata retention, held that a “continuous legal obligation” to retain all traffic data for six months was incompatible with the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. (5.26)

In Germany, the Constitutional Court described metadata retention as a “serious restriction of the right to privacy” and stated that a “retention period of six months [was] at the upper limit of what should be considered proportionate”. (5.27)

The Czech Constitutional Court, in analogous statements, described misgivings about the potential abuses of these powers: “Individual citizens had insufficient guarantees against possible abuses of power by public authorities.” (5.28)

The EU Court of Justice found that the 2006 European Data Retention Directive violated citizens “fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data”.

With such strident international condemnation, it seems to go without saying that any committee responsible for review of similar legislation would be given express access to details of the proposed changes and sufficient resources to complete a sincere and detailed examination of the material. Oddly enough, these criteria were not met: “Having commenced the inquiry at the beginning of July 2012, the Committee was asked to report if at all possible by the end of the calendar year. This afforded the Committee a highly compressed and unachievable time frame of less than six months to examine what is an extensive list of potential reforms, some of which are far reaching.” (Introduction, Page 3)

It seems that the government also failed to provide the committee with the relevant draft legislation, leaving those involved to rely on speculation and inference rather than an appraisal of the raw data: “The Government sought the Committee’s views on a mandatory data retention regime. The Committee did not have access to draft legislation. Furthermore, the inadequate description of data retention in the terms of reference and discussion paper also impaired both the public discussion and the Committee’s consideration of the data retention issue.” (1.29)

The question of how efficacious metadata retention is in solving and preventing crime is a raging debate.

Electronic Freedom Australia noted that it was “highly questionable” whether data retention would aid in the investigation of terrorism, organised crime or other serious illegal activities:

“It is worth noting that determined criminals will have little difficulty disguising or anonymising their communications. There are many relatively simple and effective tools available that allow for the protection of communications from surveillance.” (5.167)

This is an excellent point. The proposed legislation is no secret. Those in the criminal world will have no doubt heard of the potential for their activities to be monitored and have likely already taken steps to anonymise their online behaviour. Even in the event that the scope of the metadata retention reforms is so broad that it includes tools for opening encrypted chats and messaging services, it is not unlikely that tech savvy individuals on the wrong side of the law will be developing tools to combat this unwanted intrusion, rendering the legislation effectively useless in dealing with its raison d’être: combating terrorism and serious crime.

An unintended consequence of the introduction of metadata retention could be the opposite of what it is designed to achieve: a progressive opacification of the internet, with more and more users turning to encrypted browsing and communication, thereby shrinking the usable pool of data.

“Why do we imagine that the criminals of the greatest concern to our security agencies will not be able to use any of numerous available means to anonymise their communications or indeed choose new services that are not captured by legislated data retention rules?”

This quote from Communications Minister Macolm Turnbull, in addition to his recently revealed use of the messaging app Wickr, which provides a platform for anyone to send and receive self-deleting encrypted messages, seems to indicate that the reforms are likely to bring about little change in the positive ability of law enforcement agencies to stop criminal activity.

Add to this comments made by Blueprints for Free Speech, indicating that “there is no evidence to suggest data retention would assist with the prevention of crime or terrorism. A 2011 study of Germany’s Data Retention Directive found it had no impact on either the effectiveness of criminal investigation or the crime rate. Further, the study specifically found that countries without data retention laws are not more vulnerable to crime.”

Make no bones about it, metadata retention is mass surveillance. It can be used to form a dataset, a pattern of life indicating your movements, interests, affiliations and beliefs. You will be paying for this intrusion of privacy through rises in service bills, a kind of “tele screen tax” if you will. You will be at a higher risk of identity theft through the creation of ‘honeypots’ of data, irresistible to organised criminals and foreign actors. Your basic rights to privacy, to freedom of speech, to live as a dignified human person, are being infringed upon in ways that do not preclude a broadening of the scope of these abuses.

Even the supporters of the legislation don’t buy into their own rhetoric, with members of the Liberal party using Wickr on a daily basis, showing the world that privacy is of the utmost importance even to those who adamantly maintain that it isn’t.

With unanimous condemnation from leading human rights groups around the world, with a public backlash on a scale almost never witnessed, with the potential for so much to go horribly wrong, we simply must put a stop to this.

Tony Abbott has made statements that he wants a parliamentary inquiry into the legislation to be scrapped. I think it’s our responsibility as members of our democracy to ask why anyone would want a piece of legislation with so many potential avenues for abuse to pass without appropriate scrutiny.

I implore you, with the utmost sincerity and urgency, to do whatever is within your power to oppose this legislation at the very least until it is put before an independent NGO and reviewed in depth, with all the aspects of the legislation made available for public review and scrutiny.

Thank you for your time and your consideration, I hope that we, together, can make history and bring our society forward into an age of social egalitarianism, where the ideals of freedom of speech and thought, freedom of association and transparency of government are enshrined as they once were, as the foundations of a working democracy.

Sincerely,

______

For more information on the legislation you can refer to the Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation, which you can find here: http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=pjcis/nsl2012/report.htm

An independent summary/opinion piece on the legislation can be found here: https://wideeyedandhopefullywild.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/metadata-and-you/

——

For the sender of this email: you can find the contact addresses of your parliamentarians at these links:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members

http://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/03%20Senators%20and%20Members/32%20Members/Lists/MemList.pdf

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Russia, not America, is building a compassionate civilization and as a nation has retained her humanity – By Valeria Z. Nollan (Russia Insider)

Russia

In a speech on 3 May 2017 to the employees of the U.S. Department of State, Sec. of State Rex Tillerson made a statement that might surprise observers of the U.S.’s military actions abroad since the 1960s:

Now, I think it’s important to also remember that guiding all of our foreign policy actions are our fundamental values: our values around freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated. Those are our values.(1)

Tillerson’s words were no doubt well-intentioned, but in uttering them he ignored the troubled socio-political history of the country whose government he represents.

The question arises: Are the above-mentioned values reserved only for Anglo-Saxon white-skinned people, and not for the people of color in the Middle East, Asia, and other predominantly non-white parts of the world? Starting from the post-World War II period, when that cataclysm produced a world order favoring the United States, this superpower’s values were increasingly subsumed by its political interests. It is a sad fact that even before the 1950s most of the U.S.’s history manifests a will to subjugate peoples whose traditions or very existence stood in the way of American expansion. The tragedies of the Native American tribes, Cuba, and Puerto Rico provide examples of this mindset. Closer to the present time, the U.S.’s military interventions in El Salvador, Guatemala, Vietnam, and Honduras continue a foreign policy gone awry. So much for the practicing of the values “around freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated.”

Russian people

Russians marching to commemorate their relatives who died in WW2 – the phenomenon is called the ‘Immortal Regiment’

More recently, the U.S.’s and its European allies’ regime change projects in the Middle East and Ukraine have brought about millions of deaths and the wholesale destruction of the infrastructures of those parts of the world. Regime change and the politics of oil and natural gas pipelines, rather than the introduction of freedom, have been the real drivers behind these projects. It did not and does not matter to American elites that the peoples of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine are in far worse straits now than before their countries were destabilized. What matters is that the ensuing chaos and privatization of resources and industries create conditions for currency speculation and plunder by oligarchs and politically-connected actors eager to cash in on other peoples’ misfortune. The U.S.’s stated project to dominate all parts of the world pushes aside the values of compassion for the Other and the accompanying sensibility of empathy-the intellectual and emotional attempt to place oneself in the Other’s position, to proverbially walk a mile in the Other’s shoes.

Can it be that the real decision makers steering the U.S. government-the neo-conservatives and their allies on Wall Street-have become so jaded, or distant, or uncaring concerning the carnage taking place in Yemen alone-an enormous humanitarian disaster that has spawned mass starvation, cholera, and other forms of human suffering–that such values as compassion no longer matter? Have these individuals ever stopped, even for a moment, to imagine the appalling circumstances of famine and preventable disease? Hunger is surely one of the worst ways to die, but to helplessly stand by and witness the slow, excruciating deaths by hunger of members of one’s family is far worse. Where is the value of compassion, of “the way people are treated”? How on earth can the U.S. Congress justify more arms sales to Saudi Arabia, when each member of that body knows that those weapons will be used against Yemen, one of the poorest nations on earth whose people have never done anything to hurt the United States? (2) Where is the courage among members of Congress to take a stand against such unethical decisions? How do the U.S.’s values support this genocide?

By contrast, compassion is actually a national value of Russia: this attitude derives richly from Russia’s Orthodox Christian theology of humility, asceticism, and brotherly love. Spirituality in general in Russia, expressed as well by her other heritage religions of Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism, influences everyday life in ways connected with compassion and empathy: mysticism with its understanding of the sacred, kindness to all living creatures, and almsgiving to the less fortunate all play a role in how the citizens of the Russian Federation interact with each other. These observations do not amount to idealizing Russian culture, but rather recognize spirituality as an essential feature that has existed on Russian soil for over one thousand years-and which was itself inherited from Christian Greece through the Eastern Roman Empire with its center at Constantinople. Among Russians a mystical, metaphysical acknowledgment of some higher, non-human-made system of values pervades their thoughts and actions.

Russia’s compassion and empathy derive not only from her spirituality, however. Even during the approximately seventy-year period of communist rule (1917-1987), the concept of the “collective” as a group of close-knit members of a specific workplace included more than how a “network” of colleagues is understood in the U.S.(3) In the Soviet collective its members supported each other not only emotionally, but also economically: if, for example, butter was available at a local store, one member would stand in line and bring back enough for the others. Because Russian culture by tradition is a spiritual and communal one, it follows that its citizens are guided by ethical and moral values that focus on each individual, but understand that individual as functioning within the whole of society. In contrast to many Americans, Russians do not self-centeredly promote themselves at the expense of everyone else, nor do they elevate the incessant acquisition of material things as the surest path to inner happiness.

It is well-known to anyone studying Russian and American social history that Russian community organization originated in the village (a communal structure), while American communities developed out of the family farm (an individual unit). In the Orthodox Christian East the individual views him- / herself in relative terms, as part of the collective whose needs are on the same level as the individual’s own. In the Protestant West the individual elevates his / her own needs as an absolute, in the spirit of fulfilling the self, of being the “self-made man” (as the expression goes), of being materially rich as the embodiment of the American Dream. Put more bluntly, while Orthodox Christianity emphasizes humility and moderation, Protestantism (especially of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) foregrounds the values of the successful capitalist businessman-optimism, self-confidence, and prosperity. It stands to reason that the individual within the collective has a more unmediated access to compassion and empathy-for the Other is ever-present in the group. The individual within him- / herself focuses first on the self, and later on those outside that self.

The American pioneering spirit and culture of individualism, to be sure, possess many appealing characteristics, including strength of will and resourcefulness. However, over time and particularly in the late twentieth century the pioneering, conquering spirit darkly metamorphosed into that of the grasping, exceptional American and exceptional nation. Attentiveness to the desires of the self became the individual’s raison d’être, and the aggregate of individuals striving for satisfaction broke up into even more separate human beings whose separate wills clashed with each other. Compassion and empathy had no room in these clashes, for the Other remained invisible. By the early twenty-first century, particularly among Republicans disaffected by the rise of Bill Clinton, “another spirit, more troubled and less humble” emerged, as Godfrey Hodgson elaborates in his The Myth of American Exceptionalism:

Their sharpest barbs were directed at the powerless. Their shibboleths were loyalty to corporate America, demonization of elected government, a libertarianism that focused especially on the abolition of taxes, indifference to the poor, and often a professed contempt for idealism.(4)

On the individual level the drive for money and self-sufficiency sidelined sustained care for others. Volunteerism, a tangible extension of compassion, as of September, 2014 dropped to a ten-year low in the U.S.(5) On the state level the U.S. government privileged tax breaks for the wealthy one per cent, but failed to provide viable funding for health care, education, and the infrastructure of America’s cities for the remaining ninety-nine per cent.

During the years of Barack Obama’s presidency the middle class and small businesses were hollowed out. As the family farm gave way to corporate factory farms, it became harder for individuals to be “self-made” or self-sufficient. Opportunities for individuals to show compassion for the livestock they raised disappeared as corporations invented new ways to exploit the animals for profit-even if it meant appalling confinement and torture of those sentient beings. And all this does not even take into account the billions of dollars spent on the perpetuation of the U.S.’s war machine for profit.

The U.S. needs to restore to itself an attitude of compassion and empathy, for as a nation it has lost its way and its people cannot identify a cluster of values that align with the nation’s geopolitical behavior. Compassion and empathy for the Other can serve as foundations for core values, if they are accompanied by humility and honest self-awareness. Any U.S. policymaker possessing a conscience and the capacity for change can benefit from the spiritual wisdom of Russian Orthodox Elder Zosima in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1881): “Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things . . . Every day and every hour, every minute, walk round yourself and watch yourself, and see that your image is a seemly one.”(6) This inner orientation is neither naïve not unrealistic, for a humble awareness of one’s own failings, along with an openness towards others, are imperatives for peacemaking in today’s international climate of hardheartedness and nuclear posturing.

Does it say something about the U.S.’s national values when, after the devastation visited upon New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the government refused an offer from Cuba to send medical personnel to that city to help treat the ill and wounded?

Does it say something about the U.S.’s national values when, after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, the island’s people had to fend for themselves for over two weeks in a shocking disregard for human life? Once again, the Cuban government offered to send electricians and engineers to its neighbor, but the U.S. refused this act of generosity. If U.S. decision makers were guided by compassion and knowledge about Cuba’s practices of offering help to Latin American countries, they would appreciate that Cuba with its highly-trained doctors and nurses could alleviate suffering-and that Cuban humanitarian assistance is given without ideological strings attached.

Does it say something about Russia’s national values when, despite the relentless demonizing in Canada of Russia’s president and its culture, Russia offered firefighting help and expertise to that northern country in 2016 to aid in managing the wildfires raging in Alberta? Although Russia was the first country to offer aid in this Canadian disaster, the aid was turned down-undoubtedly because Ottawa placed its prejudices against the Russians and its political alliance with the U.S. over the desperate needs of the Canadian people. Does this mean that the Russian government manifested compassion and empathy for the Other, while the Canadian government acted against the interests of its own?

Yes, it does. And Russia acted in a spirit of forgiveness, too, for all the undeserved humiliation and slights.

If the U.S.’s national values and interests were rooted in a genuine respect for humanity, its foreign policies-rather than promoting invasion and regime change-would promote compassion and empathy. If this were the case, the U.S. would join Russia’s efforts in de-mining parts of Syria and rebuilding the cultural treasure of Palmyra, rather than occupying the northeastern part of the country in order to control the oil fields there. If the U.S. were to abandon its ethno-centrism and militarism, it would be more closely aligned with its values, rather than diverging from them.

Saving the planet is still possible, but it will come through Russia’s model, with her initiatives for peace in Astana and Sochi, and on the Korean peninsula. And because Russia as a nation has retained her humanity.

(1) https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/05/270620.htm

(2) http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/20/why-are-we-helping-saudi-arabia-destroy-yemen/

(3) I thank culturologist A.V. Nabirukhina of St. Petersburg State University of Economics for her insights into this distinction.

(4) Godfrey Hodgson, The Myth of American Exceptionalism (Yale UP, 2009), 177-178.

(5) https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/02/26/volunteering-hits-lowest-rate-in-more-than-10-years

(6) Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, trans. Constance Garnett (NY: Norton, 1976), 298.

Valeria Z. Nollan is a regular contributor to Russia Insider. She is professor emerita of Russian studies at Rhodes College. She was born in Hamburg, West Germany; she and her parents were Russian refugees displaced by World War II. Her books and articles on Russian literature, religion, and nationalism have made her an internationally-recognized authority on topics relating to modern Russia. She recently completed a new biography of Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Comment: America needs desperately a leader like President Putin, a true statesman for his people and countries around the globe.

The Great Degeneration of the West: Where Do Wrong Decisions Lead? – By Sofia Pale

 

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The processes taking place in the US and the European countries over the past 30 years have led to the economic, cultural and ideological decline of the West. It is now being pushed back by the central powers of the East, more precisely, China, which possesses great influence in Southeast Asia, and Russia, which unifies the Eurasian areas.

And while today, new political, social and economic structures are being created in Russia and China to improve public administration and living standards, Western powers proudly believe that they have long since formed an ideal system of government that can ensure the well-being of society within the framework of the notorious Western democracy.

Then how does one explain the evident economic downturn and the decline in the efficiency of state institutions, the financial speculation and excessive regulation, the reduction of private initiative in all spheres and the deterioration of the Western education system? That said, for many leading Western countries, enormous national debt remains a foremost concern as it cannot be paid off even by several decades of hard work of entire country populations.

All these processes were described in detail by one of the most influential Western historians of the XXI century, Niall Ferguson, in his book “The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die”, published in 2014. According to him, a great economic collapse awaits the yet unborn future generations, who will have to pay the loans of their fathers and grandfathers. In the words of the author, “The Great Recession is merely a symptom of a more profound Great Degeneration.”

The world’s leading media have recently been reporting the decline of economic, social and political efficiency in the US and Europe. For instance, famous economist and publicist Paul Krugman analyses the failures of President Donald Trump’s domestic and foreign policy. And there are many. The US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Agreement on Climate evoked a negative international response. Trump’s battle with immigrants left almost 1 million people unemployed (more precisely, drove them into the underground economy, depriving the country of tax revenues). The $100 billion-plus arms deals have brought a certain amount of profit to the US, yet did it no honor. The deals were struck with Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea, the latter ready to take up arms due to tense relations with the DPRK, which Trump himself had exacerbated.

With Trump’s efforts, the US economy grew by 3% during the course of 2017, but the country’s annual expenditures still exceed revenues. This isn’t surprising, considering what the profits are spent on. For example, in September 2017, the US Senate approved an unprecedented military budget of $ 700 billion, which is $100 higher than last year’s. This figure is worth about 40% of world military expenditures and is equal to the sum of the defense budgets of almost 14 leading world powers, making America the number one military power. Yet while the US government increases its military budget, at the same time, it reduces social welfare payments for its citizens (this speaks of Trump’s desire to cancel Obamacare’s health insurance, Medicaid and a number of other benefits for the poor).

On the one hand, Trump tries to create jobs in America, but does so through a policy of protectionism which negatively affects world trade in general. On the other hand, in September 2017, the US president signed a bill raising the federal borrowing limit, which is already $ 20 trillion and is the highest in the history of mankind.

Then again, the second largest public debt in the world was accumulated by the countries of the EU and is at $ 18 trillion. This stems from the so-called fifth enlargement of the EU in 2004 through the accession of the following economically weak countries: The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta. Then, in 2008, the Great Recession originated in the US and spread worldwide. As a result, “The weakest economies—Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland—faced staggering public debt, anemic growth, and high unemployment, but they did not have the monetary policy tools at their disposal that come from controlling your own currency,” Hillary Clinton wrote in her book, Hard Choices, published in 2014.(p. 1378-9) She was also “worried that too much austerity in Europe would slow growth even further, making it harder for [these countries] and the rest of the world to climb out of the hole.” Nevertheless, she did not criticize the policy of President Barack Obama who “responded to the recession by pushing an aggressive investment program through Congress to get growth going again, while working to reduce the national debt over the long term.”

However, it is quite obvious that the austerity policy of the EU and the US policy of raising national debt to stimulate the economy both fail to yield positive results.

The errors of the West can easily be examined with the help of the analysis of the relations between the EU and Great Britain in 2004-2007. Back then, Britain’s public debt was about 40% of GDP, and reached almost 90% of GDP in 2017. An attempt to save the sinking economy led London to a difficult decision to follow through with Brexit in 2016-2017. This situation arose due to the fact that, after the fifth enlargement of the EU, Brussels decided to redistribute resources between the rich and the poor countries. As a result, since 2011, the UK’s national industry has all but collapsed. As a commenter on the article in the magazine The Sun pointed out in June 2016, the UK had transferred almost all of its production to Poland (Cadbury), Slovakia (Jaguar Land Rover), Spain (Ajax), Malaysia (Dyson), Turkey (Ford Transit) and other countries. Following this, the UK economy became largely dependent on the growth of property prices due to mass purchases of housing by immigrants; over the past eight years, prices have risen by 50%. In the sphere of education, prices have also increased due to the heightened demand from foreign students. Thus, many British citizens can no longer afford to buy housing or pay for their children’s higher education. In addition to everything, in 2017, the national debt of Great Britain hit a record $ 7 trillion.

Then again, London, having made such mistakes, expects to work more closely with the United States after Brexit. However, considering that the US dollar will lose its position to the Chinese yuan in the world market by at least 30% in the near future, this cooperation is unlikely to fulfil the hopes of the UK to improve its economy.

Therefore, we can conclude that the economic, political and ideological systems of the West are currently in crisis. The growth of national debts along with the increase of the Gini coefficient (the gap between the rich and poor segments of society) indicates the need for fundamental reforms in the above-mentioned spheres. Otherwise, the great achievements of the West, so highly valued in the past, will soon lose their relevance and give way to new structural transformations coming from the East.

Sofia Pale, PhD, Research Fellow of the Center for South-East Asia, Australia and Oceania of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine – “New Eastern Outlook.
https://journal-neo.org/2017/11/04/the-great-degeneration-of-the-west-where-do-wrong-decisions-lead/

Israeli-Saudi Clash with Iran on Syrian Soil is Pretty Much Inevitable – By Alexander Orlov

 

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As was expected, once Moscow and Washington started disputing who attained victory over ISIS in Syria, the militants of this terrorist organization decided that they would need to demonstrate that it’s too early to write them off completely. Especially since the last 25,000 of its fighters vanished in the desert, after being stationed for a considerable period of time in eastern and southern parts of the Syrian Arab Republic.

It turned out that all of those predictions were accurate, as Syrian media sources have just reported that ISIS launched a massive assault in the area of Abu Kamal, that had allegedly been liberated more than a month ago. To make the matters worse, the above mentioned Abu Kamal is under control of radical militants, with only western outskirts of the city still being defended by the local Shia militia, while the rest of the city remains to be occupied by militants. For sure, this latest offensive is relatively insignificant, but it creates an escape corridor to the deserted areas of Syria which are not controlled by local Shia militia groups and the Syrian army. The offensive has already resulted in a death of toll of over a hundred Syrians, both military and civilian. Additionally, reports state that ISIS has taken prisoners, that are usually being routinely execute after short interrogations, conducted by ISIS field commanders. While this is difficult to classify this course of action as guerrilla warfare, since the engagements continue to remain relatively regular while radical militants would often employ armored vehicles and artillery to get an upper hand on the field of battle. The problem is that the Shia militia that is trying to contain ISIS units enjoys virtually no air support, as there’s been a single report about an raid in this area conducted by long-range bombers. Presumably, those were Russia’s military plains trying to help the self-defense units out. Moreover, while visiting the Russian Khmeimim air base in Syria, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin voiced a warning that Russia’s air corps may return in full force in Syria should the situation demand such an involvement.

At the same time, we’re observing an increase in military activities near Syria’s southern border with Israel and Jordan. After all, this is the region where the majority of the so-called Free Syrian Army detachments were deployed and they have no intension of surrendering their weapons as they are more than eager to carry on the armed struggle against Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. One can observe both an increase in the number of these detachments, but their preparation steps aimed at facilitating military operations as well. But that’s hardly surprising, as the Arab League would issue an ultimatum back in 2016 to all those who support Damascus, that was supported by a large-scale military exercise North Thunder. In in the absence of any possibility to attain their goals through the use of proxy forces, Israel and Saudi Arabia are preparing an invasion of Syria in a bid to counter the Hezbollah, along with Iran’s proxy and regular forces. The zone that those forces control serves as a source of constant concern of the anti-Iranian coalition, no matter even in spite of the fact that the majority of these lands are deserted. Meanwhile, preparation for a large-scale offensive continue in Jordan, with large amount of the FSA cannon fodder concentrated right across the border with Syria. Tel-Aviv and Riyadh would be supporting the push, while the US would be eager to provide close air support and stage an offensive of the Kurdish SDF forces in eastern Syria.

As a matter of fact, Washington is keen to carry on the war against the legitimate Syrian government, as it’s become clear from the signals coming from Washington. Just yesterday a number of media sources would cite unnamed US officials, who confined that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can make a statement that Washington won’t tolerate Bashar al-Assad as the head of the Syrian state. For sure, we’ve heard such statements before, however it would manifest yet another change of hearts in Washington, since the US had previously agreed with the possibility of preserving the existing balance of powers in Syria, at least during the course of the transition period. Formally, the Secretary of State can explain the return to the previous position by the failure of the Geneva talks, that Assad chose to ignore, but there is a more fundamental factor: Washington does not need Moscow to finish the dangerous mission of finishing ISIS off, and since Russia withdraws its forces from Syria there’s no need to take its interests into account anymore. However, Washington couldn’t resist the temptation of voicing doubts about the actual withdrawal of Russian troops, by arguing that there’s going to be some sort of rotation instead. For example, Russia’s military police detachments returned to Dagestan yesterday, but no more that a week ago military police detachments from Ingushetia arrived to Syria. But Russia’s withdrawal implies that there’s not just going to be a gradual reduction of ground personnel, but a reduction in the number of aircraft deployed in Syria. And in the absence of close air support, as the events in the Abu Kamal have shown, militants are once again capable to launch offensive operations.

SD1

Should Russia’s military planes start leaving Syria, which is pretty much impossible to conceal, then Assad’s position will start deteriorating rapidly. In spite of the presence of a massive Shia contingent of pro-Iranian militants, the Hezbollah and the regular Iranian forces in Syria, with a total number of such troops reaching 80 thousand people, they were only able to stall the situation with the extensive amount of support provided by Russia’s Air Forces. Without this support, we are bound to relive the September 2015 scenario. All of these considerations have allowed Washington to return to their its previous position about the fate of Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, the United States has no plans of ever withdrawing its forces from Syria, and it is possible that the Pentagon will further increase the number of troops deployed in Syria. So what sense is there for Washington to put up with somebody when they were planing to overthrow that person anyway? So things are starting to look grim for Assad again, not only in the south, but also in the region of Damascus. According to Syrian sources, terrorists launched yet another offensive in the vicinity of Damscus, seizing a number of positions.

Moreover, Washington has once again stated that it’s going to review the Crimean discussion again, although Moscow has made it quite clear that it’s not going to negotiate the issue in any way. The brief warming between the US and Russia in Syria is now turning into an increasingly tough confrontation. And then there is the issue with Jerusalem because of Trump’s decision, the aggravation of the situation in Yemen. This has temporarily postponed the Saudi-Israeli plans to strike at the positions of the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and Iranian troops in Syria, but the plan itself hasn’t gone anywhere.

It’s curious that the Egyptian newspaper Ash-Sharq released details about secret agreements between Israel and Saudi Arabia. According to these reports, Saudi Arabia offered to invade Syria and isolate its southern part, that is, the region of the Golan Heights. The Ash-Sharq notes that according to the documents it has at its disposal, Saudi Arabia also called on the “Israeli regime” to block the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, thus preventing Palestinians from any moves and stopping the support that some Arab countries have been providing to them.

As for Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, it is obvious that the pro-Saudi Egypt together with Riyadh play a double game on the side of the US and Israel. There’s been announcements that Saudi Arabia was prepared to sell its recognition of Israeli Jerusalem, conceding to the proposals put forward by Donald Trump. As the Egyptian press staged a diversion of Trump’s secret plan for resolving the Palestinian issue by redrawing the border territories of Israel and Egypt. According to these plans, the overpopulated sector of the Gaza was proposed to be increased at the expense of 450 miles of Egyptian territory being given to Palestinians, which in return must have received the Israeli Negev desert. As for the Palestinians, they must have surrendered 12% of their territories in the West Bank, a part of the so-called area C.

Thus, the outrage we’re seeing the Arab media over Trump’s decision is nothing but a smoke screen that must hide what is really happening in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. In fact, by his recent “scandalous” statement, Donald Trump has addressed yet another problem created by America’s Deep State. By launching the ISIS project the globalists drew attention away from the Arab-Israeli issue, while Palestinians were still being squeezed out of Israel. Now, when ISIS is defeated in Syria, the problem of “two states for two peoples” has once again been brought to the front pages of the international media. Trump’s return to the Palestinian-Israeli settlement may provide a cure from jihadism, since it’s impossible to achieve regional piece without addressing this issue. It was the oppression of Palestinians in Israel that initially became a breeding ground for Islamic radicalism. To solve an issue that is more than half a century old, Trump tried to facilitate the deal of the Arab elites with Israel, proposing a compromise solution to the territorial dispute. But this solution cannot be finalized with Iranian preserving its presence in Syria and the Hezbollah remaining in southern Lebanon. That’s why there’s going to be war.

Alexander Orlov, political scientist and expert Orientalistexclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.
https://journal-neo.org/2017/12/14/israeli-saudi-clash-with-iran-on-syrian-soil-is-pretty-much-inevitable/

Ottoman archives hold records of Jerusalem deeds – By Yeni Şafak (Truthaholics)

Jerusalem deeds

© Unknown

There are 171,306 deeds recorded in 46 registries of Jerusalem in Ottoman archive records. Of these, 133,365 are private property and 37,671 belong to foundations. In addition to this, Turkey’s archives also have records of Jerusalem between the hijri years 950 and 1917.

Among the records of private property were 139 deeds belonging to Sultan Abdul Hamid II, 137 of which were transferred to the treasury in the past. The remaining two are in Jerusalem’s Erihav region. The records show that there is a plot of land approximately 30,000 square meters in size that is recorded under the name of Sultan Abdul Hamid II [1842-1918].

The deeds proving that Palestine belongs to Palestinians were handed to Palestinian officials. Israel did not ask for deed records from Turkey. Had Israel requested these records, it would mean that Israel would be accepting that it is occupying Palestine.

A memorandum was signed between Palestine and Jordan. Procedures such as the maintenance and repair of foundations in Jerusalem were transferred to Jordan. Therefore, in 2016, upon the request of Jordan, Turkey provided copies of the deeds of foundations in Jerusalem to Jordan.

See Also:

Syria Is Rising From the Ashes and All Haters Can Do Is Deny This Is Thanks to a Syrian (and Russian)-Fought Victory – By David Macilwain

The determination and persistence of Syria and her most trustworthy allies against NATO’s barbarians has finally paid off, and Syria may now be “reborn”.

The rebels have been repulsed and ISIS beaten into the ground and all Empire’s errand boys can do is deny that defeat was brought about by Syria and Russia

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The day after Vladimir Putin’s announcement that the fight against the Islamic State was won, but before his “surprise appearance” at Russia’s Syrian airbase, Australia’s State Broadcaster the ABC chose to interview Matthew Levitt, from the Washington Institute’s Stein program on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence. Levitt was visiting Melbourne for a reason we only found out later, as one of 500 delegates to “the first meeting of the International Counter-Terrorism Forum to be held outside the US”.

The interview by the ABC’s Nick Grimm, provided a platform for Levitt to air his pathologically pro-Israel and anti-Resistance views, as well as to Levitt doesn’t just suggest that volleys of cruise missiles and hundreds of bombing runs “did very little”, but that the Russian and Syrian governments are therefore claiming IS “has been wiped out” by someone else! Levitt’s figure for the “missing” IS fighters is close to the estimate from the Russian MFA, of 33,000 killed by Russian and Syrian allied forces in the last two years. Whether the US and its active coalition partners – the UK, France and Australia – have killed the other few thousand, or just relocated them – is a moot point, but it is actually they who have been doing very little to combat their “Islamic State”. Counter any suggestions that Russia deserved credit for “wiping out IS in Syria”:

NG: “Russia and Bashar al Assad have declared that IS has been completely wiped out in Syria, now how accurate is that assessment in your opinion?”

ML: “In the first instance it’s pretty rich for Russia to be making those statements as Russia has been very active militarily in Syria but mostly in defence of the Assad regime, doing very little actually to combat the Islamic state. A more credible source is the International coalition of which the US and Australia are key partners, and they say that whereas at its height the Islamic State had somewhere around 40,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria, now it’s down to 3000 – that’s a very significant victory.”

 

Levitt’s claims to know more about Russia’s chosen targets in Syria than the pilots who dropped bombs on them, have to be assessed in the light of his record and writings. Focusing on Hamas and Hezbollah they reveal that his ideas of the terrorist threat allegedly facing the world are the mirror image of reality – or at least of the “Syrian reality” – which now includes the “Russian reality”, the “Lebanese reality” and the “Iranian reality” along with more than a few others.For this man – who speaks for so many of his colleagues in the think-tanks of the “Anglo-Zionist Empire” – a Palestinian boy with a rock or a Hezbollah member of Lebanon’s government are greater terrorist threats than a violent Salafist mercenary with a US-supplied TOW missile launcher. Such an incredibly partisan and self-serving – or Israel-serving – point of view would be ridiculed if it were subject to any impartial commentary, such as Levitt might receive from our friends at RT, Press TV or Al Mayadeen.

But it’s far from a joke that this pathetic and frankly imbecilic propaganda is treated with respect and admiration by our media. This exchange between Matthew Levitt and ABC TV news presenter Beverley O’Connor, aired the evening before the radio interview above, well illustrates the problem that we now face in winning the “misinformation war” over Syria:

ML: “My biggest concern though is that Assad is still there, and he’s the biggest recruiter for Sunni extremism that you could possibly imagine, and there are many people around the world, some in the US, some that I’ve already met here in Australia who say “you know what, we really need a solution to this, maybe Assad should stay, and I think that this is very dangerous..”

Beverley O’Connor: …”very dangerous, and you’re not hearing very much from the States on Syria either at the moment, it’s gone very quiet..”

ML: “let me be very blunt – the United States has a counter ISIL policy, it doesn’t have a Syria policy, and that’s a problem.”

BC: –“a big problem…”

The main subject of this interview was the US move that same day to “recognise” Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, and Levitt’s agenda was clearly to present that as “merely an acceptance of reality”, and no impediment to the peace process. While the Australian government hasn’t dared to express support for Trump’s incendiary proposal, its past record of unconditional support for the Apartheid state suggests it would be happy to follow suit when it is expedient. Mouthing platitudes about the “two-state solution” has also now become untenable, so “Israel’s greatest friend” Australia will actually have little choice.

It is tempting to see Levitt as an emissary of the US state, who has been working on Australia for a while. Back in 2013, as a guest of AIJAC – the Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council, he pushed for the Australian government to classify ALL of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, in line with US policy. While this push was apparently unsuccessful, the Australian government doesn’t seem to recognise Hassan Nasrallah as a legitimate and popular leader in Lebanon any more than it recognises Bashar al Assad as President of Syria.

And thanks to the failure, or efforts, of media and think tanks and right-wing commentators, and the exclusion of alternative media like RT or Al Manar from Australian TV services, it would be hard to find any Australians who recognised Sayyad Hassan Nasrallah at all, outside Australia’s Lebanese community. That community is quite influential, but reflects the divided nature of its home country; it has also been the source of some of the Australians who have gone off to “join the Caliphate”.

So where is this leading us?Following Putin’s statement, and the rather direct comments from the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani that the US needed to leave Syria NOW, one might have expected some reaction from the Australian government; perhaps even some begrudged thanks to Russia for “helping” to destroy the Islamic State, enabling “our men and women” to come home in time for Christmas. One might even have expected such a disingenuous statement as part of the continuing charade Australia has been playing over Syria for the last six years, given one issued only days earlier following the Iraqi announcement of victory over IS.

But there was nothing! Instead it seemed as though Australia and her allies in the GWOT were too pre-occupied with keeping the decapitated body of their Trojan Horse alive. So as Presidents Assad and Putin celebrated and thanked the weary troops for their hard-fought victory, Australians were being warned that terrorist attacks were more likely in the coming holiday period because the jihadis would be heading home.

With uncanny timing, and warning of the possible “re-direction” to come, a man detonated a bomb in a New York subway, claiming both to be inspired by Islamic State and to be protesting against Israeli actions in Gaza. His knowledge of bomb-making was no better than his knowledge of IS, as he failed to kill anyone, even himself.

That he didn’t know IS has never said a word against Israel or in defence of Palestinians and their holy city of Al Quds is however unsurprising – it is the West’s best kept secret about the “Global Terrorist Threat”.

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Kitos War: Barbaric jewish history from the 1st and 2nd centuries – By Posted on December 12, 2017 by michaellee2009 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitos_War

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitos_War

The Kitos War (115–117; Hebrew: מרד הגלויות‎: mered ha’galuyot or mered ha’tfutzot [מרד התפוצות]; translation: rebellion of the diaspora. Latin: Tumultus Iudaicus) occurred during the period of the Jewish–Roman wars, 66–136. While the majority of the Roman armies were fighting Trajan’s Parthian War on the eastern border of the Roman Empire, major uprisings by ethnic Judeans in Cyrenaica, Cyprus and Egypt spiraled out of control, resulting in a widespread slaughter of left behind Roman garrisons and Roman citizens by Jewish rebels. Some of the areas with the heaviest massacres were left so utterly annihilated that others were made to settle these areas to prevent the absence of any remaining presence. The rebellions were finally crushed by Roman legionary forces, chiefly by the Roman general Lusius Quietus, whose nomen later gave the conflict its title, as “Kitos” is a later corruption of Quietus

Background[edit]

Tension between the Jewish population of the Roman Empire and the Greek and Roman populations mounted over the course of the 1st century CE, gradually escalating with various violent events, mainly throughout Judea (Iudaea), where parts of the Judean population occasionally erupted into violent insurrections against the Roman Empire. Several incidents also occurred in other parts of the Roman Empire, most notable the Alexandria pogroms, targeting the large Jewish community of Alexandria in the province of Egypt.

The escalation of tensions finally erupted as the Great Revolt of Judea, which began in the year 66 CE. It erupted initially due to Greek and Jewish religious tensions, but later escalated due to anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens.[1] The Roman military garrison of Judea was quickly overrun by rebels and the pro-Roman king Herod Agrippa II fled Jerusalem, together with Roman officials to Galilee. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order and quell the revolt. The legion, however, was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership.

The Roman command of the revolt’s suppression was then handed to general Vespasian and his son Titus, who assembled four legions and began advancing through the country, starting with Galilee, in the year 67 CE. The revolt ended when legions under Titus besieged and destroyed the center of rebel resistance in Jerusalem in the year 70 CE, and defeated the remaining Jewish strongholds later on.

Revolt and warfare[edit]

In 115, the emperor Trajan was in command of the eastern campaign against the Parthian Empire. The Roman invasion had been prompted by the imposition of a pro-Parthian king on the throne of Armenia after a Parthian invasion of that land. This encroachment on the traditional sphere of influence of the Roman Empire — the two empires had shared hegemony over Armenia since the time of Nero some 50 years earlier — could only lead to war.

As Trajan’s army advanced victoriously through Mesopotamia, Jewish rebels in its rear began attacking the small garrisons left behind. A revolt in far off Cyrenaica soon spread to Egypt and then Cyprus, inciting revolt in Judea. A widespread uprising centered at Lydda threatened grain supplies from Egypt to the front. The Jewish insurrection swiftly spread to the recently conquered provinces. Cities with substantial Jewish populations – Nisibis, Edessa, Seleucia, Arbela – joined the rebellion and slaughtered their small Roman garrisons.

Cyrenaica[edit]

In Cyrenaica, the rebels were led by one Lukuas or Andreas, who called himself “king” (according to Eusebius of Caesarea). His group destroyed many temples, including those to Hecate, Jupiter, Apollo, Artemis, and Isis, as well as the civil structures that were symbols of Rome, including the Caesareum, the basilica, and the public baths.

The 4th century Christian historian Orosius records that the violence so depopulated the province of Cyrenaica that new colonies had to be established by Hadrian:

“The Jews … waged war on the inhabitants throughout Libya in the most savage fashion, and to such an extent was the country wasted that, its cultivators having been slain, its land would have remained utterly depopulated, had not the Emperor Hadrian gathered settlers from other places and sent them thither, for the inhabitants had been wiped out.”[2]

Dio Cassius states of Jewish insurrectionaries:

“‘Meanwhile the Jews in the region of Cyrene had put one Andreas at their head and were destroying both the Romans and the Greeks. They would cook their flesh, make belts for themselves of their entrails, anoint themselves with their blood, and wear their skins for clothing. Many they sawed in two, from the head downwards. Others they would give to wild beasts and force still others to fight as gladiators. In all, consequently, two hundred and twenty thousand perished. In Egypt, also, they performed many similar deeds, and in Cyprus under the leadership of Artemio. There, likewise, two hundred and forty thousand perished. For this reason no Jew may set foot in that land, but even if one of them is driven upon the island by force of the wind, he is put to death. Various persons took part in subduing these Jews, one being Lusius, who was sent by Trajan.”[3]

The original 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia cited this about the Cyrene massacres:

“By this outbreak Libya was depopulated to such an extent that a few years later new colonies had to be established there (Eusebius, “Chronicle” from the Armenian, fourteenth year of Hadrian). Bishop Synesius, a native of Cyrene in the beginning of the fifth century, speaks of the devastations wrought by the Jews (“Do Regno,” p. 2).”[4]

The Jewish Encyclopedia acknowledges Dio Cassius’s importance as a source, though believes his accounts of the actions at Cyrene and on Cyprus may have been embellished:

“For an account of the Jewish war under Trajan and Hadrian Dion is the most important source (lxviii. 32, lxix. 12–14), though his descriptions of the cruelties perpetrated by the Jews at Cyrene and on the island of Cyprus are probably exaggerated.”[5]

Egypt[edit]

Then Lukuas, leader of rebel Jews, moved towards Alexandria, entered the city, which had been abandoned by the Roman troops in Egypt under the leadership of governor Marcus Rutilius Lupus, and set fire to the city. The Egyptian temples and the tomb of Pompey were destroyed. Jewish rebels reportedly also prevailed in a battle at Hermopolis in 116, as indicated in a papyrus.[6]

Trajan sent new troops under the praefectus praetorio Marcius Turbo, but Egypt and Cyrenaica were pacified only in autumn 117.

Cyprus[edit]

In Cyprus a Jewish band under a leader named Artemion took control of the island, killing tens of thousands of Cypriot Greek civilians. The Cypriot Jews participated in the great uprising against the Romans under Trajan (117), and massacred 240,000 Greeks.[3][7] A Roman army was dispatched to the island, soon reconquering the capital. After the revolt had been fully defeated, laws were created forbidding any Jews to live on the island.

Mesopotamia[edit]

A new revolt sprang up in Mesopotamia, while Trajan was in the Persian Gulf. Trajan reconquered Nisibis (Nusaybin in Turkey), the capital of Osroene Edessa, and Seleucia (Iraq), each of which housed large Jewish communities.

A pro-Roman son of the Parthian king Osroes I, named Parthamaspatas, had been brought on the expedition as part of the emperor’s entourage. Trajan had him crowned in Ctesiphon as king of the Parthians. “Trajan, fearing that the Parthians, too, might begin a revolt, desired to give them a king of their own. Accordingly, when he came to Ctesiphon, he called together in a great plain all the Romans and likewise all the Parthians that were there at the time; then he mounted a lofty platform, and after describing in grandiloquent language what he had accomplished, he appointed Parthamaspates king over the Parthians and set the diadem upon his head.” (Dio Cassius). With this done, Trajan moved north to take personal command of the ongoing siege of Hatra.

The siege continued throughout the summer of 117, but the years of constant campaigning in the baking eastern heat had taken their toll on Trajan, who suffered a heatstroke. He decided to begin the long journey back to Rome in order to recover. Sailing from Seleucia, the emperor’s health deteriorated rapidly. He was taken ashore at Selinus in Cilicia, where he died, and his successor, Hadrian, assumed the reins of government in 118.

Judea[edit]

Jewish leader Lukuas fled to Judea.[8] Marcius Turbo pursued him and sentenced to death the brothers Julian and Pappus, who had been key leaders in the rebellion. Lusius Quietus, the conqueror of the Jews of Mesopotamia, was now in command of the Roman army in Judea, and laid siege to Lydda, where the rebel Jews had gathered under the leadership of Julian and Pappus. The distress became so great that the patriarch Rabban Gamaliel II, who was shut up there and died soon afterwards, permitted fasting even on Ḥanukkah. Other rabbis condemned this measure.[9] Lydda was next taken and many of the rebellious Jews were executed; the “slain of Lydda” are often mentioned in words of reverential praise in the Talmud.[10] Rebel leaders Pappus and Julian were among those executed by the Romans in the same year.[11]

Lusius Quietus, whom the Emperor Trajan had held in high regard and who had served Rome so well, was quietly stripped of his command once Hadrian had secured the Imperial title. He was murdered in unknown circumstances in the summer of 118, possibly by the orders of Hadrian.

Hadrian took the unpopular, but far-sighted, decision to end the war, abandoning much of Trajan’s eastern conquests and stabilising the eastern borders. Although he abandoned the erstwhile province of Mesopotamia, he installed Parthamaspates – who had been ejected from Ctesiphon by the returning Osroes – as king of a restored Osroene. For a century Osroene would retain a precarious independence as a buffer state, sandwiched between the two empires.

The situation in Judea remained tense for the Romans, who were obliged under Hadrian to permanently move the Legio VI Ferrata into Caesarea Maritima in Judea.

Aftermath[edit]

Further developments occurred in Judea Province in the year 130, when Emperor Hadrian visited the Eastern Mediterranean and, according to Cassius Dio, made the decision to rebuild the city of Jerusalem as the Roman city of Aelia Capitolina, derived from his own name. The decision, together with Hadrian’s other sanctions against the Jews, was allegedly one of the reasons for the eruption of the 132 Bar Kokhba revolt — an extremely violent uprising. The rebellion ended with a ban upon the Jewish faith across the Roman Empire, which was lifted in 138, upon Hadrian’s death.

Manufacturing Dissent – The New Culture War – By Chris Kanthan (Sott.net)

antifa poster

Noam Chomsky famously talked about manufacturing consent, a propaganda tool of the elites to control people. However, another equally potent way to control people is by manufacturing dissent. This is otherwise known as ‘divide and rule’, a strategy usually restricted to foreign policy, but now being directed at the American people by the American elites. Neo-Nazis, Alt Right, Antifa, destruction of statues, and Americans assaulting one another are all signs of a divided nation that’s in the throes of a manufactured ‘culture war’. While the ruling class is laughing it up, the middle and working classes are ensnared in what I would call a Societal Autoimmune Disorder (S.A.D.). Between 2008 and now, we have been cleverly steered away from ‘Occupy Wall Street’ to ‘Occupy One Another’.

In a united America, people would be focusing on the economy of reverse Robin Hood that has left 78% of Americans living from paycheck to paycheck; the unsustainable debt that shackles college students and the whole nation; the theft by Wall Street, banksters and the Federal Reserve Bank; the endless, maniacal wars that the military-industrial complex demands; the erosion of civil liberty and privacy; the unhealthy, fake food made from GMO and toxic chemicals; the rise in numerous chronic diseases; and the inexorable rise in healthcare costs, to name a few.

However, many Americans are oblivious to all of that and are busy fighting each other, if not physically then in their own heads and on social media. Whites against blacks, men against women, straight against gay, citizens against immigrants, Christians against Muslims, right against left and so on. There is no logical, mature discussion. Two groups meet to see who can yell louder and nastier. When the police are successful in separating the groups, the mobs content themselves with a cacophony of nonsense. When the police step away, caveman instincts arise and people beat each other up. Whatever happened to “Love Trumps Hate”?

In Syria, after a city was liberated from jihadists, a person observed, “Syria was the most secular, the most comfortable country in the Arab world. It was embarrassing if someone asked whether you were a Muslim or a Christian.” This was the case before March 2011. Within a year, Sunni extremists were killing Shiite Muslims and Christians. Muslim neighbors who had been wonderful friends for generations turned against Yazidi Christians when the madness of ISIS infected their souls; churches that had been around for centuries were destroyed; and thousands of Christians were killed and 1 million were expelled from their homes.

Igniting sectarianism and turning one group against another is all too easy for the elites it seems, whether it’s 500 BC or 2000 AD; whether it’s a third-world country or a developed nation.

Multiculturalism is hard, but it’s made infinitely more difficult when people are taught to focus on their differences, dig up old wounds, demonize entire groups of people, and embrace victimhood. Many Americans are now programmed to be acutely aware of race, gender, ‘identity’ etc. In addition, people are being actively encouraged to get ‘triggered’ by other people’s opinions, words, expressions, and even emotions.

In spirituality and psychology, from Buddha to the most successful people of the 21st century, collective wisdom teaches us that if you want to be happy, you should learn to ignore other people’s opinions and judgments, the things you can’t change and, in general, the trivial events that occur all around you every day.

Instead, we have a new generation of social engineers who tell people to be hyper-vigilant, constantly on the lookout for every conceivable way they could possibly take offense, the wrong words, wrong phrases and wrong opinions expressed in the wrong tones.

Antifa- clashes

The elites are also manufacturing dissent by highlighting selective statistics and assigning evil intentions to them. For example, if only 20% of computer scientists are women, we’re told it must be because of sexism. We can’t engineer a society that has perfect representation in all careers for all groups in the demographic. 98% of auto-mechanics are men and 94% of nurses are women. Are we going to ‘fix’ those too? If the radical leftists have their way, we’ll be forced to. What they fail to recognize, or do recognize but studiously ignore, is that broad scale social and cultural changes, if they are even appropriate, have to occur naturally. A society is not an inanimate mathematical model on a computer that can be tweaked at will and ‘rebooted’.

Similarly, every country and ethnicity has a dark history where the powerful took advantage of the relatively weaker groups. But you know what? It’s still going on. Only that the elite ‘social engineers’ use far more sophisticated tactics today. They devalue the currency and tell you that you got a raise. They feed you poison and then bankrupt you with expensive treatments that only cure the symptoms. They destroy Syria and Libya and tell you that they are “humanitarian wars”; they pulverize the homes of 20 million people, accept 1 million as refugees, and tell you how compassionate the system is and that you must respect it. They enslave people with debt and mass media, and tell you that slavery was eradicated long time ago.

To distract us from the misery of the totalitarian system run by oligarchs – the 1% that own half the global wealth – are busy conjuring up ways to create a civil war so that we fight each other and not them.

Autoimmune disorders happen when the human immune system becomes extremely sensitive and resorts to attacking harmless things – say, pollen. In some cases, the immune system is so ‘paranoid’ that it starts destroying other organs in the body. The end result is that the entire body becomes ‘inflamed’. And so it is with society.

The elites are inducing Societal Autoimmune Disorder (S.A.D.) in America.

Let’s not succumb to this perilous disease that is ultimately self-inflicted. Let’s not get manipulated into fighting one another. Take some time out, tune out mainstream media for a while, get out of your bubble, and reach out to your neighbor, colleague, family and friends. America as a nation is at a crossroads, and the next decade might very well bring unprecedented changes and challenges. The only way forward is for Americans to come together, set aside ideologies, discuss and debate issues in a logical and constructive manner, and synthesize the foundation for a prosperous future. If we don’t make these efforts, the best case scenario is that Americans in 2100 may find themselves demanding the destruction of statues built in 2017. The worst case scenario… well, you probably don’t want to contemplate that, although it might be very useful for you to do so.

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Chris Kanthan (Profile)

Chris Kanthan is the author of a new book, Syria – War of Deception. It’s available in a condensed as well as a longer version. Chris lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to 35 countries, and writes about world affairs, politics, economy and health. His other book is Deconstructing Monsanto. Folow him on Twitter: @GMOChannel

The Lunatic Technocracy to Introduce Truth Algorithms for Us – By Phil Butler

 

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The lunatics are set loose. Nobody is watching the asylum. And soon the sanitarium gates will burst open into the world population. Yes, I am talking about America the lunatic pen. Google, the disorderly orderly of the digital wing of the nut house, now has free reign. Read to the end, and the disjointed chaos caused when natural selection goes wrong.

When I read the news Google’s Eric Schmidt had announced the Mountain View company would “create” algorithm to de-rank Russia’s RT and Sputnik, I instantly thought, “Here we go into the last phased of Orwell’s 1984.” First, there is no algorithm to create to take RT and Sputnik out of the public view. Google execs just make everything sound technical to appease weak minds. And they love to be able to blame things on “the machine” if things go wrong. For the novice in how Google really works it is probably best to just consider worst cases of corporate monopolization. If you ever saw the film “The Devil’s Advocate”, then understanding how people get roped into the Mountain View, California manipulation machine will be easier. But that’s a story for the former Editor in Chief of Search Engine Journal (me) to tell. For now, let’s return to the Google search machine and Eric Schmidt.

Sure, Google uses math to propagate intelligent search. And the last couple of years have seen millions of media outlets, bloggers, and companies virtually destroyed by algorithm updates; Caffeine, Panda and Penguin. But Google’s most devastating weapon against publishers is the ability and inclination to manually reduce the ranking of any site. Interestingly, this “manual” aspect of Google was hidden by the company when the Penguin anti-SPAM algorithm came under heavy scrutiny. You can read here where Google finally came and created procedures for the millions they destroyed, but it took some doing to get Schmidt’s company to come clean about taking out people’s sites. My company lost a half a million-dollar bid to buy our Everything PR News when the site was de-ranked over a corporate complaint because of our investigative reporting. Caught in the fervor of the “Panda” moment, fate shined the light onto former Google evangelists. We learned that manipulative ranking was the company’s goal all along. And now two big platforms for independent voices have fallen prey to Big Brother. Make no mistake, those of us who have been presented on RT and Sputnik found a listening post that will now be silenced.

What the none of the readers of this report will know, is that the Google and its dark SEO community underneath, collaborated to rule and monetize everything you see, read, and hear on the internet years ago. Don’t freak out when you learn (recent RT story) Eric Schmidt is in bed with the deep state, the NSA, the Pentagon, Barack Obama the Clintons or whoever. Please freak out when you learn how truly evil the people behind Google really are. They will stop at nothing, as the saying goes.

Since Schmidt’s comments before the Halifax International Security Forum Google has backtracked slightly in reaction to Russian communications agency Roskomnadzor suggesting there may be recriminations against Google should RT and Sputnik be unranked nefariously. However, no matter which way Google’s politics, PR, and lobbying go, the company’s march onward toward an Orwellian finale continues. In this CNBC article the former software engineer transformed into billionaire (magically) tries to convince readers Google is Israel’s King Solomon, an entity which needs to decide for users either A or B ideology is better. If you read between the lines you can detect the arrogance and insane intentions of these people. THEY WANT TO DECIDE FOR US. Get it? Read from the story in reference to Schmidt’s “algorithmic” adjudication of the truth:

“Let’s say that this group believes Fact A and this group believes Fact B and you passionately disagree with each other and you are all publishing and writing about it and so forth and so on. It is very difficult for us to understand truth.”

Google and the other technocrat controlled worlds are becoming more and more like Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system. If you think America has been dumbed down educationally, inundated with ultra-consumerist ideals, and brainwashed with ongoing morality advertising, then the pinpoint of light being beamed in by RT and other independent media being shut off will be a significant milestone. I cannot get over MSNBC’s headline on Schmidt: “Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt: It can be ‘very difficult’ for Google’s search algorithm to understand truth.” It’s as if they are introducing “the machine” that is to rule us.

Somehow, in some fantastical metamorphosis and cosmic realignment of neutrons, software engineers (Schmidt), former Wall Street wannabees (Bezos), and programmers turned entrepreneur (Gates) riding the genius of people like Tim Paterson end up advising the world on everything including truth. It is in the traits and personalities of these “technocrats” that we find the seed that has become our collective insanity in almost everything. A good example of what I mean is what I call the “geek” mentality, which is better described as a “gamer” point of view. The people who now advise presidents, parliaments, the military, and academia have a real “hacker” mentality. Anyone who has dabbled in coding and the geek culture knows what I am talking about. The Bill Gates or Steve Jobs (rest his narcissist soul) type personality is smartass – winner takes all – and anything goes to core. In this hacker world underneath Google and the other tech entities, there is no such thing as cheating. A lie to these people is something funny, if it gets past its target that is. Hard core geeks, when all is said and done, are the nastiest bunch of sociopaths you can imagine. Look at how Gates stabbed Apple’s Jobs in the back. And at how Jobs and Gates pirated former colleagues. Stealing to this generation of pencil neck brats is just part of a big digital board game. You know I am telling the truth, every time one of them laughs in your face. Sneaky, nasty, and bursting with their physical frailty. Connivers.

Eric Schmidt is a poster boy for screwed up natural selection processes that took a detour when Rome fell. Many of my colleagues are asking; “Just who in hell made these people experts on truth or geopolitics?” We have to face the fact that influence of any kind bears more weight than truth. Look at Lady Gaga, Madonna, Meryl Streep and Eric Schmidt cited as authorities on how we should X, Y, or Z? We are in this mess of censorship for one reason – we allowed them to go too far. They’re empowered by our inaction just like the schoolyard bullies who beat them up back when. This is what geek culture taught. It taught the Eric Schmidt’s of the world to get back at us all incrementally, one inch at a time, like those bad boys back in grade school. The sum of their vast intellectual gift is to become what they hated. Winners by the definition of a nasty trollism world in which they live. The moves against Russia and RT are not just an instance of Russophobic overreaction – these people want to know the limits of your apathy.

Some readers will scoff at my vociferous opposition to this billionaire geeks, but I know of that which I speak. When an old friend, founder of Search Engine Journal, made me editor in chief of his media site back in 2012 I had every intention of leveling the SEO playing field and search. Baker knew my intentions at transparency and a return to search engine parity from the onset, only he had no idea how far Google’s under culture was prepared to go to destroy anybody speaking of such. That story is a subject for a future report, but suffice it to say I have the goods on how Google came to dominance. The instant I introduced alternative voices to Google culture at SEJ, the dogs of hell were unleashed to destroy me and my business. Like I said, you have no idea how nasty these people are. You have no inkling how far they will take this game once the information bubble is fully domed over you. The end reality is something out of a Hollywood apocalyptic vision. This has nothing whatsoever to do with whether RT and Sputnik are 50% or 100% truth. This Google move is about selling you a 100% lie.

In a coming report, I’ll give you more evidence their rankings have zero to do with truth.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
https://journal-neo.org/2017/12/01/the-lunatic-technocracy-to-introduce-truth-algorithms-for-us/

WORLD IS WILDER AND WOOLLIER AS SYRIA PREPARES FOR WAR WITH THE ZIONIST APARTHEID STATE – By Ziad Fadel

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Wilder and woollier indeed. We have already discussed, in a separate piece,  the rampant dysfunctional ism infecting so many governments today. The U.S., arguably the world’s greatest power, is led by a functioning maniac who lives in a cocoon of self-deceit and delusion.  Prideful and addicted to braggadocio, he is hell-bent on proving that he differs from other leaders whom he calls “politicians” in that he “does what he says he is going to do’.  Today’s scandal du jour is his threat to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  World leaders normally take these kinds of American threats as a form of posturing, but, with Trump, who is universally viewed as a loose cannon, the threat has a certain resonance. Trump’s administration is geared to serve up Rabelaisian abominations.  The American ambassador to the Zionist Entity is a dyed-in-the-wool Zionist.  The president’s own son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been revealed to be a founder of an organization supporting illegal settlements on the West Bank, and is, by all accounts, a raving Zionist psycho with Russian DNA.

Now that the U.S. is out of the peace-making business, thanks to Mr. Trump’s gesture to the Zionist settlers, he can begin preparing for a new kind of Middle East where he doesn’t have to worry about humanitarian issues or matters of conscience.  No, he’s just going to do what is in the best interests of America, to wit: occupy lands belonging to other countries with or without their governments’ consent; sell vast amounts of weapons to his tyrannical allies; muscle in on anything that smacks of natural assets needed by the U.S.; kill any self-respect the Arabs still have; and, to his surprise, watch his plans for domination sink in the historic swamp of misdeeds along with the Zionist Abomination which controls his regime and his nation.

Besides selling billions of dollars of missiles and ordnance to the crackpot Saudi Arabian pedophiles so they can continue their illegal and genocidal war against the Yemenis, Trump is hankering for new wars against North Korea and Iran, both powerful nations with the ability to sink American ships, not to mention defend their own lands with fanatical tenacity.  Trump is trying to deflect attention from the probe conducted by Robert Mueller and he might actually open up new wars to accomplish exactly that end.  He promised no new foreign wars as he was campaigning for the White House.  That campaign promise has turned out to be a flagrant lie.

My new source, Chris, now tells me that the U.S. has been building a massive underground military complex just north of the Jordanian capital of Amman.  Chris has tied this monstrous base to the Halliburton company which used to be run by historical coward, draft dodger and war-monger, Dick Cheney.  When the people of Jordan find out about this base whose purpose is to enshrine American occupation of the Arab World, they might finally go berserk and depose the Tom Thumb tyrant who is calmly frittering away what dignity they might still have.

The base just north of the Jordanian capital is an attestation to the unwillingness of the CIA, the Mossad and the Saudi “Intelligence” service to accept defeat in Syria. It’s that pesky Iranian plan to extend a gas pipeline across Iraq to the Syrian littoral that is fueling this rampant obstinacy.  But, there’s more to it than that, Chris says.

Chris insists that much of the planning aimed at deposing Dr. Assad was related to the vast oil reserves discovered below the ground of the Golan Heights which the Zionists are keen on exploiting in their own cupiditous and malicious way.  They have granted an American company, Genie Energy (based in New Jersey), the rights to extract the oil.  Genie Energy is owned by Dick Cheney, Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch, all major shareholders.  According to an article, written by Michael B. Kelley for the Business Insider periodical, they were granted a 153 square mile area in the southern part of the Heights.  The transfer of the oil, via pipeline, will inevitably involve Halliburton, the company once headed by Dick Cheney.

So, what will Jordanians do when Trump announces today, Wednesday, December 6, that he intends to recognize Zionism’s claim to Jerusalem and move the U.S. embassy there?  What will they do knowing that their own miserable king has tried to dissuade the indissuadable Trump from this incredible mockery of international law and U.N. agreements?  Gee, I don’t know.  But, what I do know is that this so-called king, his father before him and his grandfather were all traitors to the Arab people.  And a leopard cannot change his spots.

The decision has been made to forcibly oust Dr. Assad using non-proxy forces.  The past reliance on proxies has resulted in abject failure. In order for the ouster to happen, several ducks have to be placed in a row.

The first segment of this plan is to keep American forces, at all costs, on the ground in Iraq and Syria.  As many of you have heard, the Pentagon has recklessly averred that it intends to keep American troops in Syria for as long as it takes to support American interests, whatever that means.  It is our belief that the U.S. is building up its forces in Syria to offset the expected loss of the Turkish base at Incirlik where the Americans, British and French hatched their plans to enslave the Arab people.  Not only that, the new underground base Chris pointed to in Jordan is, evidently,  being developed to offset the expected loss of the American base at ‘Udeid in Qatar as Doha continues to expand its ties to Iran while downsizing its interest in its Persian Gulf alliances.  King Abdullah II of Jordan is privy to all this treachery.  But, he is a good actor, like his father.

The U.S. has to stay in Syria too because the Kurds are vulnerable to the Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish armies.  The Americans think that by merely being there, no combination of forces would dare to challenge the ostentatious pretensions of the American military.  Oh, yeah?  The Taliban have been fighting the U.S. for going on 16 years with no end in sight.  Just wait until Afghan and Iraqi militias start an insurgency against the U.S. in Syria with attendant body bags piling up on the tarmacs of runways.  So much for Trump’s promises of no more foreign entanglements.

The Kurds have a deeper and more significant role to play in Syria than what meets the eye.  You see, the Kurds who are mostly Syrian, can give the U.S. the fig leaf of legitimacy it needs to justify its presence in Syria.  The Kurds, for their part can be employed to claw away at Iranian power at the corridor Tehran plans to use for both the pipeline and the avenue to arm HZB.  With the U.S. enmeshed and embedded with the Kurds, it is believed at the Pentagon that no effort will be made to destabilize this preposterous plan without triggering an American military response.  This is how foreign wars get started and Trump doesn’t have a clue.

According to Chris, the Deep State involves many actors, all of whom have an interest in the ouster of Dr. Assad and the Ba’ath Party.  Companies like Halliburton, Monsanto, Blackwater (Academi), Lockheed-Martin, Wackenhut and DynCorp are all part of the same vast interlocking network of Cabalists determined to greedily secure all the wealth of the Middle East for the sake of the Zionist Entity.  They don’t care about ISIS or Al-Qaeda.  Those are merely the pawns they employ to encircle their prey before devouring it. The leader of ISIS for that matter, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadi, was programmed in Tel Aviv by Mossad and CIA psycho-neurologists after he was released from prison in Iraq.  I wrote extensively about this matter in a previous post but few picked up on it even though I was the writer who disclosed to the world that the leadership of ISIS was top heavy with former Sunni officers in Saddam’s army before they were cashiered by L. Paul Bremer.

For the ducks to be in row, the Saudi operations HQ has to be in sync with both the Jordanian and Zionists ones.  While Jordan has had much experience coordinating with the Mossad, the Saudis are still relative neophytes in this kind of world.  For the Saudis to be able to play their part effectively, Mossad agents, now reportedly in Amman, have started a virtual university course for spooks aimed at the Saudi traitors.  They are being taught communications and spotting, handling agents and assassination techniques.  I have received some reports that the coursework is not going well due to the utter emptiness of the Wahhabist mind.  Yet, down the road, a decision will be made to pursue the goals of the American Deep State with or without KSA.

The Yemen crisis has to be resolved.  It is eating up too much of KSA’s time and assets.  This is why the Saudi government has decided to participate in what is essentially a war of extermination to bring the Zaydi’s to their knees.  However, if history teaches anything about Arabia Felix, it’s that the people there in Yemen are as obstinate as their rocks.  The Saudis will kill many children, but, they will eventually have to concede defeat, a concession that will not augur well for the Saudi-Jordanian-Zionist alliance.

The Saudis have to resolve their differences with Qatar.  To be candid, I have wondered aloud about why this conflict even exists.  If the entire matter has something to do with financing and organizing terrorism in Syria, the record is replete with Saudi complicity in precisely that king of activity.  Why would KSA, now under the heel of MBS, create a new crisis based on a falsehood?  It might be that the Saudis were concerned about a war crimes charge or were fearful that the Syrians would take the effort to unseat Dr. Assad very hard.  These are mere possibilities to explain the aberrant political behavior of the Saudis. But, if they fail to end this conflict with Qatar, the shadow of Iran will once again fall on the gulf with one key member firmly in the Iranian camp.

As I have written before, Qatar has, evidently,mended relations with Tehran by securing access to that infamous pipeline.  If that is so, it may be that such collusion with a sworn enemy is driving the Saudis to point an accusatory finger at Doha when that finger may just as well be pointed back at them.  Ironic, isn’t it?

The plan also calls for a Zionist army at the very top of its game.  Recent maneuvers in the Golan and the Galilee are demonstrating that the enemy is planning an multi-pronged attack on Hizbollah and the Syrian army.  If that is so, the Zionist high command has to take into consideration the probability that both HZB and the SAA are going to fire a vast arsenal of missiles at the cities of Occupied Palestine.  The Iron Dome is simply not geared to intercept 100 missiles every minute which is exactly what both HZB and the SAA are going to do.  The Iron Dome will be overwhelmed. And if Iran begins to fire missiles at the Zionist Apartheid State, that’s all the merrier.  And, yet, that is precisely what the Saudis are hoping for: a massive, possibly nuclear, reaction from Mileikowski’s military.  That may be the only scenario which would give KSA and its fledgling nincompoop, MBS, a victory over Iran.

That the Zionist Settler State would involve itself in an apocalyptic scenario like the one described is difficult to believe.  However, unless the Zionists can find a better methodology to rid the Fertile Crescent of Iranian ambitions, this is all they have.  To be sure, they might try an attack focused on HZB only as a way to avoid creating an inferno which would engulf them also and lead to the destruction of their state.  But, it is hard to see how an attack on HZB would not spiral out of control and bring in actors like the Syrian Army, Iran’s IRGC or, even, Russia.

With Americans, Saudis and Zionists working together with the hapless Jordanians, one can see where this is all going to lead.

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NEWS AND COMMENT:

Wanna know who killed ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh of Yemen?  Read this critically important article about collusion between the ragheaded Ayraabs of the Gulf and the Zionist Apartheid State:

https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/war-on-yemen/2041-ali-abdullah-saleh.html

Good article from John Esq. about why the Syrian Army has remained loyal to the central government.  There are some errors such as ascribing to Muhammad Al-Khawli a Sunni identity.  Of course, he was a fellow Alawite during President Hafiz Al-Assad’s days but was dumped after the Nizaar Hindaawi Affair:

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-assads-army-has-not-defected-15190

Want to read the details of the great American-backed victory in Al-Raqqa?  Get it all here while it’s hot:

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-12-07/defector-says-thousands-of-islamic-state-fighters-left-raqqa-in-secret-deal

Sharmine’s article about why U.S.brokered talks are inevitably farcical:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/in-syria-peacemaking-is-no-longer-made-in-america/

Strategic submarines Borei to enhance Russia’s nuclear potential — Navy’s commander – By Military & Defence (TASS)

December 12, 16:54 UTC+3

Currently, the Russian Navy incorporates three strategic nuclear-powered Borei submarines

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© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. The potential of Russia’s naval nuclear force will grow as more nuclear-powered Borei project submarines continue to be built, the Navy’s commander-in-chief Admiral Vladimir Korolyov said on Tuesday.

“Maintaining the combat potential of the strategic naval force by commissioning Borei-A and Borei-B missile-carrying submarines at the proper level will be the main guideline for the fleet’s development,” Korolyov said at a joint meeting of the coordinating council of veterans’ organizations and the Navy’s command.

Korolyov briefed the Navy’s veterans on the outlook for the development of the Russian Navy under the state program for armaments in 2018-2027. There are plans for building up the combat potential of the general purpose forces by creating ships for operations in the ocean, distant sea and littoral zones, upgrading vessels currently in service, providing advanced aircraft for Russia’s Naval Aviation and coastal missile complexes for the on-shore naval units, and increasing the groups of ships carrying high accuracy weapons.”

As the chief of Russia’s General Staff General Valery Gerasimov said earlier, work is already in progress on creating strategic nuclear-powered Borei-B submarines.

 

Currently, the Russian Navy incorporates three strategic nuclear-powered Borei submarines (project 955) – The Yuri Dolgoruky, The Aleksandr Nevsky, and The Vladimir Monomakh. They are armed with solid propellant inter-continental ballistic missiles Bulava. Each submarine can carry up to sixteen such missiles. Another five Borei-A submarines are being built. The keel of the last submarine in the series, The Knyaz Pozharsky, was laid in December last year.

Earlier, the CEO of the Central Design Bureau Rubin, which developed Borei, Igor Vilnit, told TASS the project would be worked on further after the series of upgraded submarines Borei-A was delivered.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/980533

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