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US and France claim proof that Syria is responsible for Douma chemical attack

They “believe” that they are “confident” in their “proof” that must be “assessed”

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The US is brazenly declaring that they have proof that the Syrian government, under the direction of Bashar al-Assad, conducted a chemical attack on the town of Douma, ten kilometers out of Damascaus, and that they have a “very high confidence” in their “evidence”.

Moreover, Russia is “part of the problem” because of its “failure to stop them”, and their “continued distraction on this front” exacerbates the issue, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Additionally, the State Department’s spokesman Heather Nauert is issuing the declaration that “the Syrian government was behind the attack” at a press briefing. The Hill reports:

The U.S. has a “very high confidence” that the Syrian government was behind a deadly chemical weapons attack in a suburb of Damascus last weekend, the White House said Friday.

“We have a very high confidence that Syria was responsible and, once again, Russia’s failure to stop them and their continued disaction on this front has been part of the problem,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also said Friday that the U.S. has proof that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack on Douma that left dozens of civilians dead.

“We can say that the Syrian government was behind the attack,” Nauert told reporters at a press briefing.

Using the same words that the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, used, Nauert asserts that this certainty that the Syrians did it boils down to their “very high level of confidence”, once again omitting to reference anything particular about the evidence that the State Department might possess on the matter.

Nauert insists that “we believe we know who was responsible for this”, where once again, indicating that this is the government making a claim that they “believe in”, while simultaneously insisting that they have proof, but, which “proof” still needs to be “assessed”.

Nauert also says that the State Department will wait on the OPCW to relate its findings on the matter, which findings they claim won’t show who is responsible for the attack, but merely the substance that was used in the attack. Which begs the question: if investigators on the ground at the site of the attack can’t tell you who done it, how are you so “confident” that you “know” who did it? CBS News reports:

The U.S. State Department said Friday that it has proof that Syria was behind the suspected gas attack that left more than 40 civilians dead in Douma last week. Heather Nauert, a department spokesperson, said officials are still trying to determine what kind of chemical was used in the attack.

She said there was a “very high-level of confidence” that Syria was behind the attack, but did not elaborate on what type of evidence the department has.

“We believe we know who was responsible for this. We will still wait — the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will still formulate its facts and its findings, but it does not determine the responsibility, they determine the substance,” Nauert said Friday.

Nauert also refuted Russia’s claim that the alleged gas attack had been staged by the U.K., calling the accusation “one of a long list of instances in which Russia takes information and they try to turn it upside down.”

“We’ve seen a long history of the Russian government sow discord, whether it’s in our own election process or other countries,” she said. “They try to change the story but the facts are exactly what they are. Russia has changed its story once again because the facts have become too inconvenient for them.”

Meanwhile, France’s President Emmanuel Macron is insisting that his government is in possession of “proof”, which is declared without providing any details relative to what the proof is or how it was acquired, that not only were chemical weapons employed in this attack, but that Bashar al-Assad’s regime was indeed behind it all. His government is poised to join the US in a campaign against Assad’s forces on the grounds of the alleged attack once they “have verified all the information.” CNBC reports:

“We have proof that last week, now 10 days ago, that chemical weapons were used, at least with chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of (President) Bashar al-Assad,” Macron said, without giving details on the evidence or how it was acquired.

The attack on the town of Douma on April 7 killed dozens of people, including children.

“Our teams have been working on this all week and we will need to take decisions in due course, when we judge it most useful and effective,” Macron told broadcaster TF1 when asked whether a red line had been crossed.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday morning: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”

Macron said France wanted to remove the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capabilities. When asked whether those would be the targets of strikes he said: “When we decide it, and once we have verified all the information.”

The French army is preparing itself for a possible riposte as it waits for the political green light, military sources told Reuters, with several sources underscoring the difficulty of outlining the objectives of such an operation.

The sources said if France were to attack, the strikes would most likely come from warplanes rather than its naval frigate off the Lebanese coast, and that they would likely to take off from France rather than its Middle East bases.

The subject of chemical weapons’ use in Syria has been a thorny issue for Macron. He has warned that he would not accept the use of chemical weapons, which he said was a “red line” that would draw French action, even unilateral.

However, after persistent reports of chlorine attacks over the last year, his foreign minister and aides have been more nuanced saying a response would hinge on French intelligence proving both the use of chemicals and fatalities, and a riposte would most likely be in coordination with the United States.

“France will not allow any escalation that could harm the stability of the region as a whole, but we can’t let regimes that think they can do everything they want, including the worst things that violate international law, to act,” Macron said.

Interestingly enough, the US has been claiming since Thursday that they are in possession of blood and urine samples from the site of the alleged attack which provided conclusive proof that chlorine and some unidentified nerve agent were used in the attack.

The revelation was made while the OPCW was only just then announcing that their investigators were en route to the site in order to conduct an investigation to determine, what the “US officials” are claiming that they already know, beginning such operations on Saturday. The Hill reports:

Blood and urine samples from the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria have tested positive for chlorine gas and a nerve agent, according to U.S. officials.

MSNBC reported Thursday that the U.S. obtained samples from the attack site in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, and determined that they contained traces of chlorine gas and an unidentified nerve agent.

While officials did not identify the nerve agent as sarin, the Syrian government is believed to have used the deadly chemical weapon a number of times during the country’s seven-year civil war.

…The revelation comes hours after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced that a fact-finding mission was en route to Syria and would begin investigating the suspected chemical attack on Saturday.

Apparently, since the terrorists have been driven from the site of the attack, likely backed by the US, and that site was secured by Russian backed Syrian forces, and the OPCW has not arrived at the site or begun its investigation, how does France and the US claim to have this “proof”, or these “samples” from the attack site if they didn’t have their guys on the ground in Douma at the attack site conducting an investigation and communicating those results back to their respective governments?

Who are these sources on the ground discovering all of this proof that is being referenced by Western powers in their rush to bomb Syria without a UNSC mandate and potentially starting WW3?

Furthermore, why aren’t these tested samples cited by the Presidents of the US or France and the PM of the UK, in addition to the press secretaries of their state departments in their claims to have all of this “proof” that they are so “confident” that they “believe in” and which still, admittedly, needs to be “assessed”?

Furthermore, if Assad really commanded such an attack, why would he leave damning evidence behind that would categorically prove that not only did the attack go down but that his forces did it? Apparently, if Western media and press secretaries, and leaders, are to be believed, Assad has to be so sadistic that he will conduct atrocious attacks that any fool could tell you that it would bring the West down on him with military operations like a ton of bricks.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

The Duran

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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The French People Feel Screwed

For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

The Duran

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Authored by David Brown via The Gatestone Institute:


On December 4, French Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe told deputies of the ruling party, “La République en Marche”, that a proposed fuel tax rise, which had led to the largest protests France has seen in decades, would be suspended.

The protesters, called Gilets-Jaunes — “Yellow Vests,” because of the vests drivers are obliged by the government to carry in their vehicles in the event of a roadside breakdown — say that the fuel tax was the last straw from a president who took office with a promise to help the economically left-behind but instead has favoured the rich.

Even by French standards, the protests of the “Yellow Vests” during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century.

For more than two weeks, the “Yellow Vests” disrupted France. They paralyzed highways and forced roads to close — causing shortages across the country – and blocked fuel stations from Lille in the North to Marseilles in the South.

During protests in France’s capital, Paris, the “Yellow Vests” were soon joined by a more violent element, who began torching cars, smashing windows and looting stores. 133 were injured, 412 were arrested and more than 10,000 tear gas and stun grenades were fired.

One elderly lady was killed when she was struck by a stray grenade as she tried to shutter her windows against the melee.

There was talk of imposing a State of Emergency.

The “Yellow Vests” present the most significant opposition French President Emmanuel Macron has faced since coming to office in May 2017. Unlike previous protests in France, which have divided public opinion, these have widespread support – 72% according to a Harris Interactive Poll published December 1st.

Fuel tax rises — announced in November before being retracted on December — were intended to help bring down France’s carbon emissions by curbing the use of cars. Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform.

He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter to those outside big cities, where four-fifths of commuters drive to work and a third of them cover more than 30km each week.

The increases have incensed people in smaller communities, where they have already seen speed limits reduced to please the Greens and cuts to the local transport services.

These additional costs-of-living increases come at an extremely bad time for ordinary French people working outside of Paris. Lower-middle class families are not poor enough to receive welfare benefits but have seen their income flat-line whilst cost-of-living and taxes have risen.

An analysis by the Institut des Politiques Publiques think-tank shows that benefits cuts and tax changes in 2018 and 2019 will leave pensioners and the bottom fifth of households worse off, while the abolition of the wealth tax means that by far the biggest gains will go to the top 1%

This is tough to swallow. Macron is seen as being out of touch with ordinary people and is unlikely to escape his new title, “the President of the Rich.”

“People have this feeling that the Paris technocrats are doing complicated things to screw them,” said Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

It is probably not as complex as that. The French people feel screwed.

As employment and growth are slowing, Macron, for the first time in his presidency, is under serious pressure. Unemployment is at 9%; his efforts to reform Europe are stalling, and his approval rating has plummeted to just 23% according to a recent opinion poll by IFOP.

Images of Macron at the Arc De Triomphe daubed in graffiti calling for him to step down, or worse, have done little to bolster his image abroad.

So far, Macron had said he would not bow to street protests. To underline his point, in September 2017, he called protestors against French labour-market reform “slackers”.

The political U-Turn on the fuel tax is a turning point for the Macron presidency. The question is : What next, both for Macron and the “Yellow Vests”?

Macron most likely needs to plough ahead with his reform agenda, and doubtless knows he has the support of a solid majority in the National Assembly to do so. France is crippled by debt (nearly 100% of GDP) and its grossly bloated public sector. There are 5.2 million civil servants in France, and their number has increased by 36% since 1983. These represent 22% of the workforce compared to an OCDE average of 15%.

Tax-expert Jean-Philippe Delsol says France has 1.5 million too many “fonctionnaires [officials]. When you consider that public spending in France now accounts for 57 per cent of gross domestic product. Soon the system will no longer function as there will be less and less people working to support more and more people working less”.

Macron’s mistake, in addition to a seeming inclination for arrogance, is not to have made national economic reform his absolute priority right from his initial grace period after his election. Lower public expenses would have made it possible to lower taxes, hence creating what economists call a virtuous circle. Instead, he waited.

Now, at a time when he is deeply unpopular and social unrest is in full sway he is looking to make further reforms in unemployment benefits, scaling them back by reducing the payments and the length of time beneficiaries can receive the money. The “President of the Rich” strikes again.

There is talk that he may also re-introduce the wealth tax to try to placate the protestors.

Macron’s presidential term lasts until May 13, 2022. Understandably, Macron will be focused on the elections to the European Parliament expected to be held May 23-26, 2019. Headlines have signalled that Marine Le Pen and the National Rally (formally National Front) are ahead in the polls at 20%, compared to Macron’s En Marche at 19%.

The shift is understandable, given the divide between the countryside, where Le Pen has solid support, and the cities, where Macron’s centre-left prevail.

In contrast, the “Yellow Vests” have galvanised support after standing up for the “impotent ordinary”, and seem much buoyed by the solidarity they have been shown by both fire fighters and the police. There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.

Whilst Macron’s political opposition may be fragmented, this new breed of coherent public opposition is something new. Leaderless, unstructured and organised online, the “Yellow Vests” have gained support from the left and right, yet resisted subjugation by either.

Being leaderless makes them difficult to negotiate withor to reason with in private. The “Yellow Vests” seem acutely aware of this strength, given their firm rebuttal of overtures for peace talks from the Macron government.

Enjoying huge support from the public and with reforms to the social welfare system on the horizon, the “Yellow Vests” are not going away.

For the first time in his Presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

After Macron rebuked nationalism during his speech at the armistice ceremony, Trump was quick to remind the French President of his low approval rating and unemployment rate near 10%. A stinging broadside from Trump on twitter suggests that Macron may well be relegated to Trump’s list of global “Losers“:

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

The “impotent ordinary” in the United Kingdom, who might feel betrayed over Brexit, and the nationalists in Germany, who have suffered under Merkel , are no doubt staring in wonder at the “Yellow Vests”, wishing for the same moxie.

The historian Thomas Carlyle, chronicler of the French Revolution, said the French were unrivaled practitioners in the “art of insurrection”, and characterised the French mob as the “liveliest phenomena of our world”.

Mobs in other countries, by comparison, he argued were “dull masses” lacking audacity and inventiveness. The blazing yellow vests of the French protest movement , however, have made Macron appear increasingly dull and weak too.

David Brown is based in the United Kingdom.

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