US warns Syria not to use its army to repel Islamist forces occupying its own territory

US OFFICIALLY WARNS SYRIAN ARMY FROM ATTACKING MILITANTS IN SOUTHERN SYRIA

 
On May 26, the US Department of State released an official statement, in which it warned the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from launching a military operation in southern Syria. The US claimed that such operation will be a violation of the US-Russian de-escalation zone, which was imposed in July of 2017.
 On May 26, the US Department of State released an official statement, in which it warned the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from launching a military operation in southern Syria. The US claimed that such operation will be a violation of the US-Russian de-escalation zone, which was imposed in July of 2017

“The United States remains committed to maintaining the stability of the southwest de-escalation zone and to the ceasefire underpinning it. We also caution the Syrian regime against any actions that risk broadening the conflict or jeopardize the ceasefire,” the department of State said in its statement.

The US also vowed to take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to any attack of the SAA in southern Syria and accused Russia, the SAA and Iran of violating several de-escalation zones and stonewalling the Geneva process.

 

“Assad regime, with the support of Russia and Iran, has repeatedly violated these de-escalation zones, most recently in its brutal assault on East Ghouta. The Assad regime and its allies continue to prolong the conflict by ignoring their own de-escalation agreements and stonewalling the Geneva process,” said the Department of State.

US Officially Warns Syrian Army From Attacking Militants In Southern Syria

During the last few weeks, the SAA and Russia began their preparations to launch a large-scale military operation against the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in southern Syria. From its side, Iran announced that it will not participate in such operation.

Facebook to “fight election propaganda” by teaming up with the Atlantic Council

That's a bit like fighting female trafficking by teaming up with Jeffrey Epstein.

From Peter Phillips' Giants: The Global Power Elite, forthcoming from Seven Stories Press this August (when "our free press" will surely not review it widely, or at all):

"The Atlantic Council serves as a non-profit non-governmental policy-making group for protecting the security of concentrated wealth, often described as our national 'vital interests.' We identify the 35 key Global Power Elite individuals in the executive committee of the Atlantic Council. These people are the essential protectors of concentrated global capital. The Pentagon, NATO and intelligence agencies pay close attention to their recommendations and research reports" (p. 3).

MCM

Facebook Partners With the Atlantic Council to Fight Election Propaganda

May 17, 2018

Facebook is partnering with the Atlantic Council in another effort to combat election-related propaganda and misinformation from proliferating on its service.

The social networking giant said Thursday that a partnership with the Washington D.C.-based think tank would help it better spot disinformation during upcoming world elections.

The partnership is one of a number of steps Facebook is taking to prevent the spread of propaganda and fake news after failing to stop it from spreading on its service in the run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Additionally, organizations with ties to the Russian government distributed misleading information through Facebook ads in 2016 that were intended to sow divisions among Americans.

In the months since news of the misinformation became public, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has tried to regain public trust in the company by repeatedly speaking about the company’s latest efforts to combat disinformation. Some of those efforts include partnering with news organizations like Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press to fact check news, photos, and videos.

Military helicopter drops ammunition can on roof of Parkland Elementary

... which isn't strange at all.

MCM

Military helicopter drops ammunition can on Parkland Elementary roof

EL PASO, Texas – Military Police are investigating why and how a military helicopter dropped a box of ammunition over Parkland Elementary School.

A spokesman with the Ysleta Independent School District said it happened at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday. The incident happened after the school day was over and no students or staff were in danger, the spokesman said.

Fort Bliss officials said the incident damaged the roof and a classroom.

“I’m extremely sorry for any damage done to the neighboring elementary school, and I am grateful that no one was injured,” Col. Jay Hopkins, commander of the 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade said in a news release. “The incident is under investigation.”

Fort Bliss said it will reassess current flight patterns to ensure that incidents similar to this will not happen again.

Why getting rid of Trump may not be such a good idea right now.e

Exiled

Mike Pence and the evangelical fantasy of persecution

By Meghan O’Gieblyn

It has become something of a commonplace to say that Mike Pence belongs to another era. He is a politician whom the New York Times has called a “throwback,” a “conservative proudly out of sync with his times,” and a “dangerous anachronism,” a man whose social policies and outspoken Christian faith are so redolent of the previous century’s culture wars that he appeared to have no future until, in the words of one journalist, he was plucked “off the political garbage heap” by Donald Trump and given new life. Pence’s rise to the vice presidency was not merely a personal advancement; it marked the return of religion and ideology to American politics at a time when the titles of political analyses were proclaiming the Twilight of Social Conservatism (2015) and the End of White Christian America (2016). It revealed the furious persistence of the religious right, an entity whose final demise was for so long considered imminent that even as white evangelicals came out in droves to support the Trump-Pence ticket, their enthusiasm was dismissed, in the Washington Post, as the movement’s “last spastic breath.”

But Pence is a curious kind of Christian politician. He is more fixated on theological arcana than on the Bible’s greatest hits (the Ten Commandments, the beatitudes). His faith is not that of Mike Huckabee, say, whose folksy Christian nationalism is reflected in the title of his book God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy; nor is it the humble self-help Methodism to which George W. Bush once deferred (at least in his early years, before his faith was hijacked by a geopolitical crusade), speaking of Jesus as the guy who had “changed my heart.” Indeed, the most peculiar thing about Pence’s Christianity is how rarely he mentions the teachings of Christ. Despite his fluency with Scripture, he seldom quotes the Gospels. He speaks fondly not just of the Good Book but also of the Old Book, by which he usually means the Hebrew Bible, and it is this earlier testament that he draws from in his speeches, often with the preface that it contains “ancient truths” that are “as true today as they were in millennia past.”

Illustrations by Andrew Zbihlyj

Pence does live in the past, a past far more ancient than anyone has assumed. He speaks of the Old Testament as familiar terrain and regards its covenants as deeply relevant to evangelicals. The God of these stories is not the familiar, tranquilized Jesus of hymns and dashboard figurines but the more forbidding Yahweh who disciplines and delivers the nation of Israel. The God of Mike Pence is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a God who sets up kings and tears them down, who raises the poor from the dust and lifts up the needy, who pulls candidates off the political garbage heap and allows them to rule with princes. He is a God who keeps his promises, and the promise, throughout the ages, has always been the same: that the Chosen People will be restored to their rightful home.

The biblical concept of exile—a banishment followed by a return to the homeland—has lately acquired special meaning for evangelicals. The term inundated Christian discourse in the United States following the failure of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which Pence, then the governor, signed in 2015, soon after a judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The bill, which would have allowed businesspeople such as florists and caterers to refuse to serve gay clients, inspired a national boycott and culminated in a disastrous appearance on George Stephanopoulos’s This Week, in which Pence evaded question after question and stammered about open-mindedness being a two-way street. “From people who preach tolerance every day,” he said, “we have been under an avalanche of intolerance.” Pence was forced to neuter the bill, and the ordeal soon fell out of the news cycle.

In Gaza, thousands are now lying in agony, and NEED YOUR HELP!

PayPal has now reinstated those accounts in Gaza (thanks, again, to Ralph Nader, whose intervention prompted them to get in touch with me about the problem, which we have finally solved, after PayPal had an Arabic-speaking employee call the nurses and explain the bureaucratic steps they had to take).

Meanwhile, the suffering in Gaza is horrendous, largely due to the atrocious toll of the Israeli snipers' expert aim and shattering ammunition. The nurses therefore need whatever help you can provide.

I asked Amal to send me recent photos of that toll. They're here below; but if you're squeamish I don't recommend you look at them. 

(Here, from last week, is a good overview of the US press coverage of Gaza, from FAIR: 

https://fair.org/home/gaza-the-us-press/) 

MCM
 

From Amal Arafa:

Today we are going through very harsh things, from the injuries caused by the type of bullets fired by snipers in Israeli occupation.

The number of people infected has reached 15,000. Every day, one of them loses one part of his body because of the quality of the bullets. We are therefore under intense pressure to monitor the injured with great care.

This requires great effort and work and we need a large amount of first aid.
Please forgive me the horror of these pictures, but the world must know what we are going through.

We hope that you will make more donations so that the injured will receive full care, so that no loss is caused to any injured person.


Via the following link
www.youcaring.com/run
paypal account
eb.e…@gmail.com


Thanks to our friend Mark who helped get PayPal to return donations to us.

For New York City followers of News from Underground

My son Billy, 17, is looking for work on the weekends this summer (though he's willing to start now).
He is a very bright and personable lad, and an aspiring actor, who has the following experience:

> baby-sitting
> working in a cafe
> teaching kids basketball
> work on film sets

If you should know of anything, please let me know; and thank you.

MCM

Empire doesn’t have a pretty face.

The trick now is to look directly at it, without turning into stone.

MCM

The Friendly Mask Of The Orwellian Oligarchy Has Fallen Off

by Caitlin Johnstone

Gina Haspel has been confirmed as America’s new CIA Director, fulfilling her predecessor Mike Pompeo’s pledge to turn the CIA into “a much more vicious agency”. “Bloody Gina” has reportedly been directly involved in both torturing peopleand destroying evidence of torture in her long and depraved career, which some say hurts the CIA’s reputation.

Others say it just makes it more honest.

The lying, torturingpropagandizingdrug traffickingcoup-stagingwarmongering Central Intelligence Agency has done some of the most unspeakably horrific things to human beings that have ever happened in the history of our species. If you think I’m exaggerating, do your own research into some of the CIA’s activities like the Phoenix Program, which used “Rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electric shock (‘the Bell Telephone Hour’) rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; the ‘water treatment’; the ‘airplane’ in which the prisoner’s arms were tied behind the back, and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; the use of police dogs to maul prisoners,” and “The use of the insertion of the 6-inch dowel into the canal of one of my detainee’s ears, and the tapping through the brain until dead. The starvation to death (in a cage), of a Vietnamese woman who was suspected of being part of the local political education cadre in one of the local villages…The use of electronic gear such as sealed telephones attached to…both the women’s vaginas and men’s testicles [to] shock them into submission.”

This is what the CIA is. This is what the CIA has always been. This is what Mike Pompeo said he wanted to help make the CIA “much more vicious” than. Appointing Gina Haspel as head of the agency is just putting an honest face on it.

It really couldn’t be more fitting that the US now has an actual, literal torturer as the head of the CIA. It also couldn’t be more fitting that it has a reality TV star billionaire President, an Iraq-raping Bush-era neoconservative psychopath as National Security Advisor, a former defense industry director as Secretary of Defense, a former Goldman Sachs executive as Secretary Treasurer, and a former Rothschild, Inc. executive as Secretary of Commerce. These positions have always facilitated torture, oppression, war profiteering and Wall Street greed; the only thing that has changed is that they now have a more honest face on them.

The mask of the nationless Orwellian oligarchy which dominates our world is slipping off all over the place.

Israel is now openly massacring unarmed Palestinian civilians, prompting a UN investigation into possible war crimes. Only two nations voted in opposition to the investigation, and surprise surprise it was the two nations apart from Israel who most clearly owe their existence to the institutionalized slaughter and brutalization of their indigenous occupants in recent history: the US and Australia. All other members of the UN Human Rights Council either voted in support of the investigation or abstained.

Important to note that the US and Australia, two countries built on the genocide of the indigenous populations have objected to the UN inquiry and are effectively expressing support to Israel’s on going genocide of the Palestinians.

— Tariq Zarif (@TariqZarif) May 18, 2018

Internet censorship is becoming more and more brazen as our governments become increasingly concerned that we are developing the wrong kinds of political opinions. Ever since the establishment Douma and Skripal narratives failed to take hold effectively, we’ve been seeing more and more frantic attemptsto seize control of public discourse. Two weeks after the Atlantic Council explained to us that we need to be propagandized by our governments for our own good, Facebook finally made the marriage of Silicon Valley and the western war machine official by announcing a partnership with the Atlantic Council to ensure that we are all receiving properly authorized information.

The Atlantic Council is pure corruption, funded by powerful oligarchs, NATO, the US State Department, empire-aligned Gulf states and the military-industrial complex. Many threads of the establishment anti-Russia narrative trace back to this highly influential think tank, from the DNC hack to the discredited war propaganda firm Bellingcat to imaginary Russian trolls to the notorious McCarthyite PropOrNot blacklist publicized by the Washington PostFacebook involving itself with this malignant warmongering psyop factory constitutes an open admission that the social media site considers it its duty to manipulate people into supporting the agendas of the western empire.

We’re seeing similar manipulations in Twitter, which recently announced that it will be hiding posts by more controversial accounts, and by Wikipedia, which has been brazenly editingthe entries of anti-imperialist activists with a cartoonishly pro-establishment slant.

It is always a good sign when people in power become concerned that their subjects are developing the wrong kinds of political opinions, because it means that truth is winning. All this gibberish we’ve been hearing about “Russian disinformation” and “Russian propaganda” is just a label that has been pinned on dissenting narratives by a mass media propaganda machine that has lost control of the narrative.

And this is why it’s getting so overt, barely even attempting to conceal its true nature anymore. Our species’ newfound ability to network and share information has enabled a degree of free thinking that the cultural engineers did not anticipate and have not been able to stay ahead of, and they’re being forced to make more and more overt grabs to try and force us all back into our assigned brain boxes.

But the oligarchs who rule us and their Orwellian power structure is already in a lose-lose situation, because the empire that they have built for themselves rests upon the illusion of freedom and democracy. The most powerful rulers of our world long ago eschewed the old model of sitting on thrones and executing dissidents in the town square, instead taking on a hidden role of influence behind the official elected governments and using mass media propaganda to manufacture the consent of the governed.

This system is far more efficient than the old model because a populace will never rebel against rulers it doesn’t know exist, and it has enabled the western oligarchs to amass more power and influence than the kings of old ever dreamed possible. But it has a weakness: they have to control the narrative, and if they fail to do that they can’t switch to overt totalitarianism without shattering the illusion of freedom and provoking a massive public uprising.

So the wealth-holding manipulators are stuck between a rock and a hard place now, trying to use new media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia to herd the unwashed masses back into their pens. The more brazen they get with those manipulations, however, the more the mask slips off, and the greater the risk of the public realizing that they aren’t actually free from tyrannical rule and exploitation.

The real currency of this world is not backed by gold, nor by oil, nor by bureaucratic fiat, nor even by direct military might. No, the real currency of this world is narrative, and the ability to control it. The difference between those who rule this world and those who don’t is that those who rule understand this distinction and are sufficiently sociopathic to exploit it for their own benefit.

Power only exists where it exists because of the stories that humans agree to tell one another. The idea that government operates a certain way, that money operates a certain way, these things are purely conceptual constructs that are only as true as people pretend they are. Everyone could agree tomorrow that Donald Glover is the undisputed King of America and the new official US currency is old America Online trial CDs if they wanted to, and since that was the new dominant narrative it would be the reality. Everyone could also agree to create a new system which benefits all of humanity instead of a few sociopathic plutocrats. The only thing keeping money and government moving in a way that benefits our current rulers is the fact that those rulers have been successful in controlling the narrative.

They’ll never get that cat back into the bag once it’s out, and they know it. We the people will be able to create our own narratives and write our own rules about how things like money and government ought to operate, and there is no way that will work out to the benefit of the ruling manipulators and deceivers. So they fight with increasing aggression to lull us back to sleep, often overextending themselves and behaving in a way that gives the public a glimpse behind the mask of this entire corrupt power structure. Someday soon that mask will slip right off and come crashing to the floor. That crash will wake the baby, and that baby will not go back to sleep.

__________________________

Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing my daily articles is to get on the mailing list for my website, so you’ll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalor buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

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The very busy “Philip Cross” policing Wikipedia is clearly NOT a person, but a squad of British spooks

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/05/the-philip-cross-affair/

The Philip Cross Affair

by Craig Murray

 

“Philip Cross” has not had one single day off from editing Wikipedia in almost five years. “He” has edited every single day from 29 August 2013 to 14 May 2018. Including five Christmas Days. That’s 1,721 consecutive days of editing.

133,612 edits to Wikpedia have been made in the name of “Philip Cross” over 14 years. That’s over 30 edits per day, seven days a week. And I do not use that figuratively: Wikipedia edits are timed, and if you plot them, the timecard for “Philip Cross’s” Wikipedia activity is astonishing is astonishing if it is one individual:

The operation runs like clockwork, seven days a week, every waking hour, without significant variation. If Philip Cross genuinely is an individual, there is no denying he is morbidly obsessed. I am no psychiatrist, but to my entirely inexpert eyes this looks like the behaviour of a deranged psychotic with no regular social activities outside the home, no job (or an incredibly tolerant boss), living his life through a screen. I run what is arguably the most widely read single person political blog in the UK, and I do not spend nearly as much time on the internet as “Philip Cross”. My “timecard” would show where I watch football on Saturdays, go drinking on Fridays, go to the supermarket and for a walk or out with the family on Sundays, and generally relax much more and read books in the evenings. Cross does not have the patterns of activity of a normal and properly rounded human being.

There are three options here. “Philip Cross” is either a very strange person indeed, or is a false persona disguising a paid operation to control wikipedia content, or is a real front person for such an operation in his name.

Why does this – to take the official explanation – sad obsessive no friends nutter, matter?

Because the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is systematically to attack and undermine the reputations of those who are prominent in challenging the dominant corporate and state media narrative. particularly in foreign affairs. “Philip Cross” also systematically seeks to burnish the reputations of mainstream media journalists and other figures who are particularly prominent in pushing neo-con propaganda and in promoting the interests of Israel.

This matters because, an ordinary reader who comes across an article questioning (say) the official narrative on the Skripals, is very likely to turn to Wikipedia to get information on the author of the article. Simply put, the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is to make certain that if that reader looks up an anti-war person such as John Pilger, they will conclude they are thoroughly unreliable and untrustworthy, whereas if they look up a right wing MSM journalist, they will conclude they are a paragon of virtue and entirely to be trusted.

The “Philip Cross” treatment is meted out not just to left wingers, but to all sceptical of neo-conservatism and who oppose “wars of intervention”. A list of Cross’s victims includes Alex Salmond, Peter Oborne, John Pilger, Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Hayward, Diane Abbott, Neil Clark, Lindsey German, Vanessa Beeley, and George Galloway. As you would expect “Philip Cross” is particularly active in making amendments to the Wikipedia articles of alternative media, and of MSM critique sites. “Philip Cross” has made 36 edits to the Wikipedia entry of The Canary and, staggeringly, over 800 edits on Media Lens. George Galloway remains the “Philip Cross” operation’s favourite target with a quite incredible 1,800 edits.

Just as revealing are the people who “Philip Cross” seeks to protect and promote. Sarah Smith, BBC Scotland’s uber-unionist, has had “Philip Cross” kindly delete references from her Wikipedia entry to family ties that (ahem) may have helped her career. Labour Friends of Israel’s Ruth Smeeth MP has had reference to the Wikileaks released US diplomatic cable that showed she was an informer to the US Embassy on the secrets of the Labour Party, deleted by “Philip Cross”. Right wing columnist Melanie Phillips had her embarrassing climate change denial excised by Cross.