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The mass shooting problem – like organised terrorism – is a DRUG PROBLEM

Lone wolf mass shooters and members of terrorist groups like ISIS have something in common and this is drug use.

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The United States has the highest rate per capita use of anti-depressant drugs and boasts the highest consumption of opiates in the world. However, according to the World Health Organisation, the United States is not the country with the highest rates of clinical depression, in spite of US doctors tending to over-diagnose mental disorders in comparison with the global average.

Moreover, there is a clear linkage between criminals who engage in mass shooting attacks and their use of psychotropic anti-depressant drugs. This relationship has been ignored for too long. The mass shooting problem in the United States is a drug problem and many in the US remain in denial. As this piece shall also detail, individuals working for international terrorist organisations have something in common with lone-wolf shooters. The point of commonality is not ideology, but psychotropic drug use.

Until governments such as that of the United States, cracks down on big pharmaceutical companies, black-market drug dealers and the deep state’s involvement in narcotics trafficking, things will only get worse. It is no coincidence that the number of mass shootings as well as cruel and usual homicides have increased in-line with the use of psychotropic drugs.

Furthermore, society must work diligently to stigmatise drug use until such a point where being a drug addict is socially derided to the same degree as being a member of a known terrorist organisation.

The following is a list compiled by WND news, detailing the mass shooters and other obviously insane killers, known to be taking psychotropic drugs prior to or during their killing sprees:

  • Bradley Stone, a former Marine in suburban Philadelphia, shot and killed his ex-wife Nicole Stone, her mother and her grandmother, and he ‘chopped’ Nicole’s sister, her husband and their 14-year-old daughter to death with an ax. Nicole Stone’s 17-year-old nephew was the lone survivor of the three-home massacre. Stone was being treated for mental health issues. After the six slayings, he committed suicide with a lethal mixture of depressants, antidepressants and schizophrenia medications, his autopsy revealed. Police found Bradley Stone’s body in the woods a week before Christmas, 2014, a day after he killed his six victims, police told the New York Daily News.
  • Aaron Ray Ybarra, 26, of Mountlake Terrace, Washington, allegedly opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University in June 2014, killing one student and wounding two others. Ybarra said then he “feels he identifies with one of the Columbine killers, whom he identified as Eric Harris,” counselor Deldene J. Garner wrote later in a chemical dependency assessment filed in Edmonds Municipal Court. Ybarra had been referred to the counselor following his arrest in July 2012 for driving drunk on an Edmonds sidewalk. He reported “being diagnosed with Psychosis and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” the report said. On occasion, “voices scared him,” Ybarra told the counselor. He said he’d been prescribed with Prozac and Risperdal to help him with his problems.
  • Jose Reyes, the Nevada seventh-grader who went on a shooting rampage at his school in October 2013 was taking a prescription antidepressant at the time, and had told a psychotherapist that he was teased at school, the Associated Press reported. Reyes, 12, opened fire Oct. 21 at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide. His doctor had prescribed 10 mg of Prozac once daily, according to police reports. Toxicology reports indicated that at the time of autopsy the suspect had a generic form of Prozac, Fluoxetine in his system consistent with the prescription given.
  • Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter who killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, had been prescribed several psychiatric drugs, including Fanapt, a controversial anti-psychotic medicine, the Business Insider reported. “Fanapt is one of a many drugs the FDA pumped out with an ability to exact the opposite desired effect on people: that is, you know, inducing rather than inhibiting psychosis and aggressive behavior,” Business Insider reported.
  • Reno Hospital shooter Alan Oliver Frazier, 51, killed his doctor and wounded one other person before killing himself in December 2013 in Reno, Nevada. Frazier took Prozac but didn’t like being dependent on the medication and would sometimes stop using it, his ex-girlfriend told the Associated Press.
  • Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis sprayed bullets at office workers and in a cafeteria on Sept. 16, 2013, killing 13 people including himself. Alexis had been prescribed Trazodone by his Veterans Affairs doctor. Trazadone is a generic antidepressant that is seldom used anymore to treat depression but is widely prescribed for insomnia, experts told the Washington Post.
  • Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58 in the July 20, 2012, tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Thirty-eight days before the attack, the psychiatrist treating suspect James Holmes told a police officer that her patient had confessed homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, according to court documents unsealed in April 2013 and reported on by the Denver Post. The psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, also told the officer that Holmes had stopped seeing her and had been threatening her in text messages and e-mails, the documents state. The officer, Lynn Whitten, responded by deactivating Holmes’ key-card access to secure areas of University of Colorado medical campus buildings, according to search-warrant affidavits. Police found medications in his apartment, including sedatives and the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam. They also found the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft.
  • A 20-year-old woman accused of opening fire and shooting three people in a Gig Harbor, Washington, grocery was charged with murder in October 2012, after one of the victims died. Laura Sorenson appeared in Pierce County Superior Court, where prosecutors filed a charge of first-degree murder against her two months after the death of David Long, 40. Sorenson is accused of walking into the Peninsula Market just before 1 p.m. on Aug. 11, 2012 and firing at customers until she was tackled to the ground. Witnesses told police that Sorenson said something about “killing” people prior to pulling out a revolver from her purse and firing four to five shots. After the shooting, Sorenson revealed to detectives she has a mental condition and is on medication, court documents said, adding she wanted to kill herself and wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone else first, the Komo News reported.
  • The mentally ill gunman who killed a worker and wounded several others at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center psychiatric hospital in March 2012 had previously threatened staff at an affiliated hospital with a baseball bat. Medical records and other information show 30-year-old John Shick, held a grudge, believing he had misdiagnosed illnesses ranging from a bad ankle to pancreatitis to erectile dysfunction, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said. Shick twice went to UPMC Shadyside hospital in February with the bat and threatened the staff, and yet Pittsburgh police were not called, Zappala told the Associated Press. Zappala said investigators hadn’t yet determined why Shick targeted UPMC’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, where he was treated twice after he was kicked off the Duquesne University campus for harassing female students with repeated requests for dates. At the second visit, a clinic doctor urged Shick to resume medication for schizophrenia — after his mother told doctors he stopped taking it months before. Shick walked out and skipped a follow-up appointment in December.” His contacts at UPMC began to get more serious and disturbing after that,” said Deputy District Mark Tranquilli, who handles homicide cases for Zappala. In Shick’s apartment, investigators found 43 drugs used to treat 20 conditions, from anti-depressants to medicines for intestinal worms.
  • Mohamed Merah fell in a hail of bullets in a March 22, 2012 raid after shooting seven people at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, after telling police who sought his surrender that he regretted not “going back to the Jewish school” which would have enabled him to kill more children, according to comments reported by the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche.  Merah had been prescribed psychotropic drugs and sleep aides “to calm his stress,” a doctor said.
  • It was reported in March 2012 that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales had killed 15 innocent civilians in Afghanistan, a horrific crime that men in his unit said went beyond the pale even for someone suffering from PTSD. It was later revealed by his wife that Bales was being treated with anti-depressants. She and her husband were both on antidepressants, “as is the rest of the army population….okay maybe not everyone. Just the ones that have been in for several years now, the ones who will actually admit when things are really screwed up,” she told the Daily Beast.
  • Anders Breivik, known as Norway’s “laughing gunman,” killed 77 people, many of them children, in 2011. Norway officials amassed pages and pages of analysis of the horrific crime, but almost nobody noticed that the smirking Breivik was taking large quantities of mind-altering chemicals, the Daily Mail reported. In this case, the substances are an anabolic steroid called stanozolol, combined with an amphetamine-like drug called ephedrine, plus caffeine. The authorities and most of the media were more interested in his non-existent belief in fundamentalist Christianity, the Mail reported.
  • Anabolic steroids were also used heavily by David Bieber, who killed one policeman and tried to kill two more in Leeds, England, in 2003, and by Raoul Moat, who last summer shot three people in Northumberland, killing one and blinding another. Steroids are strongly associated with mood changes, uncontrollable anger and many other problems.
  • Jeff Weise, culprit of the 2005 Red Lake High School shootings, had been taking “antidepressants.”
  • Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox – like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and many others, a modern and widely prescribed type of antidepressant drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold went on a hellish school shooting rampage in 1999 during which they killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves. Luvox manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals concedes that during short-term controlled clinical trials, 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox – that’s 1 in 25 – developed mania, a dangerous and violence-prone mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion.

 

  • Patrick Purdy went on a schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, California, in 1989, which became the catalyst for the original legislative frenzy to ban “semiautomatic assault weapons” in California and the nation. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.
  • Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Ore., and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.
  • In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Ill., killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the antidepressant Anafranil as well as Lithium, long used to treat mania.
  • In Paducah, Kentucky, in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, son of a prominent attorney, traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school’s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.
  • In 2005, 16-year-old Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.
  • 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac in 1989, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Kentucky, killing nine. Prozac-maker Eli Lilly later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.
  • Kurt Danysh, 18, shot his own father to death in 1996, a little more than two weeks after starting on Prozac. Danysh’s description of own his mental-emotional state at the time of the murder is chilling: “I didn’t realize I did it until after it was done,” Danysh said. “This might sound weird, but it felt like I had no control of what I was doing, like I was left there just holding a gun.”
  • John Hinckley, then age 25, took four Valium two hours before shooting and almost killing President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the assassination attempt, Hinckley also wounded press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and policeman Thomas Delahanty.
  • Andrea Yates, in one of the most heartrending crimes in modern history, drowned all five of her children – aged 7 years down to 6 months – in the family bathtub near Houston. Insisting inner voices commanded her to kill her children, she had become increasingly psychotic over the course of several years. At her 2006 murder re-trial (after a 2002 guilty verdict was overturned on appeal), Yates’ longtime friend Debbie Holmes testified: “She asked me if I thought Satan could read her mind and if I believed in demon possession.” And Dr. George Ringholz, after evaluating Yates for two days, recounted an experience she had after the birth of her first child: “What she described was feeling a presence … Satan … telling her to take a knife and stab her son Noah,” Ringholz said, adding that Yates’ delusion at the time of the bathtub murders was not only that she had to kill her children to save them, but that Satan had entered her and that she had to be executed in order to kill Satan.Yates had been taking the antidepressant Effexor. In November 2005, more than four years after Yates drowned her children, Effexor manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals quietly added “homicidal ideation” to the drug’s list of “rare adverse events.”
  • 12-year-old Christopher Pittman struggled in court to explain why he murdered his grandparents, who had provided the only love and stability he’d ever known in his turbulent life. “When I was lying in my bed that night,” he testified, “I couldn’t sleep because my voice in my head kept echoing through my mind telling me to kill them.” Christopher had been angry with his grandfather, who had disciplined him earlier that day for hurting another student during a fight on the school bus. So later that night, on Nov. 28, 2001, he shot both of his grandparents in the head with a .410 shotgun as they slept, then burned down their South Carolina home, where he had lived with them. “I got up, got the gun, and I went upstairs and I pulled the trigger,” he recalled. “Through the whole thing, it was like watching your favorite TV show. You know what is going to happen, but you can’t do anything to stop it.” Pittman’s lawyers would later argue that the boy had been a victim of “involuntary intoxication.” They said his 30-year sentence was excessive for someone his age and claimed the “heavy doses of anti-depressants he was taking sent his mind spinning out of control.”  Doctors had him on Paxil and Zoloft just prior to the murders. Paxil’s known “adverse drug reactions” – according to the drug’s FDA-approved label – include “mania,” “insomnia,” “anxiety,” “agitation,” “confusion,” “amnesia,” “depression,” “paranoid reaction,” “psychosis,” “hostility,” “delirium,” “hallucinations,” “abnormal thinking,” “depersonalization” and “lack of emotion,” among others”.

Further lists detailing the number of specific school shooters on psychotropic prescription drugs. It is important to note that these lists do not include the black-market narcotics that many homicidal criminals have been known to take.

While many in mainstream media are quick to blame weapons themselves for the criminal actions of wicked individuals, the linkage between the consumption of psychotropic drugs and mass shootings in the United States is the real story. While all people on psychotropic drugs are not mass shooters, most mass shooters are on psychotropic drugs.

Even when it comes to terrorism, drugs are frequently a crucial factor.

As I reported previously in The Duran:

“What would it take for you to strap a bomb to your body and blow yourself and anyone and anything around you into a million little pieces? One cannot be compensated for such an activity, so in this sense, all the gold of Croesus would not be at all meaningful.

Furthermore, all great religious texts forbid such an act. True, one could simply lie about what these texts say to a young, stupid and desperate individual, but this would still only account for an infinitesimally small number of suicide bombers.

The elephant in the room is drugs and the fact is that most suicide bombers are on drugs both before and at the time of their atrocity. The ISIS mindset is the opposite of the Islamic mindset but it is a carbon copy of the insane, violent and irrational drugs mindset. Terrorism is a drug problem, not a religious problem. Those who join ISIS, no matter their background, are not converting to a faith but to a cult based on drugs and the death that is the outgrowth of drug taking.

Feeling suicidal is typically associated with depression, withdrawal, self-loathing and a feeling of immense pain or worthlessness. Few such people feel the confidence to do anything to others, let alone harm them. Violent people by contrast are generally more interested in inflecting harm on others than in harming themselves.

However, certain substances make it so that otherwise relatively rational people take flight of reason. Look at alcohol for just one example. Why do ordinary people who work in factories, offices and financial institutions get in to fights and attempt to rape women when drunk, while they would never dream of doing things like this when sober? Why too might a small man only have the irrationality to take on a big man or even a group of big man when drunk?

The reason is obvious, booze makes people take fight of reason, especially if they have a weak constitution and psyche to begin with. It goes without saying that those tempted to join ISIS or al-Qaeda especially if young and physically healthy, have deeply worrying constitutional weaknesses and problems to begin with. This is a prima facie reality.

It  has been widely exposed that ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are also big narcotics traders and traffickers. The Afghan heroin trade alone is said to generate over $1 billion per year for ISIS. With Iraq capturing more and more oil rich territory of their country from illegal ISIS occupiers, the drugs trade is becoming even more important for groups like ISIS.

It is no coincidence that ISIS have poured resources into Salafist terrorist groups in Philippines in order to stop President Duterte’s war on drugs, a war which could cut off funding for groups like ISIS who profit from the illegal drug trade which has ravaged Philippines for years.

During al-Qaeda’s war on Libya, Revolutionary Leader Muammar Gaddafi warned that many of the terrorists were on drugs.

Gaddafi turned out to be absolutely correct. The pills about which Gaddafi spoke shortly before his assassination at the hands of terrorists was something called Captagon, a super-strength amphetamine that according to that generally anti-Assad and anti-Gaddafi British magazine Spectator is used widely by jihadists.

The Spectator reports that 11 million Captagon pills were seized by Turkish authorities at the Syrian border and that a Saudi Prince was recently caught trying to smuggle two tonnes of the drugs on a private jet.

The magazine interviewed a ‘former’ jihadist who claimed,

“We would fight them, slaughter them…The moment we take a pill we would stop thinking about anything”.

The drug addicted terrorist also claimed that, “You even stop thinking of your own family”, when on the pills.

Further reports found that stashes of the drug cocaine were found by Kurdish fighters in Syria at a property occupied by ISIS war lord Emir Abu Zahra.

Other reports have found that ISIS are working with the Albanian mafia to smuggle drugs throughout Europe. Drugs represent half of Albania’s GDP and is known as a country where ISIS have one of their biggest yet rarely spoken about strongholds in Europe. The ISIS-narco trade is even more apparent in the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija. Here, the Albanian mafia essentially rule the roost. According to the British paper Daily Mirror, ISIS have seized over $4 billion worth of drugs in Albania.

READ MORE: Here’s why Albania is a failed state

This issue is hardly discussed in the west where hard drugs are regularly consumed not just by miscreants and bandits but by politicians, financial workers, lawyers and other high net worth scoundrels. The fact is that the big-money of the west fuels the ISIS drug trade which in turn helps feed suicide bombers and other ISIS, al-Qaeda and FSA fighters with drugs that allow them to commit their crimes against humanity with ease and without a second thought.

We all realise that the west is more interested in regime change against secular governments in the Arab world and possibly beyond (think Philippines), but are they also more interested in ‘getting high’ than in fighting terrorism? The reality rather speaks for itself.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is hated by those who use drugs, profit from the sale of drugs and supply drugs to terrorists. This is all the more reason for those with a clear conscience and pure intentions to support Duterte’s war on drugs as well as his war on ISIS. It is after all, the same war and it is a war that must be waged without mercy”.

Rodrigo Duterte vows to cutoff ISIS drug money

Whether lone wolf mass shooters or members of known terrorist organisations, where there are drugs there are violent psychopaths and where there are violent psychopaths, there is danger. If the United States wants to get serious about preventing mass shootings, the authorities must hold big pharmaceutical companies, over-proscribing doctors and illegal narcotics manufacturers and dealers to account. The crisis is pressing and swift action against all varieties of psychotropic drugs should not be delayed.

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What a crock. In plenty of circles even completely legitimate medicines that are so commonly just considered “drugs” are looked down on as morally reprehensible. People with documented spinal injuries and histories of surgeries are and have been treated like garbage for a long time now in large sections of this country by fairly sizable demographics, such as Evangelicals are notorious for looking down on people with things such as even spinal injuries, simply because they take prescription narcotics. Portugal decriminalized all drugs well over a decade ago, the abuse rate plummeted, overdoses are practically no unheard of, and you… Read more »

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT

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Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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