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CONFIRMED: Vegas shooting suspect prescribed dangerous drugs – just like many previous mass shooters

This is the second instance in which The Duran has accurately predicted a reality of the Vegas suspect’s profile.

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The Las Vegas Review-Journal has obtained information that Stephen Paddock, the suspect in the largest mass shooting in modern US history was prescribed a powerful psychotropic drug called diazepam in June of this year, just under four months prior to the shooting.

This fits a a decades long trend among mass shooters and others who engage in cruel and unusual criminal acts being on powerful, yet legal psychotropic drugs.

This means that the Duran accurately predicted two crucial realities in respect of the suspect’s profile, first of all that there was a connection to Philippines  where an almost identical shooting took place 4 months prior to the Vegas massacre and secondly, that suspect Stephen Paddock was likely taking powerful psychotropic drugs. Both of these claims have now been confirmed.

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

According to reports from Las Vegas journalists,

“Records from the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program obtained Tuesday show Paddock was prescribed 50 10-milligram diazepam tablets by Henderson physician Dr. Steven Winkler on June 21. A woman who answered the phone at Winkler’s office would not make him available to answer questions and would neither confirm nor deny that Paddock was ever a patient.

Paddock purchased the drug — its brand name is Valium — without insurance at a Walgreens store in Reno on the same day it was prescribed. He was supposed to take one pill a day.

Diazepam is a sedative-hypnotic drug in the class of drugs known as benzodizepines, which studies have shown can trigger aggressive behaviour. Chronic use or abuse of sedatives such as diazepam can also trigger psychotic experiences, according to drugabuse.com”.

According to the Nevada state monitoring report, the suspect Stephen Paddock was first prescribed the drugs in 2016.

This validates an earlier report in The Duran which questioned whether the suspect the the Las Vegas mass shooting was taking powerful psychotropic drugs as were most previous mass shooters.

Below is the entire original story from The Duran, reproduced in its entirety:

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”.

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-prescribing 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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Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine?

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via Strategic Culture:


Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine? Did Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (unsuccessfully) attempt to divert most of it into his own pocket?

Last month the worldwide Orthodox Christian communion was plunged into crisis by the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople to recognize as legitimate schismatic pseudo-bishops anathematized by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church. In so doing not only has Patriarch Bartholomew besmirched the global witness of Orthodoxy’s two-millennia old Apostolic faith, he has set the stage for religious strife in Ukraine and fratricidal violence – which has already begun.

Starting in July, when few were paying attention, this analyst warned about the impending dispute and how it facilitated the anti-Christian moral agenda of certain marginal “Orthodox” voices like “Orthodoxy in Dialogue,” Fordham University’s “Orthodox Christian Studies Center,” and The Wheel. These “self-professed teachers presume to challenge the moral teachings of the faith” (in the words of Fr. John Parker) and “prowl around, wolves in sheep’s clothing, forming and shaping false ideas about the reality of our life in Christ.” Unsurprisingly such groups have embraced Constantinople’s neopapal self-aggrandizement and support for the Ukrainian schismatics.

No one – and certainly not this analyst – would accuse Patriarch Bartholomew, most Ukrainian politicians, or even the Ukrainian schismatics of sympathizing with advocacy of such anti-Orthodox values. And yet these advocates know they cannot advance their goals if the conciliar and traditional structure of Orthodoxy remains intact. Thus they welcome efforts by Constantinople to centralize power while throwing the Church into discord, especially the Russian Church, which is vilified in some Western circles precisely because it is a global beacon of traditional Christian moral witness.

This aspect points to another reason for Western governments to support Ukrainian autocephaly as a spiritual offensive against Russia and Orthodoxy. The post-Maidan leadership harp on the “European choice” the people of Ukraine supposedly made in 2014, but they soft-pedal the accompanying moral baggage the West demands, symbolized by “gay” marches organized over Christian objections in Orthodox cities like AthensBelgradeBucharestKievOdessaPodgoricaSofia, and Tbilisi. Even under the Trump administration, the US is in lockstep with our European Union friends in pressuring countries liberated from communism to adopt such nihilistic “democratic, European values.”

Perhaps even more important to its initiators, the row over Ukraine aims to break what they see as the “soft power” of the Russian Federation, of which the Orthodox Church is the spiritual heart and soul. As explained by Valeria Z. Nollan, professor emerita of Russian Studies at Rhodes College:

‘The real goal of the quest for autocephaly [i.e., complete self-governing status independent of the Moscow Patriarchate] of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a de facto coup: a political coup already took place in 2014, poisoning the relations between western Ukraine and Russia, and thus another type of coup – a religious one – similarly seeks to undermine the canonical relationship between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Moscow.’

In furthering these twin objectives (morally, the degrading of Orthodox Christianity; politically, undermining the Russian state as Orthodoxy’s powerful traditional protector) it is increasingly clear that the United States government – and specifically the Department of State – has become a hands-on fomenter of conflict. After a short period of appropriately declaring that “any decision on autocephaly is an internal [Orthodox] church matter,” the Department within days reversed its position and issued a formal statement (in the name of Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, but clearly drafted by the European bureau) that skirted a direct call for autocephaly but gave the unmistakable impression of such backing. This is exactly how it was reported in the media, for example, “US backs Ukrainian Church bid for autocephaly.” Finally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in personally with his own endorsement as did the US Reichskommissar for UkraineKurt Volker.

The Threat…

There soon became reason to believe that the State Department’s involvement was not limited to exhortations. As reported by this analyst in October, according to an unconfirmed report originating with the members of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (an autonomous New York-based jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate), in July of this year State Department officials (possibly including Secretary Pompeo personally) warned the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (also based in New York but part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) that the US government was aware of the misappropriation of a large amount of money, about $10 million, from estimated $37 million raised from believers for the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York. The State Department warning also reportedly noted that federal prosecutors have documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was suggested that Secretary Pompeo would “close his eyes” to this theft in exchange for movement by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly, which helped set Patriarch Bartholomew on his current course.

[Further details on the St. Nicholas scandal are available here, but in summary: Only one place of worship of any faith was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attack in New York and only one building not part of the World Trade Center complex was completely destroyed. That was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a small urban parish church established at the end of World War I and dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is very popular with Greeks as the patron of sailors. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, and following a lengthy legal battle with the Port Authority, which opposed rebuilding the church, in 2011 the Greek Archdiocese launched an extensive campaign to raise funds for a brilliant innovative design by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava based on traditional Byzantine forms. Wealthy donors and those of modest means alike enthusiastically contributed millions to the effort. Then – poof! In December 2017, suddenly all construction was halted for lack of funds and remains stalled to this day. Resumption would require having an estimated $2 million on hand. Despite the Archdiocese’s calling in a major accounting firm to conduct an audit, there’s been no clear answer to what happened to the money. Both the US Attorney and New York state authorities are investigating.]

This is where things get back to Ukraine. If the State Department wanted to find the right button to push to spur Patriarch Bartholomew to move on the question of autocephaly, the Greek Archdiocese in the US is it. Let’s keep in mind that in his home country, Turkey, Patriarch Bartholomew has virtually no local flock – only a few hundred mostly elderly Greeks left huddled in Istanbul’s Phanar district. (Sometimes the Patriarchate is referred to simply as “the Phanar,” much as “the Vatican” is shorthand for the Roman Catholic papacy.) Whatever funds the Patriarchate derives from other sources (the Greek government, the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches), the Phanar’s financial lifeline is the ethnic Greek community (including this analyst) in what is still quaintly called the “Diaspora” in places like America, Australia, and New Zealand. And of these, the biggest cash cow is the Greek-Americans.

That’s why, when Patriarch Bartholomew issued a call in 2016 for what was billed as an Orthodox “Eighth Ecumenical Council” (the first one since the year 787!), the funds largely came from America, to the tune of up to $8 million according to the same confidential source as will be noted below. Intended by some as a modernizing Orthodox “Vatican II,” the event was doomed to failure by a boycott organized by Moscow over what the latter saw as Patriarch Bartholomew’s adopting papal or even imperial prerogatives – now sadly coming to bear in Ukraine.

…and the Payoff

On top of the foregoing, it now appears that the State Department’s direct hand in this sordid business may not have consisted solely of wielding the “stick” of legal threat: there’s reason to believe there was a “carrot” too. It very recently came to the attention of this analyst, via an unsolicited, confidential source in the Greek Archdiocese in New York, that a payment of $25 million in US government money was made to Constantinople to encourage Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on Ukraine.

The source for this confidential report was unaware of earlier media reports that the same figure – $25 million – was paid by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the Phanar as an incentive for Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on creating an independent Ukrainian church. Moreover, Poroshenko evidently tried to shortchange the payment:

‘Peter [Petro] Poroshenko — the president of Ukraine — was obligated to return $15 million US dollars to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which he had appropriated for himself.

‘As reported by Izvestia, this occurred after the story about Bartholomew’s bribe and a “vanishing” large sum designated for the creation of a Unified Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine surfaced in the mass media.

‘As reported, on the eve of Poroshenko’s visit in Istanbul, a few wealthy people of Ukraine “chipped in” in order to hasten the process of creating a Unified Local Orthodox Church. About $25 million was collected. They were supposed to go to the award ceremony for Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the issuing of a tomos of autocephaly. [A tomos is a small book containing a formal announcement.] However, in the words of people close to the backer, during the visit on April 9, Poroshenko handed over only $10 million.

‘As a result, having learned of the deal, Bartholomew cancelled the participation of the delegation of the Phanar – the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia on July 27 in Kiev.

‘”Such a decision from Bartholomew’s side was nothing other than a strong ultimatum to Poroshenko to return the stolen money. Of course, in order to not lose his face in light of the stark revelations of the creation of the tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Peter Alexeevich [Poroshenko] had to just return those $15 million for the needs of Constantinople,” a trusted source explained to reporters.

‘For preliminary information, only after receiving the remaining sum, did Bartholomew finally give his consent to sending a delegation of the Phanar to Kiev … ‘

Now, it’s possible that the two identical figures of $25 million refer to two different pots of money (a cool $50 million!) but that seems unlikely. It’s more probable the reports refer to the same sum as viewed from the sending side (the State Department, the Greek Archdiocese) and the delivery side (Poroshenko, Constantinople).

Lending credibility to the confidential information from New York and pointing to the probability that it refers to the same payment that Poroshenko reportedly sought to raid for himself are the following observations:

  • When Poroshenko generously offered Patriarch Bartholomew $10 million, the latter was aware that the full amount was $25 million and demanded the $15 million Poroshenko had held back. How did the Patriarch know that, unless he was informed via New York of the full sum?
  • If the earlier-reported $25 million was really collected from “a few wealthy people of Ukraine” who “chipped in,” given the cutthroat nature of disputes among Ukrainian oligarchs would Poroshenko (an oligarch in his own right) have risked trying to shortchange the payment? Why has not even one such Ukrainian donor been identified?
  • Without going into all the details, the Phanar and the Greek Archdiocese have a long relationship with US administrations of both parties going back at least to the Truman administration, encompassing some decidedly unattractive episodes. In such a history, a mere bribe for a geopolitical shot against Moscow would hardly be a first instance or the worst.

As one of this analyst’s Greek-American connections puts it: “It’s easy to comprehend the Patriarchate bowing to the pressure of State Dept. blackmail… not overly savory, but understandable. However, it’s another thing altogether if Kiev truly “purchased” their autocephalous status from an all too willing Patriarchate … which would relegate the Patriarch to ‘salesman’ status and leave the faithful wondering what else might be offered to the highest bidder the next time it became convenient to hold a Patriarchal ‘fire sale’ at the Phanar?!”

To add insult to injury, you’d think Constantinople at least could pay back some of the $7-8 million wasted on the Crete 2016 debacle to restart the St. Nicholas project in New York. Evidently the Phanar has better things to spend it on, like the demonstrative environmentalism of “the Green Patriarch” and, together with Pope Francis, welcoming Muslim migrants to Europe through Greece. Of course maybe there’s no need to worry, as the Ukraine “sale” was consistent with Constantinople’s papal ambitions, an uncanonical claim to “universal” status, and misuse of incarnational language and adoption of a breathtakingly arrogant tone that would cause even the most ultramontane proponent of the Rome’s supremacy to blush.

Finally, it seems that, for the time being at least, Constantinople doesn’t intend to create an independent Ukrainian church but rather an autonomous church under its own authority. It’s unclear whether or not Poroshenko or the State Department, in such event, would believe they had gotten their money’s worth. Perhaps they would. After all, the issue here is less what is appropriate for Ukraine than what strikes at Russia and injures the worldwide Christian witness of the Orthodox Church. To that end, it doesn’t matter whether the new illegal body is Constantinopolitan or Kievan, just so long as it isn’t a “Moskal church” linked to Russia.

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EU Army: Fact or Fiction? (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda discuss the possibility, and feasibility, of putting together an EU army, as French President Macron is now boasting about.

Will an EU Army replace, rival, or fold into NATO? How will the US respond to Europe’s military initiative, and how will Russia deal an EU army?

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Via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


“Insulting” – that’s how US President Donald Trump sharply reacted to the idea of a “real European army” proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

And it was how Macron rationalized the need for an independent military force for Europe that perhaps most irked the American leader.

Speaking on a tour of World War I battlefields in northern France last week, Macron said that Europe needed to defend itself from “China, Russia and even the United States of America”.

It was a pretty extraordinary choice of words by the French leader. To frame the US among an array of perceived foreign enemy powers was a devastating blow to the concept of a much-vaunted transatlantic alliance.

Since the Second World War, ending 1945, the concept of an American-European alliance has been the bedrock of a supposed inviolable, mutual defense pact. That nearly seven-decade alliance is now being questioned more than ever.

Macron’s call for a European army was further backed up by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who also pointedly said this week that Europe can no longer rely on the US for its defense.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has welcomed the proposal for Europe to form its own military organization, independent from Washington. No doubt, Moscow views such a development as augmenting a move towards a multipolar international order, which Russia and China, among others, have been advocating in opposition to American ambitions of unipolar dominance.

When Trump arrived in Paris last weekend along with dozens of other world leaders, including Putin, to commemorate the centennial anniversary marking the end of World War I, there was a notable frostiness between Macron and the American president. Only a few months ago, Macron and Trump had appeared the best of friends in what some observers referred to as a “bromance”.

During the Paris events, Macron sought to placate Trump by saying that the European army proposal would have a “complementary” role to the US-led NATO military alliance. However, their relationship further soured when Macron later delivered a speech in which he made a veiled rebuke of Trump’s “nationalist” politics.

Days later, on returning to Washington, Trump then fired off a fusillade of angry tweets attacking Macron in very personal terms over a range of issues, including “unfair” economic trade and France’s alleged ungrateful attitude towards the US liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

The rift between the US and Europe has been brewing even before Trump’s presidency. For years, Washington has been carping that the Europeans need to spend more on military defense, claiming that the US has been shouldering the burden for too long. Trump has taken the griping to a new, higher level. Recall that he has threatened to pull out of NATO because the Europeans were “free loading” on American “protection”.

The irony is that now the French and German leaders are talking about setting up their own military defenses, Trump has blown a fuse.

Evidently, the American contention is not about “burden sharing” of defense. If Washington was genuinely aggrieved about supposedly defending Europe at too much of its own expense, then Trump, one would think, would be only too glad to hear that the Europeans were at last making their own military arrangements, and taking the burden off Washington.

This gets to the heart of the matter about the real purpose of NATO and presence of tens of thousands of US troops stationed in bases across Europe since 1945. American military presence in Europe is not about “protecting” its supposed allies. It is, and always has been, about projecting American power over Europe. In reality, American troops and bases in Europe are more functioning as an occupying force, keeping the Europeans in line with Washington’s strategic objectives of hegemony over the continent.

Macron and Merkel’s vision of a European army is probably fanciful anyway, without any real prospect of materializing. How such a new defense arrangement would work independently from the 29-member NATO alliance led by the US seems unwieldy and impractical.

But the latest tensions between Washington and European leaders over military organization demonstrate the real nature of America’s relationship to Europe. It is about domination by Washington over Europe and has little to do with partnership and protection.

When Trump and previous US presidents have urged greater military spending by Europe the ulterior agenda is for Europeans to pay more to underpin American military presence, not for Europeans to find their own independent defense arrangement.

Tensions in the transatlantic axis seem to be coming to a head, heightened by Trump’s nationalistic “America First” policy. Rivalries are sharpening over trade, US sanctions on Iran, Trump’s threats against European energy plans with Russia, the Paris Climate Accord, and squabbling over NATO expenditures.

There is nothing progressive about Macron or Merkel’s call for a European army. It is more to do with France and Germany wanting to assert themselves as great powers and to shake off American tutelage out of frustration with Trump’s domineering petulance.

Only last week, Macron caused controversy when he praised French military general Philippe Pétain who collaborated with Nazi Germany as leader of Vichy France (1940-44). Macron wants a European army to satisfy his own nationalistic ambitions of revamping French global power. This week, he spent the night onboard a refurbished French aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, from which he gave a media interview saying that being “an ally of America meant not being a vassal”. Touché!

A progressive challenge from Europe to American power would not involve setting up a new army. Instead it would involve Europeans pushing for the disbandment of NATO as an obsolete organization and for the withdrawal of US-led forces which are dangerously amassing on Russia’s border.

Nonetheless, the one positive thing to emerge from the transatlantic spat over military defenses is that it illustrates more than ever how European protection is not the real purpose of Washington’s relationship to the continent. The purpose is one of using Europe as a platform for projecting America’s power, in particular against Russia.

The recent announcement by the Trump administration that it is willing to rip up yet another nuclear arms control treaty – the INF following the ABM in 2002 – clearly shows that Washington, ultimately, has recklessly scant concern for Europe’s security with regard to a possible future war with Russia.

For Washington, despite all the chivalrous rhetoric, Europe is not a partner nor even an ally. It is a vassal. Admittedly, thousands of American troops died while bravely fighting wars in Europe. But they are distinct from the US ruling class. At bottom, Europe is merely a battlefield for American military power, just as it was in two previous world wars. One hundred years after the end of World War I, the same callous calculus for the imperial planners in Washington is at play.

European ideas for independent defense is why Washington has reacted so furiously. It’s not willing to give up its European front.

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Zuckerberg Clings To Power While Sandberg Claims Ignorance After Damaging NYT Report

The New York Times reported that Facebook hired GOP PR firm, Defenders, to smear liberal detractors as Soros operatives. 

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Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are battling backlash over an explosive investigation by the New York Times into Facebook’s mercenary damage control tactics in the wake of several major scandals.

Despite fresh calls from investors for Zuckerberg to step down in his dual role as CEO and chairman and appoint an independent director to oversee the board, the 34-year-old tech titan brushed off the suggestion during a Thursday call with journalists.

“A company with Facebook’s massive reach and influence requires robust oversight and that can only be achieved through an independent chair who is empowered to provide critical checks on company leadership,” said New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer.

Zuckerberg disagrees. “I don’t think that that specific proposal is the right way to go,” said the Facebook CEO when asked if he would consider stepping down, adding that other initiatives had been launched to “get more independence into our systems.”

The measures include creating an independent body to advise the company on decisions over whether controversial content should remain on the site.

Ultimately, he said Facebook is never going to eradicate mistakes. “We’re never going to get to the point where there are no errors,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to set up the company so that way we have our board, and we report on our financial results and do a call every quarter, but that also we have this independent oversight that is just focused on the community.” –Business Insider

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, meanwhile, is claiming ignorance – telling CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell “we absolutely did not pay anyone to create fake news – that they have assured me was not happening.”

In their Wednesday exposé – the culmination of interviews with over 50 current and former company executives, lawmakers, government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members,the New York Times reported that Facebook had hired GOP PR firm, Defenders, which smeared liberal detractors as Soros operatives – and worked with a sister company to create negative propaganda about competitors Google and Apple.

Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. –NYT

Meanwhile, Sandberg stressed that Facebook was undertaking new security measures, telling O’Donnell: “Our strategy was to shore up the security on Facebook and make major investments there,” and that the company had made significant investments in combatting fake news and foreign influence.

“It was not what I was doing nor was it the company’s strategy to deflect, to deny or to hire PR firms to do things. That’s not the strategy. And I was part of none of that. We’ve taken great steps, we’ve made huge investments. We’ve invested a ton in AI and technology and if you were following us before the election you saw those efforts pay off. We were able to take down lots of stuff over and over, over and over because we were now focused on this,” said Sandberg.

When asked if rank-and-file employees are confident in her, Sandberg replied: “Yes, I believe so.

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