Author: Systematic

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United States: Regime change comes home

James Petras writes in 99GetSmart: The norms of US capitalist democracy include the election of presidential candidates through competitive elections, unimpeded by force and violence by the permanent institutions of the state. Voter manipulation has occurred during the recent elections, as in the case of the John F. Kennedy victory in 1960 and the George W. Bush victory over ‘Al’ Gore in 2000. But despite the dubious electoral outcomes in these cases, the ‘defeated’ candidate conceded and sought via legislation, judicial rulings, lobbying and peaceful protests to register their opposition. These norms are no longer operative. During the election process, and in the run-up to the inauguration of US President-Elect Donald Trump, fundamental electoral institutions were challenged and coercive institutions were activated to disqualify the elected president and desperate overt public pronouncements threatened the entire electoral order. We will proceed by outlining the process that is used to undermine the constitutional order, including the electoral process and the transition to the inauguration of the elected president. Regime Change in America In recent times, elected officials in the US and their …

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RT jubilant after US Intel report gives it tons of free publicity

 Russia Insider reports: So who is really working for the Kremlin here? Last Friday the US Intel Community published a report on Russia’s alleged (and unsubstantiated) interference in US elections and gave RT more free advertising than it could ever buy itself. Almost one third of the 25-page report talks about RT. Its TV hosts feature as prominently as alleged Russian hackers and spooks. And RT could not be happier about it, in fact they’re running victory laps. Its report on the CIA hatchet job proudly highlighted RT was a prime target with the headline “RT stars in ODNI report on ‘Russian activities and intentions’ in U.S. presidential election”. Its follow up rebuttal of the report took things to its logical conclusions and openly thanked the US Intel Community ending with the words: “Oh, and thanks for the free advertising, ODNI! Be sure to check out more of our coverage on the RT America YouTube page.” Question. How much would @RT_com have to pay for the kind of free advertising today's hopelessly crap CIA report is giving …

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Leaked John Kerry audio: White House wanted ISIS to rise in Syria

South Front reports: On Wednesday, Wikileaks released new evidence of US President-elect Donald Trump’s assertion that Barack Obama was the founder of ISIS – a leaked audio of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with members of the Syrian opposition at the Dutch Mission of the UN on September 22. The audio also is an evidence of the fact that mainstream media colluded with the Obama’s administration in order to push the narrative for regime change in Syria, hiding the truth about arming and funding ISIS by the US, as it exposed a 35 minute conversation that was omitted by CNN. Kerry admits that the primary goal of the Obama’s administration in Syria was regime change and the removal of Syrian President Bahar al-Assad, as well as that Washington didn’t calculate that Assad would turn to Russia for help. In order to achieve this goal, the White House allowed the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group to rise. The Obama’s administration hoped that growing power of the IS in Syria would force Assad to search …

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Video: Aleppo did not “fall”, Aleppo was liberated

Syrian women take a selfie in front of Aleppo’s Citadel after armed groups were evacuated from the eastern part of the city. Photo Omar Sanadiki/Reuters Our reporter Charlotte d’Ornellas [French writer and Christian activist] comes back from Aleppo. What she saw there is not what western mainstream media have been saying in the last weeks. Related video: Civilians returning to their homes in Aleppo (1070 housing project) after area was cleansed out of occupying rebel forces. pic.twitter.com/UeX5jJ1Lrq — Bassem (@BBassem7) December 30, 2016  

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Greenwald: Guardian engaged in ‘journalistic fraud’ in Assange interview rewrite

Photo Oli Scarff/Getty Images RT reports: Journalist Glenn Greenwald has accused his former employer, The Guardian, of falsifying the words of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a report about the interview he gave to La Repubblica. Assange spoke to the Italian newspaper’s correspondent Stefania Maurizi last week when she visited him in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The interview was in English and a transcript of it is available on La Repubblica’s website. The Guardian’s report on the interview was published Saturday and contains two false statements about what Assange told the Italian newspaper, Greenwald says in a damning piece on The Intercept. The headline said Assange “gives guarded praise” to Donald Trump, while inside the article itself The Guardian cited the WikiLeaks founder as claiming that “there was no need for WikiLeaks to undertake a whistleblowing role in Russia because of the open and competitive debate.” Neither statement accurately represented what Assange actually said in the interview, Greenwald says. His comment on Trump said that the US president-elect was no “DC insider” and was bringing in …

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Video, photos: Life slowly returning to normal in Aleppo

Christmas preparations in the Azazyeh neighbourhood of Aleppo. Photo Lizzie Phelan Locals were trying to get back to some form of normality in the Alshaar district of east Aleppo on Sunday, two weeks after the government took control of the area. Small stalls, selling bread and cigarettes, could be found among bombed out buildings and some cars could be seen driving through the streets, as the remaining residents seem determined to hold on. SOT, Vendor (Arabic): “We came back approximately a week ago. Journalist: How is the situation in general? Vendor: The situation is good. People are coming back. It’s safe and stable and God bless our Syrian army and our government and president Bashar Alassad.” SOT, Child (Arabic): “I have been here for two weeks. Journalist: You came here from the first day this area was freed. How long has this area Alshaar been freed for? Child: It was freed a month ago, after the 3rd or the 4th day of the liberation. I came and started selling here. Journalist: How is the situation? …

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Russian MoD: 50,000 civilians evacuated from east Aleppo in past two days (w/videos)

Civilians fleeing east Aleppo are greeted by the Syrian army. RT reports: Over the past 48 hours, up to 50,000 people have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov has reported. “More than 20,000 residents left eastern Aleppo in the first part of Saturday, and 1,217 militants laid down their weapons,” Konashenkov said. “The Russian Center for Reconciliation, through humanitarian corridors near Karim El-Hun and Mahayar, has organized the evacuation of civilians from the eastern parts of Aleppo to the safe areas of the city,” Konashenkov added. “We warn terrorists and militants of the so-called ‘moderate opposition,’ and also their patrons: Do not attempt any provocations, especially attacks on civilians leaving through humanitarian corridors,” the Russian Defense Ministry statement says. Konashenkov also addressed those who, over the past few months, have declared their readiness to send humanitarian aid to Aleppo. “Representatives of the US, UK, France, Canada, the European Union, and international organizations: Over the past two days, nearly 50,000 civilians have been evacuated by the Russian Reconciliation Center …

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Syrian army suspends operations in Aleppo, jihadis to surrender remaining positions in city

The Syrian flag was hoisted over the Aleppo Citadel after the recent advances of the army in the city RT reports: Syrian government forces have suspended “active military activities” against militants in eastern Aleppo to enable the withdrawal of civilians from the city, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced while speaking in Hamburg, Germany. Lavrov was speaking on Thursday on the sidelines of a meeting of ministers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The Russian foreign minister also urged the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to “stop sabotaging” the Geneva Syria peace talks. Speaking to reporters, he also expressed hope that those responsible for the recent attack on a Russian mobile hospital in western Aleppo will be brought to justice. The assault happened earlier this week and left two female paramedics dead and one chief pediatrician severely injured. “We are just doing our job, probably not everyone likes it, and a recent targeted strike against our hospital is yet more proof of that. But I am convinced that all …

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Two Russian paramedics killed in rebel attack on mobile hospital in Aleppo

Aftermath of the attack against a Russian mobile hospital in Aleppo. RT reports: Two Russian medical specialists were killed and another injured when militants shelled a mobile military hospital in Aleppo, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, while calling on the international community and human rights organizations to condemn the attack. One Russian medic was killed immediately at the Russian military mobile hospital set up in western Aleppo, and another died later in a hospital after succumbing to her injuries, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The doctors are now fighting for the life of Russian pediatrician, who was also severely injured in the attack. “Today, between 12:21 and 12:30pm [local time], a medical center of the Russian Defense Ministry’s mobile hospital in Aleppo was shelled by the militants during the reception time,” ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told journalists. Some local residents attending medical appointments were also injured during the shelling that targeted one of the field hospitals set up in the government held part of the city, the ministry added. “We demand that the international …

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Spectator editor to RT: “We are in danger of being the boy who cried ‘Propaganda!’”

Screencap from the interview of The Spectator’s deputy editor, Freddie Gray, to RT […] Western mainstream media’s ‘McCarthian’ witch hunt for Russia’s influence on the media shuns objectivity in favor of hysteria – a dangerous reductionism that dumbs down the debate on information warfare, argues Spectator deputy editor Freddy Gray. There has recently been a proliferation of the ‘fake news’ narratives in the Western media, which shows no signs of dying down. The gist of these stories is essentially that false news stories have been planted by a foreign actor in order to influence the political affairs of another, and the consequent accusations asserting that the 2016 US presidential election was swayed in favor of Donald Trump by such alleged manipulation of the news by Russia has thrust the issue into the spotlight. A Washington Post article recently accused 200 US news sites of being “routine peddlers” of Russian propaganda. New Yorker magazine subsequently released an article entitled ‘The Propaganda about Russian Propaganda,’ which slammed the report as a total mess.Gray examines what this means for …

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Rolling Stone: WaPo ‘fake news/Russian propaganda’ story is shameful and disgusting

  Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone: Last week, a technology reporter for the Washington Post named Craig Timberg ran an incredible story. It has no analog that I can think of in modern times. Headlined “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say,” the piece promotes the work of a shadowy group that smears some 200 alternative news outlets as either knowing or unwitting agents of a foreign power, including popular sites like Truthdig and Naked Capitalism. The thrust of Timberg’s astonishingly lazy report is that a Russian intelligence operation of some kind was behind the publication of a “hurricane” of false news reports during the election season, in particular stories harmful to Hillary Clinton. The piece referenced those 200 websites as “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.” The piece relied on what it claimed were “two teams of independent researchers,” but the citing of a report by the longtime anticommunist Foreign Policy Research Institute was really window dressing. The meat of the story relied on a report by unnamed analysts from a …

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Russia to deploy mobile hospitals to Aleppo

Photo taken yesterday in an area of East Aleppo from which jihadi rebels were expelled by the Syrian army and its allies.   RT reports: Russia will soon deploy mobile hospitals to Aleppo region to provide treatment to residents, according to the Kremlin. The President ordered the Defense Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry to send to Syria’s Aleppo mobile hospitals, which will provide treatment for residents of the city and its neighborhoods,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday. The Defense Ministry will operate a special 100-bed clinic with trauma equipment for treating children, he added. This hospital will be able to service about 420 outcare-patients daily. The Emergencies Ministry is also to deploy a 50-bed clinic capable of treating 200 outcare-patients each day. The facilities will be operational “very soon,” Peskov said. It comes as the Russian military announced a breakthrough in Syria’s operation to retake the militant-held part of Aleppo. Tens of thousands of civilians, who were previously kept by armed groups as human shields, are now in the government-controlled part of the city …

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Syria: 1000s of East Aleppo citizens flee for govt. controlled areas after army advances (w/ videos)

Civilians escaping from East Aleppo today after a massive advance by the Syrian Army.   Geopolmonitor reports: The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that almost 10,000 civilians have fled Eastern Aleppo to government-held parts of city’s west and Kurdish controlled northern district of Sheikh Maksoud. The Coventry-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information, said that in the last 24 hours, families had managed to escape areas controlled by armed militant factions, seeking refuge in government and Kurdish held areas. In the city’s northern part, now mostly controlled by government forces, “rebels have lost at least 30 percent of the territory they once controlled in Aleppo,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said Rapid advancement and recent gains by the Syrian army have allowed civilians to escape districts held by armed groups, who have been accused of withholding aid and preventing non-combatants from seeking refuge in the government controlled west and the Kurdish dominated north of the city. […] That civilians in E Aleppo are fleeing from "rebels" to govt & …

EC head Juncker: Obama calling Russia ‘regional power’ was big error

A night view of Moscow’s financial district in 2012. Photo by Dmytro RT reports: Outgoing US President Obama made a big mistake calling Russia a “regional power,” the European Commission chief said in an interview. Europe, instead, should treat Russia as “one big entity and a proud nation,” and there is a lot to learn about it. “The EU occupies 5.5 million square kilometers, Russia takes up 17.5 million. Russia must be treated as one big entity, as a proud nation,” Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, the EU executive body, told Euronews on Saturday. He admitted that the EU is “very ignorant about Russia” at this point, and that “we have a lot to learn.” Juncker, who has been leading the European Commission for the past two years, went on to criticize US President Barack Obama, who in 2014 branded Russia “a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness.” “Russia is not, as President Obama said, ‘a regional power.’ This was a big error in …

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Video: Trapped civilians in Aleppo protest against rebel leadership

The protests in rebel-occupied East Aleppo are reported to have caused hundreds of victims. The footage on this video from 0:25 to 1:20, of the protesters being shot at, has not been published in OffGuardian before. […] “Yesterday, at least 27 people were killed and hundreds wounded when terrorists attempted to disperse protest crowds in al-Amria and al-Fardus districts [in Aleppo],” Konashenkov said. […] Read in full Terrorists Executing Militants Ready to Surrender in Aleppo – Russian MoD at Sputnik News

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McCain to Trump: Don’t You Dare Make Peace With Russia!

US Senator John McCain on a “secret” visit to Syria in 2013 to meet the armed opposition to the Assad government Daniel McAdams writes in The Ron Paul Institute: Sit down. This is going to shock you. (Not). We reported yesterday on the telephone call between US president-elect Trump and Russian president Putin, where the current and future presidents discussed the need to set aside differences and look to more constructive future relations. With serious observers of this past year’s increasing tensions between US and Russia openly worrying about a nuclear war breaking out, with some 300,000 NATO troops placed on Russia’s border, with sanctions hurting average businesspersons on both sides, a normal person might look at the slight thaw in Cold War 2.0 as an early positive indicator of the end of the Obama Era. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) begs to differ. In a blistering statement he released today responding to the Trump/Putin telephone call, Sen. McCain condemned any efforts by President-elect Trump to find common ground with Putin. Any claim by Putin that he …

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East Aleppo civilians shot at by “moderate rebels” after protesting corruption (videos – updated)

Syrian civilians protest in East Aleppo today. Al Masdar News reports: On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of Syrian civilians turned to the streets in the rebel-held Bustan al-Qaser district of besieged eastern Aleppo. The demonstrators chanted for the removal of corrupt rebel commanders and proceeded to plunder the Yarmouk Aid Centre of its goods and distributed it among the local populace. Local rebel factions did not dislodge the protests. Two weeks ago, the Bustan al-Qaser neighbourhood was struck by infighting as Islamist groups overran several checkpoints held by the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Fastaqim Union, effectively disbanding the latter group. Upwards of 200,000 civilians remain besieged in eastern Aleppo while some 9,000 militants have been accused of using local residents as human shields, refusing to allow their evacuation into government-held western Aleppo. Protests in rebel-held #Aleppo today. Chants to topple corrupt leaders. Then civilians storm Yarmouk Aid Centre in downtown Bustan al-Qaser. pic.twitter.com/0yAZ7F2Fis — Chris Tomson (@TheDaneChris) November 15, 2016 @TheDaneChris pic.twitter.com/mJjn39pTBs — Chris Tomson (@TheDaneChris) November 15, 2016 Eastern Aleppo is rising up Massive protest …