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Journal Archives

Salisbury Poisoning: One Year On, Still No Evidence Of Novichok Nerve Agent Use Disclosed To Public

Published time: 4 Mar, 2019 08:51
Edited time: 4 Mar, 2019 15:47

On March 4, 2018, former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were ‘poisoned by a nerve agent’ in Salisbury, UK. Many details do not match up and what happened in reality remains a mystery (though we all know the villain, thanks).

It was on March 4, 2018 that the Skripals were admitted to a hospital in Salisbury. Within days, British Prime Minister Theresa May would claim they had been poisoned by a nerve agent called “novichok” and that it was “highly likely” the Russian government was behind the hit.

A war of words, sanctions and diplomatic expulsions followed, with relations between London and Moscow at their worst since the Cold War, and maybe worse than that. There has been no shortage of often fanciful theories emanating from UK officialdom and NATO-backed “open-source detectives” such as Bellingcat, but none have taken the world closer to knowing what actually happened.

Right from the start, the UK government, friendly media, and its NATO allies starting with the US, latched onto the alleged (more on that shortly) poisoning as the work of Russian intelligence. The “novichok” nerve agent, they said, was only made by Russia. No one else could have possibly done it. By September, the official narrative was that two military intelligence (GRU) officers had flown in directly from Moscow, allegedly left traces of the poison in their hotel room, and were caught on CCTV cameras in Salisbury on March 4. They supposedly poisoned the Skripals by smearing the nerve agent on the doorknob of their home.


U.S. Supreme Court Turns Away Religious Rights Case Over Church Grants

By Andrew Chung 7 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court bypassed a chance to further expand the ability of religious entities to receive public funding, leaving in place on Monday a lower court ruling that blocked a New Jersey county from giving historic preservation grants to churches.

The justices opted not to hear appeals of the ruling that Morris County violated a state constitutional ban on using public funds to repair places of worship when it gave millions of dollars to 12 churches under its grant program for local historic preservation projects. In doing so, the justices declined a chance to build on a major 2017 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to more taxpayer funds going to religious institutions.

U.S. Sends THAAD To Israel For First Time As Both Countries Slam Iran's Missile Programs

U.S. military has sent interceptors and other components of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense ballistic missile defense system, or THAAD, to Israel for an exercise the first time. The deployment comes as both countries have been especially critical of Iran’s ballistic missile programs, but also reflects a contingency plan that has been in place for more than a decade.

U.S. European Command said that deployment had occurred “in early March,” according to an official press release on Mar. 4, 2019. The date stamp on pictures the U.S. Army subsequently released indicated that the first elements had arrived at Nevatim Air Base in central Israel on Mar. 1, 2019. The notice also added that the exercise is occurring at the direction of Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and is a demonstration of the Pentagon’s “Dynamic Force Employment concept.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis first announced this operational concept, which aims to make it harder for the U.S. military's opponents to predict its operations and other activities in advance, in 2018.

“The purpose of the deployment is to practice rapid deployment across the globe of complex systems, and to enhance cooperation with the IAF’s Air Defense Systems,” a post on the Israeli Air Force’s official Twitter account said. “This is a defensive deployment that is not related to any specific current event.”

The IDF is working in cooperation with US forces in order to enhance coordination between the two militaries and...

This is the first time the Army has deployed a full THAAD system to Israel. A THAAD battery can include up to nine transporter-erector-launchers, each carrying eight interceptors at the ready, as well as a long-range AN/TPY-2 X-band radar, a mobile fire control and command and control center, and various supporting equipment. Additional interceptors would be available to reload the launchers during a combat deployment, as well.


Both BIBI and ole 2scoops seriously need a war to distract from their own personal dilemmas...

'I'm Anti-Occupation, Not Anti-Semitic': Ilhan Omar Spars with Fellow Democrat Over Israel

Published time: 4 Mar, 2019 01:49
Edited time: 4 Mar, 2019 10:05

Ilhan Omar has attempted to set the record straight on her 'anti-Israeli' views, saying that her opposition to Israel's right-wing government does not make her anti-Semitic, as she traded verbal blows with Rep. Nita Lowey.

Omar's criticism of the Israeli influence on US politics has already made her the target of numerous attacks by both Republicans and her fellow party members, who accused her of invoking an anti-Semitic trope after she suggested that the rich Israeli lobby's grip on American politicians is too tight.

#StandwithIlhan: Social media users defend Ilhan Omar after her forced apology over anti-Semitism

While she was eventually forced to apologize, thanking the lawmakers for "educating her on painful history" of anti-Semitism, she refused to back down from her initial argument that the overbearing influence of the lobbyists as a whole is problematic.

On Sunday, the controversy was reignited after Omar wound up in a heated argument with her fellow Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey (NY) on Twitter.

"I am saddened that Rep. Omar continues to mischaracterize support for Israel. I urge her to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community on why these comments are so hurtful," Lowey wrote.


Boltons Monroe Doctrine Remark on Venezuela Arrogant & Insulting to All of Latin America - Lavrov

Published time: 4 Mar, 2019 17:11
Edited time: 4 Mar, 2019 17:20

John Bolton’s “arrogant” use of the term Monroe Doctrine in relation to Venezuela is an insult to the entirety of Latin America as it effectively reduces it to being a US backyard, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov has said.

“The theory and the practice of “backyards” is generally insulting,” the Russian foreign minister said on Monday at a press conference in Doha, Qatar.

He also reminded the US national security adviser that “since 1945, when the UN was founded, the international law is being regulated by this universal and the most legitimate organization.”

Bolton’s statement was “arrogant” and “insulting” to all the countries in Latin America, Lavrov added. On Sunday, Bolton vowed to create “as broad a coalition” as possible to basically overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and confirmed that the US was ultimately seeking to create a “democratic hemisphere.”

“In this administration we’re not afraid to use the phrase ‘Monroe Doctrine,’” Bolton stated. “This is a country in our hemisphere and it’s been the objective of American presidents going back to Ronald Reagan to have a completely Democratic hemisphere.”


Russia Suspends Nuclear Missile Treaty With U.S.

After the U.S. warned Russia it would pull out of the INF Treaty because of Russian noncompliance, Moscow withdrew, accusing the U.S. of the same.

By Thomas Grove
Updated March 4, 2019 1:08 p.m. ET

MOSCOW—President Vladimir Putin formally ordered a suspension of Russia’s obligations under a Cold War-era nuclear treaty with the U.S., his office said Monday, a death knell for the pact that heightens the threat of a new arms race.

The Kremlin said the decision to suspend the agreement was made after the U.S. said it would stop abiding by the pact, the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which prohibited the possession, production and flight testing of certain short and intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

The statement didn’t acknowledge Washington’s accusations that Russia had broken its obligations under the INF treaty with the testing of its nuclear-capable 9M729 missile. Those accusations have been met by sabre-rattling from Moscow, with Mr. Putin warning that the unraveling of the agreement would lead to a new arms race.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said earlier this year that work was under way to develop new missile systems, including a hypersonic long-range rocket.

Mr. Putin has threatened that the deployment of any U.S. short or intermediate-range missiles would result in Moscow targeting the U.S. and its military bases and command centers.


At Least 14 Fatalities, Extreme Damage Reported Following Tornadoes In Alabama, Georgia Sunday

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
March 03, 2019, 10:00:36 PM EST

Deadly tornado hits the south leaving debris and devastation

At least 14 fatalities and more injuries were reported after damaging tornadoes hit Lee County, Alabama on Sunday.

More tornadoes were reported across Alabama and Georgia Sunday afternoon amid a severe weather outbreak across the southeastern United States.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Birmingham, Alabama, issued a tornado emergency at 2:09 p.m. CST Sunday due to the “confirmed large and destructive tornado.”

Damage to homes, buildings and trees has been reported across the area. One storm chaser in the area tweeted that a cell phone tower in the area has fallen following the storms.


Russian Orthodox Priest Says Abortions Scarier Than The Holocaust

Published time: 28 Feb, 2019 13:46

A senior cleric has compared the amount of abortions in Russia to the losses suffered during WWII as the Russian Orthodox Church continues to push for an abortion ban.

"How many (people) did we kill ourselves? More than during the Second World War."

That's what Dimitry Smirnov, head of the Patriarchy Commission for Family, stated at a forum on reproductive health.

He said high abortion rates were a “mass murder of Russian children” and “worse than the Holocaust.”

The cleric also called for public opinion on abortions to change, saying that a tolerant attitude to the issue will lead the Russian nation to “suicide.”


US Wants Broad Regime-Change Coalition On Venezuela Bolton

Published time: 3 Mar, 2019 14:38
Edited time: 3 Mar, 2019 16:04

National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the United States will form “as broad a coalition” as possible to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Bolton went on to call for a “completely democratic hemisphere.”

“I’d like to see as broad a coalition as we can put together to replace Maduro, to replace the whole corrupt regime,” Bolton told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Within hours of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declaring himself interim president in January, the Donald Trump administration threw its support behind the self-declared leader. While several Latin American countries followed the US line, efforts to drum up international support against Maduro have thus far proven unsuccessful. A US resolution condemning Maduro and calling for fresh elections in Venezuela was defeated at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council last week, and Maduro remains in control.

READ MORE: Venezuelan VP tells RT how Caracas fights sanctions & what awaits Guaido once he's back

Still, Bolton told Tapper that the US is not afraid to go it alone. “In this administration we’re not afraid to use the phrase ‘Monroe Doctrine,’” he said. “This is a country in our hemisphere and it’s been the objective of American presidents going back to Ronald Reagan to have a completely Democratic hemisphere.”


House Committee Chair Calls For Rep. Ilhan Omar To Apologize For 'Vile, Anti-Semitic Slur'


Freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar is once again facing criticism and charges of anti-Semitism from her own party's leadership for comments about the political influence of Israel.

On Friday, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., called on Omar to apologize for "a vile, anti-Semitic slur" she made at a town hall event in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday where she suggested Israel demands "allegiance" from American lawmakers.

"I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country," the congresswoman from Minnesota said in a video of the event shared on Facebook.

She was joined at the event by Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; and Mark Pocan, D-Wis.


"Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y"...
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