US-led coalition strike killed dozens of civilian mourners 30km from Kirkuk – Russian MoD
| October 22, 2016 | 10:12 pm | Analysis, Iraq, political struggle | No comments

The Russian Ministry of Defense says that the US-led coalition is responsible for striking mourners in the Iraqi city of Daquq on Friday, killing dozens of civilians, including women and children.

The coalition jets apparently identified the mourning procession as Islamic State terrorists, said General Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry.

“Judging by the eyewitness accounts, the mourning procession was mistaken for terrorists by the coalition aviation. Dozens of Iraqi civilians died, including women and children,” Konashenkov said.

“Russian reconnaissance pinpointed two jets conducting airstrikes on Daquq, located 30 kilometers to the south of Kirkuk, where, according to our data, there are no ISIS fighters,” he added.

Initial reports on the attack came on Friday, with AFP citing local officials and medics as saying that 15 women were killed and 50 more injured.

Konashenkov noted that such incidents bear the mark of war crimes.

“These deadly attacks on civilian areas, which have all the marks of war crimes, are becoming almost a daily routine for the international coalition.”

The spokesman also noted that civilians and civilian infrastructure are increasingly finding themselves in the crosshairs of the coalition bombardment.

“Too often weddings, funerals, hospitals, police stations, and humanitarian convoys are being hit by the coalition warplanes,” Konashenkov said. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova also weighed in, slamming the coalition’s action.

“Yesterday the ‘human rights defenders’ again bombed a funeral ceremony, this time in the Iraqi Daquq where there are no terrorists.” Zakharova said in a Facebook .

In a statement to RT, the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF), which is in charge of the international anti-ISIS operation in Iraq and Syria, said that it has no evidence that jets of the alliance carried out the Daquq strike.

“At this time, we cannot associate this incident with any Coalition strikes in the area,” the response says.

On Friday, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) ‘sleeper cells’ launched attacks on government buildings in Kirkuk, sparking clashes with security forces.

At least 80 people, died in the fighting while some 170 have been injured, according to AP.

The attack on Kirkuk comes at a time when the Iraqi military is conducting a full-scale military operation to retake the country’s second-largest city, Mosul from the jihadists.

The city was captured by Islamic State fighters in 2014 and became IS’ main stronghold in Iraq.

“During the past 24 hours alone, the international coalition has conducted 22 sorties using tactical aviation and four unmanned flying vehicles, which launched 19 strikes on various sites on the territory of Iraq,” Konashenkov said, noting that Russia is closely monitoring the developments.

The Security Council member for Baghdad province, Saad al Mutlabi, believes that the airstrike on Daquq “is definitely a war crime” and “a deliberate act because Daquq is far away from Kirkuk and has nothing to do with ISIS.”

“This is a huge criminal act. I am sure it will go unanswered,” he told RT. “There is no way you can mistake one city for another city and a funeral procession with a city that has no history of ISIS,” Mutlabi said, when asked if there might have been any kind of intelligence mistake.

The Iraqi politician added that whoever is responsible for the tragedy is likely to go unpunished.

“Unfortunately we don’t hear a condemnation from the Iraqi government because of the sensitivity of the subject, which is really a shame that such an event, such a criminal act, takes place without any questioning,” he said.

WikiLeaks: Big Donors Expect Hillary Clinton to ‘Tweak’ Policy in Their Favor
03:55 23.10.2016
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Fundraisers expect US Democratic party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to alter her policy to bring it more in line with their goals, the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website revealed on Saturday. WikiLeaks released the 15th batch of emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta October 22. The emails have allegedly been obtained from a hacked account and have been made public in a series of releases throughout October. Saturday’s release includes an email from Steven Bakalar, a fundraiser with Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, apparently seeking reassurance for big donors that they are “part of the team” and that the former secretary of state wouldn’t mind “tweaking policy,” among other things, “to get them re-engaged.” “As you know, quite a few major Obama raisers and donors have been put off by the way they’ve been treated,” Bakalar wrote to Podesta in May 2015, noting that “big donors usually have ideas/advice and want to feel like they are being heard.” Among the 1,000 newly published emails are some calling former Center for American Progress (CAP) Vice President Faiz Shakir a “f**ker” for advising Sanders, incorporating Martin Luther King Jr. quotes into Clinton speeches and saying staff can be fired for leaks that occur without any proof of their guilt. “I am happy to fire someone for leaking whether they did or they didn’t just to make the point,” Podesta wrote in March 2015 in an email to Philippe Reines, senior advisor to Clinton when she was secretary of state and later deputy assistant secretary of state. Groundless accusations appear to be second nature for Clinton’s supporters. Podesta, with no evidence on the table, has already accused Russia of hacking him in a bid to “throw the election to Donald Trump,” one of many repetitions of this epic conspiracy theory. Podesta is a long-term associate of the Clintons and was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff from 1998 until 2001. WikiLeaks has already released half of the 50,000 mails it vowed to publish in the run up to the presidential election November 8. The first batch was uploaded on the whistleblowing website on October 8. On October 20, WikiLeaks also published a bunch of letters sent to or by Barack Obama before he became US president.

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Behind the Presidential Debates–What They Reveal for 2017 (print)

by jackrasmus

The 3rd US presidential debate held October 19, 2016 between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was perhaps the most critically important of the three presidential debates—not so much for what was said, or even how it was said, but for what it portends for US policy in the post-election period regardless which candidate is elected in November.

The 3rd debate began with a reasonably rational discussion covering topics of Supreme Court appointments, 2nd amendment gun rights, abortion and then immigration—each subject revealing the deep differences in positions between the candidates. But then, as in the 1st and 2nd debates, it quickly exploded.

As the debate addressed the topic of immigration, Trump noted that Barack Obama was the biggest deporter of undocumented Latinos in US history—a fact which Clinton has consistently avoided, he charged. Trump then referred to the recent Wikileaks revelations, where Clinton declared she was in favor of ‘open borders’ throughout the western hemisphere and Trump suggested her ‘open borders’ remark referred not only to more free trade but also more cross border labor immigration as well.

The Wikileaks revelations have been a consistent hot ‘third rail’ in the US election and the debates. The revelations have served as a multi-edged sword against Clinton. By revealing her ‘open borders’ remark they contradict Clinton claims that she opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty or free trade, while simultaneously suggesting she would accept more immigration to the US as part of a broad hemisphere free trade deal. Wikileaks further touches another Clinton political ‘raw nerve’: her emails cover-up. And they also reveal Clinton’s cynical ‘dual communications strategy’, in which she consciously says one thing to bankers and big business and another to the US public. The Wikileaks revelations are thus a kind of strategic lynchpin for the Trump campaign in the election, raising multiple issues on which Clinton is vulnerable.

It was not surprising therefore that, almost on cue when Wikileaks was first raised by Trump in the 3rd debate, Clinton angrily went on the offensive and diverted the discussion from the revelations. Her offense-defense was to redirect the debate to an attack on Wikileaks itself. From Wikileaks suggesting free trade, open immigration, email cover ups, and double talking to bankers and voters discussion was diverted to Wikileaks as Russian hacking of senior Democrat party leaders, Wikileaks as Russian vehicle to disrupt US elections, and from there to Russian aggression in Syria, demonizing Putin as war criminal, and then demonizing Trump by association as a friend of Putin.

In redefining the Wikileaks debate, Clinton’s words and her visual countenance response revealed a deep anger. How dare any country interfere with US elections. How ironic, given the US long and consistent interference in other countries elections. Clinton’s comments reflected the US elite’s growing frustration with Russia’s recent military offensive and gains in Syria. Clinton’s counter-attack on Wikileaks then set up the segway to Putin as the cause of continuing war in Syria, Putin as Saddam Hussein incarnate, Putin as the source of subversion of US democracy, and, then in turn, to Trump as the buddy of Putin and therefore, by association, all the above as well.

Wikileaks was clearly the nexus point of the 3rd debate. Clinton declared Wikileaks “the most important issue tonight”, charging Trump with “willing to spout the Putin line”, declaring “you continue to get help from him” (Putin) and that “you are his favorite in this race”. Trump countered with the charge Putin has outsmarted her and Obama at every foreign policy turn and that’s why she, Clinton, is trying to attack him by a desperate attempt to associate him with Putin.

The even more disturbing quote from Clinton in the exchange, however, was her repeated call, first raised in the 2nd debate, to establish ‘no fly zones’ in Syria. When the debate moderator noted that US generals have said such zones would likely lead to war with Russia, Clinton suggested ‘no fly’ would correspond to ‘safe zones’ on the ground. But ‘no fly’ was necessary to confront Putin and Russia in Syria. “We have to up our game” there, she concluded.

The debates reveal that, if elected, Clinton and the US war faction are likely to engage in new military adventures in the middle east, in particular in Syria. Or perhaps try to counter Russia with a more assertive military challenge in the Baltics, Eastern Europe or the Ukraine as a bargaining chip with Russia in Syria. The 2nd and 3rd presidential debates indirectly reveal something is afoot in that regard, no matter what the outcome of the election in November, but especially if Clinton is elected.

The debates also reveal a new offensive is brewing, indeed already underway, to shut down Wikileaks and to further restrict free speech and civil liberties. Already, Wikileaks’ internet connection at the Ecuadoran embassy in London has been cut. Concurrently, in recent days British banks have indicated they will no longer service the accounts Russia TV in the UK. This is a ‘shot across the bow’ to Russia media as well. A similar move is likely in the US for Russia TV soon after the elections. US government and US banks have initiated similar financial disruption tactics against Latin American progressive media, as the US renewed neoliberal offensive in Latin American continues to deepen. And should Trump lose the US election, it is likely his voice too will be muffled, if not ‘silenced’, in US media.

That muffling is especially true should Trump refuse to abide by the election outcome in the US. Another Trump ‘verbal bombshell’ in the 3rd debate was his refusal to say whether he would accept the outcome of the US election if he were defeated. Before the debate, Trump also continually raised the charge the election was being ‘rigged’.

That view of media bias and election manipulation resonates with much of the US voting electorate, especially his base of at least 40% of hard core pro-Trump voters. The charge of ‘rigging’ and potential to refuse to accept the election results may prove a ‘game changer’ in US elections. It reflects the deep distrust by broad segments of the US populace of the political elites in the US and their two parties. That distrust is not going away after the election, but will take new forms of protest in 2017 and beyond.

For there is clearly a rebellion underway against the ‘political class’ in the US. That rebellion is not yet reflected in independent political organization and opposition. It is still being expressed through and within the two wings of the Corporate Party of America—Republicans and Democrats. But that may break down, should Trump lose and the US economy continue to falter in 2017. What the debates reflect is growing disenchantment with the two parties’ organizational cocoon. A ‘rebellion within’ those two wings could evolve post-November easily and quickly to a challenge ‘from outside’.

Should he lose, Trump will almost certainly launch a new political party. A Trump new party initiative could also stimulate something similar on the left in the US. Bernie Sanders’ millennials are still clearly not in the Clinton corner, despite their erstwhile leader having thrown in with Clinton. The election may come down to whether, in the 8-9 swing states, Trump can turn out more non-college educated white workers than Clinton can turn out educated urban professionals, women, suburbanites, and Latino-African Americans.

Neither candidate has the millennial vote, now the largest population segment. Millennials may in the end vote for ‘none of the above’. Clinton is trailing well behind Obama for the millennials. Trump too is losing their support, at least among the better educated. Polls show only 54% of the under-35 years old group is currently at all interested in the election. And that will not soon change.

Third party candidates, Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarians, are polling 22% of likely voters aged 18 to 29. According to a Harvard University survey this past summer, a third of Americans aged 18-29 support Socialism, while not even half back Capitalism. For them, the economy is the main issue and that is going to get worse in 2017 and beyond, not better, regardless who wins in November.

In summary, apart from all the personal mudslinging and the occasional, tangential references to real issues in the debates, what the 3rd—and indeed all three debates—reveal beneath the surface is in 2017 and beyond what’s in store is more military adventures, more limits on civil liberties, a growing loss of legitimacy by the US political elite and their parties in broad segments of the US population, deeper splits and more internecine conflict within the political class and each of their two parties, a growing potential for new forms of independent politics, and more instability within the US political system.

Jack Rasmus is the author of the just-released book, “Looting Greece: A New Financial Imperialism Emerges,” and the previous, “Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy.”, both published by Clarity Press, 2016. He blogs

jackrasmus | October 21, 2016 at 4:25 pm
Comunicado de la FSM contra el bloqueo impuesto por el gobierno de los EEUU contra Cuba
| October 22, 2016 | 4:28 pm | class struggle, Cuba, political struggle, WFTU | No comments

La Federación Sindical Mundial que representa a 92 millones de trabajadores-as en cada rincón del mundo exige la eliminación inmediata del bloqueo imperialista contra Cuba. La FSM ha siempre estado y seguirá estando al lado del pueblo cubano y el de cada pueblo del mundo que se levanta contra las intervenciones y políticas imperialistas. Creemos firmemente que el pueblo de cada país es responsable para decidir sobre su propio presente y futuro, sin los grilletes de los monopolios y los gobiernos burguesas.

El 26 de octubre, Cuba va a presentar el Informe en la Asamblea General  de la ONU, exigiendo la eliminación del bloqueo de los EEUU contra Cuba. Se ha comprobado que los embargos, los bloqueos y la discriminación no tienen nada que ver con la democracia o la libertad. Estas palabras se utilizan como excusa. Las usan hipócritamente. En realidad, intentan forzar al heroico pueblo cubano a ceder ante los imperialistas y sus complotes en la región.

Hacemos un llamamiento a los afiliados y amigos de la FSM para que tomen medidas y iniciativas de solidaridad en sus países respectivos, para que defiendan por cualquier medio el derecho del pueblo cubano y el de cada otro pueblo del mundo a decidir democráticamente y libremente sobre su futuro político y económico.

El Secretariado

WFTU Statement against the blockade imposed by United States government against Cuba
| October 22, 2016 | 4:26 pm | Announcements, Cuba, political struggle, WFTU | No comments

The World Federation of Trade Unions representing 92 million workers in every corner of the world demands the immediate elimination of the imperialists’ blockade in Cuba. WFTU has always been and will be on the side of the Cuban People and every peoples in the world who rise up against the imperialists’ interventions and policies. We strongly believe that the people of each country are responsible to decide for their own present and future without the burdens of the monopolies and bourgeois governments.

On October 26th Cuba introduces the report at the General Assembly of United Nations demanding the elimination of the blockade of the United States against Cuba. It’s proved that the embargoes, blockades and discrimination have nothing to do with democracy and freedom. These words are used as an excuse. They use them hypocritically. In reality, they aim to force the heroic people of Cuba to bend in front of the Imperialists and their plots in the region.

We call all the WFTU affiliates and friends to take solidarity actions and initiatives in their countries, to defend by any means the right of Cuban and all the peoples of the world to decide democratically and freely for their future in politics and economy.

The Secretariat

After WikiLeaks’ 14th Podesta Email Batch Release, What We’ve Learned So Far
00:41 22.10.2016(updated 03:02 22.10.2016)
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WikiLeaks has published 14 batches of emails obtained from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. We have helpfully collated the text and provide you with a brief rundown of the revelations presented to date. The transparency organization claims to be in possession of over 50,000 emails from Podesta, a key figure in the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. The 14 batches that have so far been released have revealed a number of insights, and gathered here are the most interesting and damning details exposed in the leaks. Batch One Emails containing excerpts of Clinton’s paid speeches to financial institutions revealed the candidate’s double-sided nature. “I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least,” she said. “So you need both a public and a private position.” Batch Two A message from political pundit Brent Budowsky to Podesta revealed the campaign’s concerns about the sordid past of Bill Clinton’s sex life. “I had a multi-email exchange with someone in the media this morning – a name you would know – who is telling me that there are people close to the Clintons who say WJC’s (William Jefferson Clinton) sex life could be damaging to her,” the email read. Batch Three An exchange between DNC official and CNN contributor Donna Brazile and Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri showed that Clinton received debate questions ahead of a town hall event in March. “From time to time, I get the questions in advance. Here’s one that worries me,” Brazile wrote, followed by a question about the death penalty that was asked one day later at the event. Batch Four An email between Clinton speechwriter Dan Schwerin, communications adviser Mandy Grunwald, and Palmieri, revealed attempts to avoid discussions of Wall Street when up against primary rival Bernie Sanders. “I agree with you. Bernie wants a fight on Wall Street. We should not give him one. Our polling shows this is one of our weakest areas. Further, our Wall Street approach has always been to agree about the problem, show passion about it, and say we have a better approach to holding the rascals accountable,” Grunwald said. “We don’t need to prove he’s bad on Wall Street – that’s not really credible. We need to prove we’re ok. Most of all, we don’t want this fight.” Batch Five One exchange shows the need to keep explanations for Clinton’s email controversy short. “You know I love you people very much and you are the smartest minds in America but this is LONG. This will be impossible to nail without a podium,” Clinton aide Huma Abedin wrote. Batch Six An email thread shows Clinton aides planning to reverse the candidate’s support of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement months before the primary race began. “It sends the strongest signal not only to [organized] Labor but to where voters are on trade,” political consultant John Anzalone wrote. “They feel they always get the raw end of the deal. I am less concerned about historical blowback on her [Clinton’s] past position than this issue eating us alive for being on the wrong side.” Batch Seven An excerpt of a paid speech from 2013 shows Clinton voicing her support for hawkish military policies against China in order to pressure North Korea. “We’re going to ring China with missile defense. We’re going to put more of our fleet in the area. So China, come on. You either control them or we’re going to have to defend against them,” she said. Batch Eight One exchange reveals the campaign’s attempts to present an “alternate view” to a reporter threatening to write a negative story. “Don’t be surprised if I write a column soon that Hillary is going to blow it, and is repeating her mistakes of 2008,” a journalist writes to Clinton supporter Roy Spence, adding that she has said, “virtually nothing important about what Democrats stand for, while the most admired person in the world is the pope for saying the kind of things she should be saying.” “Who sent you that original e-mailing saying they were about to write a column?” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s former Senate and State Department aide, responds. “It’s awfully belligerent. But if it’s someone serious, we should start by presenting an alternate view.” © AFP 2016/ Saul LoebClinton Campaign Chief Podesta Describes ‘Real Feud’ Between Obama, Netanyahu – WikiLeaks Batch Nine An email from longtime Clinton ally Douglas Band to Podesta and Cheryl Mills describes Clinton’s daughter Chelsea as “backstabbing.” “She sends me one of these types of email every few days/week,” Band wrote. “As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far. A kiss on the cheek while she is sticking a knife in the back, and front.” Batch Ten Leaked correspondence appears to show top Clinton aides accepting contributions from US citizens representing foreign states or nationals. An email from Dennis Cheng, the national finance director for the Clinton campaign, asked other aides “whether we are allowing those lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to raise $ for the campaign. Or case by case.” “I’m ok just taking the money and dealing with any attacks,” he added. “Are you guys ok with that?” Batch Eleven An email to Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden reveals Podesta’s true feelings for Sanders. “Can you believe that doofus Bernie attacked?” he wrote. Batch Twelve Podesta seemed to confirm the dicey relationship between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Obama developed a real feud with Bib,” he wrote. Batch Thirteen In email from January 2015, between Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta and Huma Abedin, a close Clinton aide, Abedin reveals her discomfort at the cozy relationship her boss has with some multi-million dollar donors. Abedin recalls that it was Hillary Clinton’s idea to approach the King of Morocco for money to fund her political campaign. “This was HRC’s idea, our office approached the Moroccans and they 100 percent believe they are doing this at her request. The King has personally committed approx. $12 million both for the endowment and to support the meeting.” Batch Fourteen In the most recently revealed collection, ad agency owner Roy Spence reiterates concerns about a journalist preparing to write a negative story about Clinton’s campaign. “Don’t be surprised if I write a column soon that Hillary is going to blow it, and is repeating the mistakes of 2008, with stories about her ‘shadow campaign’ of consultants milking her for a lot of money, while she gives paid speeches to banks, while she acts like an incumbent,” Spence says, quoting the journalist.

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