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RIP Dolores O'Riordan, Cranberries

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jan 16th, 2018 at 01:27:38 AM EST

Dolores O'Riordan (46), Lead Singer of The Cranberries has died.

Read more... (5 comments, 247 words in story)

Challenging Russia with Swarming Suicide Drones in Syria

by Oui Mon Jan 15th, 2018 at 10:00:06 AM EST

Challenging Russia with the drone swarming attack in Syria, any state actor would pay a price. In Idlib province, the rebels are supported by Turkey, Gulf States and Israel. I do not think the U.S. or western allies of NATO would be involved in the logistic backing of such an attack. There are enough states with the capability of course, but there needs to be a political motivation.

Do we need a reminder the proxy wars involving jihadist rebels are funded and supporte by the above mentioned states? The same nations have strong military backing from the United States in aggression against Iran. See also the alliance to fight the civil war in Yemen with all the atrocities and war crimes. Next to Saudi Arabia with young Crown Prince Salman, a new darling of the West, an important state actor is the Emirates (UAE) with strong military support from the United States .... and home base of XE or Academia or Blackwater of Erik Prince. These US mercenaries have swarmed its presence out over the globe to any hotspot of warfare, Afghanistan and Ukraine included.

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Israel's Aeronautics [under criminal investigation]  Orbiter 1K drone, also known as a 'suicide drone'

In Syria, Russia and Israel are in a political and military stand-off. Through its advanced technological drone warfare, Israel has an alliance with former Soviet bloc states like Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine.

More below the fold ...

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How Xenophobia and Targeted Funding Sank Democrats

by Oui Sat Jan 13th, 2018 at 08:40:33 AM EST

Hate spreading outward from Trump's White House. The new nominations mirror the conservative beliefs in denial: climate change, fake news items, plain lies mixed with fundamental "Christian" fallacies on inequality and wealth (see also Mitt Romney in 2012).

Dutch Reporters Stun Trump's Ambassador By Pressing Him to Admit He Lied About "No-Go Zones"| The Intercept |

... saga goes on ...

After Hoekstra had presented his credentials to the Dutch king in the Hague on Wednesday, the former U.S. representative told reporters that he would be "moving on" from the controversy over his remarks.

But the reporters failed to play along, with one quickly asking, "Will you be visiting our 'no-go areas?'"

More below the fold ...

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Not In My Backyard

by Oui Fri Jan 12th, 2018 at 10:49:30 AM EST

Follow-up diary of my previous ...

Envoy Hoekstra Acts Just Like His Boss Trump

Participated in the public debate when mayor Wim Deetman (Labor Party) tried to convince us elderly the new U.S. Embassy should be build in a park called Clingendael. A stone's throw from where I lived, the local people would have none of it and launched a loud protest against the mayor. Speaker after speaker voiced their opposition with well placed arguments to the historical neighborhood. The criticism really got under the mayors' skin and he quickly got very pissed, threatened to shut down the debate bij leaving the public meeting. That had the opposite effect on us elders of course!

During the German occupation 1940-1945, The Hague as most large cities, had suffered greatly from fascist administration. Seyss-Inquart took possession of the large villa in Park Clingendael. In many places, the German SS tortured their political prisoners and many were executed in the dunes of Waalsdorpervlakte where every year a remembrance ceremony is held and televised in moments of silence.

More below the fold ...

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Unbelievable ... Jaap De Hoop Scheffer

by Oui Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 09:57:14 PM EST

"The West should respect the red lines of Russia."

Yep, just recently I met the former NATO secretary general while buying a book as Xmas present for a friend. JDHS is a former acquaintance long before he became Dutch foreign minister of the Iraq War fame.

Ever since I have seen the SG become more entangled in the web of right-wing intrigues of an aggressive NATO policy of the West. Just very recently a so-called independent policy group advised the Rutte cabinet on Dutch foreign policy issues. I was saddened by its neoconservative attitude. I was even more surprised to find JDHS as chair for the foreign policy forum, hardly an independent thinker after all those years of supporting military AngloSaxon policy for the West.

Here are a few snippets from his interview ...

'NATO should not have committed to membership of Ukraine and Georgia'

NATO has driven Vladimir Putin into a corner, making him more radical. These are not the words of Russia, but those of NATO's former Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

According to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the West must respect the Russian red line. The speed of NATO enlargement has contributed to Putin's aggressive stance in the former Soviet Union.

NATO should not have committed to Ukraine and Georgia in 2008, the former NATO executive said. He calls it understandable that Putin has opposed it. "He said to me, after the communiqué came true: mister secretary-general, this will not be. This is not going to happen!"

More below the fold ...

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Europe's Frontier: A Rusted Iron Curtain

by Oui Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 09:58:35 AM EST

"Europe faces a threat to its cohesion. But this time it's on the eastern front, not the western"

The Observer view on the EU's eastern bloc | Editorial - Jan. 7, 2018 |

European leaders have been at pains over the past 12 months to emphasise that Brexit is not the only or even the biggest issue confronting the EU. They do so, in part, to keep the British in their place. But they also speak the truth. Whether it is eurozone reform, the rise of xenophobic extremism or growing pressure exerted by Russia ...

Yet the EU's biggest challenge in 2018 may be none of the above. It comes from within. It has been slowly emerging along the bloc's central and eastern flanks since the so-called Visegrád Group of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic acceded in 2004.

More below the fold  ...

Front paged - Frank Schnittger

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Protests In Iran - Hardliners vs Elite Reformers

by Oui Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 05:58:17 AM EST

Analysis at the start of deadly protest which lasted a week ...

2 dead as Iran warns protesters will 'pay the price' | Dawn |

As videos on social media showed thousands marching across the country, an official in the small western town of Dorud confirmed two people had been killed during protests, but denied security forces had fired on the crowd.

"A number of people took to the streets responding to calls from hostile groups," Lorestan province deputy governor Habibollah Khojastehpour told state television. "Unfortunately in these clashes two citizens from Dorud were killed. No bullets were fired by the police, military or security forces towards the people."

Videos on social media overnight showed demonstrations in Isfahan, Mashhad and many smaller cities but travel restrictions and limited coverage by official media made it difficult to confirm reports.

Semi-official conservative outlets confirmed an evening attack on a town hall in Tehran and showed protesters attacking banks and municipal buildings in other parts of the country.

"Those who damage public property, disrupt order and break the law must be responsible for their behaviour and pay the price," Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli said on state television early on Sunday. "The spreading of violence, fear and terror will definitely be confronted," he added.

In one of the few official reports, an official in Arak , around 300 kilometres southwest of Tehran, said 80 people had been arrested overnight.

More below the fold ...

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Checking in with the World's Winds

by gmoke Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 04:16:46 AM EST

I like to see the maps of the Arctic Jet Stream every day or so (http://squall.sfsu.edu/gif/jetstream_norhem_00.gif).
They look like dragons and other creatures
chasing each other around the North Pole.

Then I look at the Global Map of Wind, Weather, and Ocean conditions (https:/earth.nullschool.net)
which animates the winds and ocean currents in what seems like real-time
in full color
coded according to the speed.
I look for where the rare red winds are.

Usually, last, I pull up the World Cloud Cover map (http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/comp/wv/LATEST_WV.gif)
to see how it relates to the other two images
and make sure the equatorial rainforests are
still making rain.

Sometimes, late at night
I look at the Northern Lights
from the Churchill, Manitoba Northern Studies Centre live camera (https:
/youtu.be/kDWh0ijwCp0).
Even when the Northern Lights aren't shining,
I'll often just
listen to the sounds
of that distant wind.

It reminds me where I live.

Comments >> (6 comments)

Predictions for 2018

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 01:12:21 AM EST

At this time of the year we often test our prognostication skills by making some predictions for 2018.  Please add your own in the comments. Here's some to start the conversation:

  1. Brexit - becomes less and less important in EU27 countries. A poll finds that 29% of Europeans think it has happened already. No Brexit deal is agreed in 2018, with the first deal negotiated rejected by the UK Parliament or withdrawn before Parliament can reject it. UK economic growth continues to decline. May says she will deliver a red, white and blue Brexit. With British passports becoming  blue again, she has already delivered one third of her election promises.

  2. A Hollywood star will be outed for not abusing women.

  3. New CDU/SDP Grand Coalition in Germany builds alliance with Macron on an EU reform agenda. A Eurozone Finance Minister is appointed with a budget equivalent to Juncker's expense account.

  4. Trump starts a war somewhere about something in time for Mid-term elections.

  5. Trump and the Republicans lose control of Senate in Mid-Term elections undermining Trump's agenda but Democrats do their best to implement much of it anyway.

  6. Putin becomes President for life with 103% of the vote.

Read more... (41 comments, 543 words in story)

Downers Stradling the EU Entry and British Exit

by Oui Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 05:59:25 PM EST

From my diary - Papadopoulos and Australian Spy Chief in a London Bar.

Australia was wounded when Britain joined the EU. Now we can make things right - as partners  By Alex Downer

I am not the first member of my family to serve as Australian High Commissioner to the UK. My father held the position between 1964 and 1972. You will understand the significance of that period.

For the past few years of his posting my father argued, sometimes acrimoniously, with the British government about the damage the UK's terms of accession to the EEC - as it was then called - would do to Australia.

Over four decades later I am talking somewhat more amiably with Whitehall about the consequences for Australia of Britain's departure from the EU. So there you have it. Britain's adventure in the EU has been bookended by the Downer family.

Let's be frank. (We Australians do frank quite well.) My father's generation was deeply hostile to Britain abandoning those Commonwealth countries [pdf] which had stood by her in her darkest hour.

In two world wars, New Zealand, Australia and Canada - with India, South Africa and other members of the then Empire - sent thousands upon thousands of troops, airmen and sailors to help save Britain from the Germans.

And during the Second World War, following the fall of Hong Kong and Singapore in 1941, we Australians also had to deal with the Japanese on our doorstep.

Despite this sacrifice, the attitude of the Heath government in the Seventies was "So what?" Government is about the national interest, not emotion. Britain had to make its future in Europe and we could make our futures somewhere else.  

Further reading ...

A journey into Downer's dark past

In international trade, there are no best friends

by Frank Schnittger Sun Dec 31st, 2017 at 04:29:43 PM EST

John Bruton is a former Irish Prime Minister and EU ambassador to the USA. Like Leo Varadker, he was leader of Fine Gael, the most conservative and arguably the least nationalistic party in Ireland. Indeed he was the leader of the least nationalistic and most conservative wing of that party. So much so, that that he was dubbed "John Unionist" by his rival, Fianna Fail leader and then Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, for his willingness to crack down on IRA violence and to accommodate Unionist demands on almost everything.

I give you this background to emphasise that there has been no more conservative and Anglophile figure prominent in Irish politics, and one sympathetic to both UK Conservative and DUP Unionist concerns. And yet he has some dire warnings for the UK about the difficulties they are likely to encounter in phase 2 of the Brexit negotiations:

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Social Engineering in the Digital Cyber Age

by Oui Sat Dec 30th, 2017 at 11:52:25 AM EST

The importance of the U.S. Presidential election and how difficult it will be to maintain democratic values.

In my analysis, the U.S. Election 2016 was unprecedented in malevolent intervention from Intelligence agencies from major world powers. The nations of the Asian continent have undoubtedly worked hard in hacking and cyber crimes on an equal basis as the Western world.

More and more, there is more than meets the eye in the whole #Russiagate affair of deception, espionage, smoke and mirrors. My belief there were people set-up around the original Republican funded Trump dossier. There were fall guys introduced, an FBI mole within the Trump campaign HQ and the bogus and poorly documented Steel dossier that was actually written and produced by Fusion GPS.

The Mueller investigation should focus on the role Fusion GPS played, the main characters Glenn Simpson and his spouse Jacoby.

Originally the Trump opposition dossier was funded by intrigant Paul Singer and a source within the Emirates (Abu Dhabi). The UAE has worked hand in glove with the Saudi regime in Yemen and in the Syrian civil war. Now the Gulf States (minus Qatar) have been cooperation with Israeli intelligence to turn US foreign policy in their favor and contribute all terror to the Islamic State of Iran.

Saudi and Israel intelligence had earlier joined forces in false-flag attacks in Syria. Both countries backed Al Qaeda and the Al-Nusra foreign fighters against Assad.
King Salman failed in his attempt to open a new battle front in Lebanon by incarcerating Saad Hariri.

Today, the Saudi regime with all its wealth, will do a new attempt to get Pakistan and its new leaders to follow the foreign policy demands of King Salman. Pakistan of course possesses the Islamic Nuclear bomb.

A werlcome sign for the region, unrest in a number of cities in Iran today. Most likely initiated by economic austerity measures, price hikes and the frustration of Iranians fighting and dying for a cause in foreign nations.

Escalation Towards Military Strike on Iran's Nuclear Facilities
Stuxnet: US-Israel Cooperation Cyber Warfare on Iran (2011)
The Saudi-Israeli Alliance and Piggy-back Coup of 2005

Cyber warfare after the joint US-Israeli Stuxnet Operation

More below the fold ...

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Christian Zionists Collude with Alt-right Trump

by Oui Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 10:29:02 AM EST

[Note: Trump's appreciation for support to get elected was rewarded with his gift of Jerusalem to the "Jewish" State of Israel]

The rise of the alt-right in Western politics due to Middle-East wars [neocon policy] and the refugee crisis in its aftermath. Also the effects of Anglo-American banking, financial institutions, off-shore deposits, stock market, corporate might in capitals and political parties causing wealth accumulation by the 0.1%. The rich getting richer, turning the dials of tax reform, promising trickle-down cents for the working majority. Instead inequality is on the rise in the last 50 years and people's revolutions are managed for regime change in the mirror of American capitalism while undermining labor rights. Welcome to the new year 2018, more of the same?

Attacking church sermons on Christmas Day ....

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Murdoch's WSJ Editorial Board Going Bats**t

by Oui Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 11:25:20 AM EST

From the moment Rupert Murdoch bought the Wall Street Journal in 2007, I've have been quite critical of the articles written by its staff.

The topics of real concern: Israel and Saudi Arabia cooperation with Islamic extremists fighting with the opposition in Syria, the Ghouta gas attack of August 2013, Saudi and Israel sharing intelligence on Sinai terrorists.

Furthermore any credence given to Murdoch's star fiction writer Louise Mensh, a former British MP, with obvious inputs from the British and US intelligence communities on Trump and Russia.

A nice work of journalism on the internal battle at WSJ published in Vanity Fair...

A series of virulent anti-Mueller editorials has reporters worried about their paper's credibility.

More below the fold ...

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The Return of Pete Hoekstra to Holland

by Oui Fri Dec 22nd, 2017 at 10:41:55 PM EST

Martin you beat me to it.

Of course his appointment was announced many months ago. His alt-right extremist statements were scrutinized at the time.

Dutch Wary of Trump's Ambassador, Who Imagines "No-Go Zones" in Netherlands

Dutch colony in Michigan ... Pete is most likely Dutch Reformed ... the religion of the Dutch slave trade and Apartheid in South Africa.

Afrikaner Nationalism and the Boer Wars

Hoekstra already adores the country of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders. Wilders has not participated in any coalition talks to form a new cabinet. Wilders is well represented in Dutch parliament, however he is in a downward trend in the polls. A new generation of the alt-right is pushing forward, easily compared to the German AfD party which has made some gains in recent elections.

PVV party candidate Géza Hegedüs, trashed within 24 hours due to extremist views

Awful Dutch representation in Republican spheres: Pete Hoekstra - De Vos - Erik Prince

More below the fold ...

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Fairytale of New York

by Frank Schnittger Fri Dec 22nd, 2017 at 12:05:46 PM EST

Happy Christmas to all at the European Tribune!

Lyrics

It was Christmas eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me: won't see another one
And then they sang a song
The rare old mountain dew
I turned my face away and dreamed about you
Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
Where all our dreams come true.

Read more... (5 comments, 401 words in story)

The World Rejects Trump in UN Jerusalem Vote

by Oui Fri Dec 22nd, 2017 at 09:08:01 AM EST

With the Unites States voted against the measure: Guatamala, Honduras, Togo, Israel and four Pacific Island states Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Nauru.

UNGA votes 128-9 to reject US decision on Jerusalem, 35 abstentions | Deutsche Welle |

A total of 128 UN member states voted in favor of a draft measure that declares US President Trump's Jerusalem decision "null and void." The overwhelming backing for the resolution came despite US threats to cut funding.

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UN General Assembly adopts resolution on status of Jerusalem

An emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on Thursday condemning US President Donald Trump's decision to name Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The draft resolution before the 193-member UN General Assembly reaffirms that Jerusalem is an issue that must be resolved through peace negotiations with Palestine and Israel. It would also make Trump's recent Jerusalem decision "null and void."

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the result, calling it a "a victory for Palestine."

Continued below the fold ...

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Those dreary Steeples, again.

by Frank Schnittger Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 10:44:17 PM EST

As Brexit rapidly recedes from the front pages of European newspapers I imagine that problems specific to N. Ireland will induce an even greater yawn in everyone outside Ireland and nerdy political and diplomatic circles.  Never mind that problems specific to the Irish border have already effectively meant that the UK has had to concede continued regulatory alignment with the rules of the Single Market and Customs Union post Brexit in phase 1 of the Brexit talks. This in turn rules out the Canada plus, plus, plus option and means the UK will effectively remain within the European Economic Area, whether it realises or not.

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The CIA from James Angleton to James Clapper

by Oui Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 04:31:51 AM EST

From my earlier post on the reliability of CIA spy master James clapper - here.

Jim Clapper Just Nuked the Trump Presidency

In particular, Trump's flashy 1987 trip to the Soviet Union - an obvious KGB operation to anyone versed in Chekist matters - led to his becoming an apparent agent of influence for Moscow. That is, a conduit for political favors and information, often in exchange for commercial deals of the sort Trump has always prized. Knowing this, the history of the Trump Organization over the last few decades takes on a different coloration.

What exactly is Donald Trump's relationship to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin? It seems likely that nobody outside Moscow knows the full story, and we should expect it will take years of investigation by Team Mueller and the IC to unravel this murky three-decade saga. The well-honed Chekist habit of planting disinformation to throw Western counterspies off course, which already seems to be at work in the Trump investigation, promises to drag this inquiry out even longer. Don't plan on pleasant answers either.

Earlier, CIA asset Schindler wrote about the "pee-pee" tape ...

Continued below the fold ...

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Admitting a mistake

by Frank Schnittger Tue Dec 19th, 2017 at 02:24:56 PM EST

Admitting a mistake, in life as in politics, is, for many people, one of the hardest things to do. An Independent opinion poll now shows "Remainers" with a 10% lead over Brexiteers and this rises to 11% if don't knows are excluded or pushed for an answer. However most of the change of heart is amongst those who didn't actually vote in the referendum.

BMG Research head of polling, Dr Michael Turner, said: "The last time Leave polled ahead of Remain was in February 2017, and since then there has been a slow shift in top-line public opinion in favour of remaining in the EU.

"However, readers should note that digging deeper into the data reveals that this shift has come predominantly from those who did not actually vote in the 2016 referendum, with around nine in ten Leave and Remain voters still unchanged in their view.

"Our polling suggests that about a year ago, those who did not vote in the referendum were broadly split, but today's poll shows that they are now overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU, by a margin of more than four to one."

So the bottom line is that Brexit remorse is predominantly among those who didn't actually vote in the referendum. Few who actually voted for Brexit have changed their minds.

Read more... (41 comments, 1218 words in story)
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News and Views

 15 - 21 January 2018

by Bjinse - Jan 15, 17 comments

Your take on this week's news

 8 - 14 January 2018

by Bjinse - Jan 10, 73 comments

Your take on this week's news

 Open Thread 15 - 21 Jan

by Bjinse - Jan 15, 2 comments

Never give a thread an even break

 Open Thread 1 - 14 Jan

by Bjinse - Jan 3, 21 comments

Merry 2018!

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