Nov 292015

Russia Today’s Gayane Chichakyan questions spokesperson for the United States Department of State Admiral John Kirby, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense:

“Do you have any evidence that Russia bombed hospitals in Syria?”

The admiral’s answer, amid “ummm, and ahhh,” claims to have seen “press reporting,” testimony of un-named sources, and other unspecified reporting.

When asked for specific evidence, the admiral refused further detail and claimed to have answered the question.

The second clip in the video is US Department of State Director of the Press Office Elizabeth Trudeau pressed with the question of what exact hospital was hit by Russia and where. She states that she stands with Mr. Kirby, refuses to answer what hospital was hit, then accuses Russia of “targeting civilian infrastructure.”

Ms. Trudeau claims she can’t discuss the location of the hospital hit by Russian bombing because it is a “detail of operational assessment.”

AP reporter Matthew Lee asks how a location of a hospital harms intelligence sources or methods; Ms. Trudeau fails to provide a location or name of the hospital.

Ms. Chichakyan provides photographic evidence of a hospital in the area that shows no evidence of harm. Ms. Trudeau fails to answer if that is or is not the hospital the US accuses Russia of bombing.

These are the tragic-comic official lies of empire. Please note the flashes of micro-smiles during the two US officials’ non-answers that are evidence of duping delight.

The significance of these two US State Department Officials’ ridiculous performances to accuse Russia of War Crimes without evidence, and even refuse to provide the location of a hospital they claimed was bombed, is pathetic attempt to defend ongoing US empire in the Middle East; in this case to install a “friendly regime” in Syria.

When Americans are ready, they will demand answers, and will choose to recognize the United States today is the leading global criminal empire among the so-called “former” colonial powers; ridiculous in Emperor’s New Clothes obvious crimes for anyone caring to look at the facts:

These crimes annually cost millions killed, billions harmed, and trillions looted, with recent history continuing literal centuries of US lie-began Wars of Aggression that involved your families in two horrific global wars for colonial empire.

What is a solution?

I continue to assert a proven, obvious, and legal method:

  • Arrests of .01% “leaders” for obvious crimes centering in war, money and lies (4-part series on arrests with videos).
  • Leveraging a reclaimed media, continue arrests with generous plea bargains and Truth Reconciliation for testimony, documentary evidence, and physical evidence to best put the “Big Picture” together in preparation to build the brighter future for all Earth’s inhabitants’ success.
  • SOLUTIONS: the .01% with corporate media have suppressed solutions documented beginning with Benjamin Franklin how government can abundantly operate without taxes: monetary and credit reform allow the public to have near-instant prosperity: full-employment, zero public deficits and debt, the best infrastructure we can imagine, falling prices, and release of public TRILLIONS held in “rainy day” accounts. Full documentation here.


Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008 among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.


Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at

Note: has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers), so some links in my previous work are blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” then click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).


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Nov 292015

“…If there’s any question as to what it’s an allegory for I will tell you.

It is the powers that be in the United States of America.

It’s profiteers.

War is for profit. It’s not “to save the world for democracy” or “for king and country.”

No, bullsh*t.

It’s for the profit of the top 10%, and the young people who see this film, must recognize that for the future “blind faith in their leaders,” as Bruce Springsteen said, “will get you dead.”

Article source:

Nov 282015

Source:LA Times

The Air Force has hired civilian defense contractors to fly MQ-9 Reaper drones to help track suspected militants and other targets in global hot spots, a previously undisclosed expansion in the privatization of once-exclusively military functions.

For the first time, civilian pilots and crews now operate what the Air Force calls “combat air patrols,” daily round-the-clock flights above areas of military operations to provide video and collect other sensitive intelligence.

Contractors control two Reaper patrols a day, but the Air Force plans to expand that to 10 a day by 2019. Each patrol involves up to four drones.

Civilians are not allowed to pinpoint targets with lasers or fire missiles. They operate only Reapers that provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, known as ISR, said Air Force Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command.

“There are limitations on it,” he said. The contractors “are not combatants.”

Read more

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Nov 282015

One police officer from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and two civilians were killed and nine people were injured, including five police officers, after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday.  

After a five-hour standoff, the gunman, identified the as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of South Carolina, turned himself in.

Obama revealed for the first time Dear had used a military style assault rifle, which are relatively easy to buy under the United States’ loose gun laws.

Police have not addressed possible motives in the attack, but it was the first on an abortion provider in six years.

In addition to providing healthcare screenings and treatments, Planned Parenthood clinics offer abortions. The hot-button political issue of abortion has caused controversy among conservatives and Republicans, many of which oppose stronger gun regulation.

The president did not say what particular steps he believed should be taken to curb gun violence, and has made similar statements following other mass shootings.

Groups pushing for gun reform call for enhanced background checks, restrictions on military style assault rifles and closing loop-holes in the law that allow criminals or people with mental illnesses to purchase weapons at gun shows without going through a background check.

cw/rc (AFP, Reuters)

Article source:

Nov 272015

Source: Zero Hedge

It’s Black Friday which means the US is flooded with videos of its favorite pastime: mauls in the malls, as vicious brawls and fights break out among total strangers across across America’s countless retail outlets.

The first videos trickle in:

And yet, this year there may be a shift.

Moments ago IBM Watson Trend released the latest Thanksgiving online sales which rose 26% from 2014, with mobile traffic reaching nearly 60% of all online traffic, an increase of 14.8% over 2014. According to IBM, consumers spent $123.45/order with 40% of all online sales came from mobile devices, an increase of 24% over Thanksgiving 2014.

Some other notable findings:

  • Smartphones accounted for 47% of all Thanksgiving online traffic vs tablets at 13.7%; smartphones also surpassed tablets in sales, driving 24% of online sales vs tablets at 16%
  • IBM Watson predicts Black Friday online sales up more than 14.5% y/y
  • Consumers indicate top products incl. Apple Watch, Samsung, Sony, LG TVs, Microsoft Surface Pro 4

And while this is good news for the Amazons of the world as consumers continue to migrate to online shopping platforms, this is bad news for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers for whom today was supposed to be the one day when sales are solidly in the “black.”

As Bloomberg summarizes, the online rush comes as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Macy’s Inc. and other chains roll out their Black Friday specials, aiming to get more shoppers into stores. About 135.8 million Americans are expected to shop in stores or online over the four-day weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, the largest U.S. retail trade organization. The amount they’ve spent has declined over the past two years, dropping 11 percent to $50.9 billion in 2014.

From the perspective of the amount of discounting that’s going on, the over-inventory situation, it seems like there are going to be a lot of great deals in the next 45 days,” said Bob Drbul, a retail analyst at Nomura Securities International.

The NRF’s traffic forecast represents a 1.6 percent increase from last year although in a zero-sum market, “there’s a risk that fewer shoppers than expected may show up.” Last year, the NRF had forecast 140.1 million consumers would hit stores and e-commerce sites, 4.8 percent more than actually turned out, according to its post-weekend shopping survey. Expect more of the same as the transition to online shopping accelerates.

Furthermore increasingly more stores are pulling back on their Thanksgiving weekend hours this year and electing to spread more of their specials throughout the month. Wal-Mart said it expects record crowds on Friday, even though it’s putting most of its discounts online first.

So videos of the occasional brawl the best evidence of the demise of traditional retailer comes from in person “channel checks” such as what TheStreet’s correspondent Brian Sozzi has been doing all night. Here are some of his “ghost town” findings.











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Nov 272015

In response to earlier incidents, Turkey had warned the Russian Air Force that it would not tolerate further violations of its air space by Russian jets conducting an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The message delivered to the Russian ambassador in Ankara was that Turkish pilots would be ordered to open fire next time. That was precisely what happened on Tuesday, when a Turkish F-16 jet brought down a Russian bomber aircraft with a single missile strike. By most accounts, the Russian airplane was barely two miles inside Turkish airspace, presented no immediate threat to Turkey’s national security, and would probably have returned to Syrian airspace within seconds. But that did not stop the Turkish F-16 from shooting down the Russian plane. Adding injury to insult, Turkish-backed rebels on the Syrian side of the border shot dead the two-member Russian crew of the plane, and opened fire on a Russian rescue team that tried to save them, killing at least one marine.

Rather expectedly, a visibly furious Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is not used to being challenged militarily, described the incident as “a stab in the back” by “accomplices to terrorists”, and warned Ankara of “serious consequences”. But why would Turkey provoke Russia in such a direct way? Like every other country involved directly or indirectly in the Syrian Civil War, Turkey and Russia wish to see the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Q Quote

destroyed. But they differ drastically on what should follow. The Kremlin is adamant that President al-Assad, whom it considers its strongest ally in the Middle East, should remain in power. The Turks, on the other hand, view the Syrian president as an existential threat, due to his support for Kurdish militancy throughout the region.

The roots of the animosity between the Turkish state and the al-Assad regime go back to 1978, when the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was established in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, which was at the time occupied by Syria. The PKK is a Marxist militant organization that seeks to establish a Kurdish homeland in eastern Turkey and northern Iraq. The group was actively trained, funded, armed and protected by Syria and the Soviet Union. The latter was actively interested in destabilizing Turkey, a NATO member, while Syria used the PKK to exercise pressure on its northern neighbor, with whom it was embroiled in a series of complex land- and water-rights disputes. In 1998, the al-Assad regime was forced to expel PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who was living in Damascus under Syrian protection, after Turkey threatened an all-out war if the Syrian intelligence services continued to shelter the PKK leadership.

Ankara saw the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 as an opportunity to get rid of the al-Assad regime, which it sees as a primary threat to regional stability. Along with the United States, Turkey has been funding, arming and training a host of Syrian rebel groups, while at the same time hosting over 2 million refugees from Syria. The subsequent rise of ISIS alarmed America and its Western allies; but in the eyes of Ankara, ISIS pales into insignificance in comparison to the resurgence of Kurdish nationalism, which has been fueled by the demise of Ba’ath in Iraq and the fragmentation of Syria. For Turkey, Kurdish separatism poses an existential threat to the survival of the Turkish Republic, and is the primary reason for its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

It follows that Russia’s entry in the Syrian Civil War strengthens President al-Assad and the PKK, and is thus regarded by Turkey as a direct threat to its national security. Ankara is also concerned about France’s efforts to build a broad anti-ISIS alliance that includes Russia, and fears that the West is now openly flirting with the possibility of allowing al-Assad to stay in power in Damascus. The deliberate downing of the Russian airplane, which was undoubtedly authorized by the most senior levels of government in Ankara, was aimed at disrupting France’s efforts to build an anti-ISIS coalition, while at the same time pushing back against Russia’s regional ambitions.

Q Quote

What will happen next? Theoretically, Turkey could invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter, which would compel member-states to rush to its assistance. In reality, however, such an eventuality is remote, especially given the expressed willingness of Western leaders to help deescalate the Turkish-Russian row. Following their closed-door meeting on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande and his American counterpart Barack Obama went out of their way to avoid mentioning the Russian plane incident, and briefly commented on it only after they were asked to do so by reporters. This does not mean that Russia will not respond; but it will most likely do so behind the scenes, probably by increasing its support for the PKK and other Kurdish separatist groups.

The downing of the Russian bomber highlights the immense contradictions and complica- tions that plague the anti-ISIS forces involved in the Syrian Civil War. It is clear that ISIS is now in a position to attack targets that are located far from its territory in Syria and Iraq, or in its wilayah (provinces) in Libya, Somalia, and elsewhere. However, the threat that ISIS currently poses to international peace and stability is at most marginal and symbolic. Of far more importance to the security of the world is the possibility of an armed conflagration between regional powers, which are being drawn into Syria by the vacuum created by the civil war. All of these regional powers, including Turkey, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel, and the US, are heavily armed, many with nuclear weapons. Moreover, they radically disagree on what a post-ISIS Middle East should look like.

The possibility of a serious conflagration between heavily armed regional actors will be removed only if and when the Syrian Civil War ends, even if that results in the loss of land to the so-called Islamic State. That must be the immediate goal of the Combined Joint Task Force and every other regional actor that wishes to see the end of ISIS. It is only after peace has been achieved in Syria that ISIS can be dealt with effectively.

Article source:

Nov 262015

In the conference call held last week, lobbyists representing a number of high-polluting industries agreed that the battle between Congress and President Obama on refugee policy will give them the cover they need to attach a legislative rider to the omnibus budget bill that rolls back newly expanded clean water regulation.

“I think that probably helps us,” one participant said, referring to the coming confrontation over refugee policy.

The White House has issued veto threats against previous attempts by Congress to block the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, a regulation finalized this year that extends Clean Water Act protections to millions of acres of wetlands and streams. So attaching a rider blocking WOTUS to the omnibus was potentially going to attract a lot of attention. Until now.

Now, lawmakers are expected to attach a provision to the omnibus bill to block Syrian refugee resettlement — a move that is bound to become the focus of any government shutdown confrontation between Congress and the White House.

“We’re suddenly not the big issue,” said one call participant. “I mean, this is all going to turn on refugees.”

“I think that helps us,” said another call participant. “I think it helps us with the White House being on defense,” another legislative strategist on the call said.

The remarks were made during a political strategy call hosted last week by energy utility industry lobbyists. A recording was sent to The Intercept by someone on the call.

Listen to the exchange below. The comments about the refugee crisis begin at (2:15).

The call was hosted by the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group for major electric utility companies. It was organized to discuss strategies for defeating the WOTUS rule, which clarifies existing law to provide Clean Water Act protections to 2 million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands.

Participants in the call included senior officials and lobbyists from some of the largest trade associations in Washington, including the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the American Forest and Paper Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the American Farm Bureau. The total attendance list for the call, however, is not clear given that some participants did not identify themselves or only identified themselves by first name.

Lobbyists have worked for months on efforts to block the WOTUS rule, including a challenge in federal court and legislative proposals to block implementation.

Asked for comment, Liz Thompson, the director of media relations with the National Association of Home Builders, said Courtney Briggs, the NAHB federal legislative director and a participant in the strategy call, did not remember discussing the refugee issue to advance a rider on the WOTUS rule.

“Having spoken to Courtney, she doesn’t recall anyone saying the quote you referenced. The Syrian crisis has absolutely no bearing on our discussions. With only two weeks left in the legislative calendar, the purpose of the call was to have an open discussion on the options available to us, including possibly adding a rider in the final omnibus appropriations bill,” Thompson said in a statement.

EEI did not provide a comment for this story. The Farm Bureau did not respond to a request for comment.

Lobbyists frequently use “must pass” legislation, such as raising the debt-ceiling and government appropriation bills, to enact proposals that would otherwise face a presidential veto. In the last omnibus spending bill, legislators slipped riders onto the bill that repealed rules that prevent banks from using taxpayer-backed funds from trading in derivatives, as well as more than $3 billion in weapons programs the Pentagon did not ask Congress to fund.

This year, lobbyists are working to attach a slew of legislative riders, on issues ranging from repealing regulations on coal-burning power plants to the oversight of payday lenders.

Before the attacks in Paris on November 13 fueled outrage at Syrian refugees, the Obama administration had prepared to face off with Congress over the various financial and environmental riders.

But the dynamics have shifted. If congressional leaders attach provisions to the omnibus to block Syrian refugee settlement, the Obama administration may be forced to accept a compromise that allows for other legislative riders to sneak through.

The participants on the EEI call appeared eager to use the refugee fight to distract the administration.

“In our big meeting this morning, all our lobbyists, their report back from the Hill over the last couple of days in House and Senate is that offices have been saying they are hearing more on this refugee issue than they have heard on any other issue in the last eight years, more than Obamacare, more than anything,” one the legislative strategists remarked.

Article source:

Nov 262015

Earlier this month, we reported that the Pentagon was making it difficult for the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction to investigate reports of gross waste and mismanagement by the now-defunct, five-year Task Force for Business Stability Operations. One of its projects, a gas station, cost 140 times what it should have.

Money as a Weapons System

How U.S. Commanders Spent $2 Billion of Petty Cash in Afghanistan Read more.

Boondoggle HQ

The $25 Million Building in Afghanistan Nobody Needed Read more.

Since then, several members of Congress have demanded that the Pentagon cooperate fully with SIGAR.

The Defense Department has been unable to provide a reasonable explanation for why it only restricted SIGAR when the inspector general turned his attention to the troubled task force and how the department will work with SIGAR in the future. The DOD has been legally required to provide free access to the inspector general since SIGAR’S inception in 2010.

Here’s the background: After receiving numerous complaints about the task force, called TFBSO, SIGAR launched an investigation. As it typically does, the inspector general requested task force documents. But the Pentagon refused to comply, telling SIGAR that it was placing new rules and restrictions on access. The Pentagon told SIGAR that it must review the documents in a DOD-controlled “reading room” in Washington and any documents SIGAR wanted to take must first have names redacted. The DOD said it believed SIGAR had inappropriately released documents with names of service members in response to an unrelated Freedom of Information Act request from ProPublica.

In response to questions from ProPublica, Lt. Col. Joseph Sowers, a DOD spokesman, insisted this wasn’t a new policy, but a “common sense safeguard.”

That safeguard, however, has only applied to task force documents — not any other material requested by SIGAR that contained names. That contradiction prompted SIGAR to call DOD’s explanation a “red herring.”

When ProPublica asked the Pentagon why the restrictions weren’t applied across the board, the agency fumbled to find an answer.

First DOD officials said that “the same ground rules” would apply to all future SIGAR requests. But when asked how this would work in Afghanistan, where SIGAR has 35 people and there is no reading room, officials backpedaled. They couldn’t answer questions about where SIGAR staff would read the documents, who would redact the sometimes thousands of pages in a SIGAR request, or even whether Army Gen. John Campbell, who oversees the military in Afghanistan, was involved in the decision.

The Pentagon then said the restrictions would not, after all, apply to every future SIGAR request. Instead the Pentagon would decide on a “case by case basis.” DOD officials wouldn’t say what criteria would be used to decide whether the documents would be restricted or who would make the decision.

Sowers said that regardless of the reading room requirements, SIGAR has “unfettered access” to do its job and evaluate the TFBSO. SIGAR, however, called the restrictions borderline obstructive and said at the very least they violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the inspector general act and the law that established SIGAR.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and several other senators have said they are concerned not just with the Pentagon’s policy for SIGAR, but also with the wasteful spending of the task force. That includes building the gas station, which cost $43 million dollars when it should have cost between $200,000 and $500,000. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., has called a hearing next month on the gas station. Grassley has demanded the Pentagon turn over all the task force documents to his office, and has asked the DOD inspector general to launch its own investigation into the task force.

In addition to auditing the task force, SIGAR’s criminal division is also conducting several investigations into the task force, but cannot comment on specifics, according to Grassley.

“I expect the Pentagon to cooperate fully with the inspector general and with my office in all inquiries involving the task force,” he said in a statement. “With the poor track record reported on the auditing side, there’s reason to be skeptical on the level of cooperation with the inspector general on the criminal side.”

Grassley is also seeking answers about the allegations of Army Col. John C. Hope, the former director of operations of the task force. Hope said he is being retaliated against for “speaking the truth” about a lack of accountability with the task force in an official Army report, according to a letter Grassley wrote to Defense Secretary Ash Carter this week. Hope claims his evaluation is being purposefully withheld, which jeopardizes his next assignment and affects possible promotion.

Brian McKeon, the deputy under secretary of defense who made the decision to restrict SIGAR’s access to the documents, is Hope’s senior evaluator. McKeon, as well as the former task force director, Joseph Catalino, are responsible for completing Hope’s evaluation.

“Neither has reportedly signed [the evaluation],” Grassley wrote to Carter, and “both would have received Hope’s highly critical [report] about a total ‘lack of accountability’ at TFBSO.”

The Pentagon said it was agency policy not to speak about individual officer evaluations. “We welcome continued review by SIGAR in their effort to ensure the TFBSO activities are properly assessed and analyzed,” Sowers said.

Grassley has asked Carter to step in personally.

“If the Pentagon is retaliating against someone for speaking out on poor accountability and wasteful spending, that’s unacceptable,” Grassley said in a statement. “It’s detrimental to the individual and to the taxpayers.”

Article source:

Nov 252015
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    Nov 252015

    German authorities covered up the fact that explosives were found during an attempted terror attack at a soccer stadium earlier this week, according to an eyewitness who was told to keep quiet about what he saw.

    Bild newspaper has published the testimony of a paramedic who saw an explosive device in an ambulance before the Germany vs Netherlands game which was canceled on Tuesday night after French intelligence tipped off German authorities about an impending attack involving three bombs to be detonated at the stadium and another two at a bus stop and a train station.

    Authorities later claimed that no explosives were found, but the paramedic says he witnessed the bomb and was “told not to talk about it” after special forces arrived on the scene.

    Three police officers have also reportedly been disciplined for leaking information about the alleged discovery of the bombs.

    German authorities may have decided to conceal the fact that the explosives were found in order to prevent panic amongst the fans who had gathered around the stadium before the match.

    However, given that German police have been caught covering up rapes and other crimes involving migrants flooding into the country via the wave of refugees in order to not legitimize critics of the migrant influx, could the decision to cover-up the discovery of the bombs have been made under a similar justification?

    The cell that planned to detonate the explosives reportedly consisted of five people.

    After last week’s massacre in Paris, it was confirmed that at least three of the jihadists linked to the plot had exploited the migrant crisis in order to slip into Europe, including the alleged mastermind behind the attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

    Abaaoud bragged about being able to travel freely throughout Europe without being intercepted by authorities, telling Dabiq magazine, “My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them and leave safely when doing so became necessary.”

    Ahmad Almohammad, the first Stade de France suicide bomber, also used a fake Syrian passport to sneak into Europe via Greece by posing as an asylum seeker.


    Article source: