Clinton plan to fight ISIL ‘All rhetoric, no strategy’ – Ex US Ambassador
| November 25, 2015 | 7:53 pm | Analysis, political struggle | No comments
Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally in Alexandria, Virginia on October 23, 2015

Clinton Plan to Fight ISIL ‘All Rhetoric, No Strategy’ – Ex-US Ambassador

© AFP 2015/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

US Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s plan to destroy the Islamic State, announced last Thursday, is a reheat of neo-conservative rhetoric and lacking any strategy whatsoever, former US Ambassador Chas Freeman told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On the same day Clinton offered her proposed strategy to fight the Islamic State, her chief challenger for the nomination, US Senator Bernie Sanders, offered a different plan advocating close cooperation between the United States, Russia and major Muslim nations.

“‘Hillary’s plan’ is all rhetoric and no strategy. As such, it is hard to distinguish it from the bellicose pronouncements of our nation’s neo-conservative pundits,” Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a past president of the Middle East Policy Council, said.

Clinton wanted to repeat over Syria the policies she adopted as secretary of state to topple Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Gadhafi, not realizing that conditions were very different, Freeman argued.

“Ms. Clinton essentially proposes a replay of Libya, an example of the use of force that few, if any other than she, find inspiring. As she did in Libya, she proposes airstrikes and a ‘no-fly zone’ — a purely military approach aimed at regime change with a proven record of producing disasters,” he said.

Clinton’s new plan, Freeman pointed out, does not address the factors that radicalize Middle Easterners, as well as Western, Russian and Chinese Muslims and incite them to acts of terrorism both in the region and beyond it.

“She alleges, without showing how this might be so, that her advocacy of arming moderates in Syria that no one has ever been able to identify would have accomplished something other than the further intensification of one of the world’s most appalling instances of civil strife,” he continued.

Freeman also faulted Clinton for apparently lacking any awareness of the need to involve other regional states in her plan to fight the Islamic State.

“What is particularly striking, given her service as secretary of state, is the total absence in her plan of a diplomatic strategy for engaging Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel and other regional actors as well as… the international community to eliminate the causes and end the metastasis of Islamist terrorism with global reach,” Freeman noted.

Clinton’s plan, he added, would only add to the instability and chaos of the Middle East and make it an even more fertile breeding ground to produce fanatical Islamist extremists.

“There is no reason to believe that doing more of the same, which is essentially what Ms. Clinton is proposing, will do anything other than produce more 9/11s and more Parises,” Freeman said, referring to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 and in Paris on November 13.

There was no novel or creative element whatsoever in any of Clinton’s proposals, Freeman continued.

“The world needs new thinking about how to deal with a problem that has grown to affect all the great powers as well as all of the Islamic world and that is worsening rather than retreating. Ms. Clinton shows no sign she can provide this new thinking,” Freeman concluded.

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‘Muslim sympathizers’: Armed Texas thugs post harassment lists on Facebook
| November 25, 2015 | 7:50 pm | Local/State, political struggle | No comments
Muslim men kneel to pray in front of MacArthur High School at a prayer vigil in support of Ahmed Mohamed, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas

‘Muslim Sympathizers’: Armed Texas Thugs Post Harassment Lists On Facebook

© AP Photo/ Jeffrey McWhorter

Armed anti-Islam protesters have stepped up their harassment of Muslims outside of Texas mosques since the Paris attacks, but now one group has taken it even further and listed the addresses of dozens of local Muslims and “Muslim sympathizer(s)” on Facebook Tuesday.

On Saturday, approximately a dozen right-wing extremists gathered outside the Islamic Center of Irving mosque during afternoon prayers, citing the attacks in Paris as their motivation.The Anti-Defamation League, one of America’s largest and most influential civil rights groups, has spoken out about the protest, saying that people in the United States should have the right to practice their religion as they choose.

​David Wright III, the leader of a protest designed to intimidate Muslims, has taken his hate and Islamophobia a step further by publishing a list of names and addresses to his group’s Facebook page.

The group, which call themselves the “Bureau on American Islamic Relations,” claims that those listed “stood up for Sharia tribunals.”

At least some of the names on Wright’s list were of people who had previously asked the Irving City Council not to support the “American Laws for American Courts” bill, which forbid Texas judges from using foreign laws in their rulings.

On Monday, the Dallas Morning News published an editorial decrying the protest, stating, “We all should collectively pray for peace — in whatever house of worship we choose — and leave our guns at home.”

A counter-rally is planned for Saturday outside the Irving Islamic Center, to protest the hate group and over 100 people have already signed up to attend.

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Trump campaign accuses US media of suppressing 9/11 footage
| November 25, 2015 | 7:46 pm | political struggle | No comments
Donald Trump attends the Hank's Yanks 1st Annual Golf Classic at Trump Golf Links.

Trump Campaign Accuses US Media of Suppressing 9/11 Footage

© AP Photo/ Greg Allen

Billionaire Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is doubling down on their outrageous claims that “thousands” of Muslims in Jersey City were seen on television celebrating the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. They are now flat-out accusing the media of a conspiracy.

In an interview with Breitbart News, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski demanded that the widely-disproven footage does infact exist, and that the campaign forwarded it to media outlets who refuse to cover it, as part of an “anti-Trump conspiracy.”

“For the mainstream media to go out and say that this didn’t happen is just factually inaccurate,” Lewandowski stated. “We know it happened. They should go back and check the FBI records. Mr. Trump has provided them to local media outlets that have covered this coverage that they don’t want to go and talk about.”

He then accused the media of pushing an agenda to have an “establishment candidate” elected.

“He’s provided many opportunities for them to go and see it but they have their own agenda, the media has their own agenda,” Lewandowski claimed. “They want to try and discredit as many people as possible so they can have an establishment candidate come in and think that everything is going to be the same because they are all controlled by the special interests and they are all controlled by the media and it is what the American people are just so tired of.”

Politifact, a politician fact-checking website, deemed Trump’s “pants on fire” regarding his claims, the biggest lie rating one can receive on the site.

In fact, Trump has earned more “pants-on-fire” ratings from Politifact than any other candidate so far. Even Ben Carson, who so far has not received a single “true” rating from the site, is behind Trump when it comes to false statements.

The mayor of Jersey City has also come out against Trump’s claim.

“Trump is plain wrong, and he is shamefully politicizing an emotionally charged issue,” Mayor Steve Fulop said in a statement. “No one in Jersey City cheered on September 11.”

“Clearly, Trump has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the Republican Party,” Fulop said.

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Ted Cruz boasts endorsement from convicted stalker
| November 25, 2015 | 7:44 pm | political struggle | No comments
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with his wife Heidi.

2016: Trump Competitor Ted Cruz Boasts Endorsement from Convicted Stalker

© AP Photo/ Jim Cole
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Sometimes a presidential hopeful needs every supporter they can get. But there are certain ones you may not want to brag about.

Slow but steady, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has managed to climb to second place in the Republican presidential primary race, according to the most recent polls. For the most part, Cruz’s rise can be attributed to his tendency to glob onto controversial comments made by frontrunner Donald Trump. Cruz can lean increasingly far to the right, using Trump’s increasingly-brazen comments as a rubric for knowing how far is too far.

But still, an endorsement or two doesn’t hurt.

“I am excited to be surrounded by so many people of faith,” Cruz said in a statement on his website. “Believers are alarmed that their values are not being represented, nor their liberties respected, in Washington. This list reflects a wide range of denominations, ministries, geography, and church size.”

That list isn’t as inclusive as Cruz lets on. Billed as being compiled of “More Than 200 Faith Leaders,” the list is almost exclusively Christian.

But the lack of religious diversity isn’t the only problem when it comes to Cruz’s cronies. Many of the individuals listed publicly endorse views the average voter might find…extreme.

First of all, there’s Kevin Swanson, the infamous “kill the gays” preacher. He hosted the National Religious Liberties Conference earlier this month, at which Cruz appeared. Prior to welcoming the Texas senator onstage, Swanson delivered his rationale for why homosexuals should face the death penalty.

In the wake of the November 13 Paris attacks, Swanson called the victims of the Bataclan hostage assault “devil-worshipers,” implying the attack was a punishment from God for attending a rock concert.

“There’s certainly a providential irony here,” he said, according to the Daily Beast. “They went from singing about the devil to meeting the devil face-to-face.”

Then there’s Philip “Flip” Benham, the head of Operation Save America. Benham is also famous for his devil-worshipping comparisons, likening Muslims, LGBT individuals, and even Unitarians – perhaps the most harmless group ever organized – to Satan.

Benham is also a convicted stalker, found guilty after handing out “wanted” posters with the name and photos of abortion doctors printed on them.

If that sounds harmless enough, another Cruz backer is Troy Newman. The head of Operation

Rescue, Newman has come under fire for personally advocating violence against abortion doctors.

“In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty,” he wrote in his book, “Their Blood Cries Out.” “This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.”

Language like that was believed to have played a part in 51-year-old Scott Roeder’s decision to gun down a Kansas doctor in 2009.

According to Salon, Newman’s reputation as a violence-inciting radical is so well-known that he’s even been forbidden from entering all of Australia.

Yet, according to Cruz’s website, he is “grateful to receive the endorsement of Troy Newman…a voice for the unborn for over 25 years.”

Cruz may be keeping a close eye on when Trump goes too far to the right, but with friends like these, he may have a hard time pulling back from the brink himself.

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Turkish prime minister admits he gave the order to shoot down Russian plane
| November 25, 2015 | 7:38 pm | political struggle, Russia, Syria | No comments

Supporters of the AK Party wave Turkish and party flags as they listen to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during an election rally for Turkey's June 7 parliamentary election in Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister: I Gave Order to Shoot Down Russia’s Plane Myself

© REUTERS/ Murad Sezer

As details continue to emerge about the downing of a Russian bomber along the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has admitted to personally giving the order to fire on the aircraft, Canadian news outlet ThinkPol reported.

Hours after the incident which destroyed a Russian Su-24 bomber and left one pilot dead, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went on the defensive, blaming an alleged incursion of Turkish airspace.

“We did not want this situation to happen, but everybody has to respect Turkey’s right to defend its borders,” he told reporters, adding that the military’s actions were “fully in line with Turkey’s rules of engagement.”

Many of the Turkish claims have already been called into question, raising doubts that the incident was a mere in-the-moment misunderstanding. Adding to that doubt are comments made by Davutoglu on Wednesday, in which he took direct responsibility for the crash.

“Despite all the warnings, we had to destroy the aircraft,” he said during a meeting with his party, according to Canadian news site ThinkPol. “The Turkish Armed Forces carried out orders given by me personally.”

Given the speed with which the incident occurred, it’s hard to know what to make of Davutoglu’s claim. According to the Turkish government’s own letter of explanation written to the United Nations Security Council, the military gave the Russian jet a series of warnings during a five-minute stretch, warning the pilots to move away from the border.

While the Russian Ministry of Defense has provided video evidence proving that the bomber never entered Turkish airspace, Ankara’s claim alleges that the incursion occurred for only 17 seconds.

It’s hard to imagine military personnel getting through to such a high-ranking government official, explaining the situation, and still having time to fire in a 17-second time frame.

Davutoglu’s statements seem to back up comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier on Wednesday, suggesting that the incident had been premeditated.

“We have serious doubts that it was unintentional, it looks like a planned provocation,” he said. “We are not planning to wage a war against Turkey, our attitude towards the Turkish people has not changed. We have questions only to the Turkish leadership.”

In response, Turkey’s Western allies in NATO have urged for calm.

“What we are calling for now is calm and de-escalation,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday. “Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this question.”

This was also echoed by US President Barack Obama, who told reporters “It’s very important for us right now to make sure both the Russians and the Turks are talking to each other to find out exactly what happened and take measures to discourage any kind of escalation.”

While one of the pilots was killed by ground fire after ejecting from the aircraft, the other, Captain Konstantin Murahtin, was rescued. Murahtin also denied that his plane ever entered Turkish airspace, and also refuted claims that Turkey had given multiple warnings.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a “stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists.”

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Lavrov reminds Turkey of its involvement in ISIL oil trade
| November 25, 2015 | 7:35 pm | political struggle, Russia, Syria | No comments
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with Sudanese Vice President Hassabu Abdalrahman

Lest You Forget: Lavrov Reminds Turkey of Its Involvement in ISIL Oil Trade

© Sputnik/ Maksim Blinov

Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian bomber involved in an anti-terror mission against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group means that Ankara has effectively sided with IS.

Heading off any denial of this fact, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Turkey’s role in the terrorist group’s illegal oil trade.

Discussing the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had harsh words for his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

According to a press release from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lavrov pointed out that, “by shooting down a Russian plane on a counter-terrorist mission of the Russian Aerospace Force in Syria, and one that did not violate Turkey’s airspace, the Turkish government has in effect sided with ISIS.”

“…Turkey’s actions appear premeditated, planned, and undertaken with a specific objective.”

Lavrov also pointed to Turkey’s role in the propping up the terror network through the oil trade.

“The Russian Minister reminded his counterpart about Turkey’s involvement in the ISIS’ illegal trade in oil, which is transported via the area where the Russian plane was shot down, and about the terrorist infrastructure, arms and munitions depots and control centers that are also located there,” the statement read.

“Sergei Lavrov specifically said that this act by Turkey will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations and will not go unanswered.”

Retired French General Dominique Trinquand made similar statements when speaking to Sputnik earlier on Wednesday.

“[Turkey is either not fighting ISIL at all or very little, and does not interfere with different types of smuggling that takes place on its border, be it oil, phosphate, cotton or people,” he said.

Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 bomber Tuesday, claiming that the aircraft violated Turkish airspace. The Russian Defense Ministry has released flight path data proving that Russian remained aircraft never left Syrian airspace.

The incident left one of the pilots dead, shot by militants on the ground after ejecting. The other, Captain Konstantin Murahtin, was rescued.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a “stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists.”

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Sanders gains 13% on Clinton in latest national poll
| November 25, 2015 | 7:29 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments

Bernie gains 13% on Hillary in latest national poll

Tonight’s Politics Panel discusses Trump’s fascist week, the shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis, and how Bernie defines freedom in America. Thom talks the economics of Bernie’s Medicare for All plan with economics professor Gerald Friedman, the House Science Committee’s questioning of sound science with Union of Concerned Scientists’ Michael Halpern, and in tonight’s Daily Take Thom discusses how rapper Killer Mike’s introduction of Bernie Sanders shows the power of influencers and memes in the 2016 presidential election.