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Russian envoy killed in a ‘parallel universe’

The Russian ambassador was killed in Ankara on the evening of Dec. 19 . The killer, a 22-year-old Turkish graduate of the police academy who had been fired in July after being deemed untrustworthy, fired 11 bullets into the ambassador’s back as he finished addressing the attendees at the opening of the Russia Through Turkish Eyes photo exhibit.

Andrey Fomin

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This article originally appeared on OrientalReview.org

Since the murderer was killed by a detachment of police who arrived a few minutes after the tragedy, the upcoming investigation is unlikely to lead back to those who ordered this crime.  Obviously this was not the work of the Turkish government – this murder was specifically intended to disrupt the process of rebuilding the dialog between Russia and Turkey spanning a wide range of issues – from resolving the situation in Syria to shipping natural gas to Europe.

Many point to Daesh’s underground network in Turkey – but it should be understood that that is under the full control of the Turkish authorities and the cover operation now being conducted by the authors of this campaign of intimidation is intent on convincing the world that the Islamists are beyond anyone’s control and too reckless to be kept in check.

The gunman was likely an agent from Mossad or a Western intelligence service who was passing himself off as a covert terrorist, which would be an entirely plausible story for a young man who had found himself in difficulties.  The shots that rang out in an Ankara gallery of contemporary art a few minutes after a plane carrying Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu turned toward Moscow were also intended to overshadow his visit (which turned out not to have been worthwhile, based on the negotiations).

By and large this act of terrorism was a desperate, angry move by figures at the backstage in the global theater who have lost this round in Syria.

Back in October we wrote about how the events in Syria are in no way a local conflict, but rather reflect a clash between powerful forces, one demanding “freedom of capital” and the other – protecting freedom of the soul.  These high stakes explain the unprecedented campaign of lies that major transnational news outlets have launched in recent weeks concerning the state of affairs in Aleppo with their baseless accusations that the Syrian army and its allies have committed war crimes.

The propaganda has become so ferocious that Syrian, Russian, and alternative sources of information that report on the real situation in Syria have been accused of fabricating a “parallel universe.”  It’s hard to believe, but people who are well aware that  the “documented evidence” that they are presenting as “proof of the regime’s atrocities” was actually filmed, say, somewhere in Egypt, still have the audacity to claim that their reporting reflects “reality” and that anything inconsistent with that is something “parallel.”

The fanatical faith of the devotees of “freedom of capital” in the “sanctity” of their “civilizing” mission, which they see as the only path, can be attributed to nothing but this entirely Trotskyist psychic phenomenon (that the end justifies the means).

The result of the astonishing intellectual selectivity of these blind guides (or Intellectual Yet Idiots, as the Lebanese-American scholar Nassim Taleb has called them) was recently clearly exhibited by a US correspondent for the Norwegian mainstream newspaper Aftenposten.  He was covering the press conference held by Eva Bartlett, a Canadian journalist and activist with the International Syria Solidarity Movement, in the United Nations building in New York on Dec 9.  That Norwegian correspondent challenged her on one point and her reply resonated throughout social networks for the next few days.

Among other things, she declared that the volunteer group known as the White Helmets, although so renowned in the West, is entirely unknown in Aleppo (another activist with the Syria Solidarity Movement, Vanessa Beeley, recently published a detailed investigation of these terrorist accomplices).  Aftenposten interweaves its usual propaganda with photos and videos from highly dubious sources supporting the insurgents and condescendingly notes, referring to UN humanitarian official Jan Egeland, that “no one in Aleppo has ever heard of the UN either.”

To Russians, who continually find themselves up against a similar lack of coherence in the way Europeans think of their country (whether in the imaginary “Russian threat” to the Baltics, “aggression in the Donbass,” or the “occupation of Crimea”), such metamorphoses are interpreted as “Russophobia.”  But it seems that the problem goes much deeper.

A favorite catchphrase for most US and European politicians is “Western values.”  This slogan is invariably trotted out whenever they need to force someone else to agree to some decision that is essential to the West, while anyone who opposes them is declared an enemy of these values and is subjected to ostracism, sanctions, condemnation, or even destruction.  Few realize that that concept is now widely used within a context that has nothing to do with axiology (the study of values), but which is at its heart merely a political mythology.

An impartial analysis of Western values, especially in comparison with those held by the Russians, gives a very clear answer to the question as to why Russia, although it seems to no longer have any fundamentally new ideological project to offer the world, is emerging as the new “shining city upon a hill” for a growing number of people across the globe.

First of all, when Western ideologues attempt to define the concept of Western values, they usually cite a dozen or so stock phrases such as “democracy,” “tolerance,” “a strong civil society,” “the rule of law,” and “political pluralism,” all of which were divorced from their original meanings long ago.  In fact, only provincial Europhiles and American students in liberal arts colleges believe in these mottos anymore.

On the contrary, the difference between the word (“democracy”) and the deed (utterly suppressing dissent and ordering the overthrow of legitimate regimes in objectionable countries) has become one of the most important tools used by the West to promulgate its quasi-values, which are actually fronts for its true expansionist interests.

Let us turn to a comparative table of the actual value systems of the contemporary West vs. Russia:

The  West

 Russian (Eurasian) civilization

  • globalism
  • a multi-polar world
  • universality
  • the diversity of identities
  • the superiority of the Western world (Western civilization as a model)
  • all civilizations are equal and sovereign
  • limitless progress
  • movement forward without destroying the old
  • material prosperity
  • spiritual and social development
  • multiculturalism
  • internationalism (the brotherhood of nations)
  • a society that is open to migrants (at the expense of the native-born population)
  • a strict migration policy (the protection of the interests of the native-born population)
  • political pluralism
  • the spiritual communion of an entire society (“sobornost”)
  • a strong civil society
  • a society in solidarity
  • the bourgeoisie (the primacy of the propertied classes)
  • communitarianism (the primacy of the majority)
  • agnosticism, atheism, and secularization
  • faith (traditional religions)
  • a preference for newly formed religions and sects
  • a preference for traditional religions and a rejection of sects
  • gender equality (the feminization of men and masculinization of women)
  • the preservation of natural gender differences and traditions
  • same-sex marriages and surrogate motherhood
  • the traditional family
  • sex “education” in schools
  • moral education in schools
  • support of the LGBT community at the expense of the traditional majority
  • the identification of non-traditional sexual orientation as an abnormality
  • juvenile justice that includes the legal protection of children from their parents
  • the exclusive right of parents to raise their children as they see fit, up to a certain age
  • the right to euthanasia
  • a ban on euthanasia and a focus on improving pain relief
  • the right to clone
  • a ban on cloning
  • individualism
  • various forms of collectiveness
  • freedom defined as the utmost rejection of social taboos
  • freedom defined as alignment with the (Divine) ideal
  • the law means justice
  • justice above the law
  • formal tolerance
  • genuine forbearance and compassion
  • political correctness
  • truth
  • transparency
  • openness (in the sense of “honesty”)
  • a “free” press
  • an accurate press
  • shame
  • conscience
  • a preference for private ownership
  • all types of ownership are equal
  • an open economy
  • a balance between openness and sovereignty
  • the “free market” as the primary regulator of economic relationship
  • the state determines the national priorities for the economy
  • the right to the unilateral use of force in the name of democracy
  • non-violence
  • social safety nets for those who are loyal to the system
  • social safety nets for all
  • an army of paid professionals
  • the universal conscription of citizens
  • wars are justified and essential in order to bring democracy to the “barbaric” part of the world
  • only defensive wars are acceptable

It is important to note that the values listed in the right-hand column of the table of values are merely ideals that are professed and are not officially approved Russian imperatives – they are understood identities that Russians have adopted (and these are being retained even amidst the atmosphere of the aggressive recoding emanating from the West, which, however, has not been very successful over the last 25 years).

Since the onset of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, the process of re-traditionalizing Russian society has greatly accelerated, and this now seems irreversible and is even having a clearly beneficial effect on the West.  The hysteria unleashed by the owners of a number of international media outlets communicating only a single, primal thought – “Russia is the world’s greatest evil” – is tied to this Russian renaissance and the subsequent frustration of the hopes of Western elites to build a totalitarian super-society in the foreseeable future based on pseudo-liberal slogans.

But what kind of “evil” can Western civilization speak of when it has placed its bets on Hominid immoral in its classical, Biblical delineation?

Amb. Andrey Karlov became the real victim of aggressive imposing of false values and world-views on entrapped individuals, vainly wishing to find the Truth in distorting mirrors of the lavishly financed Western propaganda machine. They never realize that consuming Daily News or Al-Jazeera, they are turning into a Mevlut Mert Altintas themselves…

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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