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CONFIRMED LEAK: ‘Governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funding ISIS,’ says Julian Assange (VIDEO)

Julian Assange tells of Hillary Clinton’s deep connections with the ISIS funding states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He confirms that Russia is not behind the leaks and offers his views on his own dire situation.

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Julian Assange’s landmark interview with the great John Pilger did not reveal any startling new truths. Instead, it confirmed the conclusions many had drawn from reading Wikileaks and perhaps most importantly, it has vindicated much of what Donald Trump has been saying all along.

Here are the most important points:

  1. The Saudi and Qatari governments funnelled millions into the Clinton Foundation whilst directly funding ISIS.

Assange stated:

“Here’s an early 2014 email from Hillary Clinton, so not so long after she left [her job as] Secretary of State, to her campaign manager John Podesta. That email, it states that ISIL, ISIS is funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar – the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Now, this is a… I actually think this is the most significant email in the whole collection… And perhaps because Saudi and Qatari money is spread all over the place, including into many media institutions, all serious analysts know, even the US government has mentioned or agreed with that some Saudi figures have been supporting ISIS, funding ISIS. But the dodge has always been, that’s… what… it’s just some rogue princes using their cut of the oil money to do what they like but actually the government disapproves. But that email says that no, it is the governments of Saudi and the government of Qatar that have been funding ISIS.”

Assange continued:

“Under Hillary Clinton, and Clinton emails reveal significant discussion about it, the largest ever arms deal in the world was made with Saudi Arabia – more than $80 billion. In fact, during her tenure as Secretary of State, total arms exports from United States in terms of the dollar value doubled.”

Assange agrees with me that this is the most important exposé of the many revelations Wikileaks has brought the world throughout the long course of the campaign. It also vindicates Donald Trump who once called Hillary and Obama the ‘founders’ of ISIS. One cannot be trusted to fight ISIS when they are taking money from and are politically in bed with the evil regimes that are the kingpins of the ISIS mafia. The fact that these unconscionable deals have received so little attention from western mainstream media is worrying. It means that whilst western journalists will write about terrorism to sell papers, they have little genuine concern for world safety or the security of their fellow citizens.

  1. The FBI is facing internal civil war whilst openly declaring war on the arrogance of Hillary Clinton.

Assange spoke of the FBI’s historical role as ‘political policeman’ in the following way:

“If you go to the history of the FBI, it has become effectively America’s political police. And the FBI demonstrated with taking down the former head of the CIA over classified information given to his mistress [that] almost no one was untouchable. The FBI is always trying to demonstrate that, “No one can resist us.” But Hillary Clinton very conspicuously resisted the FBI’s investigation. So, there is anger within the FBI because it made the FBI look weak.”

This very much vindicates my initial hypothesis upon the news that the FBI were re-opening their investigation into Hillary Clinton, insofar as Assange concludes that the FBI are engaged in a traditional power play rather than fighting for a cause they ultimately believe to be just.

This seems to be the case, even though given the circumstances, the overriding result may be the same; big trouble for Hillary, up to and including an indictment.

  1. Libya Was Hillary Clinton’s Pet Project From Hell

Whilst Obama was tepid, the Pentagon ill-prepared and Britain and France acting as the internal cover for the war, the war itself was Hillary’s invention, her dream, her unique child of death. Again, Trump’s criticisms of Hillary Clinton’s war on Libya seem incredibly apposite.

Assange says of Libya:

“Libya more than anyone else’s war was Hillary Clinton’s war. Barack Obama initially opposed it. Who was the person who was championing it? Hillary Clinton. That’s documented throughout her emails. She had… She put her favoured agent in effect, Sidney Blumenthal, onto that. There’s more than 1,700 emails out of the 33 thousand of Hillary Clinton’s emails we published just about Libya. It’s not about that Libya has cheap oil. She perceived the removal of Gaddafi and the overthrow of the Libyan state something that she would use to run in the general election for president. So late 2011, there’s an internal document called the “Libya Tick Tock” that is produced for Hillary Clinton, and it’s all the… it’s a chronological description of how Hillary Clinton was the central figure in the destruction of the Libyan state. As a result, there are around 40,000 deaths within Libya. Jihadists moved in, ISIS moved in. That led to the European refugee and migrant crisis, because not only did you have people fleeing Libya, people then fleeing Syria, destabilisation of other African countries as a result of arms flows. The Libyan state itself was no longer able to control movement of people through it. So, Libya faces on to the Mediterranean. So, it had been effectively the cork in the bottle of Africa. So, all problems, all economic problems, the civil war in Africa… Previously, the people fleeing those problems didn’t end up in Europe because Libya policed the Mediterranean. And that was said explicitly at the time, back in 2011, by Gaddafi: what do these Europeans think they are doing, trying to bomb and destroy the Libyan state? There’s going to be floods of migrants out of Africa, and jihadists into Europe. And that is exactly what happened.”

  1. Putin Didn’t Do It:

Whilst Wikileaks have a policy of never revealing their sources, circumstance has compelled Julian Assange to say unequivocally that the Russian government is not a source for the leaks. This of course is in line with the findings of the FBI, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, Donald Trump, the hacker Guccifer 2.0 and thousands of independent experts.

  1. Hillary Clinton is the political captain of globalist finance, wicked foreign regimes and a corrupt anti-democratic establishment.

Assange said:

“…she represents a whole network of people, and a network of relationships also with particular states. The question is, how does Hillary Clinton fit in this broader network? She’s this centralizing cog, so that you’ve got a lot of different gears in operation from the big banks like Goldman Sachs, and major elements of Wall Street, and intelligence, and people in the State Department, and the Saudis, and so on. She’s is the, if you like, the centralizer that interconnects all these different cogs. She’s smooth central representation of all that, and all that is more or less what is in power now in the United States. It’s what you call the establishment, or the DC consensus, and its influences. In fact, one of the most significant Podesta emails that we released was about how the Obama cabinet was formed – and half the Obama cabinet was basically nominated by a representative from Citibank. It is quite amazing… If you were following the Obama campaign back then closely, you could see it had become very close to banking interests. It wasn’t so close to oil interests but it was very close to banking interests… So, I think you can’t properly understand Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy without understanding Saudi Arabia. The connections with Saudi Arabia are so intimate.”

  1. The Establishment Will Do Anything To Stop Trump

Assange believes that due to the fact that the political, economic and military-industrial establishment are fully lined-up against Trump, that Trump ‘will not be permitted to win’. Two weeks ago I may have well agreed, but given the severity of the troubles with which the Clinton campaign faces, my prediction is that unless the rigging issues are totally insurmountable, Trump will in fact win.

Assange, however, went on to describe Trump’s campaign in a very insightful way:

“Donald Trump – what does he represent in the American mind and in the European mind? He represents American “white trash,” deplorable and irredeemable. Basically, the same thing. It means, from a… establishment or educated, cosmopolitan, urbane perspective, these people are, you know, like the rednecks, and you can’t… like, they are just… you can never deal with them. And because he so clearly – through his words and actions and the type of people that turns up at his rallies – represents the people who are not the upper-middle-class-educated, there is a fear of seeming to be associated in any way with that, a social fear that lowers the class status of anyone who can be accused of somehow assisting in any way Trump, including criticising Clinton. And if you look at how the middle class gains its economic and social power, it makes absolute sense.”

  1. The war against Wikileaks and his own lack of freedom.

Here Assange demonstrated that behind his status as a heroic crusader for justice, he is after all, a human being and one who has sacrificed his own life to help the world. When Pilger asked what would happen were Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Assange said the following:

“So, I would be immediately arrested by the British police, and I would then be extradited, either immediately to the United States, or to Sweden. In Sweden, I am not charged, I’ve already been previously cleared, etc. So, we’re not certain exactly what would happen there, but then we know that the Swedish government has refused to say that they will not extradite me to the United States. And they have extradited 100 percent of people that the US has requested since at least 2000. So, over the last 15 years, every single person that the US has tried to extradite from Sweden has been extradited. And they refuse to provide the guarantees. So, it’s… yeah.”

Speaking more directly about the legal realities and untruths he is facing, Assange said:

“The UN has looked into this whole situation. They spent 18 months in formal adversarial litigation: me, at the UN, versus Sweden and the UK – who is right? The UN made a conclusion – I’m being arbitrarily detained, illegally, deprived of my freedom. What has been… occurred, has not occurred within the laws that the United Kingdom and Sweden must obey. It is an illegal abuse. I mean, the United Nations formally asking what’s going on here, what’s your legal explanation for this. He says you should be… you should recognize his asylum. Sweden formally writing back to United Nations, says “No, we’re not going to,” leaving open their ability to extradite. I just find it absolutely amazing that the narrative about this situation is not put out publicly and in the press. Because it doesn’t suit the Western establishment narrative that, “Yes, the West has political prisoners.” It’s a reality. It’s not just me, there’s a bunch of other people as well. The West has political prisoners. No state accepts to call the people it is imprisoning or detaining for political reasons “political prisoners.” They don’t call them political prisoners in China, they don’t call them political prisoners in Azerbaijan, and they don’t call them political prisoners in the United States, the UK or Sweden. It’s absolutely intolerable to have that kind of self-perception. But here we have a case. Talking about the Swedish case, where I have never been charged with a crime, where I have already been cleared and found to be innocent, where the woman herself said that the police made it up, where the United Nations formally said the whole thing is illegal, where the state of Ecuador also investigated and found that I should be given asylum. Those are the facts. But what is the rhetoric?”

Assange continued:

“The rhetoric is pretending, constantly pretending that I have been charged with a crime, never mentioning that I have been already previously cleared, never mentioning that the woman herself says that the police made it up, trying to avoid that the UN formally found that the whole thing is illegal. Never even mentioning that Ecuador made a formal assessment through its formal processes and found that yes, I am subject to persecution by the United States.”

No matter who wins the US election, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been the true super-stars of the entire process. They have shown light upon lies, exposed the grave crimes that the global political establishment commits against the collective morality of ordinary people and against national and international laws. large part in forcing the hand of the FBI to say ‘enough is enough’ and re-open the book on Hillary Clinton.

Crucially unlike almost every other major journalistic outlet in the world, Wikileaks has not once been forced to retract any of its statements.  Assange has revealed the unfairness and corruption of the political process and I believe his revelations played a

If Assange were running for any political office in the world, he would certainly have my vote.

Here is Julian Assange’s full interview with John Pilger:

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Judicial Watch Calls for Re-Opening of Hillary Email Investigation After More Classified Info Found

Judicial Watching is calling for a re-opening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails after finding more classified information on the former Secretary of State’s non-“state.gov” email system.

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Authored by Joseph Jankowski via PlanetFreeWill.com,


On Thursday, the watchdog revealed that it had received two batches, 184 pages and 45 pagesof newly uncovered emails belonging to Hillary Clinton from the U.S. Department of State sent and received over her unsecured server.

The emails were uncovered by a FOIA lawsuit filed on May 6, 2015, after the State Department failed to respond to a March 4, 2015 FOIA request seeking all emails sent or received by Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Clinton regarding her non-“state.gov” email address.

Judicial Watch broke down what they found:

  • On June 7, 2011, Clinton received classified information on her non-secure email account from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which Blair also forwarded to Jake Sullivan, about Blair’s Middle East negotiations with Israel, the Palestinians and the French
  • On January 26, 2010, Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan sent classified information via his unsecure Blackberry to Huma Abedin’s State Department email account that he’d earlier sent to Clinton’s and Abedin’s non-secure @clintonemail.com email accounts about U.K. negotiations with Northern Ireland.
  • On October 28, 2010, Clinton exchanges information with her friend Marty Torrey – a congressional aide – who asks Clinton in an email if she would advise that Torrey meet with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Clinton responds through her non-secure email account approving the meeting and notes that she is emailing him from Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • An email chain dated April 8, 2010, which contains a memo from Sid Blumenthal to Hillary Clinton related to the change of government in Kyrgyzstan, contains information classified “confidential” and is redacted as “foreign government information” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.” Blumenthal urges Clinton to “develop relations” with the new government in Kyrgyzstan.

These emails caused Judicial Watch founder Tom Fitton to call for the Department of Justice to re-open the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time in office.

“These emails were undercovered from the emails that Hillary Clinton tried to delete or otherwise hide from the American people,” Fitton said in a video posted Thursday. “These new emails once again show why the Clinton email investigation needs to be re-opened by the Justice Department.”

The batch of emails also disclosed a January 26, 2010, email to Hillary Clinton’s private server from her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, that is classified “confidential” and contains a “call sheet” that Clinton received prior to a call with Northern Ireland political leaders.

Interesting, but not surprising, is also an email that shows a meeting scheduled between Hillary Clinton and leftwing billionaire George Soros.

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Doug Casey on Social Media: “Facebook enshrines stupidity”

“Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook.”

The Duran

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Authored by Joel Bowman via InternationalMan.com:


Joel Bowman: G’day, Doug. Thanks for speaking with us today.

Doug Casey: No problem, Joel. It’s a pleasure to hear your Australian accent come across the ether from Mexico.

Joel: Let’s dive right in. A week or two ago, Facebook registered the largest single day loss for any one company in stock market history – roughly $122 billion. CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost around $15 billion himself, as much as the annual GDP of several resource-rich, West African nations.

Looking back to 2000, during the go-go days of the dot.com boom, Intel and Microsoft both registered staggering single-day losses, too… $90 billion and $80 billion, respectively. And we know what happened next in that case…

So, investors want to know… is past prologue? What’s next for Silicon Valley’s tech darlings?

Doug: Talking about losing multiple billions in a single day, it’s really a sign of the times. I remember when the only billionaires in the world were Howard Hughes, John Paul Getty and John Beresford Tipton– the mythical billionaire on a 1950’s-era show called “The Millionaire.”

These days, however, it seems everyone’s a billionaire. In fact, there are several thousand billionaires roaming the planet today, with new ones being minted almost every day.

Of course, much of this so-called wealth is just paper. It’s not real. In fact, it’s pretty clear to me that we’re in a stock market bubble. Which is being driven by the bond market hyper-bubble. And that, in turn, is fueling a real estate bubble, which I believe is just now beginning to deflate in major cities around the world.

None of this augurs well for the stock market. You’ve got bubbles all over the place. Except in the resource market. That’s the one place that hasn’t inflated. In fact, it’s been going down since it’s last peak in 2011.

Getting back to Facebook, I hope it goes bankrupt. I hate it as an institution. I hate what it does. I don’t like its policies. I don’t like its management. I don’t like the fact that it’s causing people to destroy whatever privacy they have left. While turning their brains to mush sending out selfies all day.

Joel: You’ve put a lot on the table there, Doug. Let’s unpack a bit of that, starting with the general tendency toward cerebral rot…

Many younger readers may not remember this, but there actually existed a time before everybody knew everything, when people had to read books and discuss them, engage in healthy debate and rigorous dialectic in order to learn and develop intellectually.

Now that everyone apparently has plenty of time to Instagram their kale salads and “like” one and other’s cat pictures, are we to assume mankind has finally reached the End of Learning…some new Age of Enlightenment?

Or might Facebook and its (anti)social media cousins represent – in addition to the potential fallout for investors – another, hidden cost to society?

Doug: Perhaps humanity is bifurcating into the Morlocks and the Eloi at this point. It’s true that people used to go to libraries. But even the Library of Congress has only a tiny fraction the world’s data available; libraries are quaint and delightful, but they’re dinosaurs.

All the knowledge in the world is now at our fingertips on the Internet. The Internet is one of the greatest inventions in history, on a par with moveable type and the Gutenburg printing press. A few people are using it to educate and better themselves—but relatively few.

Most people just use it for trivial amusement, as you mentioned. Facebook adds very little value to the equation. In fact, I can’t see that it does much that’s productive. It’s basically a vehicle for gossip and watching cat videos.

Joel: And it’s less than that. Aside from the general degradation of public discourse, social media also represents a kind of unalterable historical record of bad jokes and regrettable moments, accessible to anyone who may wish to besmirch one’s character or skittle one’s reputation.

We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t. To err is to be human, after all. What do you make of a world in which everyone’s worst moments are readily available to everyone else – including potential enemies – at the click of a mouse?

Doug: Facebook enshrines stupidity. A heavy Facebook user is, in effect, saying: “Look at me! I’m a thoughtless person who doesn’t have anything better to do with his time”. That’s on top of the fact that users are exposing their thoughts, actions, and whereabouts to the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and any of a hundred other nefarious agencies. In fact, there are credible allegations that Facebook, along with Google and Amazon, are willing tools of these intelligence agencies. No good can come of being a Facebookista.

But that’s about whether you should use Facebook. Whether you should own Facebook stock is a different question. Even after the recent selloff, Facebook still has a market cap of about $500 billion, which impresses me as a lot for a chat site cum advertising vehicle. Especially one where most of its growth is behind it. A lot of users are getting hip to the fact they’re not customers, they’re the product.

Facebook was a clever innovation ten years ago. But you know, there’s an old saying in the stock market: High Tech, Big Wreck!

Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook. My understanding is that kids now see Facebook as something used by old people– people over 21 years of age. So if it’s going nowhere with the younger generation, where’s it’s future? Maybe it picks up a billion new users in the Third World. Ultimately, what’s that worth?

Facebook may not be a terminal short sale, but I certainly won’t be putting any of my own money into the stock.

Joel: Assuming you’re correct and Facebook 2.0 does displace the current market leader, are you hopeful that such a platform may serve to promote a heightened level of discourse? Perhaps people might find their way into “phyles,” that is, subgroups based on commonly shared values that actually have real world meaning?

Doug: I hope that, in a year or two, International Man itself grows into a community of likeminded people with above average I.Q.s, libertarian values, and real world experience. IM might, itself, even branch off to become its own kind of Facebook. A private version.

I know there’s a lot of talk about regulating FB, or breaking it up. That’s a bad idea; the government should have zero to do with business in general—and areas related to free speech in particular. I’m disgusted by the fact FB has kicked Alex Jones and others off their platform. But they have a right to do so, as a private company. Although, on the other hand, they’re almost a creature of the State.

But that’s not an excuse for the government to “step in”. What will happen is that a newer, better Facebook lookalike—or a dozen of them—will replace them. FB will self-destruct. It’s a non-problem.

To be frank, you and I don’t really have that much in common with most of the 7.3 billion people on this planet. In fact, while I like many individual humans, I despise humanity in general. The more people you put together in a group, the more they act like chimpanzees. Big groups force down the lowest common denominator.

There’s some cause for optimism, but only on a person-to-person basis. I prefer the company of people who value free minds and free markets—and I suspect most people who are reading this now feel the same way.

Joel: That’s probably a very good note to end this conversation on, Doug. Thanks, as always, for taking the time.

Doug: Meanwhile, we’ll look for something with the potential of Facebook in 2008… and stay away from Facebook today.

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Why did Erdogan free two Greek soldiers after six months in a Turkish prison?

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 83.

Alex Christoforou

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Two Greek soldiers freed after months in a Turkish prison returned to Greece by government jet after their unexpected release by a Turkish provincial court.

Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said he phoned his Turkish counterpart to express his satisfaction with the soldiers’ release and invite him to visit Greece.

Kammenos told reporters, referring to the Feast of the Dormation, which falls on August 15 and to the Italian torpedoing on a Greek warship on this day in 1940…

“This is a great day for our motherland, the day of Our Lady, the day of Tinos in 1940.”

“I hope that their release…will herald a new day in Greek-Turkish relations. We can live together peacefully, for the benefit of both our peoples.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the reasons behind Erdogan’s unexpected overture to Greece, with the sudden release of two Greek soldiers held in a Turkish prison for nearly 6 months.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Ekathimerini

The soldiers – 2nd Lieutenant Angelos Mitretodis and Sergeant Dimitris Kouklatzis – were met by Kammenos, the army chief of staff and an honor guard after their arrival at 3 a.m. at the airport in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

“All I want to say is thank you,” Mitretodis told reporters.

The men were arrested on March 1 for illegally entering Turkey after crossing the heavily militarized land border. Greece strongly protested their long detention in the western town of Edirne, arguing that they had strayed across during a patrol of a trail of suspected illegal immigration amid poor visibility due to bad weather.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed their release as “an act of justice,” and provided the jet he uses on official foreign journeys to bring them back.

Their release “will contribute to strengthening friendship, good neighborly relations and stability in the region,” Tsipras said in a statement. “I want to congratulate and thank (the two men) and their families for their fortitude, patience and trust in our efforts, which were finally justified.”

In Athens, the Foreign Ministry said: “We welcome the release of the two members of the Greek armed forces … following more than five months of unjustified custody in Edirne prison. This decision by the Turkish authorities is positive and will contribute to the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations and the friendship between our people.

“The constant efforts exerted by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Ministry and the diplomatic and consular missions of Greece in Turkey have borne fruit. Once again diplomacy is the biggest winner.”

The men’s arrest had considerably strained Greek-Turkish relations. Kammenos had claimed that they were being held “hostage” by Turkey, which is trying to secure the extradition of eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after the 2016 failed military coup in Turkey.

Ankara accuses its servicemen of involvement in the coup, but Greek courts have refused to extradite them, arguing they would not get a fair trial in Turkey and their lives would be in danger there.

The two Greeks were released Tuesday pending the outcome of their trial by a Turkish court. Turkey’s state Anadolu Agency said that in a court hearing to review a request for their release the two said in their defense that they had crossed the border by mistake.

Mitretodis’ father told the AP that his son had shown great strength in prison.

“My wife phoned and told me the news, and at once I called the Greek consul (in Edirne) and confirmed that the lads have been set free,” Nikos Mitretodis said. “They didn’t do anything wrong, and they spent a long time in prison. But they were strong during all that time, and remain strong, they have to be.”

“I want to thank everyone for their solidarity – the media, our political leadership, the Church and anonymous people who stood by us,” he added.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the release of the two soldiers “on the one hand constitutes a basic act of justice on the part of the Turkish authorities. On the other hand, it shows how Turkey can and should continue to fully reestablish the climate of friendship and good neighborliness with Greece”.

Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “The release of the two Greek officers is happy news amid the gloomy summer that our country is experiencing. All Greeks await their return with joy and emotion.”

In Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was delighted by news of the Greek soldiers’ imminent release. “As I said (before) … Turkey has nothing to fear from its European neighbors. We want to see a democratic, stable and prosperous Turkey,” he posted on Twitter.

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog:

On August 15, Greeks celebrate the “Dormition (or the Assumption) of the Virgin Mary (in Greek: Koimisis tis Theotokou). The holiday commemorates the “falling asleep” or death of the Theotokos (Mary, translated as “God-bearer”). August 15, one of the most important holidays in the Orthodox calendar, is celebrated across the country, and is a date when many Greeks leave the towns and cities where they live and work to return to their home villages.”

Stole that bit from the local Kathimerini paper. And I would add: while most Athenians leave for the islands, along with about 2 billion tourists. Thought I’d bring up the national holiday because in Turkey, they celebrate the same. The orthodox church is still going strong in both countries. Even if Turkey is leaning increasingly towards Islam. And even then: the House of the Virgin Mary shrine in Turkey, which the Apostle John is supposed to have built for her, on a mountain overlooking the Aegean, the place where Mary is said to have spent her last years, sees both Christian and Muslim pilgrims.

All this can’t be seen apart from some recent developments between the two countries. Turkey had been holding two Greek servicemen in jail after they crossed a border in bad weather early March.

Athens got a phone call from Ankara, probably to Kammenos, not Tsipras, that said: you come get them. Whether that call was before or after the court decision we’ll probably never know. A bit of a shame, because it could tell us a lot of where the decisions are made in Turkey. Then again, we do have an idea. A mere provincial court that could make decisions that go completely against what Erdogan desires? What are the odds? But stick around.

Here’s what’s interesting about this: the two soldiers, who had been in detention for almost half a year, were released by a provincial court, and got back home on a joint Turkish/Greek national holiday. What’s not to like?

But then this: a few hours after they arrive home on PM Tsipras’ own government jet at 3pm, another Turkish court decides that an appeal for American pastor Brunson to be released, is denied. Brunson is the guy Trump wants freed. John Bolton has said there’ll be no more talks until that is done. But if one court takes a decision that at least on the face of it goes against supreme ruler Erdogan’s demands, and another decides differently, Erdogan can claim the pastor’s fate is out of his hands: it’s the court system that decides.

That victory over Trump, concerning not freeing the pastor, is apparently worth more to him than the defeat of not exchanging the soldiers for the 8 Turkish servicemen who have gotten asylum in Greece. Something Erdogan is allegedly very angry about, because he accuses them of being party to the 2016 ‘coup’. He’s trying to play chess with Trump.

*****

And then Reuters has this just now:

Erdogan Spokesman Says Problems With US Will Be Resolved

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Wednesday he expected problems with the United States, which helped drive the lira to record lows, to be resolved but Washington must stop trying to influence Turkey’s judiciary. Ibrahim Kalin also told a news conference that Turkey would exercise its rights if the U.S. does not deliver F-35 jets to Ankara. The lira, which has rallied after hitting a record low of 7.24 to the dollar, would continue to recover, he said.

Via The Automatic Earth blog:

A masterstroke? Did Erdogan just succeed in making everyone, including Trump, believe the Turkish judiciary system is impartial, and he’s not the one keeping Brunson from leaving the country? Sure looks like he tried. “Sorry, Mr. Trump, it’s out of my hands.. A judge let the Greek soldiers go, and I didn’t want that either..”

Problem is, everyone knows Erdogan fired half the judiciary system and 90% or so of the press, accusing them of being part of the same coup plot as Gülen and the pastor Brunson. It’s almost amusing. Almost, because innocent people’s lives are being played out on some primitive chess board and sacrificed against dreams of ever more power. Only a pawn in their game.

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