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Thursday, June 13

I note Zarif doesn't include Pompeo in the B Team.

Interesting. 

Zarif Points to Lack of Evidence in US Allegations Against Iran on Gulf of Oman Attacks
05:28 - June 14, 2019
Sputnik

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday noted that the United States made allegations against Iran in relation to the recent attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Oman without presenting any evidence to substantiate its claims.
"That the US immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran—w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence—only makes it abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy—including by [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe]—and cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran," Zarif wrote on Twitter.
"I warned of exactly this scenario a few months ago, not because I'm clairvoyant, but because I recognize where the #B_Team is coming from," Zarif added.
Zarif uses the term B Team to refer to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.
Two vessels were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday. While the cause of the blasts remains unknown, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo claimed that Iran was behind the attack.
[END REPORT]
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How to survive a forest fire


"The large smoke plume from the fire encroaching on Malibu on November 9, 2018, seen from the Pacific Coast Highway" -  pix and text from Wikipedia's article on the Woolsey Fire. 


 Sheriffs yell to drivers to evacuate during the Camp Fire in Paradise, November 9, 2018. PG&E’s equipment caused the fire, state investigators have found. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The San Francisco Chronicle 2018

Karthik Suseel at riderstrail.com, a site about hiking and related activities, sent me this infographic on how hikers can increase their chance of survival if they're caught in a forest fire while hiking or camping. He sent the link when he read my October 2017 post The Year of Wind and Fire and Rain ... 

The Riders Trail infographic should be required reading for everyone because as you know or should know if you followed news at my blog on the November 2018 California Camp wildfires and Woolsey wildfirethe four that erupted at the same time in Portugal in June 2017, ones that erupted on the French Riveria in July 2017 and in other parts of the world, it's not only hikers and campers who can be caught in wildfires, which of course don't only start in forests.  Many such fires start as wind-driven grass fires, often from just a few sparks, as happened with the Camp Fires, one of which decimated the town of Paradise.

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Why yes, Idlib is Al Qaeda Central. Is there no end to U.S. perfidy in Syria?

"But it was the Western media -- not the Syrian government or its Russian and Iranian allies -- who have definitively exposed the overwhelming presence of terrorists in Idlib."

"The NYT posting pictures of illegible, nearly fully redacted pages and claiming it is 'evidence' comes across as self-inflicted satire."

"Some" information in the memos blacked out?  Some?


US Propaganda Blitz Ahead of Idlib's Liberation

June 12, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - Land Destroyer via NEO) - A concerted effort is being made to once again flood Western headlines with now familiar and long-since discredited war propaganda as Syrian forces and their Russian and Iranian allies move in on Idlib in northern Syria to liberate it from US-backed terrorists.


A recent New York Times article titled, "Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent," dusts off, combines, and repackages now nearly 8 years of Western war propaganda aimed at demonizing the Syrian government and paving way for regime change. 

While the article claims it now has "memos sent to Syria's head of military intelligence" to back up previous claims, it admits "some information was blacked out to protect the integrity of evidence for possible prosecutions." 

Yet in order to accuse a government publicly of maintaining "secret torture prisons," evidence must be provided. Instead, the NYT presented recycled accounts from "activists" and opposition figures as well as Western-funded fronts including the "Syrian Network for Human Rights" and the  "Commission for International Justice and Accountability" (CIJA).

The CIJA in particular is claimed by NYT to have collected the alleged memos. Nothing about the CIJA's background is provided by the NYT, nor can any website with background information be found.

However, the US government's Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) interviewed CIJA director of investigations and operations, Chris Engels in 2018. In the interview, CIJA's funding was discussed:
[CSCE:] Who funds CIJA? 

[Chris Engels:] We have had a number of donors over the years. Our current donors include the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, Germany, Demark, the Netherlands, and Norway.
Engels also openly admits that the CIJA works directly with the US government. In the interview he admits:
By design, CIJA has a strong relationship with U.S. law enforcement.
When asked if members of the US Congress have supported the work of CIJA, Engels would enthusiastically confirm so - citing proposed laws pertaining specifically to Syria.

In other words - nations committed to the overthrow of the Syrian government fund and support the CIJA's work in Syria - casting doubt on both their integrity and their motivations. Just as the NYT would be remiss to write an entire article based on claims made by the Syrian government itself - it is remiss in uncritically reporting the claims made by its opponents.

The fact that the CIJA's "evidence" is so heavily redacted that the NYT merely mentions it before building the rest of its article around older hearsay-accounts from its regular circle of "activists" and opposition figures, including the now notoriously discredited informant - "Caesar" - casts even further doubt.

The NYT appears to instead be contributing merely to the latest chapter of US-driven war propaganda aimed at undermining the Syrian government, protracting the Syrian conflict, and further dividing and destroying the nation.

Idlib is Al Qaeda Central  

A renewed barrage of war propaganda has been launched by the West in tandem with Syrian government efforts to move in on Idlib - the last bastion of Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations west of the Euphrates River.

A renewed barrage of war propaganda has been launched by the West in tandem with Syrian government efforts to move in on Idlib - the last bastion of Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations west of the Euphrates River.

But it was the Western media - not the Syrian government or its Russian and Iranian allies - who have definitively exposed the overwhelming presence of terrorists in Idlib.
In 2015, it was the Wall Street Journal that reported in its article, "Assad Loses Final Idlib Stronghold to Al Qaeda-led Insurgents," that:
After a two-year siege, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and other insurgents on Wednesday captured the one remaining Syrian army air base in Idlib, a development that activists said effectively expelled the last of President Bashar al-Assad’s military from the northwestern province.
Since 2015, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates have expanded and consolidated their control in the region. A more recent article published earlier this year by the BBC titled, "Syria war: Jihadist takeover in rebel-held Idlib sparks alarm," would explain (emphasis added):
The Islamic State group may have lost all its territory in Syria but a rival jihadist group has been making gains in the last remaining opposition stronghold in the north of the country - and it has got residents nervous. 

In a dramatic takeover last month, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) swept through towns and villages in Idlib province, as well as adjoining parts of Aleppo and Hama. 

The group - which was known as al-Nusra Front before it broke off formal ties with al-Qaeda three years ago - expelled some rebel factions and forced others to surrender and recognise a "civil administration" it backs.
In reality - US State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations like al-Nusra - have dominated fighting against the Syrian government since the conflict began in 2011 with the notion of "moderate rebels" a propaganda ploy to obfuscate the true nature of US-backed militants.

And while the BBC attempts to disassociate al-Nusra from Al Qaeda in its article by claiming it "broke off formal ties" three years ago - the US State Department itself in a 2018 amendment to its terrorist designation of al-Nusra would explicitly state (emphasis added):

In January 2017, al-Nusrah Front launched the creation of HTS as a vehicle to advance its position in the Syrian uprising and to further its own goals as an al-Qa’ida affiliate. Since January 2017, the group has continued to operate through HTS in pursuit of these objectives. 

The Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, noted that “today’s designation serves notice that the United States is not fooled by this al-Qa’ida affiliate’s attempt to rebrand itself. Whatever name Nusrah chooses, we will continue to deny it the resources it seeks to further its violent cause.”
The candor of the US State Department's amendment - however - is demonstratively contradicted by current, ongoing US support for the terrorists themselves as well as the current Western propaganda campaign aimed at protecting Al Qaeda under its various aliases from efforts by the Syrian government to remove them from Idlib and restore order there.

Idlib Propaganda Blitz: Barrel Bombs, Secret Torture Prisons, and Chemical Weapons 


If Idlib is admittedly overrun by terrorists - according to the West itself - then Syrian government efforts to remove them is justified.

Yet familiar themes from similar efforts aimed at preventing Syrian forces from liberating other cities and regions from terrorists are being dusted off and reused. This includes the rehabilitation of the so-called "White Helmets," a war propaganda troupe working side-by-side Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations - often aiding and abetting war crimes including summary executions.

The "White Helmets" are also key in promoting claims of "chemical weapon attacks." The "White Helmets" played a key role in staging the chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria in 2018 which served as a pretext to a US-led military strike on Syrian forces.

There is also the constant din of Western propagandists citing "barrel bombs," a term invented to describe unguided munitions - unguided munitions being neither against international conventions nor considered controversial by any standing military force, East or West - now or at any other time in the history of warfare. They are simply ordinary bombs given an ominous title in the service of otherwise dishonest Western-driven war propaganda.

The NYT's recent article recycling stories of "secret torture prisons" seeks to lump itself in with this propaganda blitz and more should be expected to follow.

Among the propaganda there is nothing new - no new information, no new accusations, no new or inventive ways to repackage or resell it. Redacted pages of what is supposed to be "evidence" of the Syrian government's crimes looks instead like the NYT and its Western-government funded source - the CIJA - have something to hide - not something to expose.

However - war propaganda alone cannot win a war. It can only enhance the strengths of a government or coalition who must already possess the means of winning any given war. The United States and its collaborators in its proxy war on Syria have already long-since lost. Ongoing propaganda campaigns only further undermine Washington's credibility and the credibility of media organizations serving its agenda.

The NYT posting pictures of illegible, nearly fully redacted pages and claiming it is "evidence" comes across as self-inflicted satire. 

US government and corporate foundation-funded fronts like "Human Rights Watch" repeating these dubious accusations and outright lies also indefinitely cripple their own credibility.

However dubious - ongoing propaganda still seeks to at the very least hamper and slow down Syrian security operations. The retaking of Idlib and the destruction of Al Qaeda's last significant base of operations in the country is key to stabilizing the region.

As the US continues positioning itself for war with nearby Iran - a festering terrorist foothold like Idlib would serve as a serious liability for Iranian efforts to defend itself at home while dealing with a serious, sudden offensive launched out of Idlib against its Syrian allies.

Thus it is key to expose and confront Western war propaganda at every juncture - no matter how ineffective it appears - to minimize its impact in this war - and every other Western war of aggression to come.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

[END REPORT]

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Europeans still up to no good in Syria

Take your eyes off them one minute and they're instigating. Always busy. Always busy. 

Meantime, the US-led Kurdish militants have held meetings with tribal leaders in al-Amr oil zone.

French-Dutch Delegations Arrive in Raqqa to Support US-Backed Separatist Objectives
June 12, 2019
FARS

[There are a number of newspapers in the Middle East with the name al-Watan; I'm assuming from the text hat the following report refers to the one in Syria.]

TEHRAN (FNA)- French-Dutch joint delegations have arrived in Kurdish-held regions in Raqqa in line with supporting their separatist objective in Syria, opposition sources told the state daily on Wednesday.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted Syrian opposition sources as saying that a joint delegation from French and Dutch foreign ministries have recently met with People’s Protection Units (YPG) commanders in Raqqa Province.

The newspaper noted that the meeting was held in line with supports from separatist objectives of the Kurdish fighters in Northeastern Syria, and said that the French delegation has declared its full preparedness to provide military, diplomatic and political support for these forces in Northeastern Syria.

Meantime, the Dutch-French delegation is to hold two meetings in Paris on June 25 and June 27 to review the manner of support for these forces with cooperation of France, Holland, the US and the UK as well as other countries.

In a relevant development in May, tens of trucks carrying the US military and logistical aids had been dispatched to the areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Eastern Euphrates despite declaring the end of the ISIL by Washington, media sources said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a convoy comprising 60 trucks containing logistic and military consignments as well as prefabricated houses was sent to Eastern Euphrates via Simalka crossing in Northern Iraq.

The SOHR also reiterated that about 20 trucks have also been sent to Kobani Airport and Kharab Ashk military base in Northern Aleppo, and said that the remaining of military aid was also sent to the areas under SDF control in al-Jazira region in Deir Ezzur province.

Also in May, media reports said that the Kurdish forces backed by the US-led coalition have prepared to launch military offensive against the Syrian Army and resistance forces in Deir Ezzur Province.

The Turkish-language Anatoly news agency quoted local sources as saying that after taking control of Eastern Euphrates region, the Kurdish fighters are preparing to launch an attack on Damascus-backed forces in Eastern Euphrates in Deir Ezzur.

It noted that the US-led coalition forces are training the Kurdish fighters in Ain Issa bases in Raqqa province and al-Amr oil region in Eastern Deir Ezzur, adding that the trainings include passing through mobile bridges and rivers.

The US-led coalition forces and Kurdish fighters are looking for winning the support of regional tribes for launching the attack after residents of the region called for holding massive protests in Eastern Euphrates and called for expulsion of US-backed Kurdish fighters.

Meantime, the US-led Kurdish militants have held meetings with tribal leaders in al-Amr oil zone.

[END REPORT]

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Tuesday, June 11

Bumbling CIA in North Korea and the executions that weren't

More frequently, he said, “My experience has been that the CIA has repeatedly thought that it had well-placed sources in North Korea, human sources, that really knew what was going on.…Those sources have more often than not proved to not know what’s going on.”

The CIA  will continue to bumble in North Korea as long as they don't understand what Kim really thinks of China's military and the CCP and what his father really thought about them. But maybe now that State and the Pentagon are feeling their way toward recognizing the seriousness of the threat from China, U.S. spy agencies will start to grow a brain about North Korea. 

Moving along:


This one's a keeper. Even before news trickled out that executed members of the nuclear negotiation team were seen walking around, MoA's Bernhard was detailing a string of astounding resurrections. Very funny reading for those who appreciate trench humor.  

North Korean Leader’s Slain Half Brother Was a CIA Source; Warren P. Strobel, Wall Street Journal, June 10: 
Kim Jong Nam, the slain half brother of North Korea’s leader, was a Central Intelligence Agency source who met on several occasions with agency operatives, a person knowledgeable about the matter said.
“There was a nexus” between the U.S. spy agency and Mr. Kim, the person said.
Mr. Kim, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia in February 2017, when two women smeared his face with the nerve agent VX. U.S. and South Korean officials have blamed the attack on North Korea, which it denies.
[...]
U.S. intelligence officials at first felt relief that the CIA’s interaction with Mr. Kim wasn’t exposed in the immediate aftermath of his killing, the person knowledgeable about the situation said. But three months after his death, in May 2017, the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that while in Malaysia, Kim Jong Nam met with a Korean-American whom Malaysian officials suspected was a U.S. intelligence officer.
Mr. Kim’s role as a CIA source also is described in a book about Kim Jong Un, “The Great Successor,” written by a Washington Post reporter and due to be published on Tuesday, according to news reports citing excerpts of the book. The Wall Street Journal hasn’t seen a copy of the book.
Mr. Kim traveled to Malaysia in February 2017 to meet his CIA contact, although that may not have been the sole purpose of the trip, the person knowledgeable about the matter said.
[...]
 Joel Wit, a former State Department official and senior fellow at the Stimson Center think tank, said the CIA occasionally has had useful sources among North Korean defectors who supplied information on topics like the country’s weapons program and missile exports.
 More frequently, he said, “My experience has been that the CIA has repeatedly thought that it had well-placed sources in North Korea, human sources, that really knew what was going on.…Those sources have more often than not proved to not know what’s going on.”
[...]
Meanwhile, Trump claims he wouldn’t have allowed CIA to recruit Kim Jong-un’s relatives; The Guardian, June 11

This has prompted the, uh, Atlantacists to complain that the U.S. President has sided with an enemy country against the CIA.

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Saturday, June 1

Saving power of photo of Golden Heart Lingam - Sathya Sai Baba UPDATED 12:30am ET-6/2

"This is the first time that anyone has ever heard Baba say this about a photo."

Closeup of a photograph of Sathya Sai Baba holding the Hiranyagarbha Lingam at the time he brought it forth on May 5, 1991


OM PREMAATHMANAAYA VIDHMAHE
HIRANYAGARBHAAYA DHEEMAHI
THANNAH SATHYAH PRACHODHAYAATH


From Sri Sathya Sai Baba Miracles website

Hiranyagarbha Lingham
By Connie Shaw
[...]

On May 5, 1991, Sathya Sai Baba materialized a golden egg that has several names and is rich with symbolism. Baba said that the Hiranyagarbha Lingham (Golden heart lingham) "contains the entire universe in a microscopic form. It is a manifestation of the Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (God as Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer). It is also the Atmic consciousness (Holy Spirit)--like a thread running through a pearl necklace. It is also the spiritual heart." In the Spiritual Heritage Museum in Puttaparthi there is a quote by Baba referring to the lingham (lingham in general) as the Cosmic Seed of Creation."

After Sai Baba had manifested it, he said that it is a great blessing for anyone to receive this photo [of the lingam] and that [the photo] should be kept in every home. His energy will work miracles through it. This is the first time that anyone has ever heard Baba say this about a photo.

Dr. M. Doraisingham, whom I had never met, who sent the photo to me from England, sent the following story in a four and a half page letter. Baba had just materialized the Golden Lingham while standing on the auditorium stage at the Trayee Brindavan Summer Course assembly ...
[...]



From Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiranyagarbha
Hiraṇyagarbha (Sanskrit: हिरण्यगर्भः ; literally the 'golden womb' or 'golden egg', poetically translated as 'universal germ') is the source of the creation of universe or the manifested cosmos in Vedic philosophy, as well as an avatar of Vishnu in the Bhagavata Purana.[1] It finds mention in one hymn of the Rigveda (RV 10.121), known as the Hiraṇyagarbha Sūkta, suggesting a single creator deity (verse 8: yo deveṣv ādhi devā eka āsīt, Griffith: "He is the God of gods, and none beside him."), identified in the hymn as Prajāpati. The concept of the "golden womb" is again mentioned in the Vishvakarman Sūkta (RV 10.82).
The Upanishad calls it the Soul of the Universe or Brahman,[2] and elaborates that Hiraṇyagarbha floated around in emptiness and the darkness of the non-existence for about a year, and then broke into two halves which formed the Svarga and the Pṛthvi.
In classical Purāṇic Hinduism, Hiraṇyagarbha is the term used in the Vedanta for the "creator". Hiraṇyagarbha is also Brahmā, so called because it is said he was born from a golden egg (Manu Smṛti 1.9), while the Mahābhārata calls it the Manifest.[3]
[...]
Pundita note: I want to make clear that by quoting Connie Shaw I am simply using the best-known English-language description of the lingam manifestation in 1991. I never met Ms Shaw and have no association whatsoever with her and those in her circle. But given the times, I will emphasize that Sathya Sai Baba never worked through human intermediaries, and doesn't now. Sathya Sai Baba is dead. He's been dead since 2011. Then can one still pray to him? Well sure; no matter how the message is addressed it gets to the same post box, you understand.

UPDATE  

But this Golden Heart Lingam, which according to the above article, Sai Baba 'dematerialized' within a few hours of manifesting it, strikes me as special. While it seems he materialized another such lingam some years later, at Puttaparthi, it's as if Sathya Sai Baba's comment at the time about the 1991 lingam was to indicate that just the photograph of it could be considered a universal intermediary for him, and so just seeing the photographic image was a great blessing for the beholder, no matter what his faith or whether he knew anything about Sai Baba.    

My interpretation of his words could be wrong, of course, but I thought it worth mentioning.  

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Thursday, May 9

I ain't dead yet

Recuperating  Story of Yanxi Palace getting me through. I'm up to Episode 14. Much thanks Bernhard Moon of Alabama for mentioning this global mega-hit. Will check in again on Monday, I think. 

Yanxi Palace closing theme song, English subtitles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdxKy-keM7w





Tuesday, April 30

Readings 4/30 Updated 1:10 PM

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-ebola/congo-registers-record-of-27-new-ebola-cases-in-one-day-idUSKCN1S5223

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2019/04/ebola-spreading-record-pace-drc-now-1466-cases

Senior [Iraqi] MP Slams US for Creating Safe Zone for ISIL at Iraq-Syria Borderhttp://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980209000876

The Hidden Challenge of the Restoration of Notre-Damehttps://www.voltairenet.org/article206340.html

https://www.afp.com/en/news/826/illegal-logging-brazil-turns-amazon-powder-keg-doc-1f278p3
UPDATES
Afghanistan’s Hired Guns
https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-04-26/us-employs-unprecedented-number-of-security-contractors-in-afghanistan

The number of private contractors in America’s longest war jumped at an unprecedented rate in the last three months. By Paul D. Shinkman Senior National Security Writer, US News & World Report, April 26, 2019
[...]
The extent to which the U.S. needs more security contractors because of a deteriorating situation on the ground is unclear, largely because the Trump administration, like its predecessors, has opted to withhold pertinent information. Faced with reports of a rising death toll among Afghan soldiers and national police officers, the government in Kabul – with U.S. support – stopped releasing those figures two years ago.
[...]

From Foreign Policy News summaries, 4/29, 4/30
Second Cyclone Hits Mozambique
Top News: A powerful cyclone hit Mozambique while the country was still recovering from another devastating storm six weeks ago. Cyclone Kenneth caused widespread flooding, killed at least nine people, and has destroyed 35,000 homes. It’s the first time in recorded history two cyclones have hit Mozambique in one season. Cyclone Idai hit the country six weeks ago, killing over 600 people.



Heavy rains are forecast for the next several days, which U.N. officials fear will worsen the situation. Aid agencies and workers are struggling to deliver relief supplies to people in rural areas affected by the cyclone due to damaged roads.

Japan: Emperor Akihito told those gathered at his abdication ceremony that he “wished Japan and the world peace and prosperity.” He is the first Japanese monarch in 200 years to step back from his role, a move which will formally take effect at midnight. The Emperor’s son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday.

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Monday, April 29

Readings 4/29

If Sam is right, Steele didn't need Russians:

4/28 Sic Semper Tyrannis:  
From Pat Lang's comment section. Sam commenting: "While I knew about Nellie Ohr and her DOJ husband , what I didn't know was that while she worked for Fusion GPS , fusion was a FBI contractor that had access to NSA database until Admiral Rogers shut it down . Sounds Like Brennan's CIA laundered information to EX-CIA Nellie Ohr when she was working for Fusion GPS who then laundered this info to Steele , another person employed by Fusion who then gave this back to Bruce Ohr of DOJ who then gave it to the FBI . And they all got paid for their " research " . This then was used to deceive the FISA court . But Admiral Rogers went to this court and warned Trump of the spying and violations of constitutional rights . Shortly after Obama fired admiral Rogers . Sounds fishy to me ? what do you think ?"

4/28 from MoA week in review
A six-part investigation of Greta Thunberg and the powers behind her climate campaign:
Cory Morningstar (aka @elleprovocateur) - The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – A Decade of Social Manipulation for the Corporate Capture of Nature [ACT VI – Crescendo]Similar powers are behind the New Green Deal (explained here (vid)) that some Democrats are pushing for. Cory ends her piece with a link to a highly recommendable 2004 talk by Arundhati Roy on The NGO-ization of resistance (vid).
On a quite similar note:
Jacob Levich (aka @cordeliers) - Bill Gates and the Myth of Overpopulation


‘We will not bow to the giant’: Indian farmers sued by PepsiCo reject any settlement



Earth Losing 50,000 Square Miles Tropical Rain Forest Annually



Friday, April 26

Four minutes

I'll return in two weeks. Until then,
Best regards to all,
Pundita




Neo-Nazis okay in Ukraine but not US, eh, Mr Biden?

From Politico, April 25:
The campaign world knew that Joe Biden would announce his presidential bid Thursday in an early morning video release. But few were expecting it would be so dark and funereal.
Filled with extensive footage of white supremacists marching with torches, scenes of Nazi and Confederate flags and pegged to President Trump’s reaction to the 2017 racist march in Charlottesville [Virginia], the 3-minute, the 30-second spot was an unlikely announcement video — especially for Uncle Joe, one of the last of the happy warriors.
[...]
Politico might have pointed out that in addition to being a happy warrior, he was for years a staunch supporter of the infamously pro-neo-nazi regime of Ukraine's President Peto Poroshenko, who thank God lost his bid for reelection earlier this month.  

So I'm having a hard time squaring that with Biden's words in the campaign launch video. To return to the Politico report (which features the video): 
The former vice president spoke gravely about the violence in Charlottesville and the Klansmen and neo-Nazis who sparked it — “their crazed faces illuminated by torches, veins bulging and baring the fangs of racism, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the 30s.”
He didn't have to cast as far back as the 1930s. From The Nation's May 2018 report, America’s Collusion With Neo-Nazis:
§ That stormtrooper-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other “impure” citizens are widespread throughout Kiev-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. 
§ And that the police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neofascist acts or prosecute them. On the contrary, Kiev has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorializing Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms and their leaders during World War II, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more.
§ Or that Israel’s official annual report on anti-Semitism around the world in 2017 concluded that such incidents had doubled in Ukraine and the number “surpassed the tally for all the incidents reported throughout the entire region combined.” By the region, the report meant the total in all of Eastern Europe and all former territories of the Soviet Union.
As The Nation clearly explains and as the Ukrainian-American author Lev Golinkin clearly explained in 2017 for The Hill (The reality of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is far from Kremlin propaganda), it is nonsense that the Russians made up or exaggerated stories about the Poroshenko regime's involvement with neo-Nazis.

Here readers outside the U.S. might ask whatever possessed  Biden to launch his campaign with references that bring to mind his tolerance for neo-Nazis. 

Perhaps Biden's advisors wanted to inoculate him as best they could against the point I've brought up, should it become an issue in the Democratic primary or the national election if he wins the primary. One thing is certain. Biden would have virtually the entire U.S. mainstream media on his side if he dismissed as Russian propaganda evidence about Poroshenko's involvement with neo-Nazis. As The Nation observed:
Americans cannot be faulted for not knowing these facts. They are very rarely reported and still less debated in the mainstream media, whether in newspapers or on television. To learn about them, Americans would have to turn to alternative media and to their independent writers, which rarely affect mainstream accounts of the new Cold War.
And yet:
The significance of neo-Nazism in Ukraine and at least the tacit official U.S support or tolerance for it should be clearly understood:
§ This did not begin under President Trump but under President George W. Bush, when then Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s “Orange Revolution” began rehabilitating Ukraine’s wartime killers of Jews, and it grew under President Obama, who, along with Vice President Joseph Biden, were deeply complicit in the Maidan coup and what followed.
Then too the American mainstream media scarcely noticed. Still worse, when a founder of a neo-Nazi party and now repackaged speaker of the Ukrainian parliament visited Washington in 2017, he was widely feted by leading American politicians, including [Republican] Senator John McCain and Representative Paul Ryan. ...
When it comes to Ukraine, government officials and politicians on both sides of the political aisle, and the media outlets that act as their mouthpieces have a great deal to keep under the rug. They're able to do this because they know many American voters couldn't find Ukraine on a map. 

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Scientific American takes a whack at explaining the Biotic Pump



Clearing Forests May Transform Local—and Global—ClimateJudith D. Schwartz, March 4, 2013, Scientific American
[...]
The "biotic pump" theory argues that natural forests act as a “pump” that draws moisture inland. According to this concept, first described in a 2007 paper by Russian physicists Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makarieva of the Saint Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute in the peer-reviewed Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, condensation, rather than temperature differential, is a primary driver of weather.
Here's a snapshot of the concept: The concentration of trees in wooded areas means a high rate of transpiration. This moist air cools as it ascends and the water vapor condenses, producing a partial vacuum. This creates an air pressure gradient, whereby the forest canopy sucks in moist air from the ocean. According to Gorshkov and Makarieva, forests don't merely grow in wet areas, they create and perpetuate the conditions in which they grow.
Without forest cover—specifically mature, natural forest to ensure sufficient biomass and resilience—moisture is no longer pulled in, the physicists say. Rain becomes erratic and ultimately stalls.
The Russian scientists associate the unprecedented heat and drought in their country over the last few years with rapid deforestation in western Russia.
The theory is controversial; indeed, it challenges the viability of the climate models currently in use. The theory “explains why in forested regions precipitation does not decrease with distance from the ocean, even thousands of kilometers, while the interiors of deforested parts of continents become dry already a few hundred kilometers away from the oceanic coast,” they wrote in an e-mail. 
"Condensation of water vapor over forests creates pressure gradients that have been shown to be sufficient to drive winds that bring moisture from ocean to land."
Should the biotic pump be confirmed by further research, it brings new urgency to the need to protect forests. 
“Most climate models recognize the role of 'precipitation cycling' in forests, but not moisture transport by forests,” Makarieva and Gorshkov say. The difference is significant: if deforestation means simply reduced evaporation, the decline of precipitation would be significant but not catastrophic, around 15 percent; however, rains depend on imported moisture. If the vehicle for transport—an intact forest—is impaired, that's a different story.
The physicists say: “In our theory, imported moisture will decline if the forest is destroyed, especially in the inland portion of the continent. If there is no imported moisture there is nothing to be evaporated, so the water cycle will undergo a dramatic—not minor—reduction of intensity.” 
In the Amazon, they add, this could be up to 90 percent.
[...] 

Even more fun is watching Dr Makarieva explain air to non-theoretical physicists.  "You know, some people think when it rains the air goes down. This is not so." 

(8:53 minute mark, YouTube) 



I'm hoping if I keep this up long enough I'll get an email from Dr Makarieva asking, "What part don't you understand?" 

What I really want to know is whether greenhouse gases become more of a temperature determinant the more that biotic pumps fail; i.e., the more that mature coastal forests are wiped out.     

******** 

Islamic State,.al-Qaeda training camps and hideouts in Latin America

The John Batchelor Show has been warning about this for years but it's nice to see Russian military intelligence catching up:

GRU chief warns of ISIS & Al-Qaeda terrorist camps in Latin America
26 April, 2019 - 02:50 Edited 05:39
RT

The activity of jihadists affiliated to Islamic State and Al-Qaeda has been spotted in Latin America as they recruit fighters and promote extremist ideology among local Muslims, Russian GRU chief Igor Kostyukov said.

"Among the new risk factors is the emergence of jihadist training camps and hideouts in the region," Igor Kostyukov, the head of Russia's main intelligence directorate (the GRU), said during the annual Moscow Conference on International Security.

The jihadists currently operating in Latin America are linked to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, he added.
"They recruit fighters to bolster their ranks in the Middle East and North Africa, collect funds and promote extremist ideology among the region's six-million Muslim population," Kostyukov warned. He didn't name specific countries where the jihadist camps have been discovered.

Last year, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales Cabrera said that around 100 people linked to IS and other groups were arrested in his country and deported to where they came from.

[END REPORT]

See also: "ISIS & Al-Qaeda still a threat as jihadist cells spread in Europe, Asia – Moscow" April 18, RT