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The Massacre in Orlando: The West Desperately Needs to Re-Think

The terrorist outrage in Orlando underscores the need to unite against Islamist terrorist and the Islamic State.

Alexander Mercouris

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The massacre in Orlando, Florida is an appalling act of terrorism, the worst the US has suffered since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

At such a moment one’s feelings are overwhelming shock, horror and a feeling of solidarity for the victims and their families, and for the American people as a whole who have experienced another terrible atrocity in their own country.

Though reports are sketchy, it appears the massacre was the work of one fanatical individual.  It seems he may have been acting from a mix of motives – violent homophobia being one – but overall there seems little doubt he was a violent jihadi Islamist and that the massacre in Orlando was another terrible act of jihadi terrorism.

Unfortunately there is information which – if true – is even more disturbing. 

It seems that the terrorist, Omar Mateen, though a US citizen, had established connections to the worldwide jihadist movement, had already on previous occasions attracted the interest of the US authorities as a potential terrorist, and that immediately prior to the killing he claimed to be acting on behalf of the Islamic State ie. Daesh.   Moreover it seems that Daesh, or at least agencies connected to it, are claiming responsibility for the massacre.  

If so then that might mean that Mateen was acting under instructions – like the terrorists who carried out the massacres in Brussels and Paris were – in which case the massacre was coldly pre-planned and premeditated, or – which is perhaps more likely – that Mateen was inspired to act by Daesh, which accepted his pledge of allegiance after the event, in a similar way to the way it accepted a similar pledge of allegiance from a group of murderers who carried out a smaller massacre in San Bernadino in California last year.

Daesh is known to have issued calls for terrorist outrages to coincide with the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan, which is being celebrated now, and if the massacre was indeed carried out either under its inspiration on its orders, then there must be a terrible possibility that it is intended to be only the first of many.

If this is indeed so – and unfortunately the most likely assumption has to be that it is – then it points to the need for added vigilance across the world, with the very real risk of more terrorist incidents happening over the course of the next few weeks.

If the massacre was either inspired by Daesh or was pre-planned and premeditated by Daesh, then it points to something else, which by now should anyway be obvious. 

This is that even by the standards of Islamic jihadi terrorism Daesh is a monstrous psychopathic death cult that has no regard for human life and which has ultimately no other purpose than to commit murder and destruction.  Moreover it is a death cult that despite a string of recent defeats still controls large territories in the Middle East, has access to sizeable economic resources, has an elaborate organisation with some of the trappings of a modern state, and which has thousands of men under arms.

The destruction of this organisation, and of violent jihadi terrorism generally, ought to be the overriding international priority to which all others should be given second place.

Instead, in place of the united single-minded approach that massacres like the one in Orlando and the previous ones in Paris and Brussels call for, we have chaos, with different states pursuing contradictory and discordant policies some of which involve colluding with Islamist terrorists in order to achieve obscure geopolitical goals.

The result has been some frankly disgraceful behaviour, such as the Turkey’s continued collusion with violent Islamists in Syria as it seeks the overthrow of the Syrian government, the US call on Russia to cease its bombing of Al-Qaeda groups in Syria, made for the same reason, and the heartless reaction in some sections of the Western media and on the part of some officials of the US government following the terrorist bombing of the Russian Metrojet airliner over Sinai, with the appalling suggestion that the Russians had somehow brought that outrage on themselves.

In the immediate aftermath of the recent terrorist attack in Paris back in March I wrote an article for Sputnik in which I said that the expressions of outrage which would shortly come from Western governments were worthless unless there was a fundamental rethink of Western policy away from its obsessive pursuit of regime change in the Middle East and from the practice of trying to manipulate jihadi terrorist groups in order to achieve geopolitical goals.

The horrible massacre in Orlando – bringing jihadi violence once more to the US heartland and possibly exposing Americans for the first time in their own country to the murderous violence of Daesh – underscores again the desperate need for such a rethink.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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