November 2015 News Reports


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Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative November 2015 news and views

Nov. 30

Global Post, With US help, Saudi Arabia is obliterating Yemen, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Nov. 30, 2015. Ayman al-Sanabani beamed as he entered his family’s home on his wedding day. He was greeting his new bride, Gamila, who was in a bedroom surrounded by friends. Ayman sat beside her for several minutes, receiving warm words of congratulations. It would be the young couple’s first and only encounter as husband and wife. "What can I say?" he says. "My life has been made into nothing."

The terrifying power of a bomb is how it can alter life so dramatically, so completely, so instantaneously. How it can crush concrete, rip apart flesh, and snuff out life. This power is a fact of life in Yemen now. It is brought forth by a coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States. The airstrikes have been relentless since March, a period now of eight months. They are supposed to be targeting a local rebel group, but appear largely indiscriminate, regularly hitting civilian targets. Thousands of people have been killed. Human rights groups say some of these strikes amount to war crimes.

Twenty-six new graves outside the now-ruined home of the al-Sanabani family. All together 43 people died when an airstrike tore through a wedding party on Oct. 7. The toll was not confined to them. In all, at least 43 people were killed in the attack, including 16 children. Dozens more were wounded, many of them sliced open by flying shrapnel and debris, others severely burned. Saudi Arabia has denied responsibility. "We did not have any operations there at that time," Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri, the spokesperson for the coalition, told GlobalPost, adding somewhat impossibly that the strike instead came from the local rebel group the Saudis are fighting. There is little rebel presence in Sanaban.  Aside from US drones operating sporadically in some parts of the country, the Saudi coalition is the only air power flying above Yemen. "The Saudis act with impunity, so it doesn't matter," said Hisham al-Omeisy, a political analyst based in Sanaa. "It's not a big deal that they hit a wedding. Since the beginning of the war they have denied pretty much everything."

Guardian (London), Syria airstrikes: Jeremy Corbyn gives Labor MPs free vote, Patrick Wintour and Rowena Mason, Nov. 30, 2015. Labor leader says party policy is to oppose airstrikes and calls for vote to be delayed but tells his MPs they can vote with their consciences.

The Indicter (Sweden), Many questions have still not been answered on the downing of the MH 17, Maj Wechselmann, Nov. 30, 2015. Maj Wechselmann, a member of The Indicter’s editorial board, is a Swedish author and prize-winner film director and documentary producer. Few airplane crashes have caused such a big attention as the crash of the Malaysian plane MH17 in eastern Ukraine. The plane fell in the area of the separatists. The theories and accusations about who shot it down and murdered 295 passengers must be seen in the perspective of elapsed time: It took the commission, the Dutch Safety Board one year and three months to investigate the crash, and yet the “black boxes” were neither harmed or opened when delivered to the international authorities only four days after the crash. Yet the commission cannot – even today – name the perpetrator.

Let´s begin with the accusations against the Dutch Safety Board itself. The first allegation is directed against the composition and constitution of The Dutch Safety Board. Holland immediately took the lead role. However, according to international rules under IATA (International Air Transport Association) Malaysia, is the first authorized country to participate in the commission Malaysia was initially – illegitimately – excluded from the inquiry for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained. Holland is a member of NATO, and the commission can therefore easily be blamed of being biased. A second accusation  against the investigators: ignoring the fact of a possible false flag operation criminally done by the Ukrainian authorities.

RT, Prosecutors ban Soros Foundation as ‘threat to Russian national security,’ Staff report, Nov. 30, 2015. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has recognized George Soros’s Open Society Institute and another affiliated organization as undesirable groups, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects. Prosecutors launched a probe into the activities of the two organizations -- both sponsored by the well-known US financier George Soros -- in July this year, after Russian senators approved the so-called “patriotic stop-list” of 12 groups that required immediate attention over their supposed anti-Russian activities. Other groups on the list included the National Endowment for Democracy; the International Republican Institute; the National Democratic Institute; the MacArthur Foundation and Freedom House. The Soros Foundation started working in Russia in the mid-1990s, but wrapped up its active operations in 2003.

Al Jazeera, Debate about Syria is missing one thing: Syrians, Staff report, Nov. 30, 2015. Increasing Western involvement in Syria shifts the conversation further away from the realities on the ground.
The Western intervention in Syria is not aimed at alleviating the suffering of Syrians or addressing the root causes of the conflict, according to a new book by Syrian researcher Samer Abboud. In the book titled Syria, Abboud provides an in-depth analysis of Syria's descent into civil war: The Western intervention is not aimed at alleviating the suffering of Syrians or addressing the root causes of the conflict but, rather, to pursue their very narrow interests in containing and eliminating ISIL.

Nov. 29

Sinclair Broadcasting via KUTV-TV (Salt Lake City), Full Measure: Terror attacks renew calls for '28 pages' release, Sharyl Attkisson (shown in a file photo), Nov. 29, 2015. Fourteen years after Sept. 11, 2001, Sharyl Attkissonone of the last, great mysteries surrounding the terrorist attacks has yet to be unmasked: 28 pages from the Congressional probe that have been kept secret from the public under two U.S. administrations. The pages were classified under the George W. Bush administration -- and are still hidden from public view today under President Obama. In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, claimed by ISIS, there are bipartisan calls to make the 28 pages public. There are also accusations that those who want to keep them classified aren't protecting national security interests, but something--or somebody--else.

It was the morning of September 11, 2001. As the eyes of the world were fixed on the terrorist attacks, a special election was being held in Massachusetts where Stephen Lynch quietly won a vacant Congressional seat. So it may be fitting that today, Congressman Lynch is devoting a great deal of effort to revealing long held secrets from Congress' 9/11 investigation. Lynch says that when he read the 28 pages, "I thought this information is something that the public should have." No ordinary American can view them. And members of Congress, sworn to secrecy, are only permitted to read the 28 pages under strict conditions.

"You had to make an appointment with the Intelligence Committee," says Lynch. "And also go to a secure location. They take your pen, paper, (and) electronics. You sit in a room and they watch as you read it." In October of 2013, Lynch (shown in a file photo) went to the secret room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol and began reading. The censored material begins on page 395 under the heading, "Certain Sensitive National Security Matters." Lynch says, "It gave names of individuals and entities that I believe were complicit in the attacks on Stephen Lynch (D-MA)September 11th. They were facilitators of those attacks and they are clearly identified. How people were financed, where they were housed, where the money was coming from, you know the conduits that were used and the connections between some of these individuals."

Individuals, he says, who were never brought to justice. But who are they? And why would the U.S. government want to keep the information secret?

Former Senator Bob Graham thinks he knows. He co-authored the Congressional report, including the 28 pages. In a news conference earlier this year, Graham said, "Here are some facts. The Saudis know what they did. Second, the Saudis know that we know what they did." Graham has become a relentless advocate for releasing the records. He goes so far as to say the 9/11 Islamic extremist hijackers were only successful due to direct support from prominent Saudis named in the 28 pages. The Saudis deny that.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Their leader, al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden was part of a powerful Saudi family with close ties to the royal family. "The position of the United States government has been to protect Saudi Arabia at virtually every step of the judicial process," said Graham. And that may be the problem--could the 28 pages unravel the alliance between the U.S. and a close Arab ally in the Mideast? Terry Strada of New Jersey thinks that relationship is secondary to her right to know what's in the withheld pages. She lost her husband Tom, a bond broker, in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The couple's third child was just four days old.

We asked Lynch if somebody has put out an official reason why the pages are still classified. "Having read the 28 pages, I think it's to allow those individuals to escape accountability," Lynch replied. Plenty of Democrats and Republicans have supported the need for secrecy over the years on national security or other grounds. We contacted more than a dozen key members of Congress, but none of them would discuss their position on camera.

Jeremy Corbyn and BBC host Alan Marr BBC 11-29-2015

BBC (London), Jeremy Corbyn: Syria strikes will not solve the problem, BBC host Andrew Marr, left, interviews to UK Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on the debate over air strikes in Syria, Nov. 29, 2015 (17 min. video).

Telegraph (London), Jeremy Corbyn tells shadow Cabinet 'I will choose position on Syrian air strikes, Ben Riley-Smith, Nov. 29, 2015. Jeremy Corbyn has warned his shadow cabinet that only he will make the final decision about whether to back Syrian air strikes as the civil war raging inside Labor intensified. Despite previously insisting he would listen to colleagues, the Labor leader declared he would choose the party’s policy on Syria, saying: “It is the leader who decides.”

He also hit back at Labor MPs plotting his downfall by saying they failed to realize the party had “changed” since his election, warning the rebels: “I am not going anywhere.” Mr. Corbyn's defiant David Cameronappearance on BBC One’s Andrew Marr program escalates the public row at the top of the Labor Party about whether to back Syrian air strikes. Around two-thirds of the Labor shadow cabinet are convinced by the argument for bombing ISIL targets in the country – but Mr. Corbyn and a handful of close senior allies are fiercely opposed. Mr. Corbyn warned that there could be jihadists among the 70,000 opposition forces in Syria which [UK Prime Minister] David Cameron, shown in a file photo, cited in his 36-page case for war and warned that striking the ISIL stronghold of Raqqa could “make the situation worse.”

New York Times, Predatory Islamic State Wrings Money From Those It Rules, Matthew Rosenberg, Nicholas Kulish and Steven Lee Myers, Nov. 29, 2015. Three times a month, Mohammad al-Kirayfawai hands $300 to fighters from the Islamic State for the privilege of driving his refrigerated truck full of ice cream and other perishables from Jordan to a part of Iraq where the militants are firmly in charge. The fighters who man the border post treat the payment as an import duty, not a bribe. Across wide expanses of Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State, with the goal of building a credible government, has set up a predatory and violent bureaucracy that wrings every last American dollar, Iraqi dinar and Syrian pound it can from those who live under its control or pass through its territory.

Middle East Eye, The real reason for Turkey's shoot-down of the Russian jet, Gareth Porter, Nov. 29, 2015. The data supports Putin's assertion that the shoot-down was prepared in advance due to Russian bombing of Turkey-linked rebels in Syria. Although the Obama administration is not about to admit it, the data already available supports the Russian assertion that the Turkish shoot-down was, as Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted, an “ambush” that had been carefully prepared in advance.

The Turkish threat to retaliate – not against Russian penetration of its airspace but in response to very broadly defined circumstances on the border – came amid the latest in a series of battles between the Syrian government and religious fighters. The area where the plane was shot down is populated by the Turkmen minority. They have been far less important than foreign fighters and other forces who have carried out a series of offensives in the area since mid-2013 aimed at threatening President Assad's main Alawite redoubt on the coast in Latakia province.

The Turkish shoot-down was thus in essence an effort to dissuade the Russians from continuing their operations in the area against al-Nusra Front and its allies, using not one but two distinct pretexts: on one hand a very dubious charge of a Russian border penetration for NATO allies, and on the other, a charge of bombing Turkmen civilians for the Turkish domestic audience.

Nov. 28

New York Times, E.U. Offers Turkey 3 Billion Euros to Stem Migrant Flow3 Billion Euros to Stem Migrant Flow, James Kanter and Andrew Higgins, Nov. 28, 2015. European Union leaders met with Turkey’s prime minister on Flag of TurkeySunday, promising aid and other inducements in exchange for Turkish action to clamp down on asylum seekers. Under heavy pressure from Germany to get a grip on Europe’s migrant crisis after months of dithering, European Union leaders met in Brussels on Sunday with Turkey’s prime minister to complete a deal that German Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes will slow the chaotic flood of asylum seekers into the 28-nation bloc.

The meeting, the seventh gathering of European leaders since the spring regarding the highly divisive question of migration, took place days after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane and added a new element of uncertainty to a crisis that has overwhelmed Europe’s slow decision-making process.  Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, according to diplomats, will be promised 3 billion euros in European aid and other inducements in exchange for Turkish action to stop migrants, most of them from the Middle East and Afghanistan, from reaching Greece and other countries on Europe’s outer fringe. Mr. Davutoglu is standing in for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the Brussels meeting. Some 1.5 million migrants entered the European Union this year.

Washington Post, Putin signs sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey, Andrew Roth, Nov. 28, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed into law sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey as relations between the two countries plummet after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane over the Syrian border this past week. Putin, who called the attack a “stab in the back,” struck back with the sanctions, taking aim at more than $30 billion in trade ties between the two countries. The sanctions bill, posted on the Kremlin’s Web site, targets Turkey’s tourism industry, cancels visa-free travel between the two countries, bans many Russian companies from hiring Turkish citizens and blocks imports of some Turkish goods. Russian government agencies are expected to submit lists of banned goods and exclusions from the new sanctions on Monday.

The fallout will be particularly painful for Turkish tourism. More than 3 million Russian tourists visit Turkey each year, many of them traveling on all-inclusive, week-long resort vacations starting at $1,000, for a couple, including airfare. Putin on Saturday banned charter flights to Turkey, and travel companies were ordered not to sell tours to the country. Last week, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said the sanctions would also freeze some prestige projects between the two countries, including a joint venture to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and a Russian-Turkish gas pipeline called Turkstream. Putin signed the gas deal with Turkey in December after the European Union blocked the pipeline.

The Hill, Karl Rove connects Carson to big donors: report, Katie Bo Williams, Nov. 28, 2015. Republican strategist Karl Rove arranged a meeting between fundraisers for GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson and casino tycoon Steve Wynn, Bloomberg is reporting. Wynn is an occasional business competitor of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, whose campaign sees the meeting as an Karl Rove attempt by the GOP establishment to help Carson topple his chief rival in the primary race. "Karl Rove is at the center of the GOP establishment — fearful of what real leadership in Washington D.C. will accomplish," Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Bloomberg in a statement. "Mr. Trump continues to expose the all-talk, no action politicians propped up their dark money super PACs that have failed the American people for far too long."

The news that Rove organized a meeting between Carson fundraisers and Wynn comes amidst growing reports that established GOP activists are mobilizing to halt Trump’s ascension. Last week, a Wall Street Journal report revealed that Republican operative Liz Mair has formed a guerilla-style campaign "to defeat and destroy" Trump's candidacy. Trump Card LLC allows private anti-Trump donations. “The stark reality is that unless something dramatic and unconventional is done, Trump will be the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton will become president,” said an internal memo that the Journal obtained.

Rove is a former White House deputy chief of staff under the George W. Bush administration and is now an influential Republican strategist and policy adviser. Widely touted as a key architect behind Bush’s 2000 and 2004 victories, he has yet to sign on to a 2016 campaign. Following the Journal report, Trump again raised speculation that he might be considering a third-party run. “WSJ reports that @GOP getting ready to treat me unfairly — big spending planned against me. That wasn’t the deal!” Trump tweeted Monday.

King World News, Paul Craig Roberts: Putin And The Russians Crushing The U.S. As The West Destroys Itself, Eric King interview of Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 28, 2015.  Roberts:  “It could well be that this is Paul Craig Robertsgoing to work out so much in Russia’s favor that Putin will send a letter of thanks to the Turkish President and say, ‘Thank you very much. You’ve done us a huge favor. We lost a pilot and a naval marine but we sure have gained a lot. That was only two deaths for winning a war....Europeans have put a big deal of distance between themselves and Turkey. This has scared the State Department to death. It could make the NATO alliance undone. Now the State Department is learning how dangerous NATO can be be....There's really nothing Washington can do except make a fool out of itself by supporting ISIS."

Russian S-400 antiaircraft systemRT, No US airstrikes in Syria since Russia deployed S-400 systems, Staff report, Nov. 28, 2015. An S-400 air defense missile system is deployed for a combat duty at the Hmeymim airbase to provide security of the Russian air group's flights in Syria. Both the American and Turkish air forces halted their strikes on Syrian territory around the time Russia deployed S-400 air defense complexes at the Khmeimim airbase, from which it stages its own incursions against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). A spokesperson of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) told Sputnik on Friday that the absence of anti-IS coalition airstrikes “has nothing to do with the S400 deployment” in Syria. As CJTF-OIR reported on Friday, the US-led coalition had made no sorties against targets in Syria since Thursday, while airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq continued, with the coalition making 18 strikes on terrorist positions. 

AP via Huffington Post, Turkey's Erdogan Expresses Regret Over Russian Plane Downing, Staff report, Nov. 28, 2015. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday voiced regret over Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane, saying his country was "truly saddened" by the incident and wished it hadn't occurred. It was the first expression of regret by the strongman leader since Tuesday's incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey's airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow.

He renewed a call for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a climate conference in Paris next week, saying it would be an opportunity to overcome tensions. Erdogan's friendly overture however, came after he again vigorously defended Turkey's action and criticized Russia for its operations in Syria. "If we allow our sovereign rights to be violated ... then the territory would no longer be our territory," Erdogan said.

Putin has denounced the Turkish action as a "treacherous stab in the back," and has insisted that the plane was downed over Syrian territory in violation of international law. He has also refused to take telephone calls from Erdogan. Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Friday that the Kremlin had received Erdogan's request for a meeting, but wouldn't say whether such a meeting is possible. On Friday, Reuters reported that Erdogan warned Russia not to "play with fire," comments that look more likely to inflame than quell the dispute over a downed Russian bomber this week. Russia's lower house speaker, Sergei Naryshkin, said on Friday that Moscow had the right to make a military response, calling the incident an "intentional murder of our soldiers."

Tulsi Gabbard, D-HawaiiNew York Times, Tulsi Gabbard, Rising Democratic Star From Hawaii, Makes Mark on Party by Defying It, Emmarie Hueterman, Nov. 28, 2015. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, 34, Democrat of Hawaii, has a reputation among her colleagues for being a composed, contemplative presence in a chamber more prone to reaction than reflection. But lately she has started to shed that persona. Since the deadly attacks in Paris, she has become a high-profile critic of President Obama’s policies in Syria by amplifying her argument that President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power to avoid elevating the Islamic State and by introducing legislation to defund American efforts to overthrow him.

Shortly after voting with House Republicans this month to drastically tighten screening procedures for Syrian refugees — in defiance of Mr. Obama’s veto threat — Ms. Gabbard traveled to Paris. From there, she made the case for focusing on defeating the Islamic State in her fourth national television interview of the week. It is not exactly what Democrats had envisioned when they tapped her for stardom. 

Nov. 27

WhoWhatWhy, The CIA, Mafia, Mexico — and Oswald, Part 1 of a six-part series, Peter Dale Scott book excerpts, Nov. 22-27, 2015. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, the Peter Dale ScottUnited States lost more than its president. It lost its innocence. The subsequent investigations into the young president’s killing raised more questions than they answered — and caused Americans to lose faith in their government. Indeed, for many people in the US and across the world, the assassination marked the point at which their fundamental perceptions changed. Just after the Warren Commission released its report on the assassination, the level of public trust in government was at 77 percent. A decade later it had plummeted to less than half that (36 percent).

Kennedy’s death and the circumstances surrounding it gave birth to a movement. This movement, composed of all kinds of people, is dedicated to investigating the story behind the story, to exposing the power networks hidden beneath surface events. These machinations have been dubbed “Deep Politics.” Those who study it believe there is much more to national and world events than what the public is told by government officials and evening newscasters — and, as you will see, Peter Dale Scott (shown in a file photo) proves it. On the occasion of the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, WhoWhatWhy is pleased to present excerpts from Chapter 2 of Scott’s latest work: Dallas ’63: The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House by Peter Dale Scott (Open Road Media, September, 2015).

Huffington Post, 3 Dead After Gunman Opens Fire Inside Colorado Planned Parenthood, Sebastian Murdock and Ryan Grenoble, One officer and two civilians were killed, and 9 others were injured, during a lengthy standoff. Authorities took a gunman into custody Friday afternoon after an hours-long standoff inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that left three people dead and nine others injured. One police officer and two civilians were killed. The officer who died was Garrett Swasey, 44, a six-year veteran of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs police department, the school said. Nine others -- five officers and four civilians -- were shot and are in good condition. The Associated Press identified the gunman as Robert Lewis Dear, 57 [shown in a police photo]Robert L. Dear Police photo.

Cecile Richards, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement Friday evening. “Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the brave law enforcement officers who put themselves in harm's way in Colorado Springs," Richards said. "We are profoundly grateful for their heroism in helping to protect all women, men and young people as they access basic health care in this country.”

Four Planned Parenthood clinics were the targets of attacks in the past four months, including a Washington state clinic that was set on fire and one in California that was fire-bombed in a similar fashion. Earlier this year, a series of heavily edited undercover videos claimed the family planning provider was harvesting fetal tissue after abortions and selling it. The group denies the charges and says it only donates fetal tissue for medical research when the patient requests it, and does not make a profit from the donation.

New York Times, 3 Are Dead in Colorado Springs Shootout at Planned Parenthood Center, Julie Turkewitz and Jack Healy, Nov. 27, 2015. A gun battle erupted inside a Planned Parenthood center here on Friday when a man armed with an assault-style rifle opened fire and began shooting at officers as they rushed to the scene.

Russia Insider, Here Is Why Erdogan's Ambush of Russian Jet Was a Massive Blunder, Alexander Mercouris, Nov. 27, 2015. Turkish president actually undermined his Western support. In shooting down the Russian FlagRussian SU24 Turkey’s President Erdogan has blundered badly. He has caused the Russians to reinforce in Syria and is feeding Western doubts about him. He has exposed himself to his Western allies as a dangerous and unpredictable ally.

NSA reform report 2013 cover, Richard A. Clarke. Michael J. Morell. Geoffrey R. Stone. Cass R. Sunstein. Peter SwirePolitico, NSA bulk phone snooping program shuts down, Alex Byers, Nov. 27, 2015. The National Security Agency will no longer be able to collect phone records in bulk starting Nov. 29, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a statement Friday. The program's closure was required by the USA Freedom Act, signed by President Barack Obama in early June. The program was allowed to continue since then as part of a six-month wind-down period, in which intelligence officials could create and test a new phone records program where the government can only obtain records connected to a specific entity like a person or device that is associated with a foreign power or terrorist group.

Washington Post, Russia plays down idea of coalition with West to strike ISIS, Andrew Roth, Nov. 27, 2015. The Kremlin on Friday played down the possibility of a grand coalition with the West to strike the Islamic State in Syria, despite personal visits by French President François Hollande to both Washington and Moscow following a spate of horrific terrorist attacks tied to the terrorist group. “At the moment, unfortunately, our partners are not ready to work as one coalition,” Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman, told reporters during a conference call on Friday. Peskov’s comments came less than 24 hours after Putin himself sounded hopeful notes at a meeting with Hollande in the Kremlin, where he said Russia “was ready to cooperate with the coalition which is led by the United States.” But Russia has sought cooperation on its terms, providing diplomatic and now military shelter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and attacking rebel groups that include the Islamic State but also more moderate opponents of Assad backed by Western countries. President Obama and other Western leaders have sought to bring Putin into a U.S.-led coalition instead, a force that Putin has called illegal because it is launching airstrikes in Syria without Assad’s permission., Stumbling to War With Russia? Pat Buchanan, Nov. 27, 2015. Conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan (shown in a file photo) is the author of "Churchill, Hitler, and The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World." Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian warplane was a provocative and portentous act. That Sukhoi Su-24, which the Patrick J. BuchananTurks say intruded into their air space, crashed and burned – in Syria. One of the Russian pilots was executed while parachuting to safety. A Russian rescue helicopter was destroyed by rebels using a U.S. TOW missile. A Russian marine was killed. "A stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists," said Vladimir Putin of the first downing of a Russian warplane by a NATO nation in half a century. Putin has a point, as the Russians are bombing rebels in northwest Syria, some of which are linked to al-Qaida.

As it is impossible to believe Turkish F-16 pilots would fire missiles at a Russian plane without authorization from President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, we must ask: Why did the Turkish autocrat do it? Why is he risking a clash with Russia?

Answer: Erdogan is probably less outraged by intrusions into his air space than by Putin’s success in securing the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, whom Erdogan detests, and by relentless Russian air strikes on Turkmen rebels seeking to overthrow Assad. Imperiled strategic goals and ethnicity may explain Erdogan. But what does the Turkish president see down at the end of this road? And what about us? Was the U.S. government aware Turkey might attack Russian planes? Did we give Erdogan a green light to shoot them down?

These are not insignificant questions. For Turkey is a NATO ally. And if Russia strikes back, there is a possibility Ankara will invoke Article V of NATO and demand that we come in on their side in any fight with Russia. And Putin was not at all cowed. Twenty-four hours after that plane went down, his planes, ships and artillery were firing on those same Turkmen rebels and their jihadist allies.

 Barack Obama and Saudi King Abdullah White House June 29, 2010

Barack Obama and Saudi King Abdullah White House June 29, 2010

Reuters via Yahoo News, Saudi king showered Obamas with $1.3 million in gifts in 2014, Olivier Knox, Nov. 27, 2015. President Obama often receives curious gifts from foreign dignitaries. But when the State Department published its annual accounting of gifts from foreign notables to American government officials on Wednesday, what stood out wasn’t so much the “What the heck is that?!?” as the “Wait, they gave how much?!?” That’s because, throughout 2014, Saudi King Abdullah and top kingdom officials spent a fortune on gifts for Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters — roughly $1.35 million on the list.

Nov. 26

OpEdNews, Why did Turkey shoot down a Russian Air Force jet? George Abert, Nov. 26, 2015. Sergey Lavrov Turkey is so militarily inferior to Russia that it is unlikely Turkey would commit an act of war against Russia without encouragement from Washington. We might think that Turkey would feel shielded by NATO, but it is doubtful that many European members of NATO would risk nuclear annihilation by going to war with Russia in order to save Turkey from the consequences of such a reckless and irresponsible act as shooting down a Russian military aircraft and lying about it.

Turkey has issued no apology and no believable explanation. Unless Erdogan has lost his mind, Washington is behind the shootdown, and the reason is Washington's desperation to decode the new Russian technology that gives Russian forces total control over a battlefield, whether on land, sea, or air. When the Russians deployed their forces to Syria they also deployed some new stealth technology. So far as I know they've only used this technology in Syria twice, once during their first sortie and one other time when some Israeli Air Force jets entered what they knew was Russian operational airspace. I suspect somebody wants the Russians to start using this stealth technology more often, often enough for its weaknesses to be exposed. Shooting down that Russian jet might just get the Russians motivated to do that.

Fox News via Alex Jones Radio Show, Top U.S. Air Defense Commander: Turkey’s Shootdown of Russian Jet “Had to Be Pre-Planned,"  Nov. 26, 2015. McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets. Lt. General Tom McInerney is an expert on handling threats from fighter jets. In his role as Norad commander for Alaska, McInerney dealt with more Russian fighter jet incursions (which he calls “bear penetrations”) than anyone else in the world. So McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets, standard rules of engagement of foreign fighter jets, how to read radar tracks, and the other things he would need to know to form an informed opinion about the shootdown of a foreign jet. Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn’t threatening Turkey, and that Turkey’s shoot down of the Russian jet “had to be pre-planned”, as the jet wasn’t in Turkish air space long enough for anything other than a premeditated attack to have brought it down.

Times of Israel, Russia deploys S-400 missile battery in Syria, state media says, Judah Ari Gross, Nov. 26, 2015. Placing of sophisticated system in Latakia would grant Russia aerial control over Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, and stretch as far as Israel’s international airport. The Russian military has deployed its sophisticated S-400 missile battery and radar array in Syria, a Russian state-run media outlet claimed Thursday. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had announced Wednesday that the system would be deployed in Latakia, in northwest Syria, in response to Turkey shooting down a Russian warplane the day before. 

The advanced missile system, completed in 2007, is capable of detecting and destroying aircraft some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away. Its deployment in Latakia will grant Russia aerial control over practically all of Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, over half of Turkey, parts of Iraq and Jordan — and, of course, Israel: Planes flying in and out of Ben Gurion International Airport — approximately 395 kilometers (245 miles) from Latakia — would be within Russian sights.

“Do we have something to fear? The answer is: yes and no,” Russia expert Zvi Magen told The Times of Israel on Wednesday. “If [the S-400] is indeed deployed,” Magen explained before Moscow’s state-run media announced the system’s deployment, “it will be a game-changer.” Anything from an F-15 fighter jet to a B-2 stealth bomber that comes into the range of the S-400 is at risk of being blown out of the sky. For Israel, the threat is not one of inevitable conflict: Russia is, after all, not an enemy. The threat is in the potential, said Magen, now a researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies. If the state-run Russian media reports are true, Israel will not have the freedom to send in aircraft to Syria unannounced; nor will the United States, United Kingdom, France and the other members of the coalition bombing the Islamic State in Syria.“Maybe he’ll take advantage of an opportunity to hit them here and there,” Magen said, “but the response will likely be political and economic, not a military conflict.”

Times of Israel, France, Russia to tighten cooperation, Staff, wire reports, Nov. 26, 2015. The presidents of France and Russia agreed Thursday to tighten cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State group, although they remained at odds over their approach toward Syrian President Bashar Assad. IS has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks against both of the countries’ citizens in recent weeks: the November 13 shootings and suicide bombings in Paris which killed 130 people, and the October 31 bombing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that claimed 224 lives.
French President Francois Hollande has been on a diplomatic drive since the Paris attacks to increase cooperation in tackling IS, which holds swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq. He has met this week with President Barak Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi before flying to Moscow on Thursday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Hollande and Putin agreed on increasing intelligence sharing, intensifying their airstrikes against IS in Syria and cooperating on selecting targets — two days after Turkey downed a Russian warplane near the Syrian border. “We agreed on a very important issue: To strike the terrorists only, Daesh and the jihadi groups only, and not to strike the forces and the groups that are fighting against the terrorists,” Hollande said after the meeting, referring to IS by its Arabic acronym. “And we are going to exchange some information about that: what can be struck, and what must not be struck.”

Israel National News, Game changer? Russia says it deployed S-400 in Syria, Ari Yashar, Nov. 26, 2015. Despite US concerns that it will put all aircraft -- including those in Israel -- under Russian threat, Moscow Israel Flagdeploys system to its base.  Flaunting the concerns of the US, Russia's state-owned RIA Novosti news agency announced on Thursday that Moscow has deployed its advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to a base in Syria. The S-400 anti-missile system, known to NATO as the SA-21 "Growler," is said to have a maximum range of 250 miles, and can bring down airplanes at up to 90,000 feet - more than double the height of a cruising commercial airliner. The range puts Israel squarely in the system's sights.

Russia's decision to deploy the system to its base in Latakia, located in western Syria where it is propping us Bashar al-Assad's regime, comes after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 fighter jet on Tuesday near the Turkish-Syrian border, killing one pilot. The system has been placed in a region some 50 kilometers (just over 30 miles) from Turkey, adding extra urgency to the tensions between Russia and Turkey. An American official on Wednesday said there are "significant concerns" over the deployment, and spokesperson William Stevens of the US Embassy in Moscow said earlier on Thursday that the deployment "will further complicate an already difficult situation in the skies over Syria." The S-400's range covers most of Syria, southern Turkey, the eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sea, much of Israel and the British airbase of Akrotiri in Cyprus. No less than 300 targets can be tracked simultaneously by the radar complex of the S-400, which sports six anti-aircraft missile launchers.

South Front via The Saker, The air navigator of the SU-24: 'I have a debt to repay for the commander,' video pool interview, Nov. 26, 2015. Today at the Latakia air base [in Syria near Turkey], Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin, an air navigator of the Russian SU-24 frontline bomber that was shot down by the Turks, gave his first interview with Russian media. He stated that there is no way that his plane violated Turkish airspace. "No. It is not possible, not even for one second," he said, as translated.

"Especially," he continued, "because we were flying at around 6,000 meters, the weather was clear, as we say in our jargon, 'a day in a million,' our whole flight up to the moment that the rocket hit us was completely under my control. I saw the border and our exact location perfectly both on the map and on the surroundings. There was not even the threat of crossing over into Turkey," he told reporters. "We have carried out combat missions there many times, we know the area inside out, we perform combat missions and return on the reverse route to the air base. As the navigator, I know practically every elevation over there. I can even navigate without instruments," he said.

The pilot said that the Turkish missile hit the plane suddenly and it was not possible for the crew to avoid it and there was no advance warning from the Turkish side. In fact there were no warnings at all – not by radio traffic and not visually, there was just no contact. For this reason we went on combat course in regular mode. You need to understand how fast a bomber is and how fast a F16 fighter is. If they had wanted to warn us, they could have shown themselves, by holding a parallel course, but there was nothing like that. In effect, the missile suddenly came at the tail of our plane anyway. We didn't even observe it visually, which might have allowed us to carry out an anti-missile maneuver, said the pilot.

Captain Murakhtin added that he himself feels, all in all, OK now. "I wait impatiently for them to discharge me to return to duty immediately," he continued. "I will ask command headquarters to leave me at this airbase. I have a debt to repay for the commander."


Bilal ErdoganBilal Erdogan, son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Zero Hedge, Meet The Man Who Funds ISIS: Bilal Erdogan, The Son Of Turkey's President, Tyler Durden, Nov. 26, 2015. Russia's Sergey Lavrov is not one foreign minister known to mince his words. Just earlier today, 24 hours after a Russian plane was brought down by the country whose president three years ago said "a short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack," had this to say: "We have serious doubts this was an unintended incident and believe this is a planned provocation" by Turkey.

But even that was tame compared to what Lavrov said to his Turkish counterparty Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier today during a phone call between the two (Lavrov who was supposed to travel to Turkey has since canceled such plans). As Sputnik transcribes, according to a press release from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lavrov pointed out that, "by shooting down a Russian plane on a counter-terrorist mission of the Russian Aerospace Force in Syria, and one that did not violate Turkey’s airspace, the Turkish government has in effect sided with ISIS."

It was in this context when Lavrov added that "Turkey’s actions appear premeditated, planned, and undertaken with a specific objective." More importantly, Lavrov pointed to Turkey’s role in the propping up the terror network through the oil trade. Per the Russian statement: "The Russian Minister reminded his counterpart about Turkey’s involvement in the ISIS’ illegal trade in oil, which is transported via the area where the Russian plane was shot down, and about the terrorist infrastructure, arms and munitions depots and control centers that are also located there."

Others reaffirmed Lavrov's stance, such as retired French General Dominique Trinquand, who said that "Turkey is either not fighting ISIL at all or very little, and does not interfere with different types of smuggling that takes place on its border, be it oil, phosphate, cotton or people," he said.

Mirror (London), Turkey moves 20 tanks to its border and sends 18 fighter jets on patrol as Russia crisis continues, Anthony Bond, Nov. 26, 2015. Military sources from Turkey said the tanks were moved by rail to an armored brigade at its western border with Syria. Reports also say 18 fighter jets were sent on a patrol exercise near the border. A military source told Turkey’s Anadolu agency: "Accompanied by police and gendarmes, 20 tanks were sent by rail from Turkey’s western provinces by railway to Gaziantep in the south of the country, and then redirected to the Syrian border." Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet on Tuesday morning close to the Syrian border leading to a crisis between the two countries. Russia yesterday started bombing Syrian rebels in the area close to where its fighter jets was shot down. Missiles have been fired from Russian warships in the Mediterranean and fighters jets have also been launching raids in Syria's Latakia province. At least 12 air strikes hit Latakia's northern countryside, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Turkmen commander said missiles fired from Russian warships in the Mediterranean were also hitting the area, as well as heavy artillery shelling.

Telegraph (London), Turkey arrests editors over reports Ankara supplied weapons to Syrian fighters, Raziye Akkoc, Nov. 26, 2015. Two journalists from an opposition Turkish newspaper have been arrested, accused of spying by an Istanbul court following reports that Turkey's intelligence agency sent weapons to Islamist rebel groups in Syria. In another case of journalists facing criminal charges and censorship, editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, the newspaper's Ankara bureau chief, were taken into custody on Thursday night, Turkish media reported. The two men are accused of spying and "divulging state secrets," according to reports, as well as being members of a terror organization. Another charge included the violation of state security after the release of the footage. In January 2014, Turkish security forces intercepted the trucks sent by National Intelligence Agency (MIT) twice following tip-offs to prosecutors that they were illegally taking arms to Syria. The stories made the front page and since then, Turkey has often been accused of supporting Islamist Syrian rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.

Turkey disputes the front-page allegations, claiming the arms were aid for Syrian Turkmen, a Turkic minority in the country's northern areas, and described the actions of the security forces as "treason" and "espionage," according to the English-language Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman. In the video released in May, authorities can apparently be seen opening crates in the trucks and finding what Cumhuriyet described as weapons and ammunition, it was reported. When the two men were arrested on Thursday night, Dundar tweeted: "We have been arrested" in Turkish. The two men appeared in court on Thursday and before their appearance, defended their actions as "journalistic activity," adding they were not spies.

"We are accused of ‘spying.’ The president said [our action is] ‘treason.' We are not traitors, spy, or heroes; we are journalists. What we have done here was a journalistic activity,” Dundar said before appearing in court to testify on Thursday, in comments carried by Hurriyet Daily News. “We came here to defend journalism. We came here to defend the right of the public to obtain the news and their right to know if their government is feeding them lies. We came here to show and to prove that governments cannot engage in illegal activity and defend this,” Dundar added. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, said the reports by the newspaper were an act of "betrayal," adding that whether they had weapons or not was irrelevant. He has repeated the claims by authorities that Bayırbucak Turkmens were the intended recipients of aid from the truck.

Nov. 25

President Obama and daughters at annual Turkey Pardon ceremony 2015

President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia participate in the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey pardon ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 25, 2015. National Turkey Federation Chairman Jihad Douglas participates. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Washington Post, Russian foreign minister calls warplane downing ‘planned provocation,’ Andrew Roth, Hugh Naylor and Brian Murphy, Nov. 25, 2015. The Kremlin sharpened its accusations Wednesday in the Sergey Lavrovwake of Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane, as Moscow’s top diplomat called the incident a “planned provocation” that has dealt a major blow to already fragile relations with NATO. But Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (shown in a file photo) also tamped down speculation of a military response by Russia after the jet broke apart in flames along the Turkish-Syrian border. “We’re not going to war against Turkey,” he said after talks with his Turkish counterpart.

Still, Russia moved to strengthen its forces in Syria, saying new anti-missile systems would be deployed at an air base less than 20 miles from the Turkish frontier. Lavrov’s comments offered the clearest signals that Moscow views the downing as more than an accidental mishap while Russia steps up its airstrikes in Syria to support the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad. In a show of Russia’s deepening military involvement, it plans to deploy powerful S-400 anti-missile systems to Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in northwestern Syria. The batteries — with a range of 250 miles — has the potential to create headaches for Turkish and other aircraft in the U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State.


Russian S-400 antiaircraft systemRT, Moscow to deploy S-400 defense missile system to Khmeimim airbase in Syria, Staff report, Nov. 25, 2015. The Russian Air Force base in Latakia will be reinforced with S-400 SAM system, which will soon be deployed there, Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday. Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet near the Turkish-Syrian border. One pilot died in the incident. The second one was rescued and brought to the Russian airbase in Latakia. Moscow maintains the jet did not violate Turkey's airspace. It ditched on Syria's territory four kilometers from the Russian Flagborder. Turkish officials have financial interest in oil trade with group -- PM Medvedev

Shortly afterwards, the MoD announced three steps to be taken following the attack on the Russian Su-24 bomber, including providing aerial cover by fighter jets for every airstrike, boosting air defense by deploying guided missile cruisers off the Latakia coast, and suspending all military-to-military contacts with Turkey.

The S-400 is Russia's most advanced anti-aircraft defense system. It is as an upgrade of the S-300 Growler family, designed and developed by Almaz Antei. The S-400 is employed to ensure air defense using long- and medium-range missiles that can hit aerial targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers. The S-400 is capable of hitting tactical and strategic aircraft as well as ballistic and cruise missiles. The system includes a set of radars, missile launchers and command posts, and is operated solely by the Russian military.

New Eastern Outlook, Israeli Colonel Caught with IS Pants Down, F. William Engdahl, Nov. 25, 2015. This was definitely not supposed to happen. It seems that an Israeli military man with the rank of colonel was “caught with IS pants down.” By that I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS–or Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference–terrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army. Under interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence he apparently said a lot regarding the role of Netanyahu’s IDF in supporting IS.

In late October an Iranian news agency, quoting a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, reported the capture of an Israeli army colonel, named Yusi Oulen Shahak, reportedly related to the ISIS Golani Battalion operating in Iraq in the Salahuddin front. In a statement to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency a Commander of the Iraqi Army stated, “The security and popular forces have held captive an Israeli colonel.” He added that the IDF colonel “had participated in the Takfiri ISIL group’s terrorist operations.” He said the colonel was arrested together with a number of ISIL or IS terrorists, giving the details: “The Israeli colonel’s name is Yusi Oulen Shahak and is ranked colonel in Golani Brigade… with the security and military code of Re34356578765az231434.”, Peter Dale Scott: Ask the 2016 candidates to make this JFK pledge, edited by Jefferson Morley, Nov. 24, 2015. Peter Dale Scott, a retired professor at the University of California at Berkeley shown in a file photo, is Peter Dale Scottthe author of many important books, including "Deep Politics and the Death of JFK" (1993). He offered the following words at a ceremony in Dallas Nov. 22 on the anniversary of the JFK assassination: How can we best fulfill what we now know to have been the intentions of Robert Kennedy with respect to his brother’s murder? I suggest that truth, justice, and an open society will be best served if all of us can persuade presidential candidates in 2016 to pledge:

“2017 is the year scheduled, by law, for the release of all remaining governmental records pertaining to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. If elected, I promise to appoint an independent committee to review those records and other relevant evidence, and I promise also to pursue vigorously whatever recommendations that committee may make for further investigation.”

White House, Remarks by President Obama After Meeting with National Security Team, President Obama, Nov. 25, 2015.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I just had a chance to meet with my national security team, including my Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson; my FBI Director, James Comey; and my Attorney General, Loretta Lynch for a regular update on our security posture post-Paris and going into the holiday season.

I think all of us recognize how horrific and heinous what took place in Paris was.  And as I said yesterday, for many of us, the events there touched a deep chord, given the connection between the United States and France, the degree to which Americans see in Paris a way of life that’s so familiar to us here in American cities.  And given the shocking images, I know that Americans have been asking each other whether it’s safe here -- whether it’s safe to fly or gather.  I know that families have discussed their fears about the threat of terrorism around the dinner table, many for the first time since September 11th.  And it’s understandable that people worry something similar could happen here.  Watching the events in Paris made the threat feel closer to home.

So as we go into Thanksgiving weekend, I want the American people to know -- is that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe.

Fox News via Alex Jones Radio Show, Top U.S. Air Defense Commander: Turkey’s Shootdown of Russian Jet “Had to Be Pre-Planned,"  Nov. 26, 2015. McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets. Lt. General Tom McInerney is an expert on handling threats from fighter jets. In his role as Norad commander for Alaska, McInerney dealt with more Russian fighter jet incursions (which he calls “bear penetrations”) than anyone else in the world. So McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets, standard rules of engagement of foreign fighter jets, how to read radar tracks, and the other things he would need to know to form an informed opinion about the shootdown of a foreign jet. Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn’t threatening Turkey, and that Turkey’s shoot down of the Russian jet “had to be pre-planned”, as the jet wasn’t in Turkish air space long enough for anything other than a premeditated attack to have brought it down:

Forbes, Turkey Downs Russian Plane, Joins With Islamic State: U.S. Should Drop New Ottoman Empire As Ally, Doug Bandow, Nov 25, 2015. Turkey’s rash decision to shoot down a Russian plane for allegedly violating its airspace isn’t likely to trigger World War III. But Ankara has demonstrated where it stands. With the Islamic State and against the West. The justification for Turkey’s membership in NATO and America’s defense guarantee for Ankara long ago passed. Turkey’s irresponsible action proves that it is no U.S. ally. The Obama administration’s war against the Islamic State is turning into another interminable conflict that serves the interests of other nations far more than America. U.S. policy has been impossibly incoherent, attempting to do everything: oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, shove aside next door Iran, defeat vicious jihadist insurgents, promote ineffectual “moderate” forces, convince the Gulf States to act against the extremists they’ve been supporting, promote diplomacy without participation by Damascus and Tehran, and convince Turkey to serve U.S. rather than Islamic interests.

While Russia’s September entry into the war outraged Washington, Moscow showed clarity and realism. Russia simply sought to bolster Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad against insurgents dominated by radical Islamists. Ironically, this approach was far more likely than the administration’s confused policy to advance America’s core interest of defeating ISIL and al-Qaeda affiliates such as al-Nusra. The U.S. had little choice but to accommodate Moscow, despite nutty proposals from some Republican presidential candidates to shoot down Russian planes. Shooting down the Russian aircraft was even more irresponsible. Whatever the circumstances of the alleged incursion, Ankara knew that no attack on Turkish forces was planned. President Putin stated the obvious when he declared: “our pilots, planes did not threaten Turkish territory in any way. It is quite clear.” Downing the plane was a direct attack on Moscow for supporting the Assad government against various insurgents, of whom the Turkish-supported radicals are the most important. Whether to punish Russia for opposing Ankara’s objectives or deter Moscow from taking further action, the attack raises tensions not only with Turkey but also NATO, including America, the alliance’s most important member. Striking nuclear-armed Russia for an alleged overflight lasting just a few seconds appears to be seeking war. The U.S. should shun Ankara for playing chicken with Moscow.

Consortium News via OpEdNews, Turkey Provokes Russia, Robert Parry (shown in a file photo), Nov. 25, 2015. President Barack Obama -- always sensitive to neocon criticism that he's "weak" -- continues to edge the world closer to a Robert Parrynuclear confrontation with Russia as he talks tough and tolerates more provocations against Moscow, now including Turkey's intentional shoot-down of a Russian warplane along the Turkish-Syrian border. Rather than rebuke Turkey, a NATO member, for its reckless behavior -- or express sympathy to the Russians -- Obama instead asserted that "Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace."

It was another one of Obama's breathtaking moments of hypocrisy, since he has repeatedly violated the territorial integrity of various countries, including in Syria where he has authorized bombing without the government's permission and has armed rebels fighting to overthrow Syria's secular regime. Obama's comment on Turkey's right to shoot down planes -- made during a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday -- was jarring, too, because there was no suggestion that even if the SU-24 jetfighter had strayed briefly into Turkish territory, which the Russians deny, that it was threatening Turkish targets. Russian President Vladimir Putin angrily called the Turkish attack a "stab in the back delivered by the accomplices of terrorists." He warned of "serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations."

Further provoking the Russians, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels then killed the two Russian pilots by riddling their bodies with bullets after they parachuted from the doomed plane and were floating toward the ground. Another Russian soldier was killed when a U.S.-supplied TOW missile brought down a Russian helicopter on a search-and-rescue mission, according to reports.

But Obama, during the news conference, seemed more interested in demonstrating his disdain for Putin, referring to him at one point by his last name only, without the usual use of a courtesy title, and demeaning the size of Putin's coalition in helping Syria battle the jihadist rebels. Obama and the U.S. mainstream media also have pretended that the only terrorists that need to be fought in Syria are those belonging to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh), but Al Qaeda's Nusra Front and its ally, Ahrar al-Sham, which was founded in part by Al Qaeda veterans, make up the bulk of the Turkish-and-Saudi-backed Army of Conquest which was gaining ground -- with the help of those American TOW missiles -- until Russia intervened with air power at the request of Syrian President Assad in late September.

New York Times Sunday Book Review, ‘Workshops of Empire,’ by Eric Bennett, reviewed by Timothy Aubry, Nov.  25, 2015. Timothy Aubry, an associate professor of English at Baruch College, is the author of Eric Bennett“Reading as Therapy: What Contemporary Fiction Does for Middle-Class Americans.”  What Eric ­Bennett’s “Workshops of Empire” contributes is an understanding of how Cold War politics helped to create the aesthetic standards that continue to rule over writing workshops today.

Sponsored by foundations dedicated to defeating Communism, creative-­writing programs during the postwar period taught aspiring authors certain rules of propriety. Good literature, students learned, contains “sensations, not doctrines; ­experiences, not dogmas; memories, not philosophies.” The goal, according to Bennett, was to discourage the abstract theorizing and systematic social critiques to which the radical literature of the 1930s had been prone, in favor of a focus on the personal, the concrete and the individual. While workshop administrators like Paul Engle and Wallace Stegner wanted to spread American values, they did not want to be caught imposing a particular ideology on their students, for fear of appearing to use the same tactics as the communists. Thus they presented their aesthetic principles as a non­political, universally valid means of cultivating writerly craft. The continued status of “show, don’t tell” as a self-evident truth, dutifully dispensed to anyone who ventures into a creative-­writing class, is one proof of their success.

Bennett’s argument is a persuasive reminder that certain seemingly timeless criteria of good writing are actually the product of historically bound political agendas, and it will be especially useful to anyone seeking to expand the repertoire of stylistic strategies taught within creative-writing programs. That said, some sections are better researched than others. Whether or not the aesthetic doctrines currently championed by writing workshops perform the same political function they once did, now that the very conflict responsible for their emergence has ended, is a question that requires further study.

Alex Jones Radio Show, Mafia Don Erdoğan Retaliates for Russian Strike on Family Crime Syndicate, Kurt Nimmo, Nov. 25, 2015. Dirty business deals and terrorism by the Erdoğan clan. Like a vengeful Mafia don, Flag of TurkeyRecep Tayyip Erdoğan shot down a Russian plane and nudged the Middle East a step closer to all-out war. A few hours after the attack Obama climbed up on his soap box and said Turkey has a right to protect its national sovereignty. Erdoğan’s attack, however, had nothing to do with sovereignty or airspace. It was retaliation for Russia messing with his family business.

The son of Turkey’s president is accused of making a fortune on the sale of oil stolen by the Islamic State. “Bilal Erdoğan owns several maritime companies,” writes F. William Engdahl. “He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraqi stolen oil to different Asian countries. The Turkish government buys Iraqi plundered oil which is being produced from the Iraqi seized oil wells. Bilal Erdoğan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers.”  According to Gürsel Tekin, the vice-president of the Turkish Republican Peoples’ Party, “Bilal Erdoğan is up to his neck in complicity with terrorism, but as long as his father holds office he will be immune from any judicial prosecution.”

Tekin explains Bilal’s maritime company dealing in stolen oil and trading with the Islamic State, BMZ Ltd, is “a family business and president Erdoğan’s close relatives hold shares in BMZ and they misused public funds and took illicit loans from Turkish banks.”

In addition to working with a fundamentalist Turkish Muslim sect to train Islamic State fighters and providing logistical support, Erdoğan “organized the pillage of Syria, dismantled all the factories in Aleppo, the economic capital, and stole the machine-tools,” according to Thierry Meyssan. “Similarly, he organized the theft of archeological treasures and set up an international market in Antioch.” The Russians are threatening to put these Mafia operations out of business and that provided the motivation to shoot down a Russian jet and stir the cauldron that is the Syrian “civil war,” in fact a manufactured proxy war designed to carve up the country and turn it over to a gang of psychopaths who follow a deviant sect of Saudi Wahhabism.

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton via flickr and Karen Smith Murphy

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton (Karen Smith Murphy photo via Flickr)

OpEdNews, Clinton Foundation Laundering Foreign Money, Transcript of Rob Kall "Bottom Up Radio" interview of investigative journalist Ken Silverstein, Nov. 25, 2015. (Karen Smith Murphy photo via DMCA and Flickr.).

Rob: Welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township, reaching Metro Philly and South Jersey. My guest tonight is Ken Silverstein. He just wrote an article for Harper's titled "Shaky Foundations: The Clintons' so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends." So this is pretty serious accusations that the Clintons have used their foundation for crass profiteering and influence peddling.

KS: And as I was writing it I realized that people would go, this is extreme, this is right-wing propaganda. But I am total confident in what I wrote and I think the Clintons love to portray all of their enemies as right-wing nuts and you know, so I'm happy to say that I'm a Libertarian, lefty for the most part. But not part of the right-wing attack machine and anybody who reads my work can see that I attack all sides equally. But it's serious allegations, but well documented. If you actually go through the Clinton Foundation financial filings their IRS filings as a non-profit and their audits, you can see that they are taking in a lot of money, millions, tens of millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars and they spend a lot less for true charitable causes. They promote themselves, they pay their friends very very lavishly.

New York Times, Pfizer’s Plan to Leave U.S. Unsettles Drug Lobbyists, Gardiner Harris, Nov. 25, 2015. Escalating drug prices and now a major company’s pending move overseas have led to concern about “too much obvious greed” in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has long been the most politically active drug maker in Washington, and its representatives have tended to wrap themselves in the American flag while pressing their concerns with lawmakers and regulators. So when the company announced this week that it would abandon not only the flag but the United States, its planned move to Ireland stunned the medicine industry’s lobbying corps — not the least because Pfizer’s chief lobbyist, Sally Susman, is the daughter of one of President Obama’s biggest, most generous benefactors, Louis Susman.

The pharmaceutical industry was once the world’s most profitable, its companies topping lists of the world’s most admired corporations and Washington’s lists of its most influential. The industry has for years invested more in lobbying than any other. But a series of criminal cases, multibillion-dollar fines and other scandals has diminished its reputation, and its prices — the last 10 cancer drugs approved before July 2015 have an average annual price of $190,217 — are again becoming a major political issue. Even with discounts and insurance coverage, a growing number of Americans find themselves choosing between their lives and lifetime savings.

Washington Post, Russian provocations led to the downing of its fighter jet by Turkey, Editorial board, Nov. 25, 2015. Following Turkey's shoot-down of a Russian military jet Tuesday, Western leaders rightly addressed themselves to heading off an escalation between Moscow and a NATO member. In the process, they were not as clear as they could have been about where responsibility for the incident lay. So we’ll say it: The first shoot-down by a NATO member of a Russian plane in 60 years is the result of the reckless and increasingly dangerous behavior of Vladi­mir Putin’s regime.

AFP via Yahoo! Russia retaliates against Turkey over downed plane, Anna Smolchenko, Nov. 24, 2015. Russia on Thursday stepped up its retaliation against Turkey for the downing of one of its warplanes, tightening controls over Turkish food imports as President Vladimir Putin demanded Ankara apologize. Moscow ruled out any military retaliation against NATO-member Turkey but has struck out at its key tourism and agricultural sectors even as officials in Ankara and the West have sought to put a lid on the dispute. "We still have not heard any articulate apologies from Turkey's highest political level nor any proposals to compensate for the harm and damage nor promises to punish criminals responsible for their crimes," Putin said at the Kremlin.

Huffington Post, Kochs Embedded In Major Rift On Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform, Zach Carter, Nov. 25, 2015. A major rift is opening among criminal justice reform advocates over how to deal with conservative efforts to write off white-collar crimes ranging from environmental pollution to food safety. Most of the discussion surrounding criminal justice reform has dealt with mass incarceration and policies surrounding mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. But right-wing players including the Koch brothers, the Heritage Foundation and the Manhattan Institute have been advocating for another provision that would make it much more difficult for prosecutors to pursue white-collar crime. A measure approved by the House Judiciary Committee last week would eliminate a host of criminal penalties for negligence, gross negligence and reckless behavior.

Nov. 24

Liberty Radio via, Ron Paul Asks ‘What’s Next?’ Daniel McAdams, Nov. 24, 2015. News that Turkey, a NATO member, has attacked and shot down a Russian fighter attacking ISIS positions in Syria has placed Russia and NATO on a footing as tense as at anytime during the Cold War. Turkey claims that Russia violated its airspace, but even if true according to Turkish radar it would not have been for more than 12 seconds. That means the Turks were ready to fire on the Russians. What does this mean? What will Russia do? Is there any way to avoid this escalating situation? Today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report looks at the troubling developments:

New York Times, Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane Near Syrian Border, Ceylan Yeginsu and Neil MacFarquhar, Nov. 24, 2015. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia confirmed that an F-16 Turkish fighter jet brought down a Russian jet, but he said it had remained in Syrian airspace and never threatened Turkey’s territory.

Dr. Paul Craig, Turkey Has Destroyed Russia’s Hope Of Western Cooperation, Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 24, 2015. The conservative scholar Dr. Roberts is the author of a new collection of his columns, The Neoconservative Threat to World Order: Washington's Perilous War for Hegemony. Turkey’s unprovoked shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft over Syria raises interesting questions. It seems unlikely that the Turkish government would commit an act of war against a much more powerful neighbor unless Washington had cleared the attack. If the attack was cleared with Washington, was Obama bypassed by the neocons who control his government, or is Obama himself complicit? Clearly the neoconservatives are disturbed by the French president’s call for unity with Russia against ISIL and easily could have used their connections to Turkey to stage an event that Washington can use to prevent cooperation with Russia.

Washington’s complicity is certainly indicated, but it is not completely out of the question that the well-placed Turks who are purchasing oil from ISIL took revenge against Russia for destroying their oil tanker investments and profitable business.

The responses to the shoot-down are also interesting. From what I heard of Obama’s press conference, Obama’s definition of “moderate Syrian rebels” includes all the extremist jihadish groups, such as al Nursa and ISIL, that are the focus of the Russian attacks. Only Assad is an extremist. Obama, following the neocon line, says that Assad has too much blood on his hands to be allowed to remain president of Syria.

And what about the blood on Obama’s hands? Here we are talking about a very large quantity of blood: the blood of entire countries — Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and the blood that Obama’s puppet government in Kiev has spilled of the ethnic Russian inhabitants of Ukraine, not to forget the Palestinian blood spilled by Israel using US supplied weapons. If the blood on Assad’s hands disqualifies Assad from office, the much greater quantity on Obama’s hands disqualifies Obama. And Cameron. And Hollande. And Merkel. And Netanyahu.

RT, Russia deploys missile cruiser off Syria coast, ordered to destroy any target posing danger, Staff report, Nov. 24, 2015. Moscow plans to suspend military cooperation with Ankara after the downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish air forces, Russian General Staff representatives said on Tuesday. Further measures to beef up Russian air base security in Syria will also be taken. Sergey Rudskoy, a top official with the Russian General Staff, condemned the attack on the Russian bomber in Syrian airspace by a Turkish fighter jet as “a severe violation of international law.” He stressed that the Su-24 was downed over the Syrian territory. The crash site was four kilometers away from the Turkish border, he said. Additionally, according to the Hmeymim airfield radar, it was the Turkish fighter jet that actually entered Syrian airspace as it attacked the Russian bomber. The Turkish fighter jet made no attempts to contact Russian pilots before attacking the bomber, Rudskoy added.

CounterPunch, An Invisible U.S. Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness, Dave Lindorff. Nov. 24, 2015. In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Flag of TurkeyRussian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption — an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.hat makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a “mutual assistance” treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey’s defense.

Russia knows this, and that is why so far the Russian response to the downing has been muted. Had it been a Jordanian, Saudi or Kuwaiti jet that downed the Russian SU-24, Russia’s response would have been instantaneous. The guilty party would have had some of its planes shot down, or perhaps even bombed on the ground. But President Putin so far has limited himself to demanding a meeting, to warning that Russian-Turkish economic relations would be threatened, etc.

This restraint is good, but clearly, Vladimir Putin will not stop there. Even putting aside domestic considerations (imaging the public clamor for a military response here in the US if some small country shot down a US plane!), he will have to respond or his whole project — so far stunningly successful — of restoring Russia to its pre-USSR-collapse position as a global power, would be a failure.

Washington Post, Obama: Turkey has the right to defend its airspace, Juliet Eilperin and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 24, 2015. During a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande, President Obama reassured the public that the Islamic State will be defeated. Addressing the American public directly, Obama said "We cannot and will not succumb to fear, nor can we allow fear to divide us."
President Obama urged Russia and NATO allies to take all steps Tuesday to “discourage any escalation” after a Russian warplane was downed along Turkey’s border with Syria. The incident has been denounced by Russian President Vladmir Putin as a “stab in the back.” “Turkey like every country has the right to defend its territory and its airspace,” Obama said during a joint news conference in Washington with French President François Hollande. Their talks focused on the Paris attacks and the broader strategies against the Islamic State.

President Obama holds a joint press conference with President Hollande of France in the East Room of the White House on November 24, 2015, Turkey’s Stab in the Back: Downing of Russian plane by Turkey augurs World War III, Justin Raimondo, Nov. 24, 2015. War is the great clarifier, and in the case of the battle against Islamist insurgents, including ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, the downing of the Russian war plane by the Turkish military has demonstrated this principle quite dramatically. The U.S.and its NATO allies, including Turkey, claim to be fighting ISIS, otherwise known as the “Islamic State,” but the Turks’ main fire has been directed at the Kurds and the Syrian regime itself. Turkey has been the main conduit for aid to the Islamic State, and the Turkish intelligence agency has long collaborated with Islamists in the region.

This incident has revealed what the real sides are in the Syrian civil war: who is fighting whom, and for what. The Russian plane crashed into Syrian territory and one of the pilots was shot from the skies as he parachuted: this barbaric act was captured on video by the rebels. The area is controlled by an alliance of rebel forces dominated by the al-Nusra Front, which is the official Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda. The jihadists took control of the area in March of this year, and it has been the focal point of recent fighting between al-Qaeda and Syrian government forces backed by the Russian air offensive. Yes, folks, your tax dollars are going to support Islamist crazies in Syria. The same people who attacked Paris are being aided and abetted by the US – and if that isn’t a criminal act, then there is no justice in this world.

Wall Street Journal, Russia Says Marine Killed During Mission to Find Downed Pilots, Thomas Grove, Nov. 24, 2015 (subscription required). Defense Ministry says marine killed when helicopter fired upon during search for Su-24 fighter pilots.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Turks and ISIL have in common the downing of Russian aircraft, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 24, 2015 (subscription required). Wayne Madsen, a widely published author and Wayne Madsencommentator shown in a file photo, has authored 13 books and is a former Navy intelligence officer. Turkey, a NATO member, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has been aided and abetted by Turkish military, intelligence, recruitment, and logistics support, have shown they have something in common: both have downed Russian aircraft in the last three weeks.

Guardian, Putin condemns Turkey after Russian warplane downed near Syria border, Kareem Shaheen, Shaun Walker and Julian Borger, Nov. 24, 2015. Russian president calls Turkey ‘accomplices of terrorists’ and says it was ‘obvious’ that plane posed no threat, Russian fighter Vladimir Putinjet shot down near Turkey-Syria border. Vladimir Putin (shown in a file photo) has called Turkey “accomplices of terrorists” and warned of “serious consequences” after a Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday morning, the first time a Nato country and Moscow have exchanged direct fire over the crisis in Syria. The Russian president, speaking before a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Sochi, said the plane had been shot down over Syrian airspace and fell 4km inside Syria. Putin said it was “obvious” the plane posed no threat to Turkey. “Our military is doing heroic work against terrorism....But the loss today is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists. I can’t describe it in any other way,” he said. Putin suggested the Turks were shielding Islamic State terrorists from Russian attacks, saying: “Do they want to make NATO serve ISIS?”

The Turkish military said it scrambled two F-16 fighter jets after a plane entered Turkish airspace in the province of Hatay at 9.20am on Tuesday, warning it to leave 10 times in five minutes before shooting it down. A government official said: “In line with the military rules of engagement, the Turkish authorities repeatedly warned an unidentified aircraft that they were 15km or less away from the border. The aircraft didn’t heed the warnings and proceeded to fly over Turkey. The Turkish air forces responded by downing the aircraft. This isn’t an action against any specific country: our F-16s took necessary steps to defend Turkey’s sovereign territory.” Russia’s defence ministry, in a series of tweets, confirmed that a Russian Su-24 had been shot down, but insisted the plane had never left Syrian airspace and claimed that fire from the ground was responsible. “At all times, the Su-24 was exclusively over the territory of Syria,” the defense ministry said. “The Su-24 was at 6,000 metres and preliminary information suggests it was brought down by fire from the ground. The circumstances are being investigated.” There were unconfirmed reports that both pilots were killed after parachuting from the jet. A graphic video purporting to show a dead Russian pilot has been widely circulated.

Turkey-Syria Border with buffer zone (Global Research map)

Turkey-Syria Border with new buffer zone unilaterally declared by Turkey (Global Research map)

Global Research, Russia “Violated” Turkish Airspace Because Turkey “Moved” Its Border, Syrian Free Press, Nov. 24, 2015. Global Research Editor's Note: This article, originally published on October 7, 2015, is of utmost relevance in understanding the action taken by Turkey to down a Russian jet fighter over Syria airspace. One Russian plane may even indeed have slightly crossed the border [in October] while maneuvering. But the real reason why the U.S. military official and Turkey claim the above “violations” is because Turkey unilaterally “moved” the Turkish-Syrian border five miles south: "Turkey has maintained a buffer zone five miles inside Syria since June 2012, when a Syrian air defense missile shot down a Turkish fighter plane that had strayed into Syrian airspace. Under revised rules of engagement put in effect then, the Turkish air force would evaluate any target coming within five miles of the Turkish border as an enemy and act accordingly."

"If Syrian rules of engagement would “move” its northern border up to the Black Sea would any plane in eastern Turkey be in violation of Syrian air space? No one would accept such nonsense and that is why no one should accept the U.S.-Turkish bullshit [sic] here."

Washington Post, Turkey says it shot down Russian warplane near Syrian border, Hugh Naylor, Andrew Roth and Daniela Deane, Nov. 24, 2015. Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian jet Tuesday after NATO-member Turkey says it violated its airspace near the border with Syria, a major escalation in the Syrian conflict that could further strain relations between Russia and the West. Russian officials confirmed that a Russian Su-24 warplane had been shot down but insisted it had not violated Turkish airspace.

The downing highlights a scenario feared by the Pentagon and others: a potential conflict arising from the overlapping air Syrian missions between Russian warplanes and the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes the Islamic State. It also could complicate a diplomatic push by France to bring greater international coordination to the fight against the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that claimed at least 130 lives.The Russian Defense Ministry said the plane, flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters (nearly 20,000 feet), was likely shot down “due to shelling from the ground.” It said it wanted to “stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.”


Huffington Post, Video Shows Chicago Victim Hit 16 times, Staff report, Nov. 24, 2015. The much-anticipated police dashboard cam video of a Chicago Police officer shooting and killing a 17-year-old was released Tuesday evening, offering a graphic and chilling view of what prosecutors say was first-degree murder.

New York Times, Murder Charge for Chicago Officer in Black Youth’s Death, Monica Davey and Mitch Smith, Nov. 24, 2015. The charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke were announced days after a judge Jason Van Dyke (Chicago police mug shot)ordered the release of a video showing Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times in 2014. As this city prepared to make public a video from the fatal shooting of a black 17-year-old by a white Chicago police officer, prosecutors charged the officer with first-degree murder on Tuesday. The charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke (shown in a police mug shot) come more than a year after the shooting, but only days after a judge ordered Chicago officials to release the video from the shooting, captured by a dashboard camera in a police car. The judge had ruled that the video, described by some who have seen it as graphic and deeply disturbing, must be released by Wednesday. The judge, Donald Panarese Jr., ordered the defendant held without bail.

Information Clearing House, Signs of a Dying Society, Paul Buchheit, Nov. 24, 2015. While Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are vilified for revealing vital information about spying and bombing and torture, a man who conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by New York University for his “Outstanding Contributions to Society.” This is one example of the distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American society. There are other signs of decay: 1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as ‘Honest Mistakes’....

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets with PM Ahmet Davutoglu Nov. 24, 2015 AFP

A handout photo released by the Turkish Presidential Palace Press Office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
in the capital, Ankara, on November 24, 2015. (AFP photo).

Press TV, Turkish President Erdogan approves new cabinet, son-in-law named energy minister, Nov. 24, 2015. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved a new elected cabinet, following a victory by his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in recent parliamentary elections. Erdogan on Tuesday approved a list presented by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. According to some Turkish sources, Berat Albayrak, a son-in-law of Erdogan, has been appointed as the energy minister, while Ali Babacan, the once popular and powerful head of the economy, is not included in the list. Babacan’s portfolio will go to former Finance Minister Mehmet Sismek. Mevlut Cavusoglu has returned to the government as the foreign minister, while Volkan Bozkir will act as the European Union minister.

The AKP stormed to victory in the November 1 elections and regained its parliamentary majority, which it had lost in June. Erdogan had ordered the snap votes after Davutoglu failed in his efforts to form a coalition government. Before the Tuesday announcement, the Turkish prime minister was heading an interim cabinet. The approval of the new cabinet came only hours after the Turkish military said it had downed a Russian fighter jet after, Ankara stated, the aircraft violated Turkey’s airspace.

Politico, Feds ask Supreme Court to hear immigration case this term, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 24, 2015. The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday not to allow a month-long delay that could jeopardize the justices' issuing a ruling this term on whether to lift an injunction blocking a key part of President Barack Obama's immigration legacy: his plan to offer quasi-legal status and work permits to millions more illegal immigrants. In a letter to the high court's clerk, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. urged the court to reject a request Monday from Texas and 25 other states for a 30-day filing extension. Such extensions are routinely granted by the court, but doing so in this case would push arguments in the case from this year to next under normal procedures -- leaving a major part of Obama's immigration policy in limbo until around the time he is set to leave office.

"If the Court were to grant the petition, but set review for next Term, it is possible that a decision on the merits would not be issued until June 2017, over two-and-half years after the policy was first announced," Verrilli wrote in his letter. "The effect of such a delay would be to prolong for an additional year the disruption of federal immigration policy and the irreparable harm of denial of work authorization and other protections to millions of people who would be eligible for those protections if the policy is upheld."

WhoWhatWhy, The Mystery of the Constant Flow of JFK Disinformation, Russ Baker and Milicent Crano, Nov. 24, 2015. For decades, the mainstream media have been promoting, mostly through TV specials, the government-approved story of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. But those who were inclined to believe it before may have become more skeptical, ironically, because of these shows, most of which have been slick infomercials using junk science. And each one just provides more embarrassing evidence of a cover up. Below, we present a small sample of this mind-opening evidence, along with an essay that explores the mystery of why these attempts keep coming.

NewsVoice (Sweden), How involved is Sweden in the US targeted drone killings and why is Swedish young gamers becoming US drone pilots? Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli (shown in file photo), Nov. 24, 2015. How substantial Marcello Ferrada de Noliis the Swedish collaboration with the U.S. military in the development and operational use of civilians-killer drones and why are Swedish young computer gamers recruited to be drone pilots? There seem to be indications that Sweden is highly involved in both ways. A recent interview with Tonje Hessen Schei, the director of the new documentary film Drone indicates that Swedish gamers have been recruited together with German and Norwegian ones. The above raises the issue on whether it is ethically defendable, or legal, that citizens of a nation not forming part of NATO can work for the U.S. military.

Shadowfront, Libya’s Collapse Proves Hillary Clinton Learned Nothing From Iraq War, Dan Wright, Nov. 24, 2015. In October 2002, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York voted to authorize the Iraq War. In fact, Senator Clinton went beyond just voting for the bill; she took to the Senate floor and made an impassioned speech accusing then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of having weapons of mass destruction and providing sanctuary to Al Qaeda. Clinton also made it clear in her speech that she knew her vote could very well lead to war, but she would still “cast it with conviction.”

The war that followed in 2003 is likely to go down as one of the greatest military blunders in US history, if not one of the country’s greatest crimes. Hundreds of thousands of people killed, trillions of dollars spent, and the sowing of local and regional instability that further empowered Iran and led to the rise of ISIS. And, of course, no weapons of mass destruction to be found.

But in 2014, now a former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton changed her position again and said in her book “Hard Choices” that “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.” But did she learn anything from the Iraq War? The answer appears to be no. In 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the charge by the Obama Administration to begin a military campaign in Libya. US and NATO forces helped Libyan rebels overthrow the government led by Muammar Gaddafi. The justification was to prevent a massacre that was supposedly imminent in Benghazi, Libya.

Clinton maneuvered behind the scenes to keep the NATO coalition together, as well as promote regime change as the ultimate goal. After the war, she claimed that “we set into motion a policy that was on the right side of history, on the right side of our values, on the right side of our strategic interests in the region.” Gaddafi, who fled after the fall of his government, was eventually found, then tortured and killed by the rebels — something Clinton apparently found amusing when, in an interview with CBS News, she paraphrased Julius Caesar in regards to Gaddafi, chuckling “We came, we saw, he died.” Once again, Hillary Clinton had backed the violent overthrow of a government in the Middle East, and, once again, the results would ultimately be a nightmare for both the region and the US. As Hillary Clinton makes yet another attempt to assume the imperial presidency, it is worth keeping in mind that she apparently is unwilling or unable to learn anything from the horrendous blunders she has championed in the past. Are you ready for more?

Nov. 23

WJTV-TV, Terry Mayor Roderick Nicholson steps down, pleads guilty to embezzlement, Donesha Aldridge, Nov. 23, 2015. Terry Mayor Roderick Nicholson has stepped down from his position after authorities said Former Terry Mayor Roderick Nicholsonhe entered an open plea of guilty on five counts of embezzlement.  He was arrested March 30 after being accused of using the city’s credit cards to pay for car repairs. Officials said the expenses totaled more than $2,700. Nicholson faces a possible sentence of up to 100 years behind bars, 20 years for each count. Update: Former mayor of Terry, Miss. sentenced to 40 years for embezzlement.

AP via Los Angeles Times, Backed by Russian airstrikes, Syrian troops retake central areas from Islamic State, Nov. 23, 2015. Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes captured areas from the Islamic State group in the central province of Homs on Monday, in the latest push since the aerial campaign began nearly two months ago, state media and a monitoring group said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said troops backed by pro-government gunmen entered the town of Mheen and the nearby village of Hawareen after midnight Sunday and were in full control of the area hours later. Syrian state TV also reported that Mheen and Hawareen were captured, adding that government forces were removing the mines and explosives left behind by the extremist group to try to slow down the army's advance. JIP Editor's note: The Associated Press, like most Western media, rely on the anti-Assad, Britain-based one-person "Observatory for Human Rights" to deliver supposedly independent news about Syria.

National Journal, Leaderless, Ron Fournier, Nov. 23, 2015. I once asked, “What if Obama can’t lead?” The answer after Paris is painful. Per­son­ally, I’m no hawk. I’m not con­vinced the United States needs more ground troops in the Middle East, cer­tainly not without a rad­ic­al re­think­ing of how the war against IS­IS would re­quire shared sac­ri­fice. I am sym­path­et­ic to the fact that Obama faces no easy op­tions after in­her­it­ing Pres­id­ent Bush’s ill-con­ceived war in Ir­aq. And I’ve got ab­so­lutely no pa­tience for the GOP pres­id­en­tial field’s hy­per­bol­ic, dis­hon­est, and big­oted rhet­or­ic.

But there is only one com­mand­er-in-chief, and ours is stub­bornly cling­ing to a strategy against IS­IS that lacks clar­ity, cre­ativ­ity, and ur­gency. There is only one pres­id­ent, and ours doesn’t seem to know how to rally us to a com­mon cause.

Daily Mail Online US, Granddaughter sues for $10 million over her grandfather's JFK assassination film 'lost' by government investigators, Associated Press and Belinda Robinson, Nov. 23, 2015. A Texas woman said that she's suing a federal agency to force the return of a film shot by her grandfather that shows a portion of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Gayle Nix Jackson, who lives in the Fort Worth area, is seeking $10 million in compensation for the film shot by Orville Nix on November 22, 1963. In the days after the killing, he gave the film to the UPI news agency with the understanding that after 25 years it would be returned to the family. 

American Prospect, Employer Political Coercion: A Growing Threat, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Nov. 23, 2015. Since Citizens United, companies can legally require workers to participate in politics — and fire them if they refuse.  A common piece of advice for new hires is to avoid talking about politics, sex, and religion in the workplace. But it may be increasingly difficult for workers to keep their politics to themselves.

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, employers now have broad legal rights to campaign for political candidates inside their firms as well as in the public arena. And thanks to new technology, they have the means to track their employees’ political opinions and activities.

MailOnline US, Researcher reveals how Hitler’s SUPERGUN worked, Staff report, Dr. Hugh Hunt at Cambridge University has analysed photographs and documents of the V3 gun to understand the technical difficulties that plagued the project.

Breitbart, Roger Stone: New Media Holding Hillary Accountable for Arming ISIS, Putting Americans in Danger, Tony Lee, Nov. 23, 2015. Political strategist and author Roger Stone says the rise of new media Hillary Clintonoutlets such Breitbart News and cable television will prevent the mainstream media from giving President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton a pass for enabling ISIS’s rise and putting Americans in danger. Stone, the author of The Clintons’ War on Women, told host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon on Monday’s Breitbart News Daily that “America is in danger” and the ISIS terror threat reveals the “the wide dichotomy between the American media and the American people.”

He said that when there were just three television networks in the 1960s, “they said Oswald killed Kennedy and there was no alternative theory that was ever allowed to be examined.” “So it is with ISIS,” Stone said. “You have the New York Times and the three networks parroting the administration line.” On Monday, President Barack Obama even asked the media to help get out the administration’s spin on terrorism, which would have been a lot easier in a world in which there were only three networks that served as gatekeepers. Stone said that “this is not some abstract concept,” but since 9/11 happened a long time ago, “unfortunately people forget” and “their views soften… they begin to believe that we are safe again.”

Nov. 22

Dallas Morning News, On 52nd anniversary, Dealey Plaza visitors reflect on JFK assassination, Adam Schrader, Nov. 22, 2015. Dealey Plaza welcomed a small crowd of conspiracy theorists and tourists Sunday, as usual. Most visitors said they were unaware it was the 52nd anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. But many said the assassination profoundly affected their lives. North of Elm Street, Beverly Oliver led a group in the national anthem, and a moment of silence marked the 12:30 p.m. shooting. Oliver, a controversial figure in the assassination research community, claims to be “The Babushka Lady” featured in several photos of the incident. Clark Phillips, 60, was one of the conspiracy theorists attending the memorial ceremony. He was in third grade the day of the assassination.

“It made an impression on me,” Phillips said. “I remember the teacher being called out into the hallway. She came back in as white as a sheet and said we had to pray.” Denver residents Katie and Brent Goebel said they coincidentally had a Dallas trip scheduled and wanted to walk the plaza. The Goebels drew comparisons between the assassination and 9/11, the major tragedy of their youth. “Both the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 violated the American spirit,” Katie Goebel said. “They stand starkly against the things we take pride in, like being a welcoming place of equality and protection.”

Kenneth Zediker, 23, flew in from Titusville, Fla., a week ago. He first visited Dealey Plaza five years ago when he came to visit his fiancee. On Sunday, he sat on the south end of Elm Street with about a dozen old cameras — the exact models used by assassination witnesses. “I really hate the ludicrous conspiracy theories that put into question the authenticity of the films and photos,” Zediker said. “If you question the authenticity of the film, then we truly don’t know what occurred.” Also on Sunday, the Sixth Floor Museum held its first event on an anniversary of the assassination. Associate Curator Stephen Fagin presented “Moments & Memories,” walking guests in the packed museum through new additions. “This event touches people of all ages from all over the world,” Fagin said. “Dealey Plaza is a necessary pilgrimage for many people, so it makes sense to have a sampling of our newest films, photos and oral histories available.”

Nov. 21

Kiplinger Washington Editors, Austin H. Kiplinger Dies at 97, Editors, Nov. 21, 2015. Journalist and philanthropist Austin H. Kiplinger led the Kiplinger Washington Editors for decades. Austin H. Kiplinger, a Austin Kiplingerjournalist and financial publisher who was a leader in the civic and cultural life of the nation’s capital for more than seven decades, died November 20 at Montgomery Hospice’s Casey House in Rockville, Md., after a brief illness under home hospice care. He was 97. The cause of death was cancer in his brain, probably metastasized melanoma, according to his son, Knight Kiplinger.

Kiplinger’s journalism career spanned more than a half-century, with work on newspapers from 1936 through 1941, local and network radio and television in the 1950s, and newsletters, books and magazines in the 1960s through ‘80s. For almost 35 years he headed the publishing company founded in 1920 by his father, journalist W. M. Kiplinger (1891-1967). Today Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.—the last major Washington-based publisher still owned and managed by its founding family, and today headed by his son Knight—produces The Kiplinger Letter, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, The Kiplinger Tax Letter, and other publications on personal finance and business forecasting.

Civic leadership. Kiplinger served in governance leadership at Cornell University, the National Symphony Orchestra, Historical Society of Washington, Federal City Council, WETA, National Press Foundation, Tudor Place, Washington International Horse Show, and other local institutions. He was the longtime president of The Kiplinger Foundation, a charitable trust established and funded by his father which has made grants totaling many millions of dollars to nonprofits in education, the performing arts, history and mid-career journalism training.

Kiplinger was an 80-year resident of Montgomery County, Md., a suburb of Washington. While in his twenties in 1947 and 1948, he served as communications director for the Montgomery County charter campaign, which established the county’s self-rule under an elected council and executive. A lifelong supporter of civil rights, he worked on committees to end discrimination in the county’s housing market in the early 1960s, marching with the county’s fair-housing delegation in the 1963 March on Washington on the National Mall. In recent decades he championed the county’s Agricultural Reserve, a landmark program for farmland preservation.

Among his notable civic achievements in Washington was spearheading, with co-chair and former D.C. Mayor Walter Washington, the 2000 capital campaign that restored the District of Columbia’s historic Carnegie Library on Mount Vernon Square to be the new home of the Historical Society of Washington. In 2012 Austin and his son Knight donated to the Historical Society and several other Washington museums the 5,000-piece Kiplinger Washington Collection, a corporate collection started by W. M. Kiplinger in the 1920s that grew to be the largest assemblage of historical prints, maps, photos and paintings of Washington, D.C. in private hands.

Note: The long and rich life of Austin Kiplinger -- journalist, publisher and civic leader, beloved by family and countless friends -- will be celebrated with music and remarks on Friday, December 11, at 1 P.M., in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C. All are welcome.

Nov. 20

Marco Rubio, Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio VP Joe Biden

Newly elected U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, his wife Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, and Vice President Joe Biden at the senator's swearing-in ceremony

The Hill, A look at Jeanette Rubio, Marco's little-known better half, Carol Felsenthal, Nov. 20, 2015. Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, now 41, was a Miami Dolphins cheerleader and posed for the team's first swimsuit calendar in 1997, the year before she married the exceptionally ambitious politician, Marco Rubio, now 44.

They met in 1990 at the West Miami Recreation Center when she was 17 and in high school — they both attended South Miami Senior High — and he was 19 and in college. When they married at the Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables, Fla., he was 27, she 24. Unlike her gregarious husband, who sang "My Way" at their wedding in front of 200 guests, Jeanette is a shy woman who dislikes crowds and the glare and hustle of the campaign trail.

She has never given a speech, is not particularly interested in politics — according to one report, she often skipped voting — and, as a conservative blogger noted in the Tampa Bay Times, "I get the sense she would rather him be home cleaning up the dog poop and helping her out with the [four] kids and just working a 9-to-5 job." Born to parents who were immigrants from Colombia, and who divorced when she was six, Jeanette longed in vain for a stable, conventional family life. In some respects, the Rubios are pillars of the community; in other ways, they have lapses in their lives that will provide plenty of fodder for the opposition.

Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, They will kill him before they let him be president, William J. Bennett, Nov. 20, 2015. It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump. Don't be surprised if Trump has an accident. It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media.They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one. It's a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people.

It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the a oood old boys club. They talk big, but they won't change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors. They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations. . .like Big Pharma or Big Oil. These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone. There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

Nov. 19

Washington Post, $3 billion over 41 years: How the Clintons methodically cultivated donors, Matea Gold, Tom Hamburger and Anu Narayanswamy, Nov. 19, 2015. A Washington Post investigation found that the couple has raised $3 billion through an unrivaled global network of donors and pioneering fundraising techniques that have transformed modern politics and paved the way for them to potentially become the first husband and wife to win the White House.

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., spoke Nov. 18 at the National Press Club to protest ramped-up lobbyist efforts to revise the U.S. tax code (Justice Integrity Project photo).

National Press Club, Sen. Warren says she's concerned about Hillary Clinton's ties to Wall Street, Wesley G. Pippert, Nov. 19, 2015. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Club audience Wednesday that she was was concerned about former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's ties to Wall Street but when asked if she wished she had run for president, the Massachusetts senator said, "No." Asked about Clinton's Wall Street donations to Clinton, Warren said: "I"m concerned about everybody's ties to Wall Street. Look around Washington. I am worried about the influence Wall Street has on Washington."

Warren devoted her entire prepared speech -- as well as her answers to questions from the audience -- to the wealth accumulated by huge corporations at the expense of average Americans. Her speech particularly targeted the overseas tax havens used by corporations. She said the proposals by chief executives and lobbyists for corporations to pay taxes on only half of what they bring back home were nothing more than "a giant wet klss." Warren said the tax code was too complicated but said "what worries me most" was that the tax code had been reshaped, particularly in the last decade, to help billion-dollar multinational corporations.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Austin Scott Introduce Legislation to End Illegal U.S. War to Overthrow Syrian Government of Assad, Nov. 19, 2015. Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HawaiiAustin Scott (R-GA), both members of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced H.R. 4108, a bipartisan bill to end U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed combat veteran, said the intent of the bill is to “Bring an immediate end to the illegal, counter-productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard explained,“The U.S. is waging two wars in Syria. The first is the war against ISIS and other Islamic extremists, which Congress authorized after the terrorist attack on 9/11. The second war is the illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad. “The war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria—which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world.  Also, the war to overthrow Assad is illegal because Congress never authorized it.”

Congressman Austin ScottRep. Austin Scott (R-GA), shown in an official photo, said, “Our primary mission should be the war against ISIS, al Qaeda, and radical Islamic extremists that have operations both inside and outside of Syria and Iraq.  Those groups have carried out attacks on American allies, and are currently threatening attacks on our homeland. This represents a clear and present danger to our citizens, and I support eliminating these radical Islamic terrorists through any means necessary. Working to remove Assad at this stage is counter-productive to what I believe our primary mission should be.”

Bashar Assad with RAI Journalist 11-19-15

The photo, released by Syria’s official news agency SANA on November 18, 2015, shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad answering questions during an interview with Italian TV channel RAI UNO. Excerpted below are English-language treatments of the interview from British and Iranian media.

BBC (London), Syria crisis: Assad says no transition while 'terrorists' remain, Staff report, Nov. 19, 2015. Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has said a political process to end the country's bloody civil war cannot begin while it is occupied by "terrorists."  Mr Assad told Italian state television the timetable for elections "starts after starting to defeat terrorism." It is unclear whether he was referring only to Islamic State (IS) militants or also to Western-backed rebels. Last week, 19 countries -- including Mr Assad's allies -- set a deadline of 1 January for the start of peace talks. They signed a UN statement that calls for a ceasefire to be agreed by 14 May 2016 and for free elections to be held a year later. Neither the Syrian government nor opposition were invited to take part in the event in Vienna so that the countries could present a unified message.

In an interview with Rai TV broadcast on Wednesday night, the Syrian president stressed that no deadline for the start of a political transition could be set while parts of the country were not controlled by his government. "This timetable starts after starting defeating terrorism. You cannot achieve anything politically while you have the terrorists taking over many areas in Syria," he said. "If we talk after that, one year and a half to two years is enough for any transition." Mr Assad has in the past used the term "terrorists" to describe both jihadist groups like IS, which controls large swathes of Syria, and Western-backed rebel forces.

Press TV (Iran), Daesh has no social incubator in Syria: President Assad, Nov. 19, 2015. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has assured that there is no social breeding ground in his country for the Daesh terrorist Syria's Flaggroup. “I can tell you Daesh doesn’t have the natural incubator, social incubator, within Syria. This is something very good and very assuring,” he said in a recent interview with the Italian TV channel RAI UNO, as reported by SANA. Assad also said foreign-backed terrorist groups operating in Syria are the main obstacle to finding a political solution to the country’s crisis. “You cannot achieve anything politically while you have the terrorists taking over many areas in Syria, and they’re going to be – they are already – the main obstacle to any real political advancement,” he said. President Assad criticized the West’s “double standards” toward terrorism in different parts of the world, citing the Paris attacks as an example.

“We’ve been suffering from that (terrorism) for the past five years. We feel for the French as we feel for the Lebanese a few days before that, and for the Russians regarding the airplane that’s been shot down over Sinai. Does the world, especially the West, feel for those people, or only for the French?” The Syrian president was referring to the terrorist bombings in Beirut on November 12, when at least 43 people were killed and nearly 240 were injured. Elsewhere in his remarks, the Syrian leader censured Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the West for supporting “terrorists in different ways since the beginning of the crisis.” President Assad also touched on his trip to the Russian capital, Moscow, on October 20, describing it as “fruitful.”

Nov. 18

Washington Post, Why French airstrikes on ISIS’s ‘capital’ probably haven't done much, Hugh Naylor, Nov. 18, 2015. Despite heavy French bombardment of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa this week, damage to the extremist group appears to be minimal, according to analysts and Syrian activists. The airstrikes — retaliation for Friday’s attacks claimed by the Islamic State in Paris — hit such targets as a command post and militant-training center in and around the Syrian city, French officials said. But after over a year of U.S. coalition airstrikes, the Islamic State has learned to secure its weapons, communications systems and fighters in fortified bunkers or densely populated residential areas where bombing would inflict intolerably high civilian casualties, analysts and activists said. The French attacks highlight a limitation of air power, said Theodore Karasik, a Dubai-based expert on military issues in the Middle East. Rarely is it enough to subdue enemies, he said.

Washington Post, Alleged ringleader in Paris attacks killed in raid, officials say, Souad Mekhennet, Anthony Faiola and Missy Ryan, Nov. 18, 2015. Fugitive militant found hiding north of Paris, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgian national and Islamic State operative, was killed during a massive police raid that also killed another suspected terrorist, senior European intelligence officials said, after investigators followed leads that the fugitive militant could be plotting another wave of violence.

Washington Post, Islamic State releases photo of bomb it says downed Russian jet, Andrew Katz and Andrew Roth, Nov. 18, 2015. The latest issue of the group's online propaganda magazine features an image purporting to show the bomb.

Consortium News, Neocons Make Rubio Their Favorite, JP Sottile, Nov. 18, 2015. With Sen. Marco Rubio surging in the polls – closing the gap on Donald Trump and easily besting Hillary Clinton in some general-Marco Rubio officialelection match-ups – the neocons have found their favorite candidate, a fresh face who would put them firmly back in the driver’s seat of U.S. foreign policy.

This is Sen. Marco Rubio’s best chance yet to turn his national security candidacy into the Establishment’s main alternative to both Trump and to the Evangelical-fueled anomaly of Dr. Ben Carson. Rubio’s recent move to the Establishment’s pole position — complete with the public backing of billionaire Paul Singer and the Weekly’s Standard’s recent pronouncement that Jeb’s flaccid candidacy was “dead” — also presents the best opportunity for neoconservatives eager to retake control of U.S. foreign policy. Ironically, Trump may have done them a favor. By burning Bush on his well-funded ties to SuperPAC puppet-masters and by relentlessly linking him with the worst memories of his brother’s tenure, Trump cleared the way for the ultimate neoconservative dreamboat — Marco Rubio.

National Press Club, Kasich: U.S. must lead response to ISIS terrorist attacks, Mark Schoeff Jr., Nov. 18, 2015. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich called Tuesday for the U.S. to lead a global response to last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Speaking at the Club, he urged the formation of an international coalition to fight ISIS, the terrorist group entrenched in Iraq and Syria that is blamed for the carnage in France that left at least 129 people dead. The effort would involve ground troops. “We must join with our NATO allies and, importantly, with allies in the region as well – the Turks, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Gulf States, the Saudis – to organize an international coalition to defeat ISIS on the ground in its heartland,” said Kasich, who is in his second term as Ohio governor. In a question-and-answer session moderated by Club Vice President Tommy Burr, Kasich said the number of U.S. troops he would commit to the fight would be determined by military and civilian advisers.

Washington Post, D.C. police framed man imprisoned decades for rape and murder, jury finds, Spencer S. Hsu, Nov. 18, 2015. The city is now liable for punitive damages after the verdict sided with Donald Gates, who was exonerated in 2009 through DNA testing.

Daily Mail, 66 arrested in America over ISIS and they include refugees, Staff report, Nov. 18, 2015. Dozens of people have been arrested in the US and charged over plotting for ISIS. Some entered the US as refugees. Republicans are trying to stop the US accepting tens of thousands of Syrians.

Nov. 17

AP via Huffington Post, German official says Syrian passport may have been used as a false flag to stir fear of refugees, Staff report, Nov. 17, 2015. Searches For Second Fugitive Suspect In Paris Attacks. In Germany, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin that a Syrian passport found with one of the Paris attackers with the name Ahmad al Mohammad may have been a false flag intended to make Europeans fearful of refugees. The passport showed registrations in Greece, Serbia and Croatia, which he described as "unusual." He said the multiple registrations by a person using the passport were "evidence that this was a trail that was intentionally laid, but it can't be ruled out at the moment that this was an IS terrorist who came to France ... via Germany as a refugee.”  French police are hunting for a second fugitive directly involved in the deadly Paris attacks, officials said Tuesday after France made an unprecedented demand that its European Union allies support its military action against the Islamic State group.  

German Economic News, In Paris Tragedy, It’s Necessary to Know Who’s Pulling the Strings, Staff report translated by David Norris, Nov. 17, 2015. Putin demands a real investigation, but the Western Syria's Flagestablishment has already decided how to use the massacre. The attacks on Paris could lead to a massive military operation of NATO in Syria, whose flag is shown. Russia’s president Putin has consequently asked the question as to who is pulling the strings. The question is related to the Russian military successes in Syria – and with the efforts of the US neocons and intelligence agencies to seize the opportunity to extend the war in Syria as quickly as possible. What do we actually know? Basically, we know very little. We should note: As unprepared for the attacks as the French security services were, they were quick with ready answers on the day.

OpEdNews, More Paris Puzzles, Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 17, 2015. ISIL seems to be what Washington used to overthrow the government in Libya and afterward was sent by Washington to Syria to overthrow Assad. Terrorism has been unleashed in the Western World, and it is the terrorism of Western governments against Western peoples. Some people who are not inclined to believe the official story of the Paris attack are troubled by the question why Muslim suicide bombers would blow themselves up for a false flag attack. The answer to this question is very simple.

But first we should dispose of the question whether suicide bombers did blow themselves up. Is this something that we know, or is it part of the story that we are told? For example, we were told that during 9/11 passengers in hijacked airliners used their cell phones to call relatives, but experts have testified that the technology of the time did not permit cell phone calls from airliners at those altitudes.

RT, Russia’s long-range bombers start hitting ISIS targets in Syria, Staff report, Nov. 17, 2015. The Russian Defense Ministry has released a video of its fleet of strategic bombers conducting their first airstrikes against Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria on Tuesday. Groups of Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear), Tu-22 (Blinder) and Tu-160 (Blackjack) long-range bombers took off from Russian airfields and returned to base after striking the jihadists in Syria.

Reporters Without Borders, Arbitrary arrest of journalist while covering protest in Minnesota, Staff report, Reporters Without Borders condemns the arbitrary arrest of local reporter Jack Highberger on Monday evening while he was covering a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jack Highberger, an emmy-award winning reporter for Fox 9 (KMSP-TV) in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, was arrested Monday evening while covering a Black Lives Matter protest on the side of highway I-94. A video posted on his facebook page depicts him speaking into a microphone and covering the arrest of several protesters around him. The video then captures his own arrest by an officer who told him “you’ve gotta get going or you’re going to be next...we already told you many times to get out of here.”

Nov. 16

Washington Post, Raids spread across France and Belgium amid manhunt for suspects, Anthony Faiola, Daniela Deane and Brian Murphy, Nov. 16, 2015. Authorities launch manhunt for Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam. Police in France and Belgium staged more than 160 anti-terrorism raids on Monday as authorities launched widespread crackdowns and cast their nets wider for suspects in the Paris attacks, including the alleged mastermind. The intense manhunt for the possible lead plotter — identified as Belgian national Abdelhamid Abaaoud — came as clearer portraits emerged of the network behind Friday’s carnage that left at 132 people dead and scores wounded. Meanwhile, authorities have sketched out the possibility of a larger network linked to the Islamic State that could involve as many as 20 plotters with links stretching to war-ravaged Syria.

President Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Susan Rice confer in Turkey 11-15-15

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

AP via Washington Post, Paris attacks deepen GOP opposition to Syrian refugee influx, Laurie Kellman, Nov. 16, 2015. Governors across the country are scrambling to close off their states to resettled Syrian refugees in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris that are linked to Islamic State extremists. The list of states climbed quickly to 23 by Monday evening, after President Obama said that the U.S. would continue to accept refugees and denounced efforts to stop those fleeing violence from coming to the United States as "shameful." Governors of Illinois, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Iowa, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas — a majority of them Republican — have said that they are seeking to stop the relocation of new Syrian refugees to their states out of fear that violent extremists posing as refugees might gain entry to the country.

See also the controversial video (denounced by some as inflammatory propaganda):

Breitbart, The Anti-Migrant Video Going Viral Across Europe, Oliver Lane, Nov. 11, 2015.  After gaining a million and a half views in less than five days, the Open Gates video was taken down by YouTube following a copyright infringement. Although the rights company involved in the claim has been named in allegedly spurious claims in the past, there is no reason to suggest that is the case with this video. This article now links to a video mirror on Dutch website Dumpert. The original article follows. ‘With Open Gates: The forced collective suicide of European nations’, a slick, hard-hitting film about the European migrant crisis is going viral in Europe, already watched at least half a million times. Although the 19-minute film may feel like a dispatch from the future, it is cut entirely from recent news reports, police camera footage, and interviews. Kicking off with scenes of a modern car ferry disgorging thousands of illegals into Greece, the film then cuts to dozens of aerial shots of columns of migrants marching north into Europe. The film then changed to the harrowing testimony of one young Greek woman who was unable to hide her horror and despair at the scale of the migrant crisis sweeping over her home island of Lesbos. Just six miles from the Turkish coast, the island was subjected to migrant riots in September as newcomers turned on their hosts for not moving them to mainland Europe fast enough.

Francois Hollande Nov. 16, 2015 French pool report distributed by APSputnik (Russia), Assad is not the Enemy of France, ISIL is: Hollande, Staff report, Nov. 16, 2015. French President François Hollande (shown in a pool report Nov. 16 distributed by AP) said that the Islamic State is his country's biggest enemy, not Syrian president Bashar Assad. "Our enemy in Syria is ISIL," Hollande said during the emergency meeting of the French parliament. Hollande skipped the weekend's G20 summit in Turkey due to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Sputnik (Russia), ISIL Financed by 40 Countries, Including G20 Member States: Putin, Staff report, Nov. 16, 2015. Vladimir Putin said at the G20 summit that Russia has presented examples of terrorism financing by individual businessmen from 40 countries, including from member states of the G20. "I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members," Putin told reporters following the summit. Russia has also presented satellite images and aerial photos showing the true scale of the Islamic State oil trade. "Car convoys stretching for dozens of kilometers, going beyond the horizon when seen from a height of four-five thousand meters," Putin told reporters.

New Yorker, Jeb Bush’s Call for War, John Cassidy, Nov. 16, 2015. On Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press,” Jeb Bush said that it was time for the United States to go to war with ISIS, and to put together an international coalition to rout the jihadis from their strongholds in Syria and Iraq. “We should declare war and harness all of the power that the United States can bring to bear, both diplomatic and military of course, to be able to take out ISIS,” Bush, who is trailing badly in the G.O.P. Presidential polls, said. “We have the capabilities of doing this, we just haven’t shown the will.”

There is much that could be said about Bush’s proposal, which he said would include efforts to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and, if necessary, to confront his military forces, too.  I was struck, in particular, by how he foresaw that such a military campaign would be sequenced. “Well, you take it to them in Syria and Iraq,” Bush explained. “You destroy ISIS. And then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country and to Europe and to the region with something that is more peace loving.”

Think Progress, No, State Governors Can’t Refuse To Accept Syrian Refugees, Ian Millhiser, Nov 16, 2015. More than half a dozen state governors have come out against President Obama’s plans to relocate several thousand Syrian refugees within the United States. The problem for Jindal, Abbott and the other governors opposed to admitting refugees, however, is that there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. As the Supreme Court explained in Hines v. Davidowitz, “the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.” States do not get to overrule the federal government on matters such as this one.

Think Progress, Trump Says He Would ‘Strongly Consider’ Shutting Down Mosques In The U.S.,  Kay Steiger, Nov. 16, 2015. Calling in to MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would “strongly consider” shutting down mosques with suspected terrorist ties and slammed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for discontinuing surveillance of them.

Nov. 15

Washington Post, Obama must wage war on the Islamic State, not merely harass it, The lesson of Paris is that we must fully commit to ending the terrorist threat. Mitt Romney, Nov. 15, 2015. Mitt Romney, shown in a file photo, is Mitt Romneyformer governor of Massachusetts. In 2012, he was the Republican nominee for president. Friday morning, hours before news broke that terrorists killed more than 100 people and wounded hundreds of other innocent victims in coordinated, bloody attacks all around Paris, President Obama told Americans that “we have contained” the advance of the Islamic State. Now that the Islamic State is claiming credit for these attacks, we know just how wrong he was. After Paris, it’s clear: Doing the minimum won’t make us safe. It’s time the president stopped hedging and took meaningful steps to defend us and our allies.

Washington Post, France launches fierce assault on ISIS targets in Syria in coordination with U.S. defense officials, David Nakamura and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 15, 2015. French warplanes launched a ferocious retaliatory assault late Sunday on targets in Raqqa, Syria — the Islamic State’s de facto capital — after coordination with U.S. defense officials who helped with the targeting. The French Defense Ministry said that 10 aircraft dropped 20 bombs on facilities used by the militant group, which has claimed responsibility for Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, striking a command center, a militant-training facility and an arms depot.

Opposition activists reached in Raqqa said they counted at least 30 bombs, which they said had hit, among other things, a local football stadium, a museum and medical facilities. They said the strikes had knocked out electricity in the city of about 200,000 people. The French statement said the operation, launched from bases in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, was conducted in coordination with U.S. forces, which have compiled an extensive target list in Raqqa. American officials, speaking at the G-20 summit here that President Obama is attending, said the French operation was discussed between the two militaries.

The Hill, Former CIA deputy director: ISIS strategy not working, Bradford Richardson, Nov. 15, 2015. A former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says the U.S. strategy toward the Islamic Michael MorelState in Syria (ISIS) “is not working.” Michael Morell said recent attacks by the terrorist group in Paris and on a Russian passenger plane show it’s time for the U.S. to reconsider its strategy. “I think it’s now crystal clear to us that our strategy, our policy vis-à-vis ISIS is not working, and it’s time to look at something else,” Morell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. He said the U.S. may need to rethink its opposition to Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

“You know, clearly he’s part of the problem, but he may also be part of the solution, right?” said Morell, shown in a file photo. “An agreement where he stays around for a while and the Syrian army, supported by the coalition, takes on ISIS may be the best result here.” He said the U.S. needs to take seriously the sophisticated attacks ISIS has proven capable of carrying out. “You’ve got a large number of operatives. They have to get explosives. They have to get weapons. They have to communicate among themselves and communicate back to Iraq and Syria,” Morell said. “This is a level of sophistication that we have not seen since the London bombings in 2005.”

World Crisis Radio, How France Must Retaliate Against Terrorism: Cut the ISIS Supply Lines Crossing the Syrian-Turkish Border Between Jarablus and Aleppo, Quickly Destroy the Islamic State, and Bring the War in Syria and Iraq to an End, Webster G. Tarpley, Nov. 15, 2015.

Paul Craig, “Paris Changes Everything,” Say Merkel’s German Political Allies, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Nov. 15, 2015. In my recent writings I have explained the many agendas served by the false flag Paris Paul Craig Robertsattack. I also predicted that other countries would follow France’s lead in closing their borders, thus dispossessing the dissenting political parties of their issue and preserving the political power and control of the European establishment. Germany is now moving in the direction of repulsing refugees. By the time the Paris attack and all that will come in its wake run their course — new military measures against ISIL, Western intervention without Syrian government approval, PATRIOT Acts for European countries, and possibly a new and more draconian PATRIOT Act for the US, increased association of dissent with ISIL terrorism — Trump and Sanders will no longer command attention. Pushed aside, they will not regain the limelight.

Just as with 9/11, Charlie Hebdo and the Boston Marathon Bombing, the media was scripted with the story and ready to go the minute the happening was reported. There is no investigation, no questioning, just the media moving in lockstep with the scripted official story. Again, the perpetrators conveniently leave their ID. Again, the attack coincides with an official drill of the attack. No matter how transparent the false flag attack and the agendas served by it, patriotism whipped to a frenzy blinds people to the reality.

Nov. 14

French President Francois Hollande after 11-13-15 attack

A television watcher sees French President François Hollande after attacks on Nov. 13, 2015


Washington Post, Hollande: Paris attacks an ‘act of war’ by Islamic State, Pope: Attacks leave scars from ‘piecemeal Third World War,’ Maura Judkis, Griff Witte and Brian Murphy, Nov. 14, 2015. The deadliest attacks in France since World War II have had a ripple effect in Europe and beyond as border checks were imposed, and Iran's president canceled a planned trip. Extra security measures are also in place in major U.S. cities. French President François Hollande decried the massacres across Paris as an “act of war” by the Islamic State, amplifying signals Saturday of a major response from France and its allies after coordinated gunfire and bombings that killed at least 127 people.

Moments later, a message attributed to the Islamic State asserted responsibility for the worst attacks in France since World War II and among of the most deadly terrorist strikes on Western soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Left behind were the latest scars, said Pope Francis, from the “piecemeal Third World War.” One survivor described the gunmen coldly picking off hostages in a packed concert hall as if “we were birds.”

Parisian Bombing 128 Dead

Reuters via Huffington Post, Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Deadly Paris Attacks, Eric Knecht, Nov. 14, 2015. The militant group also redistributed a video threatening to attack France if bombings continue. Islamic State claimed responsibility on Saturday for attacks that killed 127 people in Paris, saying it sent militants strapped with suicide bombing belts and carrying machine guns to various locations in the heart of the capital. The attacks were designed to show the country would remain in danger as long as it continued its current policies, Islamic State said in a statement. "To teach France, and all nations following its path, that they will remain at the top of Islamic State's list of targets, and that the smell of death won't leave their noses as long as they partake in their crusader campaign," said the group.

Daily Mail, From SS butcher to drugs kingpin: The astonishing story of the notorious Nazi who helped kill Che Guevara and worked for cocaine boss Pablo Escobar, Brendan Cole, Nov. 14, 2015. German SS officer and Nazi war criminal Klaus.

WhoWhatWhy, Coroner May Re-Open Investigation into Frank Nugan’s Death, Michael XX, Nov. 14, 2015. Earlier this week, Michael Hand, the fugitive who co-founded the notorious CIA-linked Nugan Hand Bank, was found living in the United States. Hand vanished in 1980 amid growing inquiries by Australian authorities into the bank’s extensive connections to international drug trafficking. Despite running one of the world’s largest laundering operations for drug money, Hand has been able to live a remarkably free and undisturbed life.

His partner, Frank Nugan, was not as lucky. Several months prior to Hand’s disappearance, Nugan was found slumped over in his car with a bullet in his head. Although Nugan’s death was officially deemed a suicide, many believed it was murder. “The coroner said Frank Nugan took his own life but there were a lot of different opinions from people close to the case — even the police and the police prosecutor disagreed,” says Peter Butt, the investigative journalist responsible for tracking down Michael Hand. Now, the Weekend Australian is reporting that the coroner’s office is considering re-opening the investigation. “If new evidence is available, the need for a fresh ­inquest will be carefully considered,’’ the coroner, Michael Barnes, is quoted as saying.

Nov. 13

Bashar Assad Terror Quotation


OpEdNews, Another Paris False Flag Attack? Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Nov. 13, 2015. At 7 pm on Friday 13th, we do not have much information about the "terrorist attacks" in Paris other than that Paris is closed Paul Craig Robertsdown like Boston was after the "Boston Marathon Bombing," also a suspected false flag event. Possibly believable evidence will be presented that the Paris attacks were real terrorist attacks. However, what do refugees have to gain from making themselves unwelcome with acts of violence committed against the host country, and where do refugees in France obtain automatic weapons and bombs? Indeed, where would the French themselves obtain them?

The millions of refugees from Washington's wars who are overrunning Europe are bringing to the forefront of European politics the anti-EU nationalists parties. By supporting for 14 years Washington's neoconservative wars for US hegemony over the Middle East, establishment European governments eroded their electoral support. Realizing its vulnerability, it is entirely possible that the French Establishment made a decision to protect its hold on power with a false flag attack that would allow the Establishment to close France's borders. Some people are so naive and stupid as to think that no government would kill its own citizens. But governments do so all the time.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service.

Salon, The real reason George Will is fuming at Bill O’Reilly: The Fox Newser told the truth about Ronald Reagan, Sean Illing, Nov. 13, 2015. O'Reilly vs. Will is about much more than a sensationalist book. It goes Ronald Reaganto the very core of modern conservatism. There’s an amusing squabble afoot between blowhard Bill O’Reilly and conservative columnist George Will. The two have taken shots at each other in recent weeks, both in print and on air. The dispute is over O’Reilly’s latest book (if we can call it that), Killing Reagan.

On Will’s view, O’Reilly slanders the conservative icon by suggesting he was mentally incompetent for much of his presidency. Indeed, O’Reilly implies that “the trauma of the March 1981 assassination attempt somehow triggered in Reagan a mental decline, perhaps accelerating the Alzheimer’s disease that would not be diagnosed until 13 years later.  “I think we were pretty clear,” O’Reilly says in a recent interview, “that by every account, Reagan had his good days and his bad days. On his bad days, he couldn’t work. On his good days, he was brilliant.”

See also, The O'Reilly Factor / Fox News, An attack on 'Killing Reagan,' host Bill O'Reilly interviews George Will, the Washington Post syndicated columnist, Fox News contributor and husband of a former Reagan administration staffer, Nov. 6, 2015 (7:01 min. video).

Nov. 12

Mitt RomneyWashington Post, GOP elites near panic over dominance of Trump, Carson, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Nov. 12, 2015. The party’s establishment and donors fear that nominating either outsider would virtually ensure a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency. Some are so concerned, they want to draft Mitt Romney.

Reuters via Huffington Post, Trump Reenacts Carson's Alleged Stabbing, Says He'll 'Bomb The S**t Out Of [ISIS],' Staff report, Nov. 12, 2015. "I would just bomb those suckers." Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on his most significant rival, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, telling an audience in Iowa on Thursday (November 12) that Carson described himself as "pathological" in his memoir. Trump, who addressed supporters at an election rally in the key primary state, said the man with whom he has recently traded the lead in national polls was an "enigma."

Donald Trump Pointing Finger Gage Skidmore DMCA"Because he wrote a book and in the book he said terrible things about himself. He said that he's pathological and that he's got basically pathological disease. Now he wrote this, I guess before he was running for office or thought that he was running for office, and I don't want a person that's got pathological disease. I don't want it," said Trump, shown above in a file photo by Gage Skidmore. Trump also questioned the veracity of an incident from his Carson's youth in which he claimed that he attempted to stab a friend, but that his knife broke on this friend's belt buckle.

Huffington Post, Scenes from a Marriage: Obama and Netanyahu, Amir Tibon and Tal Shalev, with Ryan Grim. Nov. 12, 2015. The worst relationship between a U.S. president and an Israeli prime minister ever — as autopsied by the people closest to them. No matter who the next president is, Netanyahu will have to deal with the fallout from the Obama years. Many Israelis are especially concerned that they have lost the once-ironclad support of the American Jewish community — that there are many people whose love for Israel may have diminished over Netanyahu’s term. "Bibi stands up and says he is the leader of world Jewry, but he is not the pope,” a former Obama adviser told us. "He's just the guy who happens to have enough votes to form a coalition government in Israel." Another Jewish leader speaks of a potentially “irreparable rift” between American Jews who blame the current tension on Obama and those who think it’s Netanyahu’s fault.

Then there is the question of whether Netanyahu’s fractious union with Obama has given America’s allies permission to distance themselves from Israel. Just this week, the European Union published new labeling guidelines that would inform consumers if products were made in Israeli settlements. Israeli officials believe that more restrictions and sanctions are possible—and that the deterioration of the American relationship is to blame.

If Netanyahu is still in office by 2018, he will become the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history. He has hinted that he’d like ten more years in office, which isn’t implausible, given the state of the Israeli opposition. Netanyahu likes to say that “when I want something, I get it.” But the failure of the Obama years calls that theory into question. "The world used to be convinced that Israel had influence in the U.S.,” says a top Israeli official who has dealt with many American administrations. “Nobody thinks that way anymore.”

Politico, Judge ramps up releases in FOIA suit for Clinton aides' records, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 12, 2015. A federal judge issued an order Thursday that will sharply ramp up the volume of documents being release in a lawsuit demanding memos and emails from top aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras instructed the State Department to move toward production of 2,200 pages of documents per month in the case by next summer, up from a rate of 700 pages per month he set at a hearing earlier this week.

Washington Post, Uniformed Secret Service officer charged with soliciting minor for sex, Peter Hermann, Nov. 12, 2015. A Secret Service officer has been charged with soliciting a minor for sex after he allegedly texted an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. Court documents say he admitted to sending some of the texts from his job at the White House. Lee Robert Moore, 37, faces a federal charge of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor. The criminal complaint says the investigation began when a Delaware state trooper created a computer profile of a girl on an Internet site called “Meet24” and started chatting online with a person called “Rob.”

Reuters via Yahoo News, U.S. weighs ‘genocide’ label for IS in Iraq — and more than a word may be at stake, Michael Isikoff, Nov. 12, 2015. The Obama administration is moving to designate the Islamic State’s murderous attacks on the Yazidi in Iraq an act of “genocide,” an extremely rare move intended to ratchet up international pressure against the terror organization, administration officials tell Yahoo News. The action, which sources say could be announced by Secretary of State John Kerry in the next few weeks, has been pushed by top officials at the human rights and religious freedom offices at the State Department.

It has also been prodded by a report to be released today by the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The report documents horrific mass killings and sexual slavery targeting the small Yazidi community, as well as crimes against other ethnic minorities, by IS forces who swept through Northern Iraq last year. “What we found is there was a deliberate attempt by the forces of the Islamic State to not only ethnically cleanse the Yazidi population [forcibly remove them from their lands] but to exterminate them,” said Cameron Hudson, the director of the museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide, which commissioned the report. “And as they are continuing to hold, kidnap and enslave the [Yazidi ] women and children, this a crime that is still being committed,” he said.

Nov. 11

Sergei Lavrov, John Kerry, Saudi Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu (Pool/Reuters)

From left to right, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu stand together before a meeting in Vienna last month. (Pool/Reuters)

Washington Post, Administration will soon be forced to confront big decisions on Syria, Karen DeYoung, Nov. 11, 2015. The Obama administration will be forced this weekend to grapple with major decisions on Syria that it has long resisted making but may now be unavoidable if the president’s diplomatic and military strategies there are to succeed. In a meeting Saturday in Vienna, Secretary of State John F. Kerry will try to build momentum for a Syrian political transition. Allies at the table plan to challenge him to expand the narrow list of U.S.-approved opposition forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to recognize Islamist groups the administration has shunned as extremist.

Newsmax, Killing O'Reilly: George Will Should Quit Fox News, Christopher Ruddy, Nov. 11, 2015. Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. I was shocked by last week's exchange between Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and esteemed syndicated columnist George Will on "The O'Reilly Factor." It was probably one of the most dramatic and angry exchanges ever witnessed on-air between two members working for the same network. It was the first time I had ever seen a paid commentator accuse the network’s top news host of being a liar and purposely misleading people.

Will is a highly regarded commentator and paid analyst for Fox News. The world knows O'Reilly as the king of cable news, the man who put Fox on the map, who has dominated cable news ratings for almost two decades. The controversy at hand involves O'Reilly's newest book, Killing Reagan — one in a slew of runaway bestsellers he has co-authored. Will and other historians like Craig Shirley have made legitimate criticisms of the historicity of O'Reilly's book. Newsmax has published those criticisms. The crux of the controversy is O'Reilly's assertion in "Killing Reagan" that the president, after being almost fatally shot in 1981 by John Hinckley, spent the rest of his presidency addled with diminished mental acuity and a lack of engagement in running the federal government.

Nov. 10

President Obama for OUT Magazine

Washington Post, Obama is named OUT magazine’s ‘Ally of the Year,’ Juliet Eilperin, OUT Magazine named President Obama it's "Ally of the Year" Tuesday. Obama's image on the cover marks the first time a sitting American president has been photographed for an LGBT magazine. Aaron Hicklin, the magazine's editor, boasted in a letter to readers: "I did get that selfie." Even the short time Hicklin spent at the White House made an impression.

Center for American Progress, A Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Nov. 10, 2015. The Center for American Progress hosted a moderated conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and CAP President Neera Tanden. They discussed a range of issues, including Iran, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and regional concerns, as well as ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.

Politico, Report faults U.S. treatment of whistleblowers, Staff report, Nov. 10, 2015. A new report from a group of prominent writers and authors argues that the U.S. government is doing too little to protect whistleblowers critical to informing the public about controversial activities like phone and email surveillance as well as hidden foul-ups in federal programs. The thrust of the 42-page analysis from PEN American Centre is not that the government isn't doing anything to try to protect those blowing the whistle on malfeasance, but that the policies and laws are widely varied and contain conspicuous gaps certain to undermine the confidence of many considering bringing improprieties to public knowledge.

The PEN report argues that the public debate over the actions of Edward Snowden in revealing National Security Agency surveillance programs illustrates how many politicians, public officials and members of the public believe whistleblower protections to be more robust than they actually are. Many have faulted Snowden for not using official government channels to complain about the programs he thought went too far. But as the report notes, that doesn't appear to be so. For one thing, Snowden worked for an NSA contractor, not the agency directly. The Obama Administration has put in place policies to protect the security clearances of whistleblowers who work for contractors, but a senior intelligence community officials acknowledged last week that protecting the jobs of such individuals would likely require legislation.

Washington Post, David Vitter is in trouble, James Hohmann, Nov. 10, 2015. The Louisiana governor’s race is becoming a referendum on David Vitter, not Barack Obama, and that’s a race that Vitter can’t win. With the runoff just 11 days away, public polls put the Republican senator down anywhere from 11 points to 20 points. Early voting has already started. Now under heavy fire on TV for his participation in a prostitution ring, something he admitted only elliptically to in 2007, Vitter is up today with a television ad that shows him sitting with his wife and kids around a kitchen table. “Fifteen years ago, I failed my family but found forgiveness and love,” the senior senator says to camera. “I learned that our falls aren’t what define us, but rather how we get up, accept responsibility and earn redemption. Now Louisiana has fallen on hard times … And as your governor, I’ll get up every day to fight for you.”

Democrat John Bel Edwards went on the air over the weekend with the most provocative attack ad of the year. A female narrator notes that Edwards served as an Army Ranger in the 82nd Airborne Division before noting that Vitter missed a 2001 House vote honoring 28 slain soldiers at roughly the same time that he took a call on his cell phone from the D.C. Madam. “David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots,” a female narrator says. “Now the choice is yours.”

Washington Post, Another odd Ben Carson story: How he refused a DNA test to settle a ‘blackmail’ paternity suit, Justin Wm. Moyer, Nov. 10, 2015. The week before the fourth Republican presidential primary Ben Carsondebate on Tuesday, sometime Republican presidential front-runner Ben Carson has faced some tough questions about his past. In a twist perhaps unique in modern presidential politics, he’s had to defend the veracity of stories he’s often repeated about behaving badly.

And, as Republicans gather in Milwaukee for the Fox Business Network debate Tuesday night, one very strange Carson tale has yet to be delved into: the candidate’s contention, discussed in speeches and an op-ed as recently as last year, that he was sued for paternity by an unnamed woman in Florida and refused to give a DNA sample to resolve the case. Though he’s told the story as early as 2003, as Mediaite reported, Carson wrote about the paternity suit at length in a Washington Times op-ed in 2014. The piece was a condemnation of “Chicago-style politics” and political corruption.

Nov. 9

Huffington Post, Federal Appeals Court Upholds Injunction Against Obama's Executive Action On Immigration, Cristian Farias, Nov. 9, 2015.  A federal appeals court on Monday agreed to keep on hold President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration -- nearly a year after he announced it as a backstop measure to Congress' failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The divided court's, 124-page ruling deals a blow to the administration's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, known as DAPA, and there likely isn't enough time for a formal appeal to the Supreme Court to be resolved ahead of the 2016 election.

In ruling against the government, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit largely agreed with a lower court judge, who in February issued a “nationwide injunction” that effectively stopped DAPA from taking effect, and concurred that Texas and other states that sued the president over the program had legal “standing” to challenge its constitutionality in federal court. The appeals court accepted Texas’ argument that an expansion of immigration relief to include a wider class of undocumented immigrants would cause the state to “incur significant costs in issuing driver’s licenses to DAPA beneficiaries.”  “If permitted to go into effect, DAPA would enable at least 500,000 illegal aliens in Texas to satisfy that requirement with proof of lawful presence or employment authorization,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith for the 2-to-1 appeals court. “Texas subsidizes its licenses and would lose a minimum of $130.89 on each one it issued to a DAPA beneficiary. Even a modest estimate would put the loss at several million dollars.”

The court rejected the federal government's argument that extending relief to a wide swath of immigrants would offset the injury to the state by bringing in increased tax revenue and other benefits. A study by the Center for American Progress estimated DAPA, if implemented, would benefit up to 3.7 million individuals.

Mississippi State Flag (Adopted 1894 and readopted 2001)

The Mississippi State Flag remains unique among U.S. state flags because it is the only one that still depicts the Confederate battle flag's saltire

AP via Tupelo Daily Journal, One-party rule returns in Mississippi with GOP in charge, Jeff Amy, Nov. 9, 2015. Democrats’ performance this year in Mississippi suggests, at least among the state’s white residents, that the party is not only a permanent underdog, but is coming perilously close to dissolution. With continued Republican gains in the state House pushing the GOP to a supermajority, Democrats won’t be able to block most things that a unified GOP wants. Democrats have not fallen so low that they’ve reached the status of Republicans in the old one-party South.

In the wake of another electoral debacle for Mississippi’s Democrats, it’s time to pull V.O. Key down off the bookshelf. Key was a political scientist who literally wrote the book on politics in Dixie. Southern Politics in State and Nation, published in 1949, remains a master work, the founding text of an entire specialty of American political science. Key was fundamentally interested in how politics functioned in states with only one dominant political party. At the time, of course, that was the Democrats. But now, more than 50 years after he died, Republicans are getting close to assuming that position of dominance in Mississippi and some other southern states.

New York Times, Cuban Peers Dispute Ted Cruz’s Father’s Story of Fighting for Castro, Jason Horowitz, Nov. 9, 2015. Ted Cruz "A Time For Truth"Since he was a boy, Senator Ted Cruz has said, all he wanted to do was “fight for liberty” — a yearning that he says was first kindled when he heard his father’s tales of fighting as a rebel leader in Cuba in the 1950s, throwing firebombs, running guns and surviving torture.

Those stories, retold by Mr. Cruz and by his father, Rafael, have hooked Republican audiences and given emotional power to the message that the Texas senator is pushing as a contender for the party’s presidential nomination. In their telling, the father’s experience in Cuba — when the country was swept up by the charismatic young Fidel Castro, only to see him become a repressive Communist dictator — becomes a parable for the son’s nightmarish vision of government overreach under President Obama.

But the family narrative that has provided such inspirational fire to Mr. Cruz’s speeches, debate performances and a recently published memoir is, his father’s Cuban contemporaries say, an embroidered one.

Washington Post, Benjamin Netanyahu further damages U.S.-Israel relations, Dana Milbank, Nov. 9, 2015. Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t do regret. Last week, Netanyahu appointed as his new chief of public diplomacy a man who called Obama an anti-Semite and who said Secretary of State John Kerry has the intellect of a 12-year-old. Now, as Netanyahu visits the United States, he decided to accept, on the same day he met Obama in the Oval Office, an award from a group of neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute who applaud his stand against the Obama administration. The acceptance of the award, which has previously gone to, among others, Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia, led the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to conclude that “Netanyahu has decided to troll Obama.”

The White House meeting was a tense and perfunctory affair. The two leaders, as usual, didn’t hold a press conference. The White House allowed only a small pool of journalists to film the two leaders trade statements in the Oval Office. Obama, grim and barely glancing at Netanyahu, acknowledged the “strong disagreement” on the nuclear deal, but he said, defensively, that “we have closer military and intelligence cooperation than any two administrations in history.”

President Obama meets with John Kerry, Susan Rice, other advisors Nov. 9, 2015

President Barack Obama talks with advisors, including National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry, prior to meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Nov. 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

OpEdNews, The Re-enserfment of Western Peoples, Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 9, 2015. The Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Partnerships eliminate political sovereignty and turn governance over to global corporations. These so called "trade partnerships" have nothing to do with trade. These agreements negotiated in secrecy grant immunity to corporations from the laws of the countries in which they do business. This is achieved by declaring any interference by existing and prospective laws and regulations on corporate profits as restraints on trade for which corporations can sue and fine "sovereign" governments. For example, the ban in France and other countries on GMO products would be negated by the Trans-Atlantic Partnership.

Democracy is simply replaced by corporate rule. Once these partnerships are in effect, government itself is privatized. There is no longer any point in legislatures, presidents, prime ministers, judges. Corporate tribunals decide law and court rulings. Once people discover that they have lost all control over every aspect of their lives, then it is possible that their only choice is revolution or death.

Washington Post, Top Russian athletes participated in systemic, state-sanctioned doping, report says, Will Hobson, Nov. 9, 2015. Top Russian athletes have for years participated in a systemic doping regime involving bribery, extortion and destruction of evidence, according to an international anti-doping agency report released Monday in Geneva. The report released by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which investigated allegations made in a German documentary, recommended Russia’s suspension from international athletics competitions such as the Olympics. The report found a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” in Russia’s track and field program and “documented cases where athletes who did not want to participate in ‘the program’ were informed they would not be considered as part of the federation’s national team for competition.” The report recommended lifetime bans for five Russian runners. “This was an absolutely politically motivated statement like anti-Russian sanctions,” Vladimir Uyba, the head of Russia’s Federal Medical-Biological Agency, told the Interfax news agency. “It has no grounds whatsoever, because those doping tests for athletes are conducted by the WADA commissioners themselves.”

Nov. 8

New York Magazine, The Math on Rubionomics Is Way, Way Crazier Than You Think, Jonathan Chait, Last week, Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal think tank that uses mainstream economic tax modeling, Marco Rubio officialanalyzed Marco Rubio’s tax-cut plan. Thirty-four percent of the benefits of the plan would go to the highest-earning one percent of Americans (who, by the way, earn about 21 percent of all income). Rubio’s proposal deliberately provides some benefits to Americans of modest income, which means that its enormous tax cuts for the very rich come alongside some pretty decent-size tax cuts for the rest of us. All told, Rubio’s plan would reduce federal revenue by $11.8 trillion over the next decade. The entire Bush tax cuts cost about $3.4 trillion over a decade, making the Rubio tax cuts more than three times as costly.

How would Rubio’s plan fit into the overall federal budget? One way to consider the scale of this plan is to look at the overall federal budget. Over the next decade, Washington is projected to collect $41.6 trillion in revenue under current policies. Rubio would reduce that to about $30 trillion. Rubio proposes to increase the defense budget. He likewise promises not to touch benefits for current or near-retirees, leaving those programs unavailable for cuts over that time. So Medicaid, veterans’ health insurance, transportation, border security, and education, not to mention the entire federal anti-poverty budget other than Medicare and Social Security, would have to go. Oh, and Rubio has also called for an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget every year.

Oh, one more thing: Among the Republican presidential candidates, Rubio is widely considered to be a moderate on fiscal issues. The clarity with which we can now examine Rubio’s plan, juxtaposed against recent events, provides a sense of the ongoing relationship between the Republican Party and economic reality. It remains deeply hostile.

GOP Presidential Debaters Aug. 6, 2015

Top GOP 2016 presidential contenders before their August debate. Next debate: Nov. 10.

Daily Mail Online, Mob hitman James Files claims he killed JFK as he is to be released, Staff report, Nov. 8, 2015. James Files, 72, who claims he was the one who assassinated President John F. Kennedy has been moved to a less secure jail in Illinois in preparation for his release next Spring. JIP Editor's Note: Even many critics of the Warren Commission Report doubt the Files story.

Nov. 7

JFK, Charles Briggs, retired CIA officer who assisted JFK museum, was accused of deception by a federal judge, Jefferson Morley, Nov. 7, 2015. Charles Briggs, a retired CIA official who assisted the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas as a researcher and writer, once submitted a “dishonest” sworn affidavit in a high-profile arms smuggling case in Texas, according to a federal judge. Briggs, who died November 4, served the CIA as a private contractor while assisting in the creation of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas in 1986. The Museum, which commemorates the assassination of President Kennedy, consistently endorses the official theory that one man, alone and unaided, caused Kennedy’s death. The Museum’s exhibits do not depict or make mention of the long-running debate about the causes of JFK’s assassination, and the Museum’s bookstore carries few books by JFK scholars who dispute the official theory.

Nov. 6

Politico, Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point 'scholarship' but never applied, Kyle Cheney, Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from Politico, that a central point in his inspirational personal Ben Carsonstory was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, Gifted Hands, the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy. West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.

“In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” said Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy. She said West Point has no records that indicate Carson even began the application process. “If he chose to pursue (the application process), then we would have records indicating such,” she said.

When presented with these facts, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false. “Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit,” campaign manager Barry Bennett wrote in an email to Politico. “In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.”

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Bennett added. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.” Carson would have needed to seek admission in order to receive an offer of free education from West Point. Also, according to West Point, there is no such thing as a “full scholarship” to the military academy, as Carson represented in his book.

Politico editor’s note: Politico stands by its reporting on this story, which has been updated to reflect Ben Carson’s on the record response. The original story and headline said that Carson’s campaign had admitted he "fabricated" a "full scholarship" from West Point, but now Carson denies that his campaign’s statement constituted such an admission, and the story and headline were changed to reflect that.

Ben Carson and George Bush in 2008 Medal of FreedomCarson, a former neurosurgeon and a GOP front-runner in the 2016 presidential race, is shown in a White House photo receiving the Medal of Freedom in 2008 from President George W. Bush.

Fox News, Carson campaign admits West Point story was inaccurate, Staff report, Nov. 6, 2015. Ben Carson's presidential campaign pushed back Friday at a published report questioning a seminal moment in the personal narrative of the Republican candidate -- that the top U.S. general in the Vietnam War had been so impressed during a dinner with the young Carson that he was guaranteed a "full scholarship" to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Academy officials, responding to the Politico report Friday, confirmed that there is no record of Carson ever applying to the elite military academy, much less gaining entrance or a scholarship offer. But in Carson's 1996 memoir Gifted Hands, he appears to tell a different story: that the young Carson, a 17-year-old top ROTC officer from Detroit, had dined with Gen. William Westmoreland, who was a fresh out of his command in Vietnam, in 1969. He said he was immediately offered a full scholarship by West Point. He has said in the retelling of the story that that he turned down the supposed offer because he wanted to be a doctor. He later graduated from Yale University in 1973.

A West Point spokesperson told POLITICO that that it was "certainly possible" that Carson spoke with the general, and the four-star may have even encouraged the teenager to apply, but the school has a rigorous entry process that would not have allowed Westmoreland to guarantee anyone entry. Furthermore, there are no "full scholarships" to the academy. According to Westmoreland's schedule, he wasn't even in Detroit at the time. Republican strategists who spoke with following the revelations Friday said this could be more than just a hiccup for the Carson campaign. The candidate's backstory has come under increased scrutiny as he enjoys the top slot in many of the latest primary polls. "When you're not a politician and you don't have a voting record, and you are running on your own narrative (like Carson) .. then this is all fair game," said media strategist Pete Snyder. "I think people realize that people who run for office tend to embellish, but they don't take kindly to fabrication of military service or West Point applications," he added. "This is dangerous ground for Ben Carson." See also: Fox News, Poll: Carson only honest and trustworthy candidate, Dana Blanton, Nov. 4, 2015.

Wall Street Journal, Ben Carson’s Past Faces Deeper Questions, Reid J. Epstein, Nov. 6, 2015. In harsh light of presidential politics, parts of his inspirational biography are questioned. The day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, Ben Carson’s black classmates unleashed their anger and grief on white students who were a minority at Detroit’s Southwestern High. Mr. Carson, then a junior with a key to a biology lab where he worked part time, told the Wall Street Journal last month that he protected a few white students from the attacks by hiding them there. It is a dramatic account of courage and kindness, and it couldn’t be confirmed in interviews with a half-dozen of Mr. Carson’s classmates and his high school physics teacher.

Mr. Carson’s biography, a rise from poverty to become a top neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University, is central to his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Now, his story — told in nine books and countless inspirational speeches over the past 25 years — has come under the harsh scrutiny of presidential politics, where rivals and media hunt for embellishments and omissions that can hobble a campaign. The threat to the Carson candidacy is that the inconsistencies or hard-to-check anecdotes, which were told long before he ever considered a presidential run, will put off voters only now getting to know him.

Daily Wire, No, Ben Carson Didn't Lie About West Point. It's Another Media Hit Job. Ben Shapiro, Nov. 6, 2015. The story began with Politico, which ran with the audacious headline, “Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.” Even I was taken in by the headline – after all, that’s a pretty bold claim! The key word here is “fabricated.” Did the Carson campaign admit any such thing? Absolutely not. The facts reported by Politico don’t even support this interpretation of the Carson campaign’s response. Politico followed up on this story. They reported one additional piece of information that seems to conflict with Carson’s story: Carson never applied to West Point, and was never extended admission. But Carson never said he applied. He said he was extended a full scholarship offer., Republican Candidates Call for War, Kurt Nimmo, Nov. 6, 2015. Republicans want intervention in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Huffington Post, Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline After 7 Years, Kate Sheppard and Laura Barron-Lopez, Nov. 6, 2015. Environmental activists praised the decision. President Obama Friday rejected TransCanada's application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported oil across the United States-Canada border. His rejection came after meeting earlier Friday with Secretary of State John Kerry, whose department oversaw the review. TransCanada submitted its permit application for the 1,600-mile, $7 billion project to the State Department in 2008. Because the pipeline would cross an international border, the State Department is responsible for determining whether granting a permit for the project would serve the national interest.

B arack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, George Mitchell, Rahm Emanuel at White House

During President Obama's first term, he is shown meeting with his top staff Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a White House photo.

Foreign Policy/Middle East Daily, U.S. and Israeli Officials Prepare for Meeting Next Week, Staff and wire reports, Nov. 6, 2015. Israeli and U.S. officials are staking out the subjects that will be discussed when Benjamin Netanyahu FrownPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington, DC, next week. It will be the first time President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet in person in more than a year.

Israeli officials say they are hoping to use the trip to secure a new military aid package worth $5 billion annually, taking effect in 2017; Israel’s current aid package is worth $3 billion. Obama administration officials say that they have accepted there are no realistic options for reaching a two-state solution during the remainder of President Obama’s term and that his concern in the meeting will be to push for policies that preserve a two-state option at some point in the future.

Political tensions between the United States and Israel were strained again this week when Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed Ran Baratz as his new government spokesman. Reports of Baratz’ Facebook posts calling President Obama anti-semitic and insulting Secretary of State John Kerry surfaced shortly after the appointment. Baratz has apologized for his comments and will not be part of the delegation traveling to Washington.

Cynthia McKinneyFormer 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, recent recipient of an earned doctorate degree and former Democratic member of Congress from Georgia, is shown in the photo at left and wrote the column below about sex scandal cover-up.

Dissident Voice, Why is FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Boiling over Former Speaker Hastert’s Plea Deal? , Nov. 6, 2015. She’s Launching a Campaign to Blow the Cover Off the Cover-Up! Former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, founder of Boiling Frogs Post, is boiling mad these days and has launched a campaign to blow the cover off the cover-up of powerful criminals, including pedophiles, operating at the highest levels of the United States government. The abject failure of federal investigators, as well as the U.S. media, to cover the rest of the Hastert crimes is what upsets Edmonds today. What exactly were Hastert’s crimes and what was he indicted for?

Edmonds, a Farsi and Turkish language speaker, was hired by the FBI to translate wiretaps and other intelligence on targeted individuals. In the course of her duties, according to Edmonds, with her Top Secret clearance, she learned of treason, blackmail of Members of Congress, bribery, and other criminal activities, including pedophilia. When Edmonds reported the content of this intelligence to her superiors, she eventually was slapped with a “State Secrets” gag order and prohibited from talking about what she learned. She skirted that gag order by placing photographs online of the targeted individuals whose conversations she had translated, thereby discovering their criminal activities. [Edmonds recounted her experiences in the memoir Classified Woman.]

The renewal of Edmonds’s ire came as the former Speaker Hastert appeared in court defending himself against two felony accusations: one, that he withdrew cash from his bank account in a way to evade federal scrutiny and two, that he lied to investigators about the reason he was making the withdrawals. The media awkwardly reported Hastert’s clumsy situation; mentioning the indictment, even mentioning the “prior misconduct” against “Individual A,” while giving a complete pass on why “Individual A” was being paid $3.5 million by Hastert for hush money.

To be fair, the problem is not only the media’s, but mainly belongs to the federal investigators. Why on earth would a federal investigator examine only half of a crime? I’m sure a regular television news viewer must be left scratching her head trying to make sense of a narrative that just doesn’t make sense. Here, Hastert gets indicted for withdrawing his own money from his own bank account in order to hide something so valuable that it’s worth millions of dollars to Hastert to hide, yet not one day does the federal investigator even inquire what that might be. The indictment merely reads, “He had been withdrawing cash in increments of less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction reporting requirements because he wanted his agreement to compensate Individual A to remain secret so as to cover up his past misconduct.”  Neither the Feds nor the indictment goes any further.

Middle East Eye, The sham Syrian peace conference, Gareth Porter, Nov. 6, 2015. It is clear that the international conference on Syria that held its first meeting in Vienna on October 30 is a sham conference that is not capable of delivering any peace negotiations, and that the Obama administration knew that perfectly well from the start. Now the price of Obama’s fateful political-diplomatic strategy is a sham peace conference that misleads the rest of the world about the lack of any realistic solution to the war.

Politico, Source: Key Clinton emails did not contain highly classified secrets, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 6, 2015. 'The initial determination was based on a flawed process,' a source says. The U.S. intelligence community Hillary Clintonhas retreated from claims that two emails in Hillary Clinton’s private account contained top-secret information, a source familiar with the situation told Politico. After a review, intelligence agencies concluded that the two emails did not include highly classified intelligence secrets, the source said.

Concerns about the emails' classification helped trigger an ongoing FBI inquiry into Clinton's private email setup. Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III made the claim that two of the emails contained top-secret information; the State Department publicly stated its disagreement and asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s office to referee the dispute. Now, that disagreement has been resolved in State’s favor, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. A spokesman for Clapper said the review of the emails has not been completed. "ODNI has made no such determination and the review is ongoing," Clapper spokesman Brian Hale said., 35 House War Opponents Push for Vote on ISIS War, Jason Ditz, Nov. 6, 2015. New Letter Cites Syria Deployment as a 'Significant Escalation.'  A bipartisan group of U.S. Rep. Walter Jonesmembers of the House of Representatives have issued an open letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R – WI), calling for a vote on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS, citing “deepening entanglement” in the conflict by President Obama. Under the War Powers Act, the president must seek Congressional approval for any overseas military operation within 60 days. The launching of the war against ISIS in summer of 2014 put that vote in the middle of a mid-term election, and most Congressional leaders on both sides simply chose to ignore the law. Over a year later, the president made only one token effort to get an AUMF through, and that died when the White House openly bragged they made the wording so vague it would allow them to do basically anything they wanted. Without an authorization the war should’ve ended, instead it escalated.

One of the letter-signers is U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (shown in an official photo), a senior Republican representing the North Carolina district that is home to Fort Bragg. The new letter particularly draws attention to the recent White House announcement of ground troops being deployed to Syria, something previous AUMF attempts explicitly ruled out, saying this is a “significant escalation” of the war and proof that Congress needs to at some point vote on the matter., Proxy War: US, Russia Send Arms to Syrian Factions Meant to Target One Another, Jason Ditz, Nov.  6, 2015. Aid in Protracted Ground War Increasingly Involves Anti-Aircraft Missiles. As both Russia and the US escalate their respective wars in Syria, both nominally targeting ISIS primarily, they are each making much of their arms shipments to their allies in the nation, insisting those new influxes of arms will shift the long-stalled civil war in their favor. Yet increasingly in both cases, those arms shipments are including not only some ammunition and small arms useful for the drawn-out ground war, but anti-aircraft weapons which are of primary utility in targeting one another’s airplanes, adding to the evidence that the US and Russia are steaming headlong into a full-scale proxy war against one another in Syria.

Washington Post, Four U.S. spies who later led the CIA, Peter Finn, Nov. 6, 2015. In “Disciples,” Douglas Waller (shown at right) chronicles the World War II careers of four future CIA directors.  After reading Douglas Wallerjournalist Douglas Waller’s entertaining and richly detailed Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan (Simon & Schuster), it’s hard not to conclude that all great lives in espionage end in tragedy. The tenaciousness, the risk-taking, the cold-bloodedness and the towering self-confidence — the qualities that make a spymaster — eventually consume their carriers.

The disciples in this book are the four future CIA directors who served under William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan in the Office of Strategic Services, the American spy agency during World War II: Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby and William Casey. Waller is already the author of an accomplished biography of Donovan, and I came to this latest book with the slight suspicion that it might involve some clever repurposing. There is, of course, some cross-pollination, but “Disciples” stands on its own: a textured adventure story that emerges from Waller’s command of the archival material and his fluid writing style.

Dulles’s career ended on “a swampy beach along Cuba’s coast,” with the Bay of Pigs disaster. Helms wound up in federal court “striking a plea deal to avoid a felony conviction” for lying to Congress. Colby, in contrast, cooperated with Congress, turning over the “Crown Jewels,” a catalogue of CIA dirty tricks. For that he became “a pariah to many in his agency.” Casey was the subject of “accusation and ridicule” for the Iran-contra affair, the scandal that tarnished President Ronald Reagan as well as the agency Casey was trying to reinvigorate.

“They returned home, invigorated with high hopes, affected profoundly by their service in the OSS, determined to take up arms against communism in the way they had learned to wield those weapons against Nazism,” Waller writes. “It made it all the more tragic that their Cold War after the guns of Europe fell silent finished so badly for each of them.”

Peter Finn is the Washington Post’s national security editor and the co-author of “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book.”, CIA man assisted in the creation of the Sixth Floor Museum, Jefferson Morley, Nov. 6, 2015. His name was Charles Briggs and he served as Executive Director of the Agency, which is the number Charles Briggsthree position in the agency’s hierarchy. His obituary in the Washington Post states: "A notable contribution was serving as liaison for the creation of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, TX dedicated to the JFK Assassination." The CIA’s intervention in the creation of popular culture is not unprecedented – witness its support for the Iowa Writer’s Workshop -- but this episode of cultural production is especially intriguing. Presumably, Briggs was acting in a public affairs capacity in assisting with the creation of the Museum, not in an operational role. The CIA is a foreign intelligence agency and its charter charter forbids operations on U.S. soil. But even if the Briggs did act legally, his motivation still seems mysterious.

Nov. 5

President Obama gestures to senior staff 6-22-2015

President Obama makes a point to his senior staff during a meeting June 22, 2015 (White House photo)

Reuters via Huffington Post, U.S. Finally Reveals Specifics Of Massive Trade Deal, Staff report, Nov. 5, 2015. It is opposed by labor unions and many of Obama's fellow Democrats. The long-awaited text of a landmark U.S.-backed Pacific trade deal was released on Thursday, revealing the details of a pact aimed at freeing up commerce in 40 percent of the world's economy but criticized for its opacity. If ratified, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be a legacy-defining achievement for U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration's pivot to Asia, aimed at countering China's rising economic and political influence. China has responded with its own Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed 16-nation free-trade area including India that would be the world's biggest such bloc, encompassing 3.4 billion people. But TPP, which will set common standards on issues ranging from workers' rights to intellectual property protection in 12 Pacific nations, was kept largely from public scrutiny, angering transparency advocates concerned over its broad implications.

New York Times, Elder Bush Says White House Aides Served His Son Badly, Peter Baker, Nov. 5, 2015. In a biography by Jon Meacham, former President George Bush calls Donald H. Rumsfeld an “arrogant fellow” and criticizes Dick Cheney, giving voice to sentiments many suspected he has privately harbored for years. After years of holding back, former President George Bush has finally broken his public silence about some of the key figures in his son’s administration, issuing scathing critiques of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In interviews with his biographer, Mr. Bush said that Mr. Cheney had built “his own empire” and asserted too much “hard-line” influence within George W. Bush’s White House in pushing for the use of force around the world. Mr. Rumsfeld, the elder Mr. Bush said, was an “arrogant fellow” who could not see how others thought and “served the president badly.”

Mr. Bush’s sharp assessments, contained in a biography by Jon Meacham to be published by Random House next week, gave voice to sentiments that many long suspected he had harbored but kept private until now. While he continued to praise his son, he did tell Mr. Meacham that the younger Mr. Bush was responsible for empowering Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld and was at times too bellicose in his language. 

The biography, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, is coming out as the country is focused once again on the Bush family and its place in the American firmament. With Jeb Bush, Mr. Bush’s second son, struggling in his campaign for the White House, the family that has held the White House the longest in the modern age now faces the possibility that its time has passed.   

Reuters via Huffington Post, Russia Sends Missile Systems To Syria To Protect Military Forces, Jack Stubbs and Anton Kolodyazhnyy, Nov. 5, 2015. Russia has sent missile systems to Syria to protect its military forces there, the head of Russia's air force said on Thursday.Colonel General Viktor Bondarev said fighter jets could be hijacked in countries neighboring Syria and used to attack Russian forces. "We have calculated all possible threats. We have sent not only fighter jets, bombers and helicopters, but also missile systems," Bondarev told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. "We must be ready."

OpEdNews, The "War On Terror" Is The Hoax Foundation Of The Police/Spy State, Paul Craig Roberts, The "war on terror" was a hoax. Americans were deceived by policymakers, who are pursuing a Paul Craig Robertshegemonic agenda. The American people were too trusting and too gullible and, consequently, Americans were easily betrayed by Washington and by the presstitute media. The consequences of the deceit, gullibility, and betrayal are horrendous for Americans, for millions of peoples in the Middle East, Africa, Ukraine, and for Washington's European vassals. The consequences for Americans are an aborted Constitution, a police/spy state and rising resentment and hatred of America around the world.

The consequences for Washington's European vassals is that the millions of refugees from Washington's wars are now overrunning Europe, causing social and political discord and threatening the European political parties that enabled, and participated in, Washington's massive war crimes in eight countries. As for Americans, they seem to have settled into acquiescence to the brutal police/spy state that has crowded out freedom and democracy. But Americans could do something about it. It is a proven fact that the police/spy state rests on a foundation of lies and deceptions. Are the American people really such washed-up sheeple, such cowards, that they acquiesce to a police/spy state?

Wall Street Journal, US Allies To Boost Aid To Syria Rebels, Staff report, Nov. 5, 2015. The U.S. and its regional allies agreed to increase shipments of weapons and other supplies to help moderate Syrian rebels hold their ground and challenge the intervention of Russia and Iran on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials and their counterparts in the region said. The deliveries from the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Arabia and other allied spy services deepen the fight between the forces battling in Syria, despite President Barack Obama’s public pledge to not let the conflict become a U.S.-Russia proxy war.

Kathleen Kane

Indicted Pennsylvania Attorney Gen. Kathleen Kane refuses to resign and releases sexually explicit emails from officials and former officials (file photo from news conference).

AP via Huffington Post, Top Prosecutor Keeps Releasing Raunchy Emails, Stirring Further Scandal, Marc Levy, Nov. 5, 2015. The state attorney general has rejected calls for her resignation as she awaits trial.  Kathleen KaneFacing criminal charges, relieved of her law license and threatened with removal by the Legislature, Pennsylvania's attorney general seems to have decided that if she has to go, she's going to take others down with her. Since all three branches of state government began moving against her over the past year, Kathleen Kane (shown in a file photo) has released hundreds of sexually explicit or otherwise crude emails that had been sent or received by current or former public officials on their government accounts.

The tangled scandal has led to the downfall of a state environmental secretary and shamed a state police commissioner, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and several former top officials in the attorney general's office. Another high-court justice resigned after newspapers disclosed his involvement. Kane has threatened to release more, and the state Capitol is ablaze with speculation about whose emails may be next in the drip-drip-drip of disclosures. "It's a mess. It's just a freaking mess," said John Morganelli, the Northampton County district attorney and a Democrat who at one time supported Kane. "Accusations and counter-accusations. And it gets worse every day. It's like going into a war zone."

Kane, 49, was a little-known former assistant county prosecutor when she was elected attorney general in a landslide in 2012, becoming the first woman and first Democrat to win the office. Democrats embraced her as a rising star. On the campaign trail, she promised to investigate why it took her Republican predecessors three years to charge Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach convicted of sexually abusing boys, and whether politics played a role. After Kane took office, a special appointee concluded that the Sandusky case had not been dragged out for political reasons. But the inquiry unearthed a trove of office emails containing porn and jokes about women and minorities that many found offensive., AG Luther Strange: gambling case goes forward, despite order removing him from enforcing gambling laws, Charles J. Dean, Nov. 5, 2015. In his first reaction to an executive order by Gov. Robert Bentley that attempts to remove him from enforcing the state's anti-gambling laws, Attorney General Luther Strange said he has been assured the order will have no impact on pending gambling litigation. That pending case is a request by Strange to the state Supreme Court that an order of a circuit judge clearing the way for gambling to resume at VictoryLand Casino be stayed. Strange has also appealed the ruling by Circuit Judge William Shashy clearing the way for VictoryLand to reopen before the high court. Strange does not address whether Bentley has the authority to tell him what state laws he will or will not enforce.

The Intercept, Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism, Glenn Greenwald, Nov. 5, 2015. Leaked internal emails from the powerful Democratic think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) shed light on several public controversies involving the organization, particularly in regard to its positioning on Israel. They reveal the lengths to which the group has gone in order to placate AIPAC and long-time Clinton operative and Israel activist Ann Lewis — including censoring its own writers on the topic of Israel. The emails also provide crucial context for understanding CAP’s controversial decision to host an event next week for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That event, billed by CAP as “A Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” will feature CAP President Neera Tanden and Netanyahu together in a Q&A session as they explore “ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.”

The emails, provided to The Intercept by a source authorized to receive them, are particularly illuminating about the actions of Tanden (right), a stalwart Clinton loyalist as well as a former Obama White House official. They show Tanden and key aides engaging in extensive efforts of accommodation in response to AIPAC’s and Lewis’ vehement complaints that CAP is allowing its writers to be “anti-Israel.” Other emails show Tanden arguing that Libyans should be forced to turn over large portions of their oil revenues to repay the U.S. for the costs incurred in bombing Libya, on the grounds that Americans will support future wars only if they see that the countries attacked by the U.S. pay for the invasions.

Nov. 4

Washington Post, Former State Department official to be sentenced for shooting illicit videos, Justin Jouvenal, Nov. 4, 2015. A former State Department official who prosecutors say crept around the back alleys of D.C. surreptitiously filming hundreds of videos of women in private moments inside their homes is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. Daniel Rosen, 45, of the District, faces up to 11 years in prison for filming at least 25 women undressing, bathing, grooming and even having sex with partners between 2010 and 2014. Rosen pleaded guilty to 11 misdemeanor counts of stalking and voyeurism in July as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Prosecutors will seek a 5 1/2 year sentence Wednesday when Rosen appears before a D.C. Superior Court judge, citing the “extraordinary scope” of Rosen’s crimes which he often carried out under the guise of walking his dog, according to court documents. The activities of Rosen, once the director of counterterrorism plans, programs and policy for the State Department, were discovered in March after he was caught in an online sting carried out by Fairfax County police.

Washington Post, ‘Disgusting’ — or ‘sexy’ — image of Hillary Clinton adorns new anti-Clinton book, Justin Wm. Moyer, Nov. 4, 2015. Doug Henwood, contributing editor for the Nation, isn’t known for his Hillary Clintonnuanced political positions. From the far left of mainstream Democrats, he’s criticized Wall Street, the 1 percent, the “sharing” economy, the Washington Post, President Obama, and leading Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton. So when Henwood released a new book last month about Clinton — My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency — arguing that “little trust can be placed in her campaign promises” and that she lacks “a meaningful program other than a broad fealty to the status quo,” it wasn’t surprising. What was: the striking image of Clinton holding a gun on the cover. While praised by some, others found it offensive.

Washington Post, How federal agents can kill someone and avoid prosecution, Wesley Lowery, Nov. 4, 2015. Families of people killed by police rarely see the officers taken to trial. It was supposed to be different for the children of Larry Jackson Jr.: The Austin police detective who shot and killed Jackson was scheduled to be tried this week for manslaughter. At the last minute, however, a judge dismissed the charges against the white detective, Charles Kleinert, ruling that he was acting as a member of a federal task force when he shot Jackson, an unarmed black man, in 2013. As a federal agent, the judge ruled, Kleinert is shielded from state prosecution. The ruling stunned Jackson’s family, whose attorney called it a “great civil rights injustice,” and dismayed the local prosecutor, who has vowed to appeal. Meanwhile, the case is shining a spotlight on a legal tactic rarely used in criminal cases, one that raises the question of when, if ever, a federal law enforcement officer can be charged with a crime for killing someone in the line of duty. The question is not theoretical: So far this year, federal officers have been involved in 33 fatal shootings nationwide, according to a Washington Post database tracking shootings by police — more than any state or local department.

Student Operated Press (SOP), JFK Case Clouded by Historic Mix-Up by Top Forensic Experts, John Canal, Nov. 4, 2015 (updated from 2013). For decades nothing has stoked the fires of controversy over whether or not there was a conspiracy to assassinate JFK more than the conflicts pertaining to the medical evidence. While numerous eyewitnesses, for example, reported seeing an exit-like opening in the back of JFK`s head (BOH), which strongly suggested he was shot from the front, e.g. the infamous Grassy Knoll, three panels of forensic experts commissioned by the government in 1968, 1975, and in the late seventies concluded in concert, based mostly on certain autopsy photographs, that there had been no such exit-like BOH wound -- and, incredibly, that the recollections of the eyewitnesses were wrong.

All three aforementioned panels of forensic experts, none of whom had seen, much less examined, JFK`s body, incredibly discredited the reports of the autopsy doctors and other eyewitnesses who literally had held his body in their hands, basing their findings for the most part on certain photographs.

Nov. 3

New York Magazine, Is Ben Carson Running for President? Jonathan Chait, Nov. 3, 2015. On February 7, 2013, Ben Carson appeared at a National Prayer Breakfast, where he visibly annoyed President Obama by Ben Carson NPC Oct. 8, 2015delivering a right-wing speech denouncing Obamacare and cultural liberalism, and calling for a flat tax based on the biblical tithe. Conservatives, still devastated by Obama’s reelection, took delight in the appearance on the scene of a surprising new presidential antagonist, who until that point had no political profile.his professional experience has brought him into contact, is gibberish. 

The Week, Obama's catastrophic Syria folly, Michael Brendan Dougherty, Nov. 3, 2015. President Obama has broken lots of promises on foreign policy. And now, contrary to promises made in years past, the president is sending (a very limited number of) ground troops to support and advise rebel groups in Syria. The president's approach to the Middle East is hardly one of shirking cowardice, as his opponents often cast it. Instead, it is one of dangerous, thoughtless intervention. This broken promise — this increased intervention in Syria — is the most stupid and potentially ruinous foreign policy decision of Obama's presidency.

By sending special forces in this open way, Obama is involving America ever more deeply in the outcome of a civil war, where America's supposed allies — rebels who we are assured are "moderate" — have almost no chance of winning. It is a civil war in which Russia has involved itself on the side of an ally who can win: Syria's longtime dictator Bashar al-Assad. Obama has announced no other goal in this conflict beyond providing assistance to people we like. The New York Times also reported that Americans were sent not to win a conflict, but to bolster diplomatic efforts. How can this possibly be the rationale for risking American blood, treasure, and honor? If U.S. forces are not there to help win the war, then they are there only to prolong it — an immoral act that will exacerbate the refugee crisis already putting intolerable pressure on European political settlements.

ABC News, Ahmed Chalabi: Iraqi politician who pushed Bush to invade Iraq dies of a heart attack, Staff report, Nov. 3, 2015. Ahmed Chalabi, the smooth-talking Iraqi politician who pushed Washington to invade Iraq in 2003, has died of an apparent heart attack.

U.S. News & World Report, Bill: Give Cops Up to 10 Years in Prison for Warrantless Phone Tracking, Steven Nelson, Nov. 3, 2015. The maximum penalty 'is there as a deterrent,' the bill's co-sponsor says. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont say authorities should get a warrant before intercepting cellphone transmissions. Police officers and federal agents who track Americans' cellphones without a judge’s permission could face up to 10 years in prison if new bipartisan legislation becomes law. The Stingray Privacy Act, introduced Monday, would require authorities to get a warrant under most circumstances before using cell-site simulators. The devices, commonly known as Stingrays, imitate cell towers to acquire real-time location information and other data from nearby phones.

KHOU-TV and USA Today, Man killed for grabbing last piece of chicken, cops say, Staff report, Nov. 3, 2015. One man is dead Reinaldo Cardoso Riveraand another is accused of fatally stabbing him — all over a piece of chicken. Reinaldo Cardoso Rivera, 38, of Houston was charged late last week with murder in connection with the Friday death of Darwin Perez Gonzalez, 34, of Houston. Five men had been making dinner and drinking in an apartment in western Houston. But police said Rivera (Photo: Houston Police Department) became angry when Gonzalez took the last piece of chicken. An argument escalated into a fist fight. Rivera then stabbed Gonzalez, police said. Rivera later admitted to police that he had stabbed Gonzalez. Rivera, whose case file says he is not a U.S. citizen, was arrested, and is being held on $200,000 bond.

London Review of Books, Too Weak, Too Strong, Patrick Cockburn, Nov. 3, 2015. Patrick Cockburn reports regularly from the Middle East. He is the author of "The Rise of Islamic State: Isis and the New Sunni Revolution," among other books. The military balance of power in Syria and Iraq is changing. The Russian air strikes that have been taking place since the end of September are strengthening and raising the morale of the Syrian army, which earlier in the year looked fought out and was on the retreat.

The drama of Russian military action, while provoking a wave of Cold War rhetoric from Western leaders and the media, has taken attention away from an equally significant development in the war in Syria and Iraq. This has been the failure over the last year of the US air campaign – which began in Iraq in August 2014 before being extended to Syria – to weaken Islamic State and other al-Qaida-type groups. By October the US-led coalition had carried out 7323 air strikes, the great majority of them by the US air force, which made 3231 strikes in Iraq and 2487 in Syria. But the campaign has demonstrably failed to contain IS, which in May captured Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria. The US failure is political as much as military: it needs partners on the ground who are fighting IS, but its choice is limited because those actually engaged in combat with the Sunni jihadis are largely Shia. As a result the US can only use its air force in support of the Kurds.

BBC, Commons committee warns David Cameron against Syria vote, Staff report, Nov. 3, 2015. An influential Commons committee has urged David Cameron (shown in file photo) not to press ahead with a vote on UK air strikes David Cameronagainst Islamic State militants in Syria. The Foreign Affairs Committee -- which has a Conservative majority -- said the prime minister should instead focus on efforts to end Syria's civil war. It also raised concerns about the legal basis for any UK action. Downing Street has strongly denied reports Mr Cameron has abandoned plans for a vote altogether. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there had to be a political solution and he did not believe that "more bombing is going to help in this."

CNN, Caged and in danger: Syrian soldiers become human shields for rebels, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Ed Payne, Nov. 3, 2015. Rebels are caging captured Syrian soldiers and others loyal to the regime and using them as human shields to fend off government attacks, Human Rights Watch and a Syrian opposition group reported. Videos posted to social media over the weekend show trucks transporting cages filled with up to eight men or women, the opposition Shaam News Network reported. "Rebels ... have distributed 100 cages, with each cage containing approximately seven people and the plan is afoot to produce 1,000 cages to distribute ... in different parts of Douma city, particularly in public places and markets that have been attacked in the past by the regime and Russian air-force," text in one of the videos says, according to the opposition network., Netanyahu Seeks $4.5 Billion-a-Year in US Arms, Jason Ditz, Nov. 3, 2015. Planned Billion Dollar Increase Not Enough for Israeli PM. Heading to Washington for a Benjamin Netanyahu smile Twitterhigh-profile visit next week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is once again bringing a substantial wishlist of military gear. That was not wholly unexpected, as plans are to announce a $1 billion annual increase to the US aid budget to Israel.

That may not be enough, however. Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren said the visit was going to see Netanyahu laying out what is necessary to “deter Iran,” and that it is going to cost America $4.5 billion annually. The current aid budget is around $3.1 billion, and the planned hike was to get it in the range of $4-$4.1 billion per year. This hike in annual spending will be above and beyond the multi-billion dollar one-off military aid package the US is planning to give to Israel as “reparations” for the international nuclear deal with Iran. Israel is said to be trying to avoid talks on this aid until after the annual deal is finalized, likely to avoid asking for things they were going to get anyhow.

Washington Post, Nearly 2,000 wild horses sent to slaughterhouse instead of pasture after government sale, probe says, Lisa Rein, Nov. 3, 2015. A federal watchdog found that the Bureau of Land Management, which must only sell wild horses to good homes, broke its own rules.

Shadowproof, Letter from Leavenworth: Chelsea Manning on Struggle to Be Herself in Military Prison, Kevin Gosztola, Nov. 3, 2015. Chelsea Manning and Kevin Gosztola exchanged letters in September and October during and just after she was punished by the Army for having expired toothpaste and LGBTQ literature. The first round of letters appears below. The second round of letters will be published Nov. 10.

Washington Post, In lawsuits over police shootings, some families get millions. Some get nothing, Marc Fisher, Scott Higham, Derek Hawkins, Kat Downs, Ted Mellnik and Matt Callahan, Nov. 3, 2015. Society is loath to convict cops, so civil court is often the best place for families to seek justice for improper shootings. But awards in such cases vary widely.

Nov. 2

New York Times, In Arbitration, a ‘Privatization of the Justice System,’ Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery, Nov. 2, 2015. Forced individual arbitration often bears little resemblance to court: The rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries are replaced by arbitrators whose rulings are difficult to appeal.

Recep ErdoganNational Press Club, Club calls on Turkish government to protect press freedom, John Hughes, Nov. 2, 2015. The National Press Club is deeply concerned the Oct. 28 raid on the Koza-Ipek media group in Ankara is politically motivated and is another sign of the deteriorating press freedom in Turkey. An Ankara court recently ordered the seizure of the company's assets as part of an ongoing investigation that accuses it of financing terrorism and promoting terrorism propaganda.

“This isn't the first time the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan [shown above in a file photo] has clamped down on news media in the country,” said NPC President John Hughes. “We are deeply concerned this pattern shows a continued disregard for a free and independent press that are cornerstones of democracy and a civil society.” The Koza-Ipek media group is linked to Fethullah Gulen, a political rival of Erdogan. After Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in June in a general election the government called for a snap election set for Nov. 1. Since then however, the Intercept reports at least 40 journalists have been detained. That's a sixfold increase compared to last year in a country where press freedom has already been a concern for international observers.

OpEdNews, Erdogan Gang Heist: Election Fraud in Turkey, Michael Collins, Nov. 2, 2015. The Erdoğan gang, also known as the AK Party (AKP), stole the snap elections held in Turkey on Nov. 1. This was a Flag of Turkeymake-or-break election for Turkish President Recep ErdogŸan. Any outcome other than single party rule by the AKP threatened ErdogŸan with prosecution for well-documented financial crimes and support for terrorists in Syria. Against the record of recent elections and against public opinion polling results, AKP increased it vote share over the June elections just enough to assure an absolute majority in parliament. The would-be Sultan was saved, at least for now. The implications for Turkey are profound. The lessons learned about the decline of the rulers and elites in Europe and the United States are of great interest as well.

To believe that ErdogŸan's AKP won the election, you need to believe the following: AKP party support increased 16% above the public opinion poll predictions and 20% over the June general election total.  The two-week period to the election when public polling is legally banned should have held the AKP at its high point of 42% or degraded its support somewhat. A clear majority of Turkish citizens oppose Turkey's support for Syrian rebels, including ISIS. Two public events were bombed killing nearly 200 HDP (Kurdish party) demonstrators. Both of these bombings were linked to ISIS, the worst of the Syrian rebel factions supported by the ErdogŸan gang. How can a party gain 20% in two weeks when its policies, support for Syrian rebels, came home in the form of terrorist bombings?

Sputnik News, Russian airliner rules out human, technical error in crash, Andrew Roth, Erin Cunningham and Daniela Deane, Nov. 2, 2015. The crash that killed 224 people could not have been caused by bad fuel or engine failure, as neither would have led to the plane's midair breakup over Egypt on Saturday, the official said.

Jerusalem Post, What’s Syrian about the Syrian war? Hakim Khatib, Nov. 2, 2015. After five years of the Syrian civil war, four conflicting parties can be identified on the ground: the Assad regime, Islamic State, Syria's Flagrebel groups and the Kurds. Each of these conflicting parties has regional and international backers, who ironically do not agree with each other about who they are fighting for or against. The Syrian regime is backed by Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Iraqi militias. Islamic State (IS) is backed by the flood of global jihadists from all over the world. Rebel groups are backed by Gulf States, Turkey, Jordan and the US. The Kurds are supported by the US. The war has been waged in Syria, it’s true, leading to over 50 percent of Syria’s population being displaced, over 220,000 killed and many more wounded or imprisoned. According to Amnesty International, more than 12.8 million Syrians are in “urgent need of humanitarian assistance.” In addition to this humanitarian catastrophe, most of Syria’s infrastructure has been destroyed.

By 2014, foreign jihadists fighting in Syria were estimated to number between 10,000 and 12,000, with more than 3,000 coming from Western countries. Accompanied by constant calls from mainly non-Syrian, Sunni clergymen for “material and moral” support for the Syrian rebels, thousands of foreign fighters flood into Syria for jihad every year. Not a single Syrian citizen has been left unaffected by the crisis; Syria is the site of a bloody war with no prospect of reconciliation in sight. So what is Syrian about the Syrian war? Perhaps, it is only the humanitarian catastrophe.

The Intercept, A New Biography Traces the Pathology of Allen Dulles and His Appalling Cabal, Jon Schwarz, Nov. 2, 2015. As I read The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret David Talbot "The Devil's Chessboard" Dulles Book coverGovernment, a new book by Salon founder David Talbot, I couldn’t help thinking of an obscure corner of 1970s history: the Safari Club. Dulles — the Princeton man and white shoe corporate lawyer who served as CIA director from 1953 to 1961, still the longest tenure in agency history — died in 1969 before the Safari Club was conceived. And nothing about it appears in The Devil’s Chessboard. But to understand the Safari Club is to understand Allen Dulles and his milieu. Any normal person would likely hear the Safari Club saga as a frightening story of totally unaccountable power. But if there’s one thing to take away from The Devil’s Chessboard, it’s this: Allen Dulles would have seen it differently — as an inspiring tale of hope and redemption.

Because what the Safari Club demonstrates is that Dulles’ entire spooky world is beyond the reach of American democracy. Even the most energetic post-World War II attempt to rein it in was in the end as effective as trying to lasso mist. And today we’ve largely returned to the balance of power Dulles set up in the 1950s. As Jay Rockefeller said in 2007 when he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, “Don’t you understand the way intelligence works? Do you think that because I’m chairman of the Intelligence Committee that I just say ‘I want it, give it to me’? They control it. All of it. All of it. All the time.”

New York Times, New U.S.-Backed Alliance to Counter ISIS in Syria Falters, Ben Hubbard, Nov. 2, 2015. Weeks after the Obama administration canceled a failed Pentagon program to train and arm Syrian rebels to combat the Islamic State, American officials announced a new effort to equip newly named ground forces in Syria to fight the jihadists. But 10 days of interviews and front-line visits across northern Syria with many of the forces in the alliance made clear that so far it exists in name only, and that the political and logistical challenges it faces are daunting. Beyond the early logistical factors, the new alliance faces what is perhaps a more serious challenge in the long term: Though it is intended to begin clawing back territory from the Islamic State in mostly Arab areas, nearly all of the group’s fighting power comes from ethnic Kurdish militias. That demographic reality is likely to further alarm Turkey, a vital American ally that considers Kurdish autonomy near its southern border a security threat. It also limits the forces’ ability to strike the jihadists in predominantly Arab communities — Kurdish fighters have less motivation to fight for those areas, and could deeply anger residents by doing so.

WhoWhatWhy, GMO Makers, Their Puppets in Academia, and The New York Times, Jonathan Latham, Nov. 2, 2015. Monsanto et al Mislead Public Using Every Trick in the Book.

Nov. 1


Turkey Election Results Nov. 1, 2015 Anadolu Agency

Turkey Election Results Nov. 1, 2015 Anadolu Agency

BBC, Turkey election: Ruling AKP regains majority, Staff report, Nov. 1, 2015. Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won a critical parliamentary election, regaining the majority it lost in June. With almost all ballots counted, state-run Anadolu Agency said AKP had won 49.4% of the vote, with the main opposition CHP on 25.4%. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the result was a "victory for our democracy and our people." The pro-Kurdish HDP crossed the 10% threshold needed to claim seats. The nationalist MHP will also take seats in Ankara. Polls had indicated the AKP would received only between 40-43% of the vote, in line with how it fared in June when it lost its majority for the first time in 13 years.

Attempts to form a coalition government after the June election failed. With almost all of the results counted, the AKP is set to win substantially more than the 276 seats needed to win a majority, allowing it to form a government on its own. However, it will fall just short of the amount of seats needed to call a referendum on changing the constitution and increasing the powers of the president, AKP founder Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The AKP's opponents had said the vote was a chance to curb what it sees as the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of Mr. Erdogan.

Washington Post, Russian official says airliner broke up in midair over Sinai, Erin Cunningham, Nov. 1, 2015. It was too early to tell what caused the plane to break apart and crash, killing all 224 aboard, the official said. Egyptians, meanwhile, are examining the two flight data recorders for clues to the cause of the crash.

AP via Huffington Post, Hundreds of Cops Kicked Off Force for Committing Sex Crimes, Matt Sedensky and Nomaan Merchant,  Nov. 1, 2015. In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, the Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.

The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action. California and New York - with several of the nation's largest law enforcement agencies - offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct. And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records. How many law enforcement officers are accused of sexual misconduct has no definitive answer. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, which collects police data from around the country, doesn't track officer arrests, and states aren't required to collect or share that information.

To measure the problem, the AP obtained records from 41 states on police decertification, an administrative process in which an officer's law enforcement license is revoked. Cases from 2009 through 2014 were then reviewed to determine whether they stemmed from misconduct meeting the Department of Justice standard for sexual assault - sexual contact that happens without consent, including intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.

Tikun, Pro-Israel Hedge Fund Billionaire, Paul Singer, Buys Large Stake in Rubio Inc., Richard Silverstein, Nov. 1, 2015. Sheldon Adelson and Marco Rubio (in an official photo) have been seen snuggling together for months now. The Marco Rubio officialGuardian reports the casino magnate is poised to buy his first stake in Rubio Inc. Rubio needs billionaires to ride to the GOP presidential nomination and Adelson is looking for a pro-Israel horse to ride to victory the sweepstakes. After this week’s dismal debate performance by Jeb Bush and Rubio’s supposedly cool-as-ice performance, another critical pro-Israel billionaire donor is laying his bet down on the Florida contender. Paul Singer, founder of the hedge fund powerhouse, Elliott Management, and largest individual donor to GOP election races, has gone “all in” on Rubio. To give a sense of the king of Republican bundlers prowess, he’s the third largest individual donor ($11.5-million) among all contributors to either party in 2014. And that’s just counting how own money and not the bundling he does by schnorring from his partners and other Wall Street vultures.

This means two things: Jeb Bush is dead meat. And Marco Rubio will likely (but not necessarily) be the eventual GOP nominee. If he is, we can expect more of the same sort of slavish pro-Israelism we saw in Newt Gingrich (Adelson’s early favorite) and Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign. But we shouldn’t expect much pushback from the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, because Haim Saban has bought a majority stake in Hillary Inc. Saban, is very well-connected and engaged in active Inside the Beltway machinations, will ensure Hillary will toe a pro-Israel line. In a Hillary-Rubio matchup my money is on Hillary. Rubio is a callow, empty suit. While he has moxie in spades, he has no gravitas, no mastery of any issues. He has a good backstory, child of immigrants makes good, which is what appeals to Adelson (who prides himself on his own Horatio Alger story). But a campaign and presidency needs more than a backstory.