Epic fail! Monsanto supporters latest attempt to hide the real truth about glyphosate from the public – by Sustainable Pulse

Following the release of the report Glyphosate: Unsafe On Any Plate on November 14, which revealed alarming levels of the weedkiller glyphosate in popular American foods, Monsanto supporters went in to full attack mode to protect their number one product, however this time they fell on their own swords within a matter of days.

Last year, 17 leading global cancer experts from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) sparked a firestorm when they classified glyphosate as a class 2A “probable human carcinogen“.

On the heels of this growing controversy surrounding the safety of glyphosate, the testing report published by Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project revealed alarming levels (5 to 1125 ppb) of glyphosate in General Mills’ Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran and Frosted Flakes and PepsiCo’s Doritos Cool Ranch, Ritz Crackers and Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips, as well as many more famous products, at levels that present significant risks according to the latest independent peer-reviewed science on glyphosate.

Fail #1: Criticism of testing methods

What happened following the publishing of ‘Glyphosate: Unsafe On Any Plate‘ can only be described as an epic fail by some of Monsanto’s main supporters including Dr. Kevin Folta (University of Florida) and Dr. Michelle McGuire (Washington State University).

Folta and McGuire started the attack on the report on November 14 on Twitter, with criticism of the testing methods used, even before they understood what these were.

However, after holding an e-mail conversation with the FDA-registered Anresco Laboratories, Folta was forced to withdraw his criticism, which he had already fed to a selection of journalists across the U.S..

Folta stated on November 24; “I was contacted by the laboratory that did the analysis for them and I am comfortable that they did the detection 100% correctly. No question.”

Anresco Laboratories expert statement on their new era of glyphosate testing can be found here.

Fail #2: Misinformation regarding the safety of low levels of glyphosate

After their first line of attack failed massively, Monsanto’s supporters moved on to other possible ways to attack the report.

Firstly, they tried the dose makes the poison argument that is only used by desperate industry-funded scientists still hanging on to the understanding of science from the 1970s and 1980s. Not surprisingly, Dr. Folta is one of those industry scientists who still ‘believe’ that low doses of chemicals are not dangerous despite mainstream scientific evidence now showing that many chemicals can be endocrine disruptors (hormone hackers) at very low levels (e.g. 0.1 to 3000 ppb).

Chemical industry funded science still suggests that the higher the dose of a chemical the more dangerous it is, however modern independent science has discovered that many toxic chemicals have as much or more of an influence on our health at low doses – these chemicals are known as hormone hackers (endocrine disruptors).

A study from March 2015 stated that the health costs to the European Union of hormone hacking chemicals is over $ 150 Billion per year! The study stated that lower IQ, adult obesity and 5% or more of autism cases are all linked to exposure to endocrine disruptors.

Glyphosate is likely to be one of these hormone hacking chemicals according to independent science. Find more information on this here.

Fail #3: Peer Review needed for food testing results?

Dr. Folta and colleagues have now taken to stating that they cannot trust the results because they are not peer-reviewed, even though they are all clearly aware of the difference between University studies and commercial laboratory reports.

This is a ridiculous line of attack as millions of food samples in the U.S. are tested and reported by FDA-registered laboratories, such as Anresco Laboratories, every single year with no peer-review.

The Glyphosate: Unsafe On Any Plate report is not a University-based scientific study, which would require peer-review, it is a report of accurate results of glyphosate levels in popular American foods from a commercial laboratory (Anresco Laboratories) with over 70 years of experience in protecting public health through using accurate testing methods.

Monsanto and their supporters have thus completely failed in their latest attempt to hide the real truth about glyphosate from the public! Surely a day to celebrate!

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Aleppo’s liberation is near! Water supply restored, thousands escape to safety of Syrian government (PICS, MAPS, VIDS) – by RusVesna / Fort Russ

The Syrian army has just taken complete control over the Sheikh Khader and Sheikh faris districts of Aleppo. Engineering units have begun de-mining the neighborhoods.

Comment: This R&U vid contains footage from east Aleppo of the massive liberation:

Just look at those evil Russians handing out aid to those terrified civilians! Sarcasm aside, this is a major defeat against not only the terrorists, but their PR presstitutes in the Western media. It turns out, these thousands of civilians WERE held hostage by the terrorists, tried to flee multiple times, but were threatened or shot at to prevent them doing so. You know, exactly what the alternative media and their “Kremlin handlers” have been saying all along!

“The Syrian army and its allies have liberated more than 20 out of the 45 square kilometers of Eastern Aleppo and taken the huge square of blocs east of the city. The SAA already controls almost half of the entire territory of eastern Aleppo,” the press service of the Lebanese Resistance, Hezbollah, has reported in addition to publishing fresh maps.

In the districts taken by the army, sweeping operations and non-intensive firefights are still ongoing. Most likely, a portion of militants were unable to flee the seized districts along with the bulk of bandits.

Another important victory has since been reported: SAA units attacking from two sides have finally met at and retaken the most important water pumping station, Suleiman al-Halabi.

The Syrian Arab Republic’s army has thus liberated the largest water station and its massive water action pumps. Now the problem of the city’s water supply can be resolved, and water will be provided to residents’ apartments 24 hours a day. Earlier, the militants controlling the pumping station blocked the water flow and threatened to blow it up to blackmail the government.

Technicians have already begun repairing the station to restore it to full operation.

Comment: According to the Russian MOD, 80,000 people live in the liberated portion of Aleppo.

According to the statement, another 5,000 residents left the terrorist-controlled southern districts of eastern Aleppo and reached safe zones in the embattled city.

“All refugees were placed in makeshift humanitarian centers receiving all necessary assistance,” the statement said.

Boris Johnson is calling for an immediate ceasefire, which can only mean that either he’s a total idiot, or he wants to protect Al-Qaeda and prevent any more civilians being saved.

Comment: South Front celebrates the good news:

See also: Russian Reconciliation Center: 40% of east Aleppo liberated from al-Qaeda

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Returning To Aleppo, Finding That ‘Every Syrian Is Being Targeted’ – By Eva Bartlett

‘We were living in security and peace. These areas are being targeted, they want to force us to leave. Every Syrian is being targeted,’ one Syrian religious leader told a delegation of reporters who visited Aleppo earlier this month.
By @EvaBartlettGaza |
On Oct. 20 and again on Nov. 4, the Syrian government and Russia opened eight humanitarian corridors established for civilians and militants who wished to flee terrorist-held areas of eastern Aleppo, including militants who wished to surrender their weapons under amnesty. However, no one left on Nov. 4. Many residents within eastern Aleppo have said they are being held hostage and used as human shields by terrorists who shoot upon people attempting to leave through the humanitarian corridors. [Photo by Eva Bartlett, Nov. 4, 2016]

Overlooking the terrorist-occupied Bustan al-Qasr district of eastern Aleppo. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

ALEPPO, Syria — (OPINION) In early November, Fares Shehabi, a member of the Syrian parliament from Aleppo, organized a trip to Aleppo for 13 Western journalists, including myself, with security provided by forces in the Syrian Arab Army.While I had traveled to Aleppo independently as recently as July and August, for many others in the delegation, it was their first visit to the city or their first visit since the war on Syria began in 2011.

On previous visits to Aleppo, I met with the Aleppo Medical Association and saw a maternity hospital hit twice by rocket and mortar attacks by militants under Jaysh al-Fatah (the Army of Conquest), a loose alliance of anti-government terrorist groups. I met with members of a branch of the Syria Civil Defense and Christian and Muslim religious leaders. Just north of the city, I visited Nubl and Zahraa, towns besieged for more than three years by the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front, and other affiliated terrorist factions before the Syrian Arab Army drove them out in February of this year. I saw the liberated region of Bani Zaid and the al-Layramoun industrial district. I interacted with civilians in public parks, streets, and markets.

Ahead of my trip earlier this month, I was interested to see what might have changed following the liberation of still more areas by the SAA. I also hoped to speak with civilians who had fled the terrorist-held areas of Aleppo’s eastern districts since I had last visited, during which time eight humanitarian corridors had been established for civilians and members of terrorist factions willing to relinquish their arms or to accept safe passage to areas in Idlib and government-secured parts of western Aleppo.

However, on Nov. 4, no one fled terrorist-held areas of Aleppo. Family members of civilians still there say their loved ones are being used as human shields by groups like the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, or Nour al-Din al-Zenki — the so-called “moderate rebels” and “opposition forces” backed by the United States, NATO, Israel and Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

 

Returning to Aleppo

Syrian citizens gather at the scene where two blasts exploded in the pro-government neighborhood of Zahraa, in Homs province, Syria, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016. Two blasts in the central Syrian city of Homs killed more than a dozen people and injured many others in a wave of violence. (SANA via AP)

From Damascus, the bus traveled along smooth, paved roads to Homs, where we passed the entrance to Zahraa, a neighborhood plagued by terrorist car and suicide bombs. Moving out of Homs, we continued eastward along a narrow road for about an hour until we reached the Ithriya-Khanasser road, and the last leg of the trip to Aleppo.

Though the Ithriya-Khanasser road was flanked by the wreckage of buses and cars, attacked mostly by Da’esh (an Arabic acronym for the extremist group commonly referred to in the West as ISIS or ISIL) in recent years, and although Da’esh continues to creep onto sections of the road at night to lay mines, our travel there was without incident.

When I reached the southeastern suburb of Ramouseh in July, it was by taxi. The driver sped through the suburb, fearing Nusra Front snipers less than a kilometer away. He floored it for at least 500 meters, speeding through risky spots and weaving in and out of a valley in perfect range of terrorist shellings, ultimately reaching an SAA checkpoint before entering Greater Aleppo.

Castello Road was only means of entering Aleppo in August. The road, which runs into the northern part of the city, had recently been secured but still threatened by terrorist shelling.

Ramouseh was re-secured prior to our November visit, and again became the main means of entering Aleppo. In November, we traveled by bus, escorted by security, and the threat of snipers was weakened by SAA advances in recent months. Above the sniper embankment of barrels and sandbags, I had a clearer view toward Sheikh Saeed district — areas which terrorist factions had long occupied and from which they sniped and shelled Ramouseh.

One of our first stops was the Aleppo Chamber of Industry, where MP Shehabi outlined the systematic looting of Aleppo’s factories.

According to Shehabi, of the 70,000 small to large enterprises and factories which once thrived in Aleppo, only about half have survived that widespread destruction and gutting of factories. Of the roughly 35,000 enterprises now operating in Aleppo, he estimated that only about 7,000 are factories and they’re operating at just 15 percent capacity.

Shehabi said the Chamber has photo and video evidence of burglaries in factories. He continued:

“We documented the transfer of our heavy equipment, production equipment, like power generators, like textile machinery. These are heavy, not something you can smuggle easily. These would be on the highway, under the monitoring of Turkish police. Stolen production lines, how can you allow stolen production lines to enter your country without any paperwork?”

The Chamber, along with other Syrian industry associations, filed a lawsuit against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in European courts in 2013, seeking damages. That lawsuit and others launched by Syrian authorities accuse Erdoğan of not just harboring terrorists, but allowing and even enabling them to enter Syria to destroy or disassemble factories and return to Turkey with stolen machinery and hardware.

None of these legal proceedings have been resolved, and Shehabi describes the Chamber’s lawsuit as “stumbling.” Shehabi was among four of Aleppo’s top businessmen to be hit with EU sanctions in 2011. These sanctions, the MP said, represent a hurdle preventing a fair resolution.

The Chamber now operates out of a rented villa, as the historic building which housed the Chamber of Industry in the Old City was destroyed on April 27, 2014, when explosives were denoted in an underground tunnel. Shehabi said he had gone on Syrian national television, calling on governments to impose a commercial boycott of Turkey, about two weeks prior to the attack.

“They didn’t bomb the building next to it, there was only one security guard inside [no military personnel], and it’s not at the frontline, so why bomb it?” he asked, noting his suspicion that the Chamber had been deliberately targeted due to the legal action it was taking against Erdoğan.

 

The FSA’s underground prison in al-Layramoun

We walked through the ornately-carved entrance of a building in the al-Layramoun industrial district that once housed a dye factory. More recently, though, it’s been used as a base by the 16th Division of the Free Syrian Army. In an interior room, I noticed a 4G mobile phone card from Turkcell, Turkey’s leading mobile phone operator.

In neighboring buildings we saw bags of materials reportedly used to make the gas canister and water heater explosives known colloquially as Hell 1 and Hell 2, the latter of which can inflict significantly more damage, including leveling entire floors of houses. There were also metal fragments, which are added to explosives to inflict maximum damage. Another room contained a pile of shavings which one of the Syrian soldiers accompanying us said was used to compress explosives in the gas canister bombs which the Free Syrian Army and other terrorist groups fire upon neighborhoods in greater Aleppo.

When we approached the Nusra Front-occupied road leading toward Daher Abed Rabbo, SAA soldiers advised us to run, not walk.

Just beyond that road, bunkered three stories below ground, the Free Syrian Army’s nightmarish improvised prison for SAA captives was untouched by the bombs inflicting damage above-ground. These attacks target terrorists who fire on the civilians of Aleppo and retreat underground.

Al-Layramoun and Bani Zaid are home to the same landscape of battered buildings that one finds in areas where militants have bunkered deeply down. Seeing the destruction, some of the other journalists in our delegation mention only the physical damage to the buildings. “Buildings lay pancaked by airstrikes,” one wrote, pointing an incriminating finger at the Syrian government without giving any context as to why these areas were hammered.

The real shame is not actually the physical destruction of buildings, but the incursion into these districts by Western-backed terrorists, including the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front, and Da’esh, among others. Nearly six years into the needless bloodshed, their criminal and savage acts against Syrian civilians and soldiers are well-documented. And it’s common knowledge that they bunker down to avoid airstrikes.

The Free Syrian Army’s nine suffocating, improvised metal solitary confinement cells and three rooms used as regular cells in the underground prison bunker in al-Layramoun were all intact despite the aerial bombings. Buildings are devastated above-ground because of the presence of militants deep underground, where airstrikes inflict considerably less damage.

 

18 killed in Nov. 3 terror attacks

On the afternoon of Nov. 3, after meeting with Dr. Mohammed Batikh, director of Al-Razi Hospital, the victims of terror attacks which had begun a few hours prior began to arrive one after another, maimed and critically injured. The vehicle bombings and bombardment of Grad missiles, among other attacks, left 18 people dead and more than 200 injured, according to Dr. Zaher Hajo, the head of forensic medicine at Al-Razi Hospital.

The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo. Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

The corridors and emergency ward at Al-Razi Hospital, one of two state-run hospitals in Aleppo, quickly became clogged with the injured and grieving family members. In one crowded interior corridor, one of the wounded screamed out in pain: “Ya, Allah! Ya, Allah!”

In another corridor, a 15-year-old boy with a cast on one leg and bandages on his head, said the mortar attack which injured him had killed his 4-year-old cousin and left his 6-year-old cousin with critical injuries.

In a front room, a mother wailed for her son who had suffered severe injuries. She screamed and pleaded for someone to save him, her only son. Not long after, though, the news came in: the 26-year-old had died. Her son, a doctor, was not the first medical professional to die in terrorists’ routine bombings of Aleppo neighborhoods.

Dr. Nabil Antaki, a gastroenterologist from Aleppo, with whom I met on my trips to Aleppo in July and August, messaged me in October about his friend and colleague, Dr. Omar, who was injured on Oct. 6 when terrorist factions unleashed an attack on Jamiliye Street, killing 10 people. Just a few days after the attack, Dr. Omar, too, died.

At the morgue behind Al-Razi Hospital on Nov. 3, inconsolable family members leaned against the wall or sat on the pavement, coming to grips with the deaths of loved ones.

One 14-year-old boy had been there on Nov. 2, when his father was killed. On Nov. 3, he returned when his mother was killed. Both of this boy’s parents are dead, both killed in terrorist attacks on the city’s New Aleppo district.

A man spoke of a 10-year-old nephew who was shot in the head by a terrorist sniper while the boy was on his roof.

A woman and her children leaned against an iron rail next to the door to the morgue, weeping over the death of her husband, their father, who was killed while parking a car. When the man’s mother arrived, she collapsed, shrieking in grief.

The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo.

And in the midst of all of this, all these women and children, a car arrived at the morgue with the body of yet another victim of the day’s terror attacks, Mohammed Majd Darwish, 74. His upper body was so bloody that it was unclear whether he had been decapitated.

Near the morgue, Bashir Shehadeh, a man in his forties, said his family had been displaced already from Jisr al-Shughour, a city in Idlib. His mother, some of his friends, and his cousin have been killed by terrorist factions’ shellings. He said enough was enough, and called on the SAA to eliminate the terrorist threat.

Al-Razi’s Dr. Batikh said a private hospital, Al-Rajaa, was hit by a mortar attack. “They cannot do operations now, the operating room is out of service.”

One of the most notable attacks on hospitals was the December 2013 double truck bombing of Al-Kindi Hospital, the largest and best cancer treatment hospital in the Middle East. I have previously reported on other attacks on hospitals in Aleppo, including the May 3 rocket attack which gutted Al-Dabeet, a maternity hospital, killing three women. On Sept. 10, Dr. Antaki messaged me:

“Yesterday, a rocket, sent by the terrorists, hit a maternity hospital in Aleppo in Muhafazat Street. Two persons working in the hospital were injured. No death. But the point is that it is a hospital and it was hit by a rocket.”

Dr. Batikh and Dr. Mazen Rahmoun, deputy director of Al-Razi, said the hospital once had 68 ambulances, but now there are only six. The rest, they said, were either stolen by terrorist factions or destroyed.

Aleppo’s doctors continue to treat the daily influx of injured and ill patients in spite of the dearth of ambulances and effects of Western sanctions which mean a lack of medical equipment, replacement parts, and medicine for critical illnesses like cancer.

According to the hospital’s head forensic medicine, Dr. Hajo, in the last five years, 10,750 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, 40 percent of whom were women and children. In the past year alone, 328 children have been killed by terrorist shelling in Aleppo, and 45 children were killed by terrorist snipers.

 

Humanitarian Crossings: Shelling of Castello Road

Less than 100 metres away, the second of two mortars fired by terrorist factions less than 1 km from Castello Road on Nov. 4. The road and humanitarian corridor were targeted at least six times that day by terrorist factions. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

On Nov. 4, prior to our 9:30 a.m. arrival at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing and until our departure an hour later, no one had been able to cross from the area just beyond crossing, which is occupied by Jaysh al-Fatah militants.

Two weeks prior to our arrival, journalists had reported that terrorist factions heavily shelled the crossing and areas around it starting in the early morning.

A Syrian general at the crossing confirmed that shelling had taken place on Oct. 20, adding that three police officers had been wounded. A journalist in the delegation asked the general what he would say to Syrian civilians like Bashir Shehadeh, who demanded that the SAA eliminate the terrorist factions.

“We need to be patient, because the civilians there are not able to leave, they are not guilty,” the general replied. “We don’t work the way that the terrorists work.”

Regarding the amnesty decree issued by President Bashar Assad in late July, the general explained that terrorists who want to be granted amnesty could lay down their arms. Those who choose to go on to Idlib would be granted safe passage by the Syrian government and army, in coordination with the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

According to the general, when two militants arrived at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing about two months ago, they surrendered their arms and proceeded under amnesty.

Five months ago, he said, 12 civilians crossed there, were treated in Aleppo’s hospitals, and returned to their homes in terrorist-held eastern Aleppo.  

At the Castello Road humanitarian crossing, the large green buses which were said to be evacuating militants from areas of eastern Aleppo in recent weeks were there again, waiting to ferry away more. Ten ambulances, three buses, and 14 minivans were lined up in anticipation of any civilians or militants trying to leave terrorist-occupied areas, whether for safe passage elsewhere or to settle in government-secured areas of Aleppo.

Ten ambulances wait at the Castello Road crossing to treat anyone exiting via the humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian government and Russia, including militants who lay down their arms. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

George Sire, 25, an anesthesiologist at Salloum Hospital in Aleppo, was one of the volunteers who arrived at the crossing with five of the private hospital’s ambulances, at the request of the Syrian government.

When speaking with a Syrian commander about permitting men who had used arms against Syrian civilians and soldiers to lay down their arms and reconcile, he said they are sons of the country and urged them to reconcile.

At around 1:30 p.m. the first shell struck, hitting near Castello Road. About 10 minutes later, while I was being interviewed, a second hit, this time considerably closer, within 100 meters — close enough, in fact, to create a cloud of dark smoke over the road. It prompted security to usher me away from the road and move our delegation away from the crossing.

I later learned that another five shells targeted the crossing, injuring a Syrian journalist and two Russian soldiers.

No one passed through this or any of the other seven humanitarian corridors that day.

 

Displaced by terrorists

For around four years, simple shelters at the Hafez al-Assad Mosque have housed around 1,000 people, all Sunni families displaced from areas occupied by militants.

Most of those with whom I spoke listed similar reasons for leaving their homes and described being in fear for their lives because of the terrorist presence.

“They came and destroyed houses and killed civilians before they attacked the state. The army is protecting us, it’s the gangs [that] are the ones destroying the country,” one man told me.

He said his two brothers in terrorist-controlled areas in eastern Aleppo are “not allowed to leave.”

“They’ve tried many times but they are prevented. If the armed groups see anyone carrying luggage, they’ll arrest them right away.”

He and others at the shelter complained that, according to their family members, the terrorist factions horde and control any food within the areas they occupy.

Like elsewhere in the city, the shelter and area immediately surrounding the mosque are routinely hit with mortars and explosive bullets.

An older man led me around a corner, pointing to a spot where he said a 29-year-old man was killed by a terrorist-fired explosive bullet.

“He was standing here. His stomach was torn open,” he told me.

 

The Old City: Life among ruins

The small bus ferrying over a dozen journalists and a very alert special forces soldier, Ali, to the Old City at one point suddenly bolted ahead. A sniper was staked out to our left, in an area occupied by terrorist factions roughly 500 meters away, we were told.

After entering the Old City, and crossing a street shielded from sniper fire by an earthen embankment and a metal screen, at times the only means of continuing on in the Old City was by stepping through holes hammered into the walls connecting buildings. By crossing through buildings, we avoided the snipers who are ready fire on anyone who moves on the street.

Across the narrow street, a shock of greenery stood in stark contrast to the grey tones of destruction created by years of fighting against some of the worst terrorism the world has ever known.

Rami, a Syrian soldier from Banias, explained that he had planted herbs and green onions here as he did when he had been stationed along the desert-like Ithriya-Khanasser road in the past. Rami’s soft smile and kind demeanor betrayed his personal loss: a brother killed while serving in the SAA.

While walking through the government-secured areas of Aleppo’s Old City, we came across a single vendor, Mahmoud. He used to sell traditional Arabic musical instruments, but circumstances have forced him to abandon that business in favor of selling basic goods to roughly 25 customers per day. He refuses to leave the Old City, where he’s only about 200 meters from the Nusra Front and other Jaysh al-Fatah militants.

“I’m an ordinary person,” Mahmoud said. “They destroyed everything.”

Walking past devastated shop after devastated shop, and through the graceful arches of covered markets typical of old Syrian cities, MP Fares Shehabi pointed out:

“You see the blackened ceilings? That’s from when the terrorists withdrew. They set fires to stall the advance of the Syrian army, and also to try to hide their looting. They cannot accuse the army of having bombed here, the roof is intact.”

Exiting from this particular market area, we came to a sandbagged, partially-screened area. We were given stern orders not to move forward: The famous Aleppo Citadel was ahead, and to the left and right of our position at the destroyed Carlton Hotel, terrorist snipers lay in wait.

When terrorists detonated mass amounts of explosives in tunnels underneath the Carlton Hotel in May 2014, Col. Abu Majed told us that “all of Aleppo felt it.”

“They have bombed over 20 historic buildings via tunnels,” Shehabi said. “If they were real Syrians, they would not bomb historical buildings.”

At least 7,500 shops in the Old City are gone, lost to burning, looting and utter destruction. “That’s 7,500 families,” Shehabi reminded us.

 

Visiting frontline targeted areas

The Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo still has a gaping hole in one wall since being hit by terrorist shelling roughly two years ago. At the time of the attack, the congregation was inside worshipping, the choir singing.

The Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo has been targeted with shelling five times by terrorist groups, including the Nusra Front, that occupy areas just 500 meters away. The shelling that left this hole occurred two years ago, while congregation members were worshipping, the choir singing. At least 10 people were injured. Nov. 2, 2016 (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

A church leader said it had been targeted five times, the last incident apparently involving a rocket just a few weeks prior to our arrival. Terrorist factions were an estimated 300-500 meters away, he said.

He estimated that one-third of the 1,350 families who used to worship there have fled to other areas of Syria or abroad, mainly due to safety concerns.  

“We were living in security and peace. These areas are being targeted, they want to force us to leave. Every Syrian is being targeted,” he told the delegation.

Some of the remaining congregation members have chosen to worship in a narrow corridor inside the building over the past two years.

Further in the city, the Maronite Church of Aleppo’s Bishop Joseph Topji said roughly two-thirds of his community of around 800 families have left, hoping to find safer conditions elsewhere.

Inside a building belonging to the church, Bishop Topji welcomed us and explained:

“We don’t have a church now. We used to have two churches, but both are destroyed. We only have this place, a chapel which holds around 70 people.”

Walking along darkened streets in Talal, an area historically rich with churches that are now destroyed or massively damaged, Shehabi urged caution: “We are 50 meters from al-Nusra. Beyond these buildings, the frontline.”

Rev. Ibrahim Nseir, pastor of the Arab Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Aleppo, led us through the Christian areas of Talal, reminding us to remain as silent as possible.

“No voices, because that will let them hear that we are here. It will be very dangerous,” he said quietly. “Quickly, ya eini… Please, everybody, quickly…”

We then took a bus to Midan district, where we walked along the darkened streets. Our Syrian military accompaniment urged the group to stay together and listen carefully.

As we walked, Rev. Nseir described attacks on schools and the area, an Armenian district, which was heavily hit.

“Here we are in one of the most targeted places,” he said, pointing out ruts in the ground from mortar strikes.

A local resident told us:

“On September 5, two gas canister bombs his this area, we had three martyrs, shebab around age 30. One was married with a 1-year-old child. Another was about to get married. Four days before his wedding, he was killed. Over six days in September, we received 85 shells.”

As we walked, Shehabi cautioned: “Bela dow, bela dow—no light. There’s a sniper, guys, there’s a sniper. Turn off your lights.” The sniper was an estimated 1 km away, according to the locals walking with us, who said snipers sometimes come within 500 meters.

With night settled in, it was difficult to ascertain the intensity of the damage, but the darkened homes and streets spoke volumes of a neighborhood abandoned by former residents with deep safety concerns.

According to a representative of the Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo, around one-third of the congregation’s 1,350 families have fled to other areas of Syria or even gone abroad, primarily seeking security and distance from the mortars and rockets of terrorist factions. Congregation members stopped worshiping in the church chapel two years ago after repeated instances of shelling. They now gather in a small interior corridor where they feel somewhat safer. Nov. 2, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

 

Aleppo’s religious leaders defy divisiveness

Inside his church, a new structure built about a year ago to replace the historic church destroyed by terrorists in years prior, Rev. Nseir introduced three Sunni leaders from the city: Dr. Rami Obeid, Dr. Rabih Kukeh, Sheikh Ahmed Ghazeli.

“These Sunni leaders are considered ‘infidels’ by al-Nusra and company,” Nseir said, explaining that they don’t follow the distorted Wahhabi ideology guiding the Western-backed terrorist factions like the Nusra Front and others which had been deemed “moderate rebels” and “opposition forces.”

Before turning the floor over to these religious leaders, Rev. Nseir noted:

“When the church was destroyed, the first person to call me was Mufti Hassoun, who told me, ‘Don’t worry, reverend, we’ll rebuild the church.’”

Dr. Kukeh spoke generally on the multi-denominational culture of Syria:

“The mosaic we are living in Syria is incomparable to any way of living all over the world. Christians and Muslims, Sunnis and Shiites. There is no discrimination based on religion or sect. The propaganda spread throughout the media have no roots here.”

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In regards to the terrorists who portray themselves as freedom-fighting jihadists, Dr. Kukeh said:

“Those who are killing the Sunnis are the same who claim that they are defending the Sunnis. The shells that hit us daily are sent by them.”

He named six Sunni sheikhs in Syria, most in Aleppo, who were assassinated by terrorists for not joining them. One of them, Sheikh Abdel Latif al-Shami, was tortured to death in July 2012.

Dr. Kukeh, who said he named his oldest son after the former Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, “because I love that man,” explained that in 2012 he was living in eastern Aleppo when terrorists began to occupy districts there. He was targeted for assassination because he did not agree with the terrorists’ ideologies.

He said he was convicted of charges related to his writing for a local publication, his son’s name, and a lack of anti-government demonstrations emanating from his mosque. Those demonstrations never occurred, he said, because he never encouraged them like other Wahhabi sheikhs did elsewhere.

The conversation drifted from the source of terrorism in Syria, Wahhabism, and its distorted, un-Islamic nature, to the unity I’ve heard Syrians all over speak of. One of the sheikhs, his name lost in a flutter of voices, repeated what’s become a familiar sentiment among Syrian civilians and soldiers:

“Aleppo is one, Syria is one. We reject the division of Aleppo, we reject the division of Syria.”

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20 million Muslims march against ISIS in Iraq, mainstream media completely ignores it – By Matt Agorist

In one of the largest organized marches in the history of the world, tens of millions of Shia Muslims made an incredibly heartening statement, by risking their lives to travel through war-stricken areas to openly defy ISIS. This massive event that would have undoubtedly helped to ease tensions in the West was almost entirely ignored by corporate media.

Women, men, elderly, and children made their way to the city of Karbala on Sunday and Monday last week for the holy day of Arbaeen. Arbaeen is the event which marks the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual that commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein in 680 AD.

As the Independent reports, massive crowds paid homage to the shrines of Imam Hussein and his half-brother Abbas in Karbala, where they were killed in a revolt against the Umayyad ruler Yazeed in the 7th century AD when they refused to pledge allegiance to Yazeed’s Umayyad caliphate.

Registering only as a blip on the Independent, this most amazing feat was conducted in spite of ISIS, as well as the sacred annual pilgrimage.

As the UK paper notes, the march comes as nearly 80 people, many of them pilgrims returning from commemorating Arbaeen in Karbala, were killed in the latest Isis attack in the area.

Isis has declared Shia Muslims apostates and targeted them in its bloody campaign to establish a hardline caliphate across Iraq and Syria, according to the Independent.

The brave men, women, and children marched on, knowing that an ISIS suicide bomber had just struck near Karbala the week prior.

In recent years, this march has taken on a dual purpose. Where it was once a march for Arbaeen, it now also encompasses the Shia resistance and protest against ISIS terrorists.

“I came walking from Basra with my wife and three sons … This is the third time. We started walking 13 days ago and reached Karbala on Sunday night,” said Pilgrim Jaber Kadhem Khalif.

According to the Independent, the 40-year-old said his prayers would go to the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary group that has tens of thousands of men deployed on the front lines to fight ISIS.

Umm Ali, who came without her husband, as he is currently fighting ISIS on the front lines, said, “I came with my son and two daughters. I came from Samawa to Najaf by car, then from Najaf to Karbala on foot, to make a plea for my husband’s safety.

“We ask God to support us against Daesh [ISIS] members, to help us liberate Mosul and urge our politicians to remember the people who have sacrificed so much.”

In spite of this pilgrimage being one of the most massive marches in the world, the West conveniently ignored it. Arbaeen is magnitudes larger than the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca — yet Mecca is the only event that ever receives headlines in the West. Given the recent revelation that the Shia Muslims are also marching against Daesh, one can’t help but wonder why this isn’t all over American news.

According to the Independent, organizers of the annual Arbaeen procession in U.K. have previously spoken of their frustration over the lack of mainstream media coverage of the event.

“Unfortunately [some] media outlets have gone for stories that to some extent can be divisive. If a group of Muslims does something good, it’s not mentioned or the religion is not mentioned. But if someone does something [negative], it is on the front page and their religion is mentioned,” Mohammed Al-Sharifi, a volunteer at last year’s event told the Independent.

And he is right.

Many of the stories on Muslims in the U.S. that make it on to the mainstream are those that stoke divide. When a Muslim hero saves hundreds of lives by jumping on a bomb — which actually happened in July — the mainstream and the Islamophobic alternative media is mum.

Those who would judge 1.6 billion people by the actions of just a few are creating a narrative in which innocent lives are put in danger.

Throughout history, most mainstream religions have perpetuated extreme violence upon the world. To attempt to paint Islam as the problem is no better than labeling all Catholics murders for the inquisition.

But peace and empathy are enemies to the establishment who need you to hate others. When the establishment can paint things as black and white, it is easier for you to be controlled. Consequently, this is the exact mission of ISIS.

As the Free Thought Project’s Jay Syrmopolous points out, if there is one thing that Islamic fundamentalists and Islamophobic fascists agree on, it’s that there should be no “gray zone;” only black and white.

The gray zone is the zone of peaceful coexistence. Eliminating the gray zone – and rendering a world as black & white as the flag of the Islamic state is the ultimate goal of fundamentalists on all sides.

In fact, a recent ISIS publication, titled Extinction of the Grayzone made clear that the strategy has been at play for the past 14 years.

“The grayzone is critically endangered, rather on the brink of extinction. It’s endangerment began with the blessed operation of September 11th, as these operations manifested two camps before the world for mankind to choose between, a camp of Islam… and a camp of kufr – the crusader coalition.”

The way to truly defeat ISIS is by rendering their fear and divisive tactics impotent. We need to show ISIS, and those being manipulated by their tactics, that tolerance and freedom are far more powerful than bigotry and hate — which is why, coincidentally, not a single American mainstream outlet reported on the tens of millions of Muslims marching against ISIS.

Please share this story with your friends and family who may find themselves subject to the fear mongering in the media of Muslim violence. You can bow down to the will of ISIS by allowing their hate-filled rhetoric and divisive tactics to cloud your mind with fear and hatred. Or, you can rise up and stand against those who would drive a wedge through the heart of humankind. The choice is yours.

Comment: By some estimates, ISIS is made up of about 100,000 – a statistically insignificant number of so-called Muslims next to so many hundreds of millions more individuals who are not fundamentalist jihadi types. And so, in creating ISIS, we have the US government and other governments of the West – as well as their whorish media to thank for painting more than a billion individuals with a twisted blood-soaked brush.
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TERRORISTS’ COLLAPSE & DEFEAT. THE SAA AND ALLIES HEADING FOR TOTAL VICTORY – By Ziad Fadel

“Exclusive to Syrper” by Canthama

 

Aleppo

After the liberation of Hanaanu Residencies, Ardh Al-Hamraa` and Jabal Badru on Saturday and early Sunday, it was expected that the terrorists’ defensive lines would be under great pressure.  But, what followed was an unprecedented collapse of their defenses inside northeastern Aleppo. The terrorists were not able to hold the well-coordinated offensive that started at the same time from multiple directions in all corners of the already well defined cauldron.

The Tiger Forces and Republican Guards moved first, overnight, placing huge pressure in the direction of the Saakhoor District where it quickly advanced on the Aleppo International Airport Motorway and further north toward the park then they stopped allowing aviable exit for the terrorists to flee south with the clear intention to preserve as much as possible of the city’s infrastructure and buildings.

A few hours later, the Liwaa` Al-Quds and SAA started to advance toward ‘Ayn Al-Tal and Ba’eedeen districts, while the SAA and YPG advanced inside Turaab Hulluk and Bustaan Al- Baashaa.

The combination of multiple advances and effective local Intel by SAA-MI sleeper cells proved decisive. The terrorists who were suffering devastating losses at that moment, panicked and started to flee their positions triggering  a domino effect that would engulf all the northeast of Aleppo in a few hours.

By the end of the day, the SAA and Liwa`a Al-Quds started to advance in the Indhaaraat and Al-Haydariyya neighborhoods from northern side while the Tiger forces and Republican Guards advanced from the eastern side. By night it was evident that any terrorist inside were either dead or had fled and, by early morning, this large urban area of Aleppo was declared liberated and safe by the Syrian Ministry of Defense. 

At the moment, we can confirm the full liberation, in the past 48 hours, of the following districts:

Hanaanu

Ardh Al-Hamraa`

Jabal Badru

Turaab Hulluk

Bustaan Al-Baashaa

‘Ayn Al-Tal

Ba’eedeen

Saakhoor

Indhaaraat

Haydariyya

Fighting continues in parts of Shaykh Faaris and parts of Shaykh Khudhr. The Water Pump Station was liberated and is being combed for many mines and IEDs.

image: http://syrianperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CyVmgbhXEAABB7l.jpg

Map credited to @Miladvisor

There have been reports of a battle in the northern section of Hilwaaniyya District, at Hayy Dawwaaria toward the Hilwaaniyya Roundabout and Al-Baab Road. Should this be confirmed during the day, it proves the Aleppo International Airport Motorway is no longer the new front line.

The terrorists’ situation has turned, in a matter of few days, to a very delicate and fragile one in Aleppo. Early last week, the SAA and Desert Hawks advanced toward Shaykh Lutfi scoring two critical victories at Tallat Al-Shurta (i.e. Police Hill), while partially controlling 20% Maqarr Al-Anbiyaa` District, placing the SAA and allied forces 2 kms from the Citadel, opening up another possibility to create one more smaller pocket from the Aleppo International Airport Motorway down to the northern sector of Maqarr Al-Anbiyaa` that would basically reduce the Aleppo pocket to a much smaller one in the south and southwest of the city; only 25% of the original area occupied by the terrorists 3 months ago.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=36.186830&lon=37.175932&z=14&l=&ifr=1&m=b

 

Damascus

 

East Ghouta – the agreement in city of Al-Tal is in place and going smoothly. The remaining terrorists who did not surrender are being transported to Idlib at the moment.

image: http://syrianperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CyVm_OIUAAAZ5mE.jpg

 

West Ghouta – First batch of terrorists and their families are leaving Khaan Al-Shayk and the 4 nearby villages nearby  starting today. In total,1,450 terrorists, 900 children and 589 women will be transported to Idlib during the next few days with the vast majority of the terrorists heading for Idlib being foreigners. It is worth noting that thousands of terrorists surrendered to the Syrian Government to apply for amnesty – all Syrians.

Once finalized the transportation process at the Khaan Al-Shaykh pocket will liberate over 4-5,000 battle hardened SAA soldiers. Their new liberation task is anyone’s guess, but, it will most certainly be another nightmare for the terrorists and their supporters.

image: http://syrianperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CyVm_OhUcAAPjf-.jpg

 

Condolences note:

Would like to share my deepest condolences for the Syrian- born (of Palestinian Parents) Commander Muhammad “The Godfather” Raafi’, a highly decorated leader of the Liwaa` Al-Quds group who helped to liberate the Handaraat Camp. He was martyred yesterday during the Al-Quds advance in Ba’eedeen district. May the Syrian hero rest in peace knowing his dream of a free Aleppo and Palestine and a peaceful and united Syria will be achieved.

image: http://syrianperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CySEykwUAAA9Ri3.jpg

________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Afraa Dagher sends this inspiring video showing University of Damascus students praising the Syrian Army:

TERRORISTS’ COLLAPSE & DEFEAT. THE SAA AND ALLIES HEADING FOR TOTAL VICTORY by Ziad Fadel

Read more at http://syrianperspective.com/2016/11/terrorists-collapse-defeat-the-saa-and-allies-heading-for-total-victory.html#ucJRQVx188bc8Ri0.99

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Australia: Death toll rises in freak cases of ‘thunderstorm asthma’ – by RT

© Rick Stevens / Reuters

A sixth person has recently died from asthma complications allegedly linked to a rare weather phenomenon, as a thunderstorm coincided with a high pollen count in Australia, officials said. Up to 8,500 people have been affected by ‘thunderstorm asthma.’

A thunderstorm in Melbourne, the second most populous city in Australia, has been causing widespread respiratory issues among asthma and hay fever sufferers since Monday.

The phenomenon dubbed ‘thunderstorm asthma’ takes place when rye grass pollen absorbs moisture, breaks into small pieces and penetrates deep into people’s airways, affecting their health.

“There have now been six deaths that may have occurred as a result of conditions relating to the thunderstorm asthma events on Monday,” the health department spokesman of the State of Victoria said on Sunday.

According to the spokesman, “five patients are continuing to receive specialist ICU [intensive care unit] care in hospitals in Melbourne, with three still in a critical condition.”

“This was a tragic and unforeseen event and hospitals are continuing to treat 12 people for a variety of respiratory and other related conditions, in addition to those in ICU care,” the spokesman said.

In all, 8,500 patients were treated on Monday and Tuesday in Melbourne, a city of 4.5 million residents, according to officials.

The demand for ambulances was so high that “it was like having 150 bombs going off right across a particular part of metropolitan Melbourne,” State of Victoria Health Minister Jill Hennessy said on Thursday.

“It was really tight, like someone pressing on my lungs,” Ateev Dang, one of those affected by ‘thunderstorm asthma’ told the Australian newspaper. “My limbs couldn’t move.”

‘Thunderstorm asthma’ has not only been recorded in Australia, but in the US, Canada, the UK, and Italy.

The majority of incidents, however, have so far taken place in Melbourne.

According to Mick Logan from the Bureau of Meteorology, there is nothing unique about these storms.

“Melbourne does get storms but there are other parts of Australia, particularly tropical, that experience more thunderstorms,”the meteorologist said.

Asthma claimed the lives of over 400 Australians in 2014, National Asthma Council chair Dr. Jonathan Burdon said, adding that some adults who thought they had outgrown asthma may have been affected by the Monday storm again.

“I suspect Monday night some of those people may have been in this group,” he said.

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Liberty Blitzkrieg and SOTT.net included on Washington Post highlighted hit list of ‘Russian propaganda’ websites – By Michael Krieger

© Japanexperterna.se on flickr

I have to admit I’m quite honored to see that Liberty Blitzkrieg was recently included on a list of some of the most illustrious, impactful and successful alternative news websites on the planet. The list was created by an anonymous group of status quo crybabies who simply can’t handle the fact their beloved chosen oligarch was defeated in a democratically held election by Donald Trump (who I didn’t even support). As such, they are lashing out at alternative news outlets deemed most effective in countering the smothering and nonsensical pro-Hillary narrative tirelessly propagated by the fake mainstream news media.

The group in question calls itself PropOrNot, and self-describes in the following manner:

PropOrNot is an independent team of concerned American citizens with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including professional experience in computer science, statistics, public policy, and national security affairs. We are currently volunteering time and skills to identify propaganda – particularly Russian propaganda – targeting a U.S. audience. We collect public-record information connecting propaganda outlets to each other and their coordinators abroad, analyze what we find, act as a central repository and point of reference for related information, and organize efforts to oppose it.

We formed PropOrNot as an effort to prevent propaganda from distorting U.S. political and policy discussions. We hope to strengthen our cultural immune systems against hostile influence and improve public discourse generally. However, our immediate aim at this point is to empower the American voter and decrease the ability of Russia to influence the ensuing American election.

Apparently, this is all we know so far about this shadowy organization, which is simply hilarious considering the group deems any alternative news source that does not agree with the U.S. government narrative to be either outright Russian propaganda, or “useful idiots.”

Here’s “the list:”

What’s particularly interesting about this list, isn’t the fact that a bunch of anonymous whiners decided to demonize successful critics of insane, inhumane and ethically indefensible U.S. government policy, but rather the fact that the Washington Post decided to craft an entire article around such a laughably ridiculous list. This just further proves a point that is rapidly becoming common knowledge amongst U.S. citizens with more than a couple of brain cells to rub together. The mainstream media is the real “fake news.”

Let’s take Liberty Blitzkrieg for example. Despite the fact that my site is mentioned on “the list,” nobody from PropOrNot bothered to contact me while doing their “research.” They could’ve asked very simple questions about how the site is run, who owns it, and who makes decisions about editorial content. Furthermore, I doubt they did any such research with regard to any of the mentioned sites before slandering them.

Since they failed to do any real work, let me answer several of these questions. I, Michael Krieger, am the 100% owner of Liberty Blitzkrieg. I am the only person who makes decisions on what to publish and when. I have absolutely no connections, financial or otherwise, to the Russian government, Russian interests, or the interests of any other government or government related group. Moreover, there is simply nobody on planet earth who has any influence on what I write or what I publish. I left a very successful and financially lucrative job to do what I do now because my passions and ethical grounding pushed me in this direction. If I was interested in making enormous sums of money, I could’ve easily stayed on Wall Street.

Moreover, I rarely write about Russia, with the exception of trying to prevent insane neocons and neoliberals in our government from actively seeking a military confrontation, because I — like most normal human beings — would prefer not to contribute to the manifestation of World War 3. Likewise, I try to prevent war breaking out in all circumstances where I think it can and should be avoided. I intentionally almost never use RT as a source, and I’ve never quoted anything from Sputnik. Unlike The Washington Post, I try to be extremely diligent about not publishing fake news, but I am a very strong critic of U.S. government policy, because much of U.S. government policy is certifiably insane and unethical. You can disagree with my opinion on that all you’d like, but I challenge anyone to find anything that could reasonably be considered pro-Russia propaganda on my website. If Liberty Blitzkrieg really is a Russian propaganda site, this should be easy to do since I’ve published thousands of articles over the years.

For those who ask why I focus on the transgressions of the U.S. government as opposed to foreign governments, the answer should be quite obvious. I am a U.S. citizen. My responsibility is not to change the policies of foreign governments, but to make my own country as honorable and accountable as possible. As Noam Chomsky so eloquently noted:

One of the most elementary moral truisms is that you are responsible for the anticipated consequences of your own actions. It is fine to talk about the crimes of Genghis Khan, but there isn’t much that you can do about them. If Soviet intellectuals chose to devote their energies to crimes of the U.S., which they could do nothing about, that is their business. We honor those who recognized that the first duty is to concentrate on your own country. And it is interesting that no one ever asks for an explanation, because in the case of official enemies, truisms are indeed truisms. It is when truisms are applied to ourselves that they become contentious, or even outrageous. But they remain truisms. In fact, the truisms hold far more for us than they did for Soviet dissidents, for the simple reason that we are in free societies, do not face repression, and can have a substantial influence on government policy. So if we adopt truisms, that is where we will focus most of our energy and commitment. The explanation is even more obvious than in the case of official enemies.

Naturally, truisms are hated when applied to oneself. You can see it dramatically in the case of terrorism. In fact one of the reasons why I am considered “public enemy number one” among a large sector of intellectuals in the U.S. is that I mention that the U.S. is one of the major terrorist states in the world and this assertion, though plainly true, is unacceptable for many intellectuals, including left-liberal intellectuals, because if we faced such truths we could do something about the terrorist acts for which we are responsible, accepting elementary moral responsibilities instead of lauding ourselves for denouncing the crimes official enemies, about which we can often do very little.

Elementary honesty is often uncomfortable, in personal life as well, and there are people who make great efforts to evade it. For intellectuals, throughout history, it has often come close to being their vocation. Intellectuals are commonly integrated into dominant institutions. Their privilege and prestige derives from adapting to the interests of power concentrations, often taking a critical look but in very limited ways. For example, one may criticize the war in Vietnam as a “mistake” that began with “benign intentions”. But it goes too far to say that the war is not “a mistake” but was “fundamentally wrong and immoral”, the position of about 70 percent of the public by the late 1960s, persisting until today, but of only a margin of intellectuals. The same is true of terrorism. In acceptable discourse, as can easily be demonstrated, the term is used to refer to terrorist acts that THEY carry out against US, not those that WE carry out against THEM. That is probably close to a historical universal. And there are innumerable other examples.

The fake mainstream news media is completely failing. It is failing because rather than informing the public and criticizing the powerful, it has become merely a giant public relations organ for the U.S. government. The American public clearly sees through the bullshit, in large part due to the efforts of alternative news media. Think about it. Liberty Blitzkrieg doesn’t have a single outside employee. Other than the heroic efforts of my tech person (who spends very little of his time on this site), there’s really no one else contributing in any material way to the operation of this blog. So for a website run by a relatively unknown person to have made it onto this slanderous list (subsequently highlighted by the Washington Post), is not only a great honor, but a testament to the impact one person can have in an environment dominated by a transparently fake and desperate mainstream media.

As I noted on Twitter earlier today.

and

To further demonstrate how desperate the failing mainstream media is to demonize its scrappy alternative news competitors, here’s how The Washington Post “reported” on the PropOrNot list:

Another group, called PropOrNot, a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds, planned to release its own findings Friday showing the startling reach and effectiveness of Russian propaganda campaigns.

The researchers used Internet analytics tools to trace the origins of particular tweets and mapped the connections among social-media accounts that consistently delivered synchronized messages. Identifying website codes sometimes revealed common ownership. In other cases, exact phrases or sentences were echoed by sites and social-media accounts in rapid succession, signaling membership in connected networks controlled by a single entity.

PropOrNot’s monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.

Interesting. I’d love to see what their “analytics tools” say about Liberty Blitzkrieg. Furthermore, what about that “common ownership” claim. As I mentioned before, I am the sole owner of Liberty Blitzkrieg. It seems PropOrNot is merely making shit up about successful websites they consider a threat. If The Washington Post’s decision to highlight such a list isn’t “fake news,” I don’t know what is.

Further proving The Washington Post’s lack of any sort of journalistic standards, it highlights PropOrNot despite the fact that…

“The way that this propaganda apparatus supported Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy, “said the executive director of PropOrNot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers. “It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump’s campaign. . . . It worked.”

I mean, this is simply embarrassing.

To conclude, the mainstream media is getting exactly what it deserves. Its impact is spiraling into irrelevance, its “journalists” bordering on the comical, and its standards beneath those of individual bloggers with zero staff and no budget. To conclude, the only thing I can ask of readers is the following: Support alternative media now more than ever. Put your money where your mouth is and help defeat the fake news mainstream media once and for all.

To that end, I’d ask that you please visit the Liberty Blitzkrieg Support Page and consider contributing.

Comment: The mainstream news sites’ attack dogs are coming out. One hopes this is their last gasp.

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5 AMERICANS KILLED IN KURDISH BASE IN AL-HASAKA AFTER EXPLOSION–TOTAL SECRECY AS OBAMA TRIES TO HIDE HIS LOSSES – By Ziad Fadel

JABAL BADRU NOW FREE OF RATS AS ARMY EXPANDS ITS REACH INTO NEW AREAS WHILE HUNDREDS ESCAPE THE RODENT SCOURGE;

 

 الجيش السوري يسيطر بشكل كامل على مساكن هنانو في حلب

ALEPPO:  Once the Hanaanu Residencies fell into the hands of the Syrian Arab Army, it was a sure bet other areas would follow.  We can now confirm that the last member of the Harakat Nooreddeen Al-Zangi criminals has departed Jabal Badru and are now being pursued and targeted for extermination by elements of the PDC and the Palestinian Liwaa` Al-Quds.  We expect the evacuation of the rodents to be swift what with the most important strategic areas now under SAA control.  This is the nightmare scenario the rodent in the White House and his Zionist handlers feared more than any other.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.219799&lon=37.209792&z=15&m=b

As a result of the stunning advance by the Syrian Army, hundreds of families have been permitted to leave and relocate until the army completely exterminates the remaining vermin.  We learned that around 1,500 people rushed to the Syrian Army’s front lines to obtain help.  They were directed to government representatives tasked with providing citizens with food, medicine and lodging.

The United States and its allies in terrorism are watching their entire strategy collapse in Aleppo.  What hopes may have existed in their minds about a strong negotiating position with the government are now nothing more than dust in a burst of wind.  Unable to come to grips with the fact that their cannibals failed miserably in electrifying the Syrian population and bringing citizens to their side, they now wallow in a world of dashed dreams built up by news so mendacious it has begun to sound like a running gag.

 

Al-Raashideen District 4:  The SAAF is bringing the house down on the heads of the starving rats here.  Coupled with the SAAF flying numerous sorties, it can only mean that the terrorist presence here is about to end as soon as the last morsel is swallowed.  The same is true of Khaan Toomaan where intercepted chatter is describing a hopeless situation.

 

The SAA has struck ISIS positions at Al-Mazboora and Al-Qibla reportedly destroying 8 vehicles some of which were Toyota pickups with 23mm cannons aboard.  Once the SAA had pounded these positions sufficiently with rockets, the infantry moved in and killed over 16 rats and arrested 9 all of whom claimed they devil made them do it.

 

Members of the Syrian Army’s Republican Guard Tiger Force brandish their new AK-104 rifles at the Nayrab airbase with a Yakovlev commercial airplane in the background.  (Thanks, Silvia Iranova)

 

_________________________________________

AL-HASAKA:  This is developing news.  The United States Army Special Forces and Rangers have lost 5 soldiers at Tal Tamr, specifically at a Kurdish military base called the Zeewaar Camp.  This camp famously flew the American flag and the British Union Jack as of 3 days ago demonstrating the deepening ties between the traitorous Kurds and their terrorist-supporting allies in NATO.  The deaths and scores of wounded were the result of an electrical spark detonating a warehouse loaded with American-supplied explosives close to a cow breeding facility.  We don’t know yet if members of Britains SAS were also on the scene to receive a much-deserved send-off.  Americans spirited, by helicopter,  their dead and wounded to a Syrian location at Al-Mabrooka and then to Kurdistaan for full disposition.  The Kurds, not so lucky, sent theirs to Al-Qaamishli.  The significance of this story is that it proves the Americans and British have invaded Syria unlawfully.  The White House and the State Department are trying to keep this one under wraps.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.663806&lon=40.364971&z=14&m=b&search=tal%20tamer

_________________________________________

DAMASCUS:  The Eastern and Western Ghoutas are on fire.  The SAAF has flown 7 sorties during the last 11 hours hitting at Douma extremely hard – taking advantage of the fact that most field commanders of the criminal Saudi-supported group called Jaysh Al-Islam were nebulized yesterday in a spectacular attack at a meeting they held to discuss their own future.  That future appears to be both academic now and quite grim.

Another 5 sorties took place at Al-Mayda’aani, Al-Shifooniyya and Hawsh Al-Zhawaahira.  These locations are on the brink of falling.  All fortifications have been leveled.

 

الجيش يستعيد السيطرة على جبل بدرو بحلب.. ويكثف عملياته العسكرية على عدة جبهات

_________________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Liz O’Bagy rears her ugly head again in this most informative article repudiating the fiction that there are Syrian secularists among the cannibals:

https://pjmedia.com/homeland-security/2016/11/27/shocking-admission-secular-syrian-rebels-dont-actually-believe-in-secular-democracy/

 

JABAL BADRU NOW FREE OF RATS AS ARMY EXPANDS ITS REACH INTO NEW AREAS WHILE HUNDREDS ESCAPE THE RODENT SCOURGE; 5 AMERICANS KILLED IN KURDISH BASE IN AL-HASAKA AFTER EXPLOSION–TOTAL SECRECY AS OBAMA TRIES TO HIDE HIS LOSSES; by Ziad Fadel

Al-Jaafari: “Al Saud regime is the last one who has right to talk about human rights” – By Robert Fantina

saudiarabiahumanrightscrimes

Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said that submitting a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly by the Saudi delegation which criticizes what it called “the state of human rights in Syria” is an odd paradox as Al Saud regime is the last one who has the right to talk about human rights at the UN in light of its record of legal and human underdevelopment towards its citizens and foreign visitors.
In a statement at a UN General Assembly session held on Tuesday n to discuss the aforementioned report in front of the 3rd committee on human rights, al-Jaafari wondered if the Saudi regime would be ready to apply the items it included in the draft resolution on its own constant violations of human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Syria’s Representative said that the involvement of Al Saud and Qatar’s Al Thani in terrorism and their sponsorship for it is known to all, as evidence by Wikileaks leaks and confessions by US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and VP Joe Biden.
He also pointed out to the report by Toyota that was issued based on a request by Syria and Russia who provided the company with thousands of photos of the cars supplied to ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the report showed that Toyota sold 60,000 4WD cars to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Emirates, and Jordan, and these cars ended up in the possession of ISIS.
Al-Jaafari noted that Saudi terrorism isn’t new in the region and the world, as its fingerprints are still visible in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Iraq, Libya, Chechnya, New York, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Paris, Nice, Boston, Belgium, Lebanon, and even the southern and eastern parts of Saudi Arabia, adding that US President-elect Donald Trump adressed Al Saud and told them that the Wahabi groups they created around the world to murder and destroy will not protect them; rather they will turn on them and devour them.
He said that the submitted report shows the hysteria and political impotence of Al Saud and its partners in the face of the victories achieved by the Syrian Army and its allies against the Saudi-Qatari terrorism, wondering how Saudi Arabia, a primitive semi-state that isn’t event part of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights can submit a draft resolution against Syria regarding human rights, adding that after such a step it’s not unlikely that ISIS or Jabhat al-Nusra or Boko Haram will chair the UN peacekeeping office next year.\
Syria’s Representative pointed out to the political extortion and mafia-like behavior of the Saudi regime when it threatened the UN Secretary-General to cut off funds to UN programs to force him to disregard its actions in Yemen and exclude them from a report on children and armed conflicts.
Al-Jaafari said that it’s shameful that the Saudi ambassador in Washington Abdullah Al Saud would liken the Saudi aggression on Yemen to a “husband beating his wife,” a statement which shows how intellectually and culturally regressive and impotent he is.
He then turned to Qatar, saying it also has no right to talk about human rights due to its sponsorship of Takfiri terrorism and its lack of constitution or elections, as Qatar’s governing body is reliant on relatives ousting each other.
Elaborating, al-Jaafari cited the incident of the weapons shipment which was being sent by Qatar from Libya to terrorists in Syria by ship via Lebanon in 2011, not to mention the support for ISIS and al-Nusra by Qatar and Israel in the occupied Syrian Golan.
Syria’s Representative said that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are partners with Turkey in sponsoring terrorism and sending tens of thousands of terrorists to Syria via the Turkish borders under the care of the Turkish authorities, which is a documented fact and not mere allegations.
He concluded by calling on member states to avoid falling into the web of the Saudi-Qatari mental abnormality and to vote against the draft resolution that would only extend the terrorist war on Syria and undermine any political solution since it would appoint terrorists as defenders of human rights in Syria.
Originally published by The Real Syrian Free Press.
Robert Fantina is an activist and journalist, working for peace and social justice. He writes extensively about the oppression of the Palestinians by apartheid Israel. He is the author of several books, including ‘Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy’.
Originally from the U.S., Mr. Fantina moved to Canada following the 2004 U.S. presidential election, and now resides in Kitchener, Ontario. Visit his web page at http://robertfantina.com/. Follow him on Twitter @robertfantina.
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Fidel Castro’s revolutionary life and legacy – By John Wright

fidelcastrocuba

© Desmond Boylan / Reuter

Fidel Castro dedicated his life to resisting empire and the ocean of injustice and oppression inflicted in its name. His death marks the end of the man, and the birth of a legend that will endure for centuries to come.

Such is the legacy that Fidel leaves behind it is impossible to fully comprehend the sheer magnitude of the role he played in breaking the chains of millions across the Third World, both literally and figuratively, in defiance of the racist conceit of apologists for imperialism. From leading a revolution in 1959 that succeeded against the odds in toppling the pro-Washington dictator, Fulgencio Batista, he went on to not only make history but mold and shape it thereafter.

When at 30 he first came to world prominence as leader of the Cuban Revolution, rolling into Havana on a captured tank under a blazing Caribbean sun, the long beards, hair, and anarchic energy and courage that he and his comrades carried cemented their place as harbingers of a new chapter in the development of the much maligned Global South. With daring, courage, and belief, they proved it was possible to break the chains of exploitation, injustice, and degradation that had scarred the lives of so many generations before them, forging in their place a future of justice, human solidarity, and dignity.

In 1959, Dwight D. Eisenhower was sitting in the White House and Barack Obama’s birth still lay two years ahead. Ten US presidents and many assassination attempts could not defeat Fidel Castro – this over the course of a life during which he remained a man of unflinching principle and indomitable will in his commitment to the ideals that drove him and his comrades to emancipate the Cuban people from the economic and geopolitical clutches of Washington.

Evidence that the flame of defiance and revolution never went out despite his advancing years was provided by the rebuke he delivered to Obama in response to his address to the Cuban leadership and people during his state visit to the island earlier this year. Fidel’s reply to the President’s patronizing lecture on democracy and human rights came by way of a 1,500-word letter in the country’s official newspaper, the ‘Granma.’ In it, he reminded the Cuban people, Obama, and the world at large of the history of mendacity that had informed not only Washington’s relations with Cuba, but also Africa, where Obama traces his own ancestral origins.

As Castro wrote: “Nobody should be under the illusion that the people of this dignified and selfless country will renounce the glory, the rights, or the spiritual wealth they have gained with the development of education, science and culture.” He went on, “I also warn that we are capable of producing the food and material riches we need with the efforts and intelligence of our people. We do not need the empire to give us anything.”

Even towards the end of his life, he was under no illusions when it came to rapprochement with Washington. How could he after his long experience of its role in trampling the rights, lives, and dignity of millions of human beings, the vast majority of them people of color, across the world? How could he retreat for a moment from his unwavering stance against imperialism and the slavery it had inflicted on its victims?

The magnitude of the shadow that Fidel cast over global events for half a century is testament to the fierce attachment to internationalism that underpinned his worldview. No greater tribute was there to that internationalism than Cuba’s role in defeating apartheid in South Africa. Though conveniently omitted from the official history of the anti-apartheid struggle that predominates in the West, the truth of Fidel Castro and Cuba’s indispensable role cannot be denied. Indeed, none other than Nelson Mandela went to his grave saluting it.

As Mandela said when he visited the island in 1991, just a few weeks after being released from captivity on Robben Island: “The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom, and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character.”

The deployment of thousands of Cuban troops to Angola in the 1970s and 80s, their success in breaking the myth of white supremacy in confronting and defeating US and Western supported apartheid South African troops, stands as one of the most powerful examples of international solidarity the world has witnessed.

In truth, there are so many examples of Fidel’s unwavering stance in solidarity with the oppressed against their oppressors that it would take an entire book to list them all. Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos, Bobby Sands, Ben Bella – the roll call of legendary revolutionaries and freedom fighters who have come and gone in Fidel’s lifetime marks by itself a tribute to his legacy, and the tempestuous period he lived through.

Yet, perhaps the most important aspect of Fidel’s legacy is the way he transformed the lives of millions of Cubans in the realms of education, healthcare, and sustainable development, albeit truncated by a decades-long US trade embargo inflicted on the island and its people with the objective of bringing it to its knees. However, even through the ‘special period’ of the 1990s, when after the demise of the Soviet Union, Cuba stood alone as a socialist country and society in a sea of global capitalism, the revolution survived.

That it did was testament to the society it had produced, one in which its people understand the difference between sharing what you have left over, and sharing what you have.

“A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past,” Fidel once memorably said. Though the man has died, the ideas for which he struggled and to which he dedicated his life will undoubtedly live on, not just in Cuba but anywhere imperialism and the exploitation of the weak by the strong is a fact of life.

Though his detractors may celebrate his death, truth will always prevail. And the truth, when it comes to Fidel Castro, is that he led and inspired a revolution that today ensures the only place you will find homeless Cuban children in the world is Miami.

Not only did the Cuban Revolution give life to millions in Cuba and throughout the Third World, it gave millions a reason to live.

That was, and remains, the beauty of it. And it was, and will, always remain the beauty of Fidel Castro.

John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1

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