The Occult Symbolism of the movie "Metropolis" and its Importance in Pop Culture

The Occult Symbolism of the movie “Metropolis” and its Importance in Pop Culture

Direct link to visually rich Vigilant Citizen – October 19, 2010

Fritz Lang’s 1927 movie “Metropolis” is one of those timeless classics that withstand the test of time. Rather than becoming forgotten and obsolete, “Metropolis” is increasingly relevant as many of its predictions are becoming reality. We will look at the  underlying occult message of the film and the usage of its imagery in the acts of  pop stars such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, Beyonce, Kylie Minogue and others.

 Metropolis is a silent science-fiction movie released in 1927 by Fritz Lang, a master of German Expressionism. Set in a futuristic dystopia divided into two distinct and separate classes—the thinkers and the workers—Metropolis describes the struggles between the two opposite entities. Knowing that it was produced in 1927, viewing this movie today is quite an experience as many “sci-fi” aspects of the plot are eerily close to reality. Metropolis describes a society where the “New World Order” has already taken been implemented and a select elite live in luxury while a dehumanized mass work and live in a highly monitored hell.

 As we have seen in previous articles on The Vigilant Citizen, Metropolis is excessively echoed in popular culture, especially in the music business. Whether it be in music videos or photo shoots, pop stars are often portrayed as the character Maria, an android programmed to corrupt the morals of the workers and to incite a revolt, giving the elite an excuse to use violence repression. Are pop stars used by the elite in the same matter, to corrode the morals of the masses?

Movie Analysis

The Workers

The movie opens by showing the workers and their city, situated deep below the earth’s surface. They are shown dressed alike, walking in sync, holding their heads down in submission, resignation and desperation. Throughout the movie, the human cattle is depicted as being physically and mentally exhausted, highly impressionable and, let’s say it, all-around dumb. Like a flock of sheep, the workers move in crowds, are very impressionable and can easily be deceived. This description of the masses corroborates those of Walter Lippmann, an American thinker who, five years earlier in Public Opinion, compared the general public to a “bewildered herd” that is not qualified to manage its own destiny. Joseph Goebbels, the head of propaganda of the Nazi regime, was also in accord with the movie’s conception of the general public. Hitler famously said “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think”.

The workers labor in a monstrous machine, a hellish industrial complex where they must accomplish repetitive and dehumanizing tasks. At one point, the machine is compared to Moloch, the ancient Semitic deity honored by human sacrifices.

 The tasks assumed by the workers are purely mechanical, needing absolutely no brain power, making them nothing more than an extension of the machine.

The Thinker s

If the workers live in a hellish underground dystopia, the thinkers conversely evolve in a gleaming utopia, a magnificent testimony of human achievement. This shiny city could not, however, be sustained without the existence of the Machine (Moloch) and its herds of workers. On the other hand, the Machine would not exist without the need to sustain a city. We find here a dualistic relation where two opposite entities exist in mutual dependence, a concept that has deep occult resonance.

 Joh Fredersen, the Demi-God

The city was founded, built and is run by the autocratic Joh Fredersen. As the creator and only ruler of Metropolis, Fredersen is likened to the Gnostic demiurge, a demi-god who is creator and ruler of the material world.

Joh’s son, named Freder, who, like all sons of managers, was enjoying a life of luxury, discovers the harsh reality of the workers of down under. Wanting to experience the worker’s reality first-hand, Freder descends to the lower level and trades places with a worker. Freder therefore becomes a Christ-like figure, a savior who descends from above. He also becomes enamoured with Maria, a saintly young women from the proletariat.

Maria

Maria is a charismatic woman that is highly admired by her fellow workers. Understanding their suffering and despair, and knowing that a revolt is brewing, Maria preaches peace and patience, prophesying the coming of a “mediator”, who would become the “heart between the head (the thinkers) and the hand (the workers)

At one point, Maria tells the story of the tower of Babel, upon which would be written:

“Great is the world and its Creator! And great is Man!”

This statement has a deep resonance in Mystery Schools as it is taught that men have the potential to become gods through enlightenment. Throughout the ages, monuments and architecture were used to communicate the principles of the Mysteries and to celebrate the greatness of the human mind. Partially for those reasons, there are numerous links between Freemasonry and the Tower of Babel.

 “As regards to Masonry, Babel of course represented a Masonic enterprise and early expositors reaped full benefit from the facts. They remembered that the people, who were of ‘one language and one speech’ journeyed from the East to the West, like those who have been tried and proved as Master Masons. When they reached an abiding place in the land Shinar, it is affirmed that they dwelt therein as Noachide, being the first characteristic name of Masons. It was here that they built their high tower of confusion. Out of evil comes good, however, and the confusion of tongues gave rise to ‘the ancient practice of Masons conversing without the use of speech.’”
-Arthur Edward Waite, A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and of Cognate Instituted Mysteries: Their Rites, Literature and History, Volume I

 “In several early Masonic manuscripts – for example, the Harleian, Sloane, Lansdowne, and Edinburgh-Kilwinning – it is stated that the craft of initiated builders existed before the Deluge, and that its members were employed in the building of the Tower of Babel.”
– Manly P. Hall,
The Secret Teachings of All Ages

 “… at the making of the Tower of Babel there was Masonry first much esteemed of, and Nimrod was a Mason himself and loved well Masons.”
– John T Lawrence, The Perfect Ashlar

 However, says Maria, “one man’s hymns of praise became the other man’s curse”. In other words, the monument praising the greatness of the human spirit was built with the blood and sweat of workers who knew nothing of the Thinker’s grand vision. And, in the film, the same thing is happening all over again. The name of the demi-god Joh Fredersen’s headquarters? Of course … The New Tower of Babel.

Rotwang

Upon learning that the workers are planning an uprising, Joh Federsen seeks the advice of Rotwang, an inventor and mad scientist. Although his work utilizes the latest of technologies, many clues within the movie indicate that he also taps into ancient occult knowledge to create his inventions. He is said to live in “a small house overlooked by the centuries,” symbolically meaning that the scientist’s arcana descended from ancient occult traditions; the basement of his house has a secret trap door leading to 2,000 year-old catacombs, further alluding to the ancient and mysterious sources of Rotwang. Furthermore, the front door of his house bears a pentagram, which refers to the Pythagoreans, occultism and Freemasonry.

If we were to do real-life comparisons, Rotwang is to Joh Fredersen what John Dee was to Queen Elizabeth I: an esteemed advisor immersed in the worlds of science, magic, astrology and Hermetic philosophy. If Fredersen represents our world’s rulers, Rotwang is the occult pendant of decision-making, the mystical entity that is hidden from the public but always historically present.

The inventor proudly presents to Fredersen his latest invention, the Machine-Man, which he considers to be the “Man of the Future”. The android has the faculty of taking the form of any person and, says Rotwang, “no one will be able to tell a Machine Man from a mortal!”. The transhumanist dream was already present back in the early 1920s.

 Fredersen then tells Rotwang to give the Machine-Man the likeness of Maria in order to use her credibility and charisma to spread corruption among the workers.

 So what do today’s pop stars have in common with this android, programmed by the rulers, with a mix of science and occultism? Well … everything.

 Metropolis themes are also very prevalent in fashion.

 Back to the movie. The android completed, Rotwang tells it:

“I want you to visit those in the depths, in order to destroy the work of the woman in whose image you were created!”

Robot-maria responds: One eye closed with devilish grin. You probably know the importance of the single eye from previous articles and the ridiculous amount of pop artists who flash it.

 The Maria android is then sent to Yoshiwara, a man’s club, where she performs erotic dances. In one of her acts, she is portrayed as Babylon, the Great Harlot from the Apocalypse.

Playing the role of the Great Harlot Babylon of the Book of Revelation. “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, having a golden cup in her hand”. She is held up by the seven deadly sins.

Do this scene remind you of a classic music video? Madonna – Material Girl. How many realized that she was playing the role of Babylon here?

The programmed Maria performs mesmerizing dances in front of an avid public, causing men to fight, to lust, to be jealous and to commit the rest of the deadly sins. When she’s with her fellow workers,  Maria acts as an “agent-provocateur”, inciting the working men to riot and giving Joh Fredersen reason to use force against them. She is basically acting against the best interest of the public and for the interest of the elite.

With the help of their foreman (because they can’t really think for themselves), the workers ultimately realize that they have been mislead by the android. Believing that she’s a witch, they find robot-Maria and burn her at the stake.

 A bunch of things happen after that, but I won’t spoil the ending for you (though can you really be mad at someone for spoiling the ending of a 83-year old movie?). The movie finishes with this caption.

 This “moral of the story” is basically a message to the elite, a tip to keep the masses in check: in order to keep the oppressed content, you must capture their heart. That is what the media accomplish.

 Which is kind of reminiscent of this music video ending.

 Madonna’s Express Yourself video heavily borrowed its imagery from Metropolis. In turn, Christina Aguilera’s Not Myself Tonight, heavily borrowed from Express Yourself.

 The Moral of the Story

The moral of the story of Metropolis is not “let’s abolish all inequities and rebuild a world where everyone is equal” and it is certainly not “let’s be democratic and vote for who we want as a ruler.” It is more “let’s send the workers back to the depths where they belong, but with the addition of a mediator, who will be the link between the workers and the thinkers”. So, when all is said and done, the movie is intrinsically “elitist,” as it still calls for the existence of an elite group of people holding most of the resources and managing a working class. In the end, the workers – and Freder – were duped, believing that their conditions would change. In fact, the status-quo remained and Joh even got his naive son to give the elite a friendly image while reporting everything happening in the depths, resulting in tighter surveillance and control.

 Who is the Freder of today’s working class? The media. Media is the mediator. That is its function.

 Mass media manipulate the masses’ thoughts and feelings on a daily basis, tricking them into loving their oppression. Popular culture is the entertainment branch of mass media and pop music is the fun way to communicate the elite’s message to the youth. References to Metropolis in pop music are almost winks to those in the know, the initiates, as if to say “this star is working for us”. So go ahead and be an ignorant, degenerate and materialistic person, like in the videos … that’s what they want you to be.

Analogies Between Metropolis and Today’s Pop Culture

But why Metropolis? Why has it become the code for “Illuminati star”? If you’ve read other articles on this site, you’ve probably realized that the movie touches upon all of the themes of today’s “Illuminati agenda”: transhumanism, mind control, dark occultism, degradation of morals, police state, all-seeing government. Metropolis is basically a blueprint for population control. Like Maria, today’s pop stars are recruited from the working class and literally programmed and reinvented to become the hidden ruler’s spokespersons. Notice how many pop stars have wild alter-egos, with a different name and personality. Part of the stars’ role is to promote the elite’s agenda through music and videos, making it sexy and attractive.

In Conclusion

Metropolis is a definitely a movie “by the elite, for the elite”. It tackles the concerns of those managing the world and presents a solution that does not disturb the status-quo. The movie is also permeated with Masonic symbolism and contains many symbols referring to ancient Mysteries which were meant to be decoded by proper initiates. In other words, the movie was primarily aimed at the ruling class.

 So why do singers love it so much? Well they probably don’t love it as much as those behinds the scenes, the directors and image-makers, those who have power in the music business. They decide what the stars do and stand for. And today’s popular culture is elitist, permeated with Illuminati symbolism and promotes moral degradation and the debasement of traditional values. Our pop stars channel Maria, the programmed android, through their acts and accomplish the same functions. Why else would they dress like her? If artists always embodied absolute freedom and creativity, why do singers play the role of a mind-controlled android? Because that’s what they are.

 Metropolis is indeed a great movie. So great that it is only becoming relevant 80 years after its release. But if the elite have it their way, it will be even more relevant in the years to come.

Source

Who Are The Illuminati?

By Richard Stone 

“A loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires” (Paul Simon).
“The world is governed by far different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes” (Benjamin Disraeli).
“Give me control over a nation’s currency, and I care not who makes the laws” (Mayer Rothschild).

Conspiracy theory is the theory that most of the world is secretly governed by a small group of men who operate behind the scenes. Conspiracy theory is now an accepted turn of phrase but sometimes one hears the expression, sometimes whispered rather than spoken. “The Illuminati”.

What does this mean? Who are the Illuminati? They are, in essence, a cartel of international bankers and industrialists based in Western Europe and North America. The names of certain families persist over long periods of time. Some of the most important names are Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan, Lazard, Warburg, Schroder and Schiff.

The pivotal family is probably the house of Rothschild, the descendants of Mayer Rothschild (1743 – 1812) of Frankfurt. The male descendants of this family, for at least two generations, generally married first cousins or even nieces. The family established banking institutions in Vienna, London, Naples and Paris as well as Frankfurt. Ever since the middle ages, these families have been building their power by lending money at rates of interest to the monarchies and governments of Europe who were forever in debt, particularly in times of war. Sooner than tax the population to raise funds, always an unpopular measure, they usually preferred to borrow money from the money-lenders. This was the birth of the concept “the national debt.” The countries of the world are forever in debt but where there is a debtor there is a creditor – who is this money owed to? It is owed to this coterie of international bankers.

By the nineteenth century the power of the Rothschild family was immense. They increased their wealth with great cunning and cleverness, while maintaining a low public profile. A notable example of their methods was their exploitation of the battle of Waterloo. The Rothschilds had spies watching the course of the battle and as soon as became evident that Wellington had won, a Rothschild agent traveled at maximum speed to London, arriving hours before Wellington’s own messenger. Rothschild received the messenger and began conspicuously selling his stocks. The whole stock exchange assumed that Wellington had lost and Napoleon had won so everybody started selling, at this point, other Rothschild agents bought up huge stocks at give-away prices. Thus an already massive fortune was massively increased.

The Rockefeller family may be equally important. The pivotal figure in this family was J.D.Rockefeller, who made his fortune out of Standard Oil or Esso in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He also controlled the railroads. When rival road transport systems were established he attempted to block them by parking his trains across the roads at level crossings. His basic business technique was the elimination of competitors at all costs, followed by the establishment of a monopoly, followed by profit taking. He rapidly gained a name for huge wealth, secrecy and hard and dirty business practice. In his later years he had a harsh and gaunt appearance, so to counter his bad “public image” JD more or less invented the PR industry. He had short films of himself made, calculated to charm the public, himself playing golf with a pretty little child for instance. This film was shown on TV recently. It has a rather false and amateurish air but was very effective with the public of the day.

The Rockerfellers currently have controlling interests in Exxon (the world’s biggest company) and the Chase Manhattan Bank, which turns over trillions of dollars a week. With so many billions in their hands already, what does more money mean? Obviously it means more power and more control over other human beings, but to what end and in whose name?

Apparently in the name of Lucifer, the fallen angel also known as the bringer of light, hence the name “Illuminati”, which means “the enlightened ones”. Lucifer is also known for the characteristics of pride, deception and impermanence. The illuminati were apparently founded in Bavaria in 1770 by one Adam Weisshaupt, a student of the Jewish philosopher Mendelsohn, and backed by the Rothschild family. The society has always been based on the lodges of Freemasonry, which was taken over at the highest levels during the course of the eighteenth century by agents of the Illuminati. Freemasonry is a very secretive institution, to the extent that members at one level do not know what members at another level are doing. Hence it is an organisation which is full of bonhomie and good deeds at the lower and middle levels, while its motives and deeds at the highest levels veer towards the dark side.

Both Freemasonry and Judaism have strong roots in the ancient Egyptian systems of religious belief, and it was this very similarity which attracted the illuminati to Freemasonry, for most of them were Jewish. It is a source of controversy today to speculate whether or not they are still predominantly Jewish. No unfair racism intended – they either are or they aren’t. Certainly there is much evidence to suggest that they are not, George Bush for instance, a prominent illuminati figure and obviously not Jewish.

The all seeing eye on the U.S. Dollar Bill

The United States of America is more or less a creation of Freemasonry. The symbol of Freemasonry was placed on the cornerstone of the Whitehouse, while the assembled Freemasons lodges stood and watched the ceremony. The famous all-seeing eye in the pyramid appears on the one dollar bill. It is one of the main symbols of Freemasonry. This bill also bears the inscription, in Latin, “1776, the year of inception of a new world order”. If one joins the dots formed by the stars of the thirteen original states one obtains an exact Star of David.

The goal of the IlIuminati is total control of the world. The only nations, which are holding out against their power, are some Islamic nations and China but this resistance is limited because the Illuminati have crushing economic power.

There are certain methods of subjugation and control which are indispensable to this power. The first is, of course, complete control over all financial systems, all borrowing and lending. All banks, all building societies, all insurance companies have to be under their control. At the lowest level even the smallest bank will be forced to toe the line. At the highest level the World Bank decides the fate of countries. It is an interesting and amazing fact that both the Federal Reserve Bank and the Bank of England are controlled by these Illuminati dynasties, in spite of the names of these banks, which suggest that they are run for public benefit. It is said that both Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy wanted to change this system.

The second essential component is control of the media. It is controlled through business fashion. If the board meeting, or the management meeting, or the sales meeting, or the training meeting suggests that facts should be presented in a certain way, who is going to present them differently? There is an implied threat to one’s job and one’s career. Few people would gladly face demotion, retrenchment or the dole and most people are so ambitious they will do nearly anything “reasonable” to court favour with their superiors. This is how business is controlled and the media is the most important part of business, for it controls people’s minds. People are very suggestible and often lend more credence to what they see on “the box” than to what happens on their own street. The Illuminati know this and use this suggestibility factor to the full. Lenin’s key move during the Russian revolution was the capture of the radio station.

The third factor in the control system is the universities, and through them the whole education system. Particular effort is put into the schools of sociology, politics, economics and education, hence “liberal” systems of education which are often degenerate and even violent. Their men are inserted into the universities through the power of funding by big business. They then spread their influence downwards through tertiary to secondary and primary education.

The fourth factor is the enormous influence wielded by two similar organisations, The Council of Foreign Relations in the USA and the Royal Institute of International Affairs in England. These institutions are schools for statesmen, Illuminati statesmen. They are the stamping grounds of men such as Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinksi and Lord Carrington. These two “think tanks” have a crucial influence on all US and British governments, no matter which party is “in power”. The statesmen produced by these institutions can and do decide the fate of nations.The tax-exempt foundations are also instruments of Illuminati power. The Ford foundation and the Rockefeller foundation are two prominent examples of this type of “charitable” institution. They were heavily involved in supporting various communist powers when the cold war was at its height. Communism versus capitalism arms race = more money and power for the Illuminati. So these are some of the structures through which the Illuminati work but what methods do they use?

Pitting one side against the other, using a theory devised by Hegel, which is: Thesis versus antitheses – synthesis.

Every force tends to have an opposite counterforce. The conflict between the two results in a new situation, the synthesis. The illuminati make it their business to be the synthesis. Thus no problem situation is ever “nipped in the bud” it is rather fostered and used, just as the Soviet Union was fostered and used.

The insertion of immigrant groups into countries is a variation of this divide and rule process. Each group can be played off against the other.

“Double talk” and “double think”. George Orwell knew instinctively what was going on when he invented these two expressions:
I categorically deny = it will happen a bit later.
Peace = war by another means.

To say one thing and do another is fundamental to Illuminati practice. They believe that the public will accept these lies through laziness and wishful thinking. Unfortunately they are usually correct.

“Keep them busy busy busy, back on the farm with the other animals.” We are kept so busy with business (or busyness) that we do not understand or participate in the decisions and events that will crucially affect our future.

When a real power move is made it is usually done secretly and suddenly often with the pretence that nothing has happened. There is preparation for opposition, but conflict is often not necessary as most people have been trained to be so passive that they will probably not create an effective opposition.

Use of front men in important positions. These front men have the characteristic of “servile obedience”, probably because of a blot or blots on their character which they are anxious to conceal. Most of the Presidents of the USA fall into this category. The current situation springs to mind. Behind the opponent stands the man with real power, who has long been groomed for this position. Men like Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and George Bush are in this category.

The assassination of opposing leaders as quietly and as secretly as possible, so as to simulate a natural death. If this is not possible due to time constraints or other limited circumstances, surrogates are used and the lines of suspicion are covered by deception, false accusation and if necessary, multiple assassinations. Induced heart attacks, fake motor accidents and apparent suicides are also favoured methods of assassination.

Social engineering. An easily manipulated rabble is what is required. Mixed population groups with weak morals, weak traditions, low educational standards and weak group willpower are the aim. Those with special aptitudes can be taken out and trained to serve the illuminati for technical purposes, security purposes or as part of the propaganda apparatus. The middle class will become surplus to requirements and will be reduced to relative poverty.

Mockery and submission of the manners and morals of societies which show any resistance. Control of the media, the fashion industries and the education systems are essential components in this strategy. “Free love”, the cult of youth, mockery of the Christian and Muslim faiths also fall into this category. “I don’t give a rats ass about Jesus Christ” is one recent masterpiece from one of Hollywood’s biggest starts. He probably didn’t realise what he was saying, which makes him a “useful idiot’. A “useful idiot” is much more effective than a conscious supporter. By these means of subversion societies and nations are conquered from within and open battle is usually not necessary.

The conduct of unrelenting economic warfare. This is the real war and continues even while the bombs are falling and the bullets are flying. The important part is the control of the enemy’s economy after the conflict. The recent economic crash in the far-eastern countries is in reality an assertion of the Illuminati’s economic power, an expression of economic dominance. The Illuminati now control 10-15% of the Japanese economy. This is public knowledge, that is what has been bought at bargain prices. In reality they probably control much more.

Control and exploitation of the standards of public health. The sale of prescription drugs is a huge business generating mega profits. Medical operations and treatments can also be very profitable to big business. These extreme treatments have their place but are over-used for the sake of profit.

In fact big business, particularly the big drug companies, have a vested interest in the ill health of the population. These companies, working through the US Food and Drug Administration, have tried to suppress the health food industry. In this they have largely failed but now the game is to own it and control it so that health foods can only be afforded by the elite.

Argument through defamation of character. The factual debate is ignored while characters are defamed. This is usually a very effective technique as many human beings are very suggestible and seem reluctant to use their reasoning abilities. Thus a “smear campaign” can easily draw attention away from the facts.

To conclude, it is growing increasingly evident that a world government is developing, and many would say that it is probably no bad thing, but few have asked for what purpose this “new world order” is created. Nor have they asked themselves what the consequences will be. These consequences (or some of them) will probably be as follows:

• Increasing profits for big business, increasing poverty for the middle class (who they despise). A rapid decline in moral standards and the promotion of social decay.

• Transience. Jobs that don’t last; neighbourhoods that don’t last.

• Increasing levels of crime and violence.

• Decline and demise of public services; replacement by private enterprise – good service for the few who can afford it.

• Ongoing ill health for the bulk of the population because of stress; poor quality foods; food additives; genetic engineering; pollution and drugs. There may be good health for those who can afford it – only the rich and well informed.

• The gradual phasing out of national governments, which will have powers more like the regional governments of today.

• The formation of several conglomerations like the United States.

In time a world leader will be announced, a real one this time. A pity he will have a cynical contempt for the most of humanity. Do we deserve it?

Erdogan threatens to send refugees to EU as NATO steps in

Introduction — Feb 11, 2016

recep_tayyip_erdogan
Turkish President Erdogan has helped to create the current refugee crisis in Europe and like a common thug, we suspect he plans to use it for his own benefit.
President Erdogan was instrumental in helping Islamic State ( sometimes referred to as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) get oil from territory it seized in Iraq and Syria onto the world oil market. The revenue earned has in turn helped finance Islamic State’s various enterprises, including its terrorist operations.
Russia has accused President Erdogan and his family of having benefited from the illegal smuggling of oil from ISIS held territory.
While Israel has echoed these allegations and for once it’s in agreement with Tehran, which also claims it has evidence that Turkey is involved in illegal oil trading with the Sunni militants.
Moreover any Turk who tries to expose this criminal deception risks facing the full weight of corrupt state legislation. Like the two Turkish journalists who were charged with “treason” recently after they exposed Turkey’s secret support for terror groups in Syria.
Like a common hoodlum, Erdogan has helped create the chaos the refugees are fleeing but now he’s threatening to unleash even more migrants on Europe.
We would suggest that President Erdogan plans to make Europe pay protection money. The E.U. has already agreed to pay Turkey 3.3 billion Euros to help it handle the migrants but we suspect that Erdogan wants more. If the E.U. then balks, Erdogan will just release some more migrants into Europe until they agree. Ed.
Erdogan mafia.Click to enlarge

Erdogan mafia.Click to enlarge

Erdogan threatens to send refugees to EU as NATO steps in

Burak Akinci and Stuart Williams — AFP Feb 11, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday threatened to send the millions of refugees in Turkey to European Union (EU) member states, as NATO agreed to deploy ships to the Aegean Sea to ease the migrant crisis.

In a speech in Ankara, Erdogan stepped up his denunciations of Western policy in the refugee crisis, confirming he had threatened EU leaders at a summit meeting in November that Turkey could say “goodbye” to the refugees.

But in a separate move, NATO agreed to send a naval group “without delay” to the Aegean to crack down on the people smugglers who have helped hundreds of thousands of migrants cross to EU territory in the last year.

Alarm is growing in EU capitals that thousands of migrants are still crossing the Aegean daily from Turkey after over a million made the perilous journey last year.

But Turkey, already home to some three million refugees, is also under EU and UN pressure to take in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing regime advances in the Aleppo region.

Erdogan sought to turn the tables on the EU by saying Turkey had every right to turf the refugees out of the country if it so wished.

“We do not have the word ‘idiot’ written on our foreheads. We will be patient but we will do what we have to. Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing,” Erdogan said.

Greek website euro2day.gr had earlier this week reported that at the G20 summit in Antalya in November Erdogan had angrily threatened to EU Commission president Jean Claude Juncker that Turkey could send the refugees to Europe.

The website had quoted Erdogan as telling Juncker: “We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and put the refugees on buses.”

“I am proud of what I said. We have defended the rights of Turkey and the refugees. And we told them (the Europeans): ‘Sorry, we will open the doors and say ‘goodbye’ to the migrants’,” Erdogan said in his speech Thursday.

– ‘Shame on you!’ –

He also lashed out at UN calls on Turkey to take in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees from Aleppo region massed on the border with Turkey, saying the United Nations has spent less than half a billion dollars in the crisis.

“Shame on you! Shame on you!” said Erdogan, saying the UN should be telling states to take in refugees from Turkey.

Turkey is already hosting 2.5 million refugees from Syria’s civil war and hundreds of thousands from Iraq and is increasingly bitter it has been left to shoulder the burden.

Erdogan said Turkey had already spent some nine billion dollars on hosting the refugees since Syria’s almost half decade civil war began.

The EU has agreed to give Turkey three billion euros in financial aid for the refugees but the funds have yet to be handed to Turkey, two-and-a-half months after they were agreed.

“The three billion euros is not in our budget, where has it gone?” asked Erdogan. “It’s for refugees!”

– ‘NATO to counter trafficking’ –

The NATO deployment follows a request this week by alliance members Germany, Greece and Turkey for assistance in tackling Europe’s biggest migrant crisis since World War II.

Speaking after NATO defence ministers approved the mission, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO is “now directing the standing maritime group to move into the Aegean without delay and start maritime surveillance activities”.

The group comprises three ships that are currently under German command.

He emphasised: “This is not about stopping and pushing back (refugee boats)… but about critical surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks.”

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), by February 7, 70,365 migrants arrived by sea in Greece from Turkey, an average of 2,000 a day. It said 319 perished on the way.

Two suspected people smugglers went on trial in the resort town of Bodrum on Thursday charged with causing the death in September of a Syrian toddler the picture of whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach shocked the world.

The death of Aylan Kurdi, aged just three, jolted EU leaders into greater action in the migrant crisis.

If convicted the two men, both Syrians, face up to 35 years in jail, the Dogan news agency said.

Source

Why Washington Fears Britain Quitting EU

Finian Cunningham — Strategic Culture Feb 8, 2016

Obama Cameron

The countdown begins this week for the momentous question facing Britain: whether to exit the European Union – the so-called Brexit. While the issue seems to be primarily one for British national interests, lurking in the background is a crucial geopolitical concern for the United States. The outcome of the British referendum on Europe could severely undermine Washington’s global hegemonic ambitions and in particular its adversarial agenda towards Russia.

British Prime Minister David Cameron launched a diplomatic charm offensive only days after European Council President Donald Tusk published the outline of a deal to retain Britain’s membership of the 28-nation EU bloc. That provisional deal was the product of months of negotiations between the London government and the EU establishment, aimed at giving Britain more national freedom from Brussels. Cameron contends that he has won enough concessions to bolster British sovereignty, and the Conservative government leader is now openly campaigning for continued membership of the EU on that basis.

Cameron needs the backing of other EU leaders to finalize the reform package that he and Tusk have negotiated. His first stops this week were in Poland and Denmark where newly elected EU skeptical governments are inclined to sympathize with British concerns for wresting more national freedoms within the bloc. It’s not certain if an EU leaders’ summit slated for February 18-19 will agree to the British premier’s desired reforms. Some see Britain’s sought-after concessions as undermining the whole concept of the EU on matters of free movement and workers’ rights. Both Germany and France have said that they are not willing to keep Britain onboard «at any price» – indicating a limit to tolerance towards British concessions.

Meanwhile, many within Cameron’s own Conservative Party are angry that he has not secured enough for British sovereignty. There was broad consternation across Britain’s mainly rightwing news media this week over what they perceived as Cameron «selling out» to EU integrationists. And outside his Tory party, the more nationalistic United Kingdom Independence Party, led by Nigel Farage, lambasted Cameron’s reform deal as «pathetic», claiming that he has caved-in on all previous promises to gain more radical reforms. The UKIP has already won over many traditional Conservative voters and the defection of a number of Tory lawmakers with its fervent Eurosceptic policies. It is campaigning for a decisive break from the EU.

For more than 40 years, Britain’s Conservative Party has been in turmoil over the European question. Since Britain joined the bloc back in 1973, the party has continually threatened to tear itself asunder over the question of EU membership. It’s not only Nigel Farage and the UKIP who are pushing for a Brexit. Some senior Tories within Cameron’s executive cabinet are also pushing to abandon the EU. One such group is Conservatives for Britain, led by Lord Nigel Lawson, who was formerly the Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

David Cameron is walking a thin line. Adding to the pressure on the British leader is Washington. The American political establishment – whether Democrat or Republican – is unequivocal in wanting Britain to remain inside the EU. Washington can’t express this position too forcefully, otherwise it could be seen as undue interference in British internal affairs. Nevertheless, American interests have inevitably reared their head in the debate.

This week, on the same day that Cameron announced his reform package, US President Barack Obama reportedly phoned the British leader to urge a vigorous campaign for EU membership. The White House said, Obama «reaffirmed continued US support for a strong United Kingdom in a strong European Union».

Earlier, Washington issued an extraordinary broadside against the anti-EU campaign when it disclosed that in the event of a Brexit a newly independent Britain would not be afforded any special bilateral trade arrangement. The Obama White House said that outside of EU membership Britain would be faced with crippling trade tariffs, in the same category as China, Brazil or India. That was seen as a major blow to Britain’s pro-independence camp, which has argued that British economic interests would be better served as an independent state free from the EU.

The question is why should Washington be so adamant about Britain staying in the EU? The answer was partly revealed by Lord Lawson, leader of the Conservatives for Britain group. In an interview with the BBC aired last month, Lawson said that the US’ primary interest is to be able to exert its influence over the entire EU by having its closest ally, Britain, within the bloc. Lawson was demur on the subject, but in effect what he meant was that Britain is Washington’s surrogate in relations towards the rest of Europe.

There are two strategic issues to illustrate the point. The first is the mammoth trade pact that Washington is trying to conclude with the EU. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is seen as giving a vital boost to American exports to Europe – whose total population is nearly twice that of the US. For a historically sluggish US economy that would be a very welcome release.

However, there is much resistance among EU citizens to the TTIP because it is seen as giving too much power to US capital over European workers’ rights and food and environmental standards. Britain under Cameron is a big fan of the TTIP, intensively lobbying the rest of the EU to sign up to the pact. So, if Britain were to exit the European bloc, there is a risk that the TTIP would fall through. A major setback for Washington.

Secondly, and more importantly, America’s much-vaunted «special relationship» with Britain has guaranteed for Washington a Svengali-like influence over European states. This goes all the way back to the early days of European integration following the Second World War. British subordination to American interests – whether under Conservative or Labour governments – has always meant that EU policies are heavily weighted to meld with Washington’s geopolitical ambitions.

British foreign and military policies – always closely aligned with those of the US – have effectively stamped the EU with an identity synonymous with the American-led NATO military alliance. Britain is by no means the only Atlanticist voice within Europe, but it is arguable that without the British surrogate, Washington’s influence over the EU would be much diminished.

Take Washington’s reckless regime-change military interventions around the world over recent decades – from former Yugoslavia and the Balkans, to Afghanistan and Iraq, from Libya to Syria and Ukraine. In all of these illegal interventions, Europe has become embroiled because of Britain’s supportive role to Washington’s objectives.

With regard to Russia, it is conceivable that the ongoing standoff between Europe and Moscow would not have reached the severity it has if it were not for Britain instrumenting Washington’s agenda for imposing sanctions.

It is noteworthy that many saner voices within Europe, such as Italy’s premier Matteo Renzi, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron, have in recent months been calling for a rapprochement with Russia over the Ukraine crisis. The reasonable supposition is that relations between Europe and Russia would be more compatible were it not for Britain acting as Washington’s «fifth columnist» within the EU.

While the EU did indeed play a sinister role along with Washington in instigating the regime change coup in Ukraine in February 2014, it is nonetheless plausible that the resulting dangerous clash with Moscow would not have transpired to the extent it has if Europe exerted a more independent foreign policy agenda from the US.

Throughout the Ukraine crisis, Britain has acted as Washington’s right-hand man, cajoling the others to adopt a stridently more anti-Russian posture, which has in turn fueled greater NATO military buildup across Europe and a deepening diplomatic rift with Moscow.

Britain’s referendum on a Brexit may take place as soon as this June, with the outcome that it may quit the EU by the end of next year. Polls so far indicate that it is a close call, but the latest survey this week gives the «leave Europe» campaign a substantial nine-point lead.

One thing is sure, however. Washington will be carefully following the referendum, and more interventions can be expected from the White House in order to sway the putative democratic exercise in favor of keeping Britain within the EU. Washington’s hegemonic ambitions depend on it.

For those interested in a more independent Europe, free from the burden of Washington’s geopolitical machinations, it could be argued that the best result would be for Britain to get out of the EU.

So, let doughty little Britain sail off into the Atlantic to the deluded anthem of «Britannia Rules the Waves». And then, maybe, Europe might begin to live in more peaceful relations with the rest of the world.

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Bernie Sanders is a Freemason & Communist

henrymakow.com — Feb 10, 2016

Burlington-fmBernie Sanders’ offices are currently located in the Masonic Lodge HQ in Burlington, VT. left. The Washington Masonic Lodge of the Grand Lodge of Vermont, Free & Accepted Masons, had been chartered in 1795. It still dominates downtown Burlington symbolically and practically.
Donald Trump is also a Freemason. Remind you of Bush and Kerry? (Skull & Bones) Democracy is the freedom to vote for the Satanist of your choice. Remember Chaim Rakovsky’s words: the advent of Communism is the purpose of Freemasonry.
Bernie Sanders is an atheistic Communist, essentially a Satanist tool of the bankers he chastises. His Jewish socialism and “spirituality” amount to promising other people’s money to underachievers in return for their vote. As president, he would be more effective than Obama in advancing the totalitarian Communist Jewish (Illuminati) NWO. Nonetheless, he is better than Hillary Clinton who is a pervert and criminal.

Don’t Be Fooled by Bernie Sanders- He’s a Diehard Communist

By Paul Sperry — (slightly abridged by henrymakow.com)

As polls tighten and self-described socialist Bernie Sanders looks more like a serious contender than a novelty candidate for president, the liberal media elite have suddenly stopped calling him socialist. He’s now cleaned up as a “progressive” or “pragmatist.” But he’s not even a socialist. He’s a communist.
Mainstreaming Sanders requires whitewashing his radical pro-communist past. It won’t be easy to do.
If Sanders were vying for a Cabinet post, he’d never pass an FBI background check. There’d be too many subversive red flags popping up in his file. He was a communist collaborator during the height of the Cold War.

REWIND TO 1984

Continues …

Putin’s Aleppo Gamble Pays Off

Mike Whitney — Information Clearing House Feb 10, 2016

Last week’s game-changing triumph in northern Syria has moved the Russian-led coalition to within striking distance of a decisive victory in Aleppo.  After breaking a 40 month-long siege on the cities of  Nubl and Zahra, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has encircled the country’s industrial hub and is gradually tightening the noose. Crucial supply-lines to the north have been cut leaving the Sunni extremists and anti-government militias stranded inside a vast, urban cauldron. It’s only a matter of time before these disparate renegades are either killed or forced to surrender. A victory in Aleppo will change the course of the war by restoring government control over the densely-populated western corridor. This is why the Obama administration is frantically searching for ways to either delay or derail the Russian-led juggernaut and avoid the impending collapse of US policy in Syria.

Recent peace talks in Geneva were convened with one goal in mind, to prevent Syrian President Bashar al Assad and loyalist forces from retaking Aleppo. The negotiations failed, however, when Washington’s mercurial allies, the so called “moderate” rebels, refused to participate. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Syrian opposition withdrew “under pressure from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, two of the main backers of the rebels.”  The WSJ’s admission was later confirmed by Secretary of State John Kerry who according to a report in the Middle East Eye “blamed the Syrian opposition for leaving the talks and paving the way for a joint offensive by the Syrian government and Russia on Aleppo.”

“Don’t blame me,” Kerry said, “Blame the opposition. It was the opposition that didn’t want to negotiate and didn’t want a ceasefire, and they walked away.”

None of this will surprise readers who followed the talks closely. The meetings were surrounded by confusion from the very onset. The US delegation headed by Kerry was focused entirely on reaching an agreement that would involve a ceasefire and stop the government-led onslaught. The Saudis, Turks and opposition leaders, however, were on a different page altogether. They seemed oblivious to the dire situation on the ground where their jihadist foot soldiers were taking heavier losses by the day.  Kerry, the realist, was looking for a way to stand-down and save US-backed militants from certain annihilation. But the Saudis and Turks felt they had a strong-enough hand to make demands. The clash in viewpoints was bound to produce disappointing results, which it did. The meetings were cancelled before they even began. Nothing was settled. Here’s more from the WSJ:

“About a half-dozen cities and towns targeted in the new regime offensives have one thing in common: All were held by a mix of Islamist and moderate rebel groups funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Complicating the picture is that some, but not all, of these groups collaborate with the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. That gives the regime and its allies fodder for their claim that they are fighting terrorism.”

(“Saudi Arabia, Turkey Pushed Syrian Opposition to Leave Talks“, Wall Street Journal)

This should dispel any illusion that that the fighters that are trying to topple the government are merely disgruntled nationalists determined to remove an “evil dictator”. That is not the case at all. While there are a fair amount of indigenous insurgents, the bulk of fighters are Sunni extremists bent on removing Assad and creating an Islamic Caliphate. This is why Moscow refused to implement a ceasefire during the talks in Geneva. Russia adamantly opposes any remedy that allows internationally-recognized terrorists from escaping their eternal reward.

Kerry has deliberately misled the public on this matter. Just last week, he said, “Russia has indicated to me very directly they are prepared to do a ceasefire… The Iranians confirmed in London just a day and a half ago they will support a ceasefire now.”

This is false and Kerry knows it. Moscow has tried to be flexible about other so called “moderate” opposition forces, but when it comes to ISIS,  Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group), Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Russian leaders have repeatedly said that that they will not relent until the jihadists are either killed or captured.   This is why Russia’s airstrikes continued during Geneva, because most of the fighters in Aleppo are dyed-in-the-wool terrorists.

It’s worth noting that the Russian-led military offensive clearly hews to UN resolution 2254 which states:

… for Member States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, […] and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria, and notes that the aforementioned ceasefire will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against these individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, as set forth in the 14 November 2015 ISSG Statement.” (Thanks to Moon of Alabama)

In other words, Moscow is not going to comply with any ceasefire that spares homicidal jihadists or undermines UN resolution 2254. Russian military operations are going to continue until ISIS, al Nusra and the other terrorist militias are defeated.

Even so, Kerry has not abandoned the diplomatic track. In fact, Kerry plans to meet Russian Foreign Minsiter Sergei Lavrov in Munich on February 11 for a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to discuss “all the aspects of the Syrian settlement in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2254.”

The emergency meeting underscores the Obama’s administration’s utter desperation in the face of the inexorable Russian-led military offensive. It’s clear now that Obama and his lieutenants see the handwriting on the wall and realize that their sinister plan to use proxy armies to remove Assad and splinter the country into three powerless regions is doomed to fail.  Here’s how the ISW summed it up on the Sic Semper Tyrannis website:

“Battlefield realities rather than great power politics will determine the ultimate terms of a settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies in Russia and Iran have internalized this basic principle even as Washington and other Western capitals pinned their hopes upon UN-sponsored Geneva Talks, which faltered only two days after they began on February 1, 2016. Russian airpower and Iranian manpower have brought President Assad within five miles of completing the encirclement of Aleppo City, the largest urban center in Syria and an opposition stronghold since 2012. …The full encirclement of Aleppo City would fuel a humanitarian catastrophe, shatter opposition morale, fundamentally challenge Turkish strategic ambitions, and deny the opposition its most valuable bargaining chip before the international community.”  (“ISW recognizes reality in western Syria“, Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Last week’s fighting in northern Aleppo has transformed the battlespace and shifted the momentum in favor of the government, but it has not yet dampened support for the jihadists in places like Ankara or Riyadh. In fact, the Saudis have offered to deploy ground troops to Syria provided they are put under US command. As for Turkey, according to The Hill: “Moscow’s Defense Ministry (has) accused Turkey of planning a military invasion of Syria.” Here’s more from the same article:

“The Russian Defence Ministry registers a growing number of signs of hidden preparation of the Turkish Armed Forces for active actions on the territory of Syria,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement….Russia claimed (to) have “reasonable grounds to suspect intensive preparation of Turkey for a military invasion” of Syria.” (The Hill)

Turkish officials have denied that they are preparing for an invasion, but at the same time, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has admitted that Turkey will not stay on the sidelines if it is asked to participate in a future campaign. This is from Bloomberg News:

“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country should not repeat in Syria the same mistake it made in Iraq when it turned down a U.S. request to be part of the coalition that toppled Saddam Hussein.

“We don’t want to fall into the same mistake in Syria as in Iraq,” the president said, recounting how Turkey’s parliament denied a U.S. request to use its territories for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. “It’s important to see the horizon. What’s going on in Syria can only go on for so long. At some point it has to change,” he told journalists on the return flight from a tour of Latin America, according to Hurriyet newspaper.” (“Erdogan Signals Turkey Won’t Stay Out of Syria If Asked to Join“, Bloomberg)

While it’s impossible to know whether Turkey, Saudi Arabia or the US will actually invade Syria, it’s clear by the panicky reaction to the encirclement of Aleppo, that all three countries feel their regional ambitions are more closely aligned with those of the jihadists than with the elected government in Damascus.  This tacit alliance between the militants and their sponsors speaks volumes about the credibility of Washington’s fake war on terror.

Finally, in less than five months, loyalist forces aided by heavy Russian air cover, have shifted the balance of power in Syria, forced thousands of terrorist insurgents to flee their strongholds in the west, cleared the way for the return of millions of refugees and displaced civilians, and sabotaged the malign plan to reshape the country so it better serves Washington’s geopolitical interests.

The war is far from over, but it’s beginning to look like Putin’s gamble is going to pay off after all.

Mike Whitney ives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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Can the Sukhoi Su-30 have the edge over U.S. fighters in aerial combat?

Dario Leone — The Aviationist June 18, 2014

Two Russian Su-30s land at Hmeimin Air Base in Syria. Click to enlarge

Two Russian Su-30s land at Hmeimin Air Base in Syria. Click to enlarge

Su-30s would beat F-15s every time. But…..

We recently explained how, 10 years ago, Exercise Cope India put the Indian Air Force Su-30 against U.S. Air Force F-15C jets with results that are still open to debate: since the drills took place during F-22 budget reviews, some analysts affirm the Air Force intentionally accepted the challenging ROE (Rules Of Engagement) to gain more Raptors. Others claim this version of the story was invented to try to save face after the Indians achieved an impressive 9:1 kill ratio.

Even if we might never know the truth, it’s undeniable that, at least on paper, the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker has been one of the best Russian combat planes.

The Su-27 belongs to the same class of the U.S. F-14 and F-15, but unlike the American fighters it can fly at an angle of attack of 30 degrees and can also perform the Pugachev Cobra.

In a Cobra, the plane suddenly raises the nose to the veritical position (or beyond) before dropping it back to the normal flight, maintaining more or less the same altitude through the entire maneuver.

The Su-27 and its “Cobra” have been the highlight of many air shows from the end of the 1980s to the middle of the 1990s. But, since then, the Flanker maneuverability has been furtherly enhanced.

The improved multirole Su-30MK is a Flanker variant fitted with both canard forewings and thrust-vectoring nozzles which have improved its agility.

But how can this kind of maneuvers be used in combat?

A clear idea comes from an authoritative source: Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine.

In “Su-30MK Beats F-15C ‘Every Time’” published in 2002 on AW&ST, David A. Fulghum and Douglas Barrie reported that the Su-30 used its maneuverability to beat the F-15 in several engagements conducted in a complex of 360-deg. simulation domes at Boeing’s St. Louis facilities.

According to the article (that is often referenced by Indian media outlets to highlight the presumed Su-30 superiority on the American fighter jets) an anonymous USAF officer explained that in the case of a missed BVR missile (like the AA-12 Adder) shot by the Flanker, the Su-30 could turn into the clutter notch of the F-15’s radar, where the Eagle’s Doppler was ineffective.

As the AW&ST story explained in detail, this maneuver could be accomplished making a descending, right-angle turn to drop below the approaching F-15 while reducing the Su-30’s relative forward speed close to zero: even if this is a very old air combat tactic, the USAF officer said that the Sukhoi could perform effectively this maneuver thanks to its ability to reduce rapidly its speed and then quickly regain it.

If the Flanker driver performed correctly the maneuver, the Su-30 was invisible to the F-15’s radar until the Eagle was inside the AA-11 Archer IR missile range, since the F-15’s Doppler radar relied on movements of its targets.

As pointed out by the USAF officer, this tactic “works in the simulator every time,” however, only few countries have pilots with the required skills to fly those scenarios.

This happened about 10 years ago.

In the meanwhile, American pilots have received their F-22 Raptor stealth planes (facing also some serious problems).

But some unique features, such as the power of its engines and its superb aerodynamics, make the Flanker, in the right hands and in the proper scenario, a great dogfighter and a very tough enemy for every western jet WVR (Within Visual Range).

Moreover the Su-30 could carry the short range IR missile AA-11 Archer which in the ‘90s was the best short-range AAM in the world since it could be linked to the pilot’s helmet fire control system and was capable to be fired at targets until 45 degrees off the axis of the aircraft: both these capabilities were not possessed by the AIM-9M, the main western short range missile at the time (later replaced by the AIM-9X Sidewinder).

 

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NATO to Expand Military Presence in Europe to Deter Russians

Introduction — Feb 10, 2016

The New York Time’s claim that NATO is expanding to deter “Russian aggression” is an obvious ruse, at least for anyone who can think for themselves. NATO has been expanding steadily eastwards for some time now. Into regions that had traditionally been seen as falling within Russia’s sphere of influence.
Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and the Ukraine have all been forging stronger ties with the West. In many cases this has involved forming military ties or even joining NATO and this has been going on for some time now.
In effect it amounts to an expansion of NATO, right into Russia’s very own backyard. Is it any wonder that Russia is getting a little defensive when the Western military alliance is creeping ever closer to its Western borders?
Almost literally a New World Order is being created and part of the process involves a massive influx of migrants into Western Europe. Whether this is to break-up Europe’s racial and social cohesion is anyone’s guess. However, it’s probably no coincidence that it is occurring together with an expansion of NATO. Ed.

Michael S. Schmidt — New York Times Feb 10, 2016

US soldiers attend military parade near an Estonian border crossing with Russia on Feb 24, 2015. Click to enlarge

US soldiers attend military parade near an Estonian border crossing with Russia on Feb 24, 2015.

The defense ministers from all 28 NATO countries approved a plan on Wednesday to enhance the alliance’s military presence in Central and Eastern Europe, part of its expanding efforts to deter Russian aggression, according to NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg.

The forces will rotate through the countries to conduct exercises, and NATO will also enlarge its infrastructure in the region so it can quickly respond to threats, Mr. Stoltenberg said. In the spring, the alliance’s military planners will recommend how large the presence should be, he said.

“This will be multinational, to make clear that an attack against one ally is an attack against all allies, and that the alliance as a whole will respond,” Mr. Stoltenberg said at a news conference at NATO headquarters here shortly after the agreement was reached.

The decision came a week after the Obama administration announced that it would more than quadruple its spending to enhance its footprint in Eastern Europe. As part of its budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year, the administration has asked for $3.4 billion — compared with $789 million for the current budget — for “more pre-positioned war-fighting gear” in the countries, and additional training and exercises.

Among the countries that NATO and the United States are looking to protect are Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and the Baltic States, according to administration officials.

The size of the American contribution surprised some analysts, who saw it as one of the most aggressive moves the United States has made in the region since the fall of the Soviet Union. Administration officials have said they hope that their commitment to protecting these countries sends a message to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that his aggression in the region will no longer be tolerated.

In recent months, Russia has ratcheted back its military efforts in eastern Ukraine, but troops remain there, and many other countries in the region fear what Mr. Putin may do next. At the same time, Mr. Putin has thrust the Russian military into the Syrian conflict, as his forces on the ground and in the air fight alongside forces backing the President Bashar al-Assad.

While NATO officials move ahead with beefing up their posture toward Russia, they are also discussing how to expand their role in the American-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State, according to a senior Pentagon official. NATO officials are considering how they can send trainers to Iraq to help rebuild the crumbling military, the official said. It is not clear how close the officials are to approving the plan.

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter will convene a meeting with the defense ministers from two dozen countries to discuss how they can contribute more to the campaign to defeat the Islamic State.

At the news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Stoltenberg said NATO “faces the most challenging security environment in a generation,” with threats from cyberattacks as well as from states and nonaligned forces.

He acknowledged the recent request from Turkey, a NATO member, for additional help to stem the flow of migrants from Syria, Iraq and Africa. But he declined to say what Turkey had specifically asked for.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Union’s commissioner for migration, bemoaned the lack of a navy under the command of the union to save migrants’ lives by patrolling the sea near Turkey and Greece.

But Mr. Avramopoulos, a former defense minister for Greece and mayor of Athens, said at a separate news conference in Brussels that it was too early to comment on whether NATO forces should be used in such a role, and he appeared lukewarm to the idea.

“For the moment this issue is not officially open for discussion,” he said, referring to news reports that Germany and Turkey had requested NATO’s assistance.

Pushed to say whether the alliance could eventually play a role in rescuing migrants, Mr. Avramopoulos responded that there was no “element of threat” ordinarily required to prompt a NATO response. Mr. Avramopoulos also stressed that Italy and Greece already “had very capable defense systems” and could deploy them if needed.

The crisis has threatened to tear the bloc apart as member countries re-establish border controls and struggle to mount a unified response. More than one million migrants and refugees arrived in the European Union last year, and even more could arrive this year.

James Kanter contributed reporting

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Jeremy Salt on Anti-Syria Propaganda Escalation

The Wall Will Fall — Feb 9, 2016

cropped-free-palestine-wall1

Comment from geopolitical analyst Jeremy Salt on the appalling propaganda piece in the Guardian entitled: UN report: Syrian Government actions amount to extermination [note holocaust association already introduced by Samantha Powers in relation to #Madaya propaganda storm]

samantha-powers-words

“I have looked through the report, it has all the characteristics of previous UN Human Rights reports on Syria. The timing is extremely suspect – released just as the Syrian army closes in on Aleppo.

We have seen a great spike in propaganda in the past few days, against Russian air strikes and over the number of civilians building up on the Syrian border, said to be 35,000, but 70,000 are said to be coming and yesterday the Turkish deputy PM spoke of 600,000 on the way. All this can be seen as the possible prelude to establishing a buffer zone – we can’t look after any more in Turkey, so the only answer is to look after them inside Syria ….

The UN Human Rights Council speaks of 500 interviews. There is no mention of who these people are, how the UN HRC got their names and where they were interviewed. The HRC’s answer is that names cannot be released but at the same time we cannot accept as credible any report that does not/will not provide such information.

There is absolutely no means of verifying it and given the HRC’s previous record, its word cannot be trusted. You might remember Navi Pillai’s hysterical statements about Syria when she was head of this council . I had a run-in with one of the committee members when I criticised a report on Syria for the same reasons I am giving here. It made many lurid accusations without providing a skerrick of reliable information. In a very heated discussion she admitted what was not in the report, that most of the people interviewed were in Turkey or Jordan, and, I would imagine, in the refugee camps.

I have no doubt that being in a Syrian prison is very unpleasant experience, perhaps as unpleasant as being in prison at Abu Ghraib, but extermination is an extremely powerful word and to make an accusation of a policy of extermination without providing the evidence anyone would need to know to back it up, exposes, I think, the true agenda of this group of people.

Watch how its now going to be used by governments and groups like HRW. ” ~ Jeremy Salt

End

malcolm-x

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Netanyahu: We Will Surround Israel With Walls ‘To Defend Against Wild Beasts’

Jack Moore — Newsweek Feb 9, 2016

A Palestinian girl walks in front of a section of the controversial Israeli barrier in al-Ram in the West Bank on the outskirts of Jerusalem May 25, 2011. Palestinians and Israelis alike saw little prospect of a fresh start to Middle East peace talks on Wednesday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's keynote speech to Congress. Click to enlarge

A Palestinian girl walks in front of a section of the controversial Israeli barrier in al-Ram in the West Bank on the outskirts of Jerusalem May 25, 2011. Palestinians and Israelis alike saw little prospect of a fresh start to Middle East peace talks on Wednesday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s keynote speech to Congress. Click to enlarge

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that the government is in the planning stages of a multi-year project to surround the entirety of Israel with security barriers to defend against what he called “wild beasts” in the region.

“At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all. I’ll be told, ‘This is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes,” said Netanyahu, according to Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.

“Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”

His comments came during a visit to Israel’s southern border with Jordan, where he was viewing the first stage of the planned security barrier that will stretch across the entirety of Israel’s eastern border.

Israel is surrounded by a number of Arab states and territories, namely Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli leader added that the construction plan will include closing the breaches in the separation barrier between Israel and the West Bank.

“This thing costs many billions, and we’re working on a multi-year plan of prioritization so it would be spread out over years in order to gradually build it, but to complete it to defend the State of Israel,” he said.

Palestinians in the West Bank have traveled into Israel without the requisite permits to carry out attacks against Israelis while Israel still faces the threat of Palestinian rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

The Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have carried out cross-border attacks against Israel from southern Lebanon and southern Syria respectively.

In southern Israel, there are fears of a cross-border attack by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) affiliate known as the Sinai Province and in eastern Israel, the security barrier is being extended to prevent the effects of the Syrian civil war spilling over onto Israeli territory.

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New video from Iranian state television shows captured U.S. sailor crying

Adam Kredo — Washington Free Beacon Feb 10, 2016

Iran has released new photographs in which at least one of the recently captured U.S. sailors is crying, according to a series of the pictures posted on social media.

The pictures, as well as an accompanying video, were released by Iranian state-controlled news outlets and disseminated on Twitter by Iranian reporters early Wednesday.

The new photographs come on the heels of another set of pictures that showed Iranian military forces detaining the U.S. sailors at gun point and forcing them to place their hands upon their heads while kneeling on a ship.

Iran captured the 10 U.S. sailors earlier this year after they drifted into Iranian territorial waters.

The U.S. military disclosed after the incident that the sailors were held at gunpoint and that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps removed SIM cards and other technology from them.

The Obama administration, including Secretary of State John Kerry, has praised and thanked Iran for the way it treated the captured sailors, who were released by Iranian authorities the following morning.

Source

Iran to Purchase Sukhoi-30 Fighter Jets From Russia

Ali Akbar Dareini — Associated Press Feb 10, 2016

Sukhoi Su-30. Click to enlarge

Sukhoi Su-30. Click to enlarge

Iran will sign a contract with Russia for the purchase of Sukhoi-30 fighter jets, Iran’s defense minister said Wednesday.

In comments published on the ministry of defense website, Gen. Hossein Dehghan did not specify how many fighter planes Iran will buy, or give a timeline for the signing of the deal. However, he said that under the agreement Iran would also be involved in the production of the aircraft.

Iran needs to “seriously focus on the air force and fighters,” he said. “We are moving toward a contract. We told them that we need to be involved in the production (of the plane) as well.”

Iran’s acquisition is significant given its role as a regional power in the volatile Middle East, where it is backing opposite sides in conflicts in Yemen and Syria to its longtime rival Saudi Arabia.

The fighter jet is believed to be comparable to the American F-15E fighter bomber.

Iran’s air force still heavily depends on domestically modified versions of long-outdated warplanes, including former Soviet MiGs and American F14A Tomcats from the 1970s.

Dehghan also rejected reports that Iran has negotiated the purchase of J10 fighter jets from China.

Russia has already started delivering S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. The advanced defensive weapons system deal was frozen in 2010 due to U.N sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin approved delivery of the air defense missile system in April 2015, a move that will significantly bolster the Islamic Republic’s military capability.

Dehghan said the first Iranian crews, who have been trained in Russia, will return home within the next two or three days and another group will be dispatched for training subsequently.

Iranian efforts to build up its air power is mostly a homegrown project, tweaking older technology or using domestic know-how to build its first generations of spy and attack drones. Iran has also made progress in developing its missile program.

Source

Schools: France vows to fight terror conspiracy theories

The Local.fr — Feb 9, 2016

MURDER MOST FOUL “Funny though: no pool of blood, no brains splattered on the sidewalk.”

Terrorists shoot a man dead outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo. In the words of one youngster: “You can’t see any blood in the video”… He gets a bullet through the head but there’s no blood – only dust?”

The French government aims to crack down on the spreading of conspiracy theories in France’s schools surrounding the recent terror attacks, because they are giving fuel to those seeking to radicalize young people.

There have been conspiracy theories for as long as anyone remembered. Did Kennedy really die? Was there ever a man on the moon? Was September 11th an inside job?

And now that massive terror-related news stories have struck France – and hard – a whole host of conspiracies have cropped up among kids eager to share the latest snippet from the internet.

French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Click to enlarge

French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Click to enlarge

And they are proving to be a growing concern for the French government desperately trying to battle radicalization among young people, who have a tendency not to believe the official version of the story.

Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem spent Tuesday hosting a conference on the topic of fighting the spread of conspiracies at schools.

The all-day conference, held at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, saw around 300 people in attendance, including students, teachers, psychologists and lawyers.

The aim is to start a discussion about the dangers of conspiracy theories, especially after terror attacks set tongues wagging in French school yards over the past year.

One group of 16-year-olds told the BFM TV channel that there was something “fishy”, for example, about the death of the policeman during last January’s terror attacks.

“You can’t see any blood in the video,” said a boy called Julien. “He gets a bullet through the head but there’s no blood – only dust?”

Other popular conspiracy theories include:

· That the knife-wielding man killed by police last month in northern Paris had a knife and an Isis flag planted on him by police.
· That the getaway car used by the Kouachi brothers in the Charlie Hebdo attack was not the same one recovered later by police.
· That a passport found at the Bataclan concert hall after terrorists killed 90 people in November had links to documents found at ground zero in New York after September 11th.

And it’s exactly these kinds of rumours the government wants to crack down on, fearing that pupils take the conspiracies seriously because they’re easy to find online.
 
Rudy Reichstadt, who started the French site “Conspiracy Watch“, said that theories are spreading far quicker than ever before.
 
“Teenagers have always been fascinated by the mysteries. But before, they’d have to go out and buy a book about it,” told Le Figaro newspaper.
 .

Death mystery spy Gareth Williams was terror plot hero

Introduction — Feb 9, 2016

Gareth Williams family at his funeral. Click to enlarge

Gareth Williams family at his funeral. Click to enlarge

From Saddam Hussein’s mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction to 9/11 and the 7/7 attacks, Western intelligence has conducted its operations behind a tapestry of lies and deceit.
The following is a little old but it may serve to illustrate how Western intelligence uses lies, compliant journalists and murder to cover its crimes.
Gareth Williams, a mathematician who worked for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, was found dead at a Security Services safe house in London in highly unusual circumstances in 2010. Police visited the flat after being alerted by colleagues concerned by his absence from work. The flat was locked but upon entering police found William’s decomposing body in a sports bag, that had been locked from the outside.
An inquest concluded that Williams death was “unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated.”
The question as to who was responsible remains a mystery to this day. Nonetheless it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Williams had concluded that the “War on Terror” was a fraud and that the real terrorists were the security services he worked for.
In the words of the correspondent who sent this in:
Perhaps this “mathematical genius” was also an innocent who discovered that Islamic terror was organised by elements within his own side and he didn’t like it.
Quite feasible, I think.
There was a very clever boy I taught in the 1970’s who was recruited into Military Intelligence while still a sixth former (this was going to be his career, he openly said). About three years later I heard that he had left the army. He “couldn’t believe the kind of things he was asked to get involved in” apparently.
Some people just won’t do it. Once they realise that they themselves are the baddies, they get out….like our good friends David Shayler and Annie Machon. Maybe Williams was one of these but not so lucky.

Death mystery spy Gareth Williams was terror plot hero

Gordon Thomas and James Fielding — Daily Express Oct 2010

gareth williamsThe 31-year-old, whose body was found in a sports bag in his flat two months ago, uncovered the plot in a secret eavesdropping mission in Afghanistan.

He played a pivotal role in intercepting phone calls from British jihadists at a training camp before matching their voice prints to those on a data bank.

Details of the Al Qaeda threats emerged last weekend and involved coordinated gun massacres on the streets of London, Paris and Berlin. Transport hubs and landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower and the Brandenburg Gate were all listed as potential targets.

Mr Williams made several trips to Afghanistan as one of a 10-strong team of specialists from GCHQ, the Government’s listening post and the NSA, the US equivalent.

He was “cherry-picked” for the job because of his specialist skills using voice analysis software. The codebreaker, on a year’s secondment to MI6 in London from GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucs, could identify accents picked up in phone conversations with terror suspects from the Midlands, Manchester and Rochdale, Lancashire.

He pinpointed at least one voice print to Pakistani-born Briton Abdul Jabbar, who was known to UK security services. Jabbar was killed in a US drone strike earlier this month after GCHQ alerted the US to his whereabouts.

Information gleaned by Mr Williams also led to the arrest of the suspected ringleader, Admed Sidiqi, captured in Kabul in July.

Sidiqi, a German national from Hamburg, is being held at a US airbase where he has provided details about the attacks.

Though Mr Williams helped save the lives of thousands in Europe, terror alerts are high.

A source said: “The professionalism and skill of operatives like Gareth helped to thwart a disaster but we don’t have a total insight into what is unfolding.

“We are still aware of ‘sleeper cells’ ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.”

Up to 20 British-born militants are in the lawless border tribal lands between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Source

Josef Mengele Part of CIA’s Trauma Brainwashing

henrymakow.com — Feb 9, 2016

Mengele, 38, on the left. Ann Diamond was given this photo from a yearbook published in 1949  by Hopital Saint Michel Archange in Quebec City.

Mengele, 38, on the left. Ann Diamond was given this photo from a yearbook published in 1949 by Hopital Saint Michel Archange in Quebec City.

There are enough consistent accounts of Illuminati trauma based brainwashing to conclude they are true. Our “leaders” are not only corrupt, they are depraved. If they can do this to children, I am not sanguine about what they have planned for the rest of us. They let a Nazi monster, Josef Mengele, continue torture experiments on Americans.
Are they applying MK-Ultra techniques to society as a whole? 9-11 = Mass trauma brainwashing? Mengele’s portable holocaust is another indication that a satanic cult, the Illuminati controlled both sides in World War Two. The Illuminati rule by creating false dialectics such as we have today with Putin.

by “Sara in Minnesota” — Jan 31, 2010

According to Freedom of Information Act documents, Nazi sadist Josef Mengele came to the U.S. as part of the CIA’s Operation Paperclip, which enlisted Nazi and war criminals in the Cold War.
The Nazis used the occult techniques to commit the most horrible crimes against children to create the perfect soldier, the perfect spy, and the perfect assassin, persons who with a key word or phrase could be made to do the bidding of their handlers unquestioningly and not remember it later nor be able to disclose classified information even if they wanted to. The program was called Project Monarch or MK-Ultra.
They were also interested in remote viewing, divination, and the military applications of a multitude of extrasensory abilities including “red fire” or psychic killing. See Carol Rutz’ book “A Nation Betrayed.”
Programmed messengers and programmed sex slaves were also created for the demented pleasures of the rich and famous.
Known as MK-ULTRA, the program abducted super bright children and naturally occurring high order multiples—especially identicals—from their natural parents and put them with persons who would allow abuse and experimentation. The program is still ongoing and now uses and manipulates the Child Protection system to facilitate these activities.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Continues …

Sanders defeats Clinton, Trump wins in New Hampshire

Associated Press — Feb 10, 2016

Bernie Sanders won a commanding victory over Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, and Donald Trump also scored a big win in a triumph of two candidates who have seized on Americans’ anger at the Washington political establishment.

For Trump, the brash real estate magnate and television personality who has never held public office, the win was an important rebound after his loss to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in last week’s Iowa caucuses. Trump has led national polls for months and the New Hampshire victory reinforces his position as front-runner, proving he can win votes, and giving credibility to his upstart populist candidacy.

“Wow, wow, wow, wow,” Trump declared, savoring his victory at a campaign rally before promising swift action as president on the economy, trade, health care, drug abuse and more. “We are going to do something so good and so fast and so strong and the world is going to respect us again. Believe me.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich finished second after devoting almost all of his campaign resources to New Hampshire. Competing for third were Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who had dedicated a significant amount of time to New Hampshire, lagged behind in the vote count, casting doubt on the future of his campaign. He told supporters that instead of going to South Carolina, he’ll head home to “take a deep breath” and take stock of his struggling presidential bid.

The day was also a blow for Rubio, who had appeared to be breaking away from the second-tier Republican pack after a stronger-than-expected third-place showing in Iowa. But he stumbled in a debate Saturday under intense pressure from Christie, who cast the young senator as too inexperienced and too reliant on memorized talking points to become president.

Among Democrats, Sanders, who narrowly lost in Iowa, had maintained a sizeable advantage over Clinton in New Hampshire for weeks. He appeals to liberal Democrats who believe Obama hasn’t done enough to address the nation’s disparity in wealth.

Sanders said at a victory party that his win sends a message “that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors” and their political committees.

Clinton echoed Sanders’ calls for tackling income inequality, but cast herself as more prepared to make good on her policy pledges. “People have every right to be angry. But they’re also hungry, they’re hungry for solutions,” she said.

Clinton’s campaign argues that she will perform better as the race heads to more racially diverse states, including Nevada and South Carolina. Both New Hampshire and Iowa are overwhelmingly white states that are far less diverse than the nation as a whole.

There are only 23 delegates at stake in New Hampshire’s Republican primary, and they are awarded proportionally, based on the statewide vote. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination

While Sanders’ victory means he’s assured of a majority of the state’s pledged delegates, Clinton remains ahead in the overall delegate count due to support from superdelegates – the party officials who can support the candidate of their choice at the convention. Overall, Clinton has amassed at least 392 delegates and Sanders at least 42; the magic number to clinch the nomination is 2,382.

Source

Iran Air Force equipped with Nasr cruise missiles

Introduction — Feb 9, 2016

A large consignment of Nasr air launched cruise missiles have been delivered to Iran's Air force

A large consignment of Nasr air launched cruise missiles have been delivered to Iran’s Air force

A few years ago the phrase “all options” concerning Iran was being repeated endlessly. It’s not anymore and that’s not just because of the recently agreed nuclear accord.
Part of the reason is that over the past decade Iran has steadily developed its home-grown defence technology. To the point where it is now able to meet almost all its own defence requirements so that any potential aggressor would face a well armed opponent equipped with sophisticated weapons.
There is absolutely no comparison between Iran’s defence standing today and Saddam’s Iraq or that of Afghanistan in 2001. Even the most strident hawks now recognise that. Iran’s radar systems, its air defences and its cruise and ballistic missiles would pose serious problems for any possible adversary, including the U.S. and Israel.
Moreover, the last thing the U.S. wants now as it considers undermining Putin’s Russia is a direct military confrontation with a lesser power, like Iran. After Iraq and Afghanistan U.S. voters are in no mood for another overseas military adventure and public opinion alone could force Washington into a humiliating climb-down. Weapons like the Nasr and the recently delivered S-300 have probably caused U.S. military planners to think again about using “all options”. Ed.

Iran Air Force equipped with Nasr cruise missiles

Press TV — Oct 9, 2016

Iran’s Defense Ministry has delivered the first batch of a newly developed air-launched cruise missile, dubbed Nasr (Victory), to the country’s Air Force.

Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization affiliated with the Ministry of Defense on August 25, 2015 launched the production line of Nasr cruise missile in a bid to upgrade the country’s deterrence.

The cruise missiles were handed over to Iran’s Air Force on Tuesday in a ceremony in the presence of Iran’s Minister of Defense Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) chief, Brigadier General Hassan Shah Safi.

Dehqan said Defense Ministry experts have the capability to supply the strategic needs of the Iranian Armed Forces in different sectors.

He noted that nothing can hinder or stop the Defense Ministry’s move towards further empowering the Armed Forces.

The minister said Nasr cruise missiles are precise enough to hit targets and significantly boost the operational and tactical power of the Armed Forces.

“The Nasr air-launched system can be installed on different types of jet fighters,” the Iranian defense minister pointed out.

In recent years, Iran has made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and systems.

The Islamic Republic also regularly conducts military drills to enhance the defense capabilities of its military and to test modern military tactics and equipment.

Iran has repeatedly said that its military might poses no threat to other countries, reiterating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.

Source

US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you

Spencer Ackerman and Sam Thielman — The Guardian.co.uk Feb 9, 2016

James Clapper

The US intelligence chief has acknowledged for the first time that agencies might use a new generation of smart household devices to increase their surveillance capabilities.

As increasing numbers of devices connect to the internet and to one another, the so-called internet of things promises consumers increased convenience – the remotely operated thermostat from Google-owned Nest is a leading example. But as home computing migrates away from the laptop, the tablet and the smartphone, experts warn that the security features on the coming wave of automobiles, dishwashers and alarm systems lag far behind.

In an appearance at a Washington thinktank last month, the director of the National Security Agency, Adm Michael Rogers, said that it was time to consider making the home devices “more defensible”, but did not address the opportunities that increased numbers and even categories of connected devices provide to his surveillance agency.

However, James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, was more direct in testimony submitted to the Senate on Tuesday as part of an assessment of threats facing the United States.

“In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper said.

Clapper did not specifically name any intelligence agency as involved in household-device surveillance. But security experts examining the internet of things take as a given that the US and other surveillance services will intercept the signals the newly networked devices emit, much as they do with those from cellphones. Amateurs are already interested in easily compromised hardware; computer programmer John Matherly’s search engine Shodan indexes thousands of completely unsecured web-connected devices.

Online threats again topped the intelligence chief’s list of “worldwide threats” the US faces, with the mutating threat of low-intensity terrorism quickly following. While Clapper has for years used the equivocal term “evolving” when asked about the scope of the threat, he said Tuesday that Sunni violent extremism “has more groups, members, and safe havens than at any other point in history”.

The Islamic State topped the threat index, but Clapper also warned that the US-backed Saudi war in Yemen was redounding to the benefit of al-Qaida’s local affiliate.

Domestically, “homegrown extremists” are the greatest terrorist threat, rather than Islamic State or al-Qaida attacks planned from overseas. Clapper cited the San Bernardino and Chattanooga shootings as examples of lethal operations emanating from self-starting extremists “without direct guidance from [Isis] leadership”.

US intelligence officials did not foresee Isis suffering significant setbacks in 2016 despite a war in Syria and Iraq that the Pentagon has pledged to escalate. The chief of defense intelligence, Marine Lt Gen Vincent Stewart, said the jihadist army would “probably retain Sunni Arab urban centers” in 2016, even as military leaders pledged to wrest the key cities of Raqqa and Mosul from it.

Contradicting the US defense secretary, Ashton Carter, Stewart said he was “less optimistic in the near term about Mosul”, saying the US and Iraqi government would “certainly not” retake it in 2016.

The negative outlook comes as Carter traveled on Tuesday to meet with his fellow defense chiefs in Brussels for a discussion on increasing their contributions against Isis.

On the Iran nuclear deal, Clapper said intelligence agencies were in a “distrust and verify mode”, but added: “We have no evidence thus far that they’re moving toward violation.”

Clapper’s admission about the surveillance potential for networked home devices is rare for a US official. But in an overlooked 2012 speech, the then CIA director David Petraeus called the surveillance implications of the internet of things “transformational … particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft”.

During testimony to both the Senate armed services committee and the intelligence panel, Clapper cited Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and the Islamic State as bolstering their online espionage, disinformation, theft, propaganda and data-destruction capabilities. He warned that the US’s ability to correctly attribute the culprits of those actions would probably diminish with “improving offensive tradecraft, the use of proxies, and the creation of cover organizations”.

Clapper suggested that US adversaries had overtaken its online capabilities: “Russia and China continue to have the most sophisticated cyber programs.”

The White House’s new cybersecurity initiative, unveiled on Tuesday, pledged increased security for nontraditional networked home devices. It tasked the Department of Homeland Security to “test and certify networked devices within the ‘Internet of Things’.” It did not discuss any tension between the US’s twin cybersecurity and surveillance priorities.

Connected household devices are a potential treasure trove to intelligence agencies seeking unobtrusive ways to listen and watch a target, according to a study that Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society released last week. The study found that the signals explosion represented by the internet of things would overwhelm any privacy benefits by users of commercial encryption – even as Clapper in his testimony again alleged that the growth of encryption was having a “negative effect on intelligence gathering”.

The report’s authors cited a 2001 case in which the FBI had sought to compel a company that makes emergency communications hardware for automobiles – similar by description to OnStar, though the company was not named – to assist agents in Nevada in listening in on conversations in a client’s car.

In February 2015, news reports revealed that microphones on Samsung “smart” televisions were “always on” so as to receive any audio that it could interpret as an instruction.

“Law enforcement or intelligence agencies may start to seek orders compelling Samsung, Google, Mattel, Nest or vendors of other networked devices to push an update or flip a digital switch to intercept the ambient communications of a target,” the authors wrote.

Source

Prime Minister of Turkey Declares Intention To “Protect” Aleppo

RIA — translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Rus Feb 9, 2016

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that his country intends to protect Syrian Aleppo, calling it a settling of a historic debt.

Last week the official representative of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, said that there are serious grounds to suspect Turkey of preparing a military intervention in Syria. According to him, the Defense Ministry presented the international community with irrefutable video evidence, of which Turkish self-propelled artillery is firing on Syrian villages in the North of Latakia. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the allegations “ludicrous”.

“We’ll pay our historic debt. Once our brothers from Aleppo defended our cities: Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras (during the First world war — ed.), now we will protect the heroic Aleppo. Behind her are the defenders of the whole of Turkey,” said Davutoğlu, speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary faction headed by the ruling Party of Justice and Development.

Last week the Syrian military cut off major supply routes of terrorists in the Northern province of Aleppo, leading from Turkey. After that, troops, with the support of the militias, and Russian air force managed to break through the blockade of four towns Nubl and Al-Zahraa, where the siege affected about 70 thousand inhabitants.

Davutoglu once again accused the Russian airforce of “bombing the civilian population”, the continuation of which, according to him, will cause 70 thousand new refugees to arrive in Turkey.

Source

Ted Cruz PsyOp

by Thierry Meyssan — Voltairenet.org Feb 8, 2016

For the first time in History, a team specialised in psychological operations is attempting to fabricate a candidate for the US Presidential elections and win him a home in the White House. His victory, if they succeed, would prove that it is possible to falsify the electoral process itself. It would also call into question the power of the military on civil institutions.

Ted Cruz

“Psychological Operations » (Psy Ops) are « tricks of war », like the Trojan Horse. Under the influence of General Edward Lansdale, the United States equipped their armies and the CIA with these special Psy Ops units, first of all in the Philippines, in Vietnam and against Cuba, then as permanent fixtures [1].

Psychological Operations are far more complex than propaganda, which is aimed only at deforming the perception of reality. For example, during the war against Syria in 2011, allied propaganda consisted of convincing the population that President el-Assad was going to abdicate, as President Ben Ali of Tunisia had done earlier. The Syrians therefore had to prepare themselves for a new régime. But in early 2012, a psychological operation planned on substituting false programmes on national TV channels which purported to show the fall of the Syrian Arab Republic, so that the population would offer no resistance [2].

Just as today, there exist mercenary armies like Blackwater-Academi, DynCorp or CACI, there also exist private companies specialised in psychological operations, like the British company SCL (Strategic Communications Laboratories) and its US subsidiary Cambridge Analytica. In the strictest secret, they have helped the CIA to organise the « colour revolutions » and are now branching out into the manipulation of the electoral public. Since 2005, they have been participating in the British Defense Systems & Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition, and sell their services to the highest bidder [3]. Concerning Syria, SCL worked in early 2011 in Lebanon, where it studied the the possibilities of manipulating the population community by communuity.

Psychological Operations and the electorate

In modern societies, the political authorities are chosen by election. That may range from a simple choice between pre-selected candidates – according to their personal qualities – to the designation of personalities who are offering a specific political project. In any case, the candidates have to rely on their militants or their employees in order to wage their campaign. We know that the winner is always the person who is able to gather the greatest number of militants. It is therefore necessary not only to fabricate a candidate, but also a party or a movement to support them. However, today’s electors hesitate to subscribe to an organisation, and employees are expensive. SCL came up with the idea of using behavioural techniques in order to fabricate a political party which would sweep its client to power. Its psychologists define the profile-type of the sincere and manipulable militant, then collect the data from the target population, determine who best corresponds to their profile, and design the most efficient messages to convince them to support their client.

For the first time, this stratagem has just been implemented on a huge scale – in the United States, with Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz’s campaign slogan – « TrusTed »..

Financing the operation

Robert Mercer, one of the principle donors to US public life, has indirectly paid more than 15 million dollars to SCL-Cambridge Analytica for them to handle Ted Cruz’s campaign [4].

Inventor of a vocal recognition software product, Mercer is today the boss of Renaissance, one of the top investment companies in the world. Between 1989 and 2006, his famous Medaillon fund made an average of 35 % profit per year, at the same time as designing a tax-evasion system for his clients [5].

Robert Mercer has never made any comment about his political opinions, and the US commentators don’t really know how to classify this « Republican ». No-one knows, for example, his position on social problems such as the right to abortion or gay marriage. At best, we know that he does not believe that climate change is caused by human activity, that he clearly opposes Hillary Clinton and his friend Donald Trump, and is close to John Bolton.

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How to cook bacon on the barrel of your gun.

The collection of personal data

In order to select citizens susceptible of becoming militants, SCL/Cambridge Analytica has secretly gathered documentation of millions of electors [6].

Doctor Aleksandr Kogan bought the data from Amazon, the US on-line sales giant, then paid approximately 1 extra dollar per client for a questionnaire to be sent to them via Mechanical Turk (MTurk). By accepting to identify themselves on Facebook, the internaut allowed MTurk access to his or her personal data – MTurk then compiled this data with Amazon’s information and transmitted them to SCL via Kogan’s company, Global Science Research (GSR). Despite the fact that Dr. Kogan assured The Guardian that he worked only on scientific research, and used only anonymous data, they are nonetheless today in the possession of SCL [7].

Within a few months, SCL had at its disposition a detailed data base on more than 40 million electors US – without their knowledge.

In 2008, the International Court of Justice decided to order the United States to revise the trial of a Mexican who had been found guilty without having been allowed consular legal assistance. However, Ted Cruz, then the Solicitor General of Texas, pleaded before the Supreme Court that a Federal State was not obliged to obey a foreign Court as long as the Treaty signed by Washington had not been transcribed into domestic law. He won, the United States denounced the additional protocol at the Vienna Convention, and the prisoner was executed.

The interpretation of personal data

Cambridge Analytica then proceded with an evaluation of each profile according the the OCEAN method, as follows :
- « Openness » (appreciation of art, emotion, adventure, uncommon ideas, curiosity and imagination) ;
- « Conscientiousness » (self-discipline, respect for obligations, organisation rather than spontaneity, goal-oriented) ;
- « Extroversion » (energy, positive emotions, tendency to seek stimulation and the company of others, “go-getter”) ;
- « Agreeability » (tendency to be empathetic and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic to others) ;
- « Neuroticism » (tendency to feel unpleasant emotions easily, like anger, anxiety or depression, vulnerability).

For each subject, the study managed to establish a personality graph by using the 240 questions of the NEO PI-R tests – (’Neuroticism-Extroversion-Openness, Personality Inventory – Revised).

On this basis, SCL identified the individuals who constitute sincere, manipulable militants, and then elaborated personalised arguments to convince them.

One might think that personality studies developed without the subjects’ knowledge would be too approximate. And yet…

A brilliant lawyer, Ted Cruz defended the Ten Commandments monument installed at the Texas State Capitol . He drew up the mémoires of the attorneys general of 31 states, according to whom the ban on handguns violates the right to bear arms guaranteed by the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States. He also defended the recitation of the Oath of Allegiance to the flag of the United States, « One Nation Under God », in public schools.

Ted Cruz the candidate

The candidate who seeks to be swept into the White House, Ted Cruz, is an excellent lawyer, a brilliant orator and debater. Specifically, he has pleaded several times, successfully, before the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a libertarian rather than a conservative.

His father, the Evangelist pastor Rafael Cruz, is a Cuban immigrant who preaches that God gave men of faith the job of governing « America ». He claims that at the end of times, which is coming soon, God will give the wealth of evil men to the just [8].

Ted’s wife, Heidi Cruz,was the Director for South America to the National Security Council in the days of Condoleezza Rice. She then became vice-president of Goldman Sachs, tasked with the management of the fortunes of clients from the South-West US [9].

At the start of his Presidential campaign, Ted Cruz generated very few favourable opinions, and the Press commented on his unempathetic character. However, thanks to the help of SCL/Cambridge Analytica, he quickly formed a huge support group, and won the Republican primaries in Iowa.

In 1988, Ted Cruz spoke of his ideals in life : « Take over the world. World domination, rule everything, be rich and powerful, that sort of stuff ».

If he were to win the coveted place in the White House, it would prove that it is possible to subvert an electoral campaign by using the techniques of psychological operations.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] Edward Lansdale’s Cold War, Jonathan Nashel, university of Massachusetts Press, 2005.

[2] “NATO preparing vast disinformation campaign”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Olivia Kroth, Komsomolskaïa Pravda (Russia), Voltaire Network, 11 June 2012. “NATO PsyOp Against Syria Imminent”, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 21 July 2012.

[3] “You Can’t Handle the Truth. Psy-ops propaganda goes mainstream”, Sharon Weinberger, Slate, September 2005.

[4] “The Man Who Out-Koched the Kochs”, Annie Linskey, Bloomberg, October 23, 2014.

[5] “Renaissance Avoided More Than $6 Billion Tax, Report Says”, Zachary R. Mider, Bloomberg, July 22, 2014.

[6] “Cruz partners with donor’s ’psychographic’ firm. The GOP candidate’s campaign is working closely with a data company owned by Cruz’s biggest donor”, Kenneth P. Vogel & Tarini Parti, Politico, July 7, 2015. “Cruz-Connected Data Miner Aims to Get Inside U.S. Voters’ Heads”, Sasha Issenberg, Bloomberg, November 12, 2015. “Cruz campaign credits psychological data and analytics for its rising success”, Tom Hamburger, The Washington Post, December 13, 2015.

[7] “Ted Cruz sing firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users”, Harry Davies, The Guardian, December 11, 2015.

[8] “Ted Cruz’s Father Fires Up Campaign Rhetoric. Rafael Cruz’s Bible-laced speeches appeal to conservatives, but could alienate swing voters”, Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2015. “Ted Cruz’s dad is even more frightening than Ted Cruz”, Robert Leonard, Salon, September 24, 2015.

[9] “Heidi Nelson Cruz, Ted’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”, Tom Cleary, Heavy, March 23, 2015. “Heidi Nelson Cruz: A Political Spouse Making Sacrifices and Courting Donors”, Steve Eder & Matt Flegenheimer, The New York Times, January 18, 2016

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Austrian official warns of migrant limits

Associated Press — Feb 8, 2016

The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):

Feb 8, 6:15 p.m.

Austrian foreign minister Sebastian Kurz says his country will not be able to handle the same number of migrants this year as it did in 2015 and will help Western Balkan nations stop them at their borders.

Last year Austria received 90,000 asylum-seekers, which overstretched its capacities, Kurz said Monday in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo.

“Macedonia is ready to accept the help of the European Union. This is unfortunately not happening in Greece,” Kurz said, insisting that the EU offered Greece support but it was rejected

He said last summer he warned that the welcome culture in Europe was correct on a human level but that it could encourage more people to head toward the continent, which is what happened.

Kurz noted that it was wrong for Europe to watch migrants arriving in Greece and then let them be directed further to non-EU countries.

Feb 8, 5:15 p.m.

People carry the body of one of those migrants who drowned trying to reach Greece

People carry the body of one of those migrants who drowned trying to reach Greece

Turkish coast guard officials say they have recovered the bodies of five more migrants, raising to 27 the death toll in the latest boat sinking accident off the Turkish coast. At least 11 of the victims are children, an official said.

A coast guard statement said a search-and-rescue mission, backed by helicopters, was still underway for other migrants reported missing after a boat carrying them to the Greek island of Lesbos went down in the Bay of Edremit on Monday.

The Dogan news agency had earlier reported that 11 other migrants had drowned off the resort of Dikili, south of the Bay of Edremit, and put the total death toll at more than 30. It later corrected that report and said the 11 victims were from the same accident and were included in the coast guard officials’ toll.

Ali Sirmali, local administrator for the town of Edremit, said authorities have recovered the bodies of 11 children.

Feb 8, 4:35 p.m.

Hungary’s prime minister says Western European leaders who consider migration a positive issue are to blame for the “very serious terror risks” and for deteriorating everyday security on the continent.

Viktor Orban says migration “must be stopped” and has reiterated his call for a “European defense line” on the northern borders of Greece to end the influx of people.

Orban, who hosted Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo on Monday, said that the “migrant phenomenon did not break into Europe violently” but that migrants were called into Western Europe “without control, filtering or security screening.”

Szydlo also called for the strengthening of the southern borders of Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone, saying that “the migration issue has to be solved basically outside the EU borders.”

Feb 8, 4:30 p.m.

Opponents are accusing British Prime Minister David Cameron of using scare tactics after he said that thousands of asylum-seekers could come to Britain overnight if the country votes to leave the European Union.

A Cameron spokesman said it was “perfectly feasible” that France would end existing border arrangements with Britain, leading to “thousands of asylum-seekers pitching up in southeast England.”

Currently, British border officials check U.K.-bound passengers on French soil, under an arrangement between the two countries.

Downing St. says that if the arrangement ended, thousands of migrants living in makeshift camps near the French port of Calais would be free to cross the English Channel.

But David Davis, a Euroskeptic lawmaker from Cameron’s Conservative Party, said “the idea that leaving the EU would give us less control of our borders is simply preposterous.” Another Conservative legislator, Sarah Wollaston, accused Cameron of “ratcheting up the alarmist rhetoric.”

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Inside the City of the Damned

Peter Oborne — Daily Mail Feb 8, 2016

Opened just before World War I, Baron’s Hotel in downtown Aleppo has long been synonymous with comfort and high civilisation.

It was here that Agatha Christie wrote her famous crime novel, Murder On The Orient Express. Lawrence of Arabia stayed at Baron’s as he plotted the downfall of the Ottoman Empire.

When I knocked on the door last week, I found that the hotel had been struck regularly by mortars. But it was still standing and, unbelievably, it was still open.

The tourists who used to flock to Baron’s in their thousands no longer visit. Instead, the hotel has opened its doors to refugees from Syria’s unspeakably barbaric civil war. Lawrence of Arabia’s room — number 202 — was until recently occupied by a displaced couple with three small children.

Some families have ended up in squalid refugee camps on the Syrian border with Turkey

Some families have ended up in squalid refugee camps on the Syrian border with Turkey

Downstairs, in what had been the Grand Salon, another of the hotel’s new guests told me her harrowing story.

Fighters from the Free Syrian Army — the rebel faction hailed by the British government as ‘moderate’ — took over her village three years ago. They forced her to wear black, veil her face and stay at home.

Thanks to the fighting, her husband lost his job as a house-builder. Eventually they made the decision to flee, leaving behind everything they owned. Now her husband makes a miserable living by selling vegetables in the street, while her 12-year-old son works unpaid at a nearby tailor.

There was a hole made by the blast of a sniper’s bullet on the wall above her. But otherwise the Grand Salon retained its original European furniture and pictures, with a pianola in the corner.

Yet if Agatha Christie were alive and tried to ply her writing trade as she once did on the terrace here, she would risk being blown up by mortar or hit by gunfire. And when she looked up from her writing, she would be greeted by a view of empty streets, damaged buildings and road blocks.

It is only four years ago that the northern Syrian city of Aleppo was one of the most prosperous and beautiful in the Middle East.

Tourists from around the world visited its ancient mosques and churches, fabulous citadel, and the largest covered market in the world.

Aleppo was also the industrial powerhouse of Syria, with buoyant textile and pharmaceutical companies sustaining a booming population of well over two million.

Now, almost everything has been destroyed by war. President Assad’s army has managed to hang on to the west of the city, while the east is dominated by rebel groups which include Al-Nusra (the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda) and Islamic State.

The fighting has spurred countless refugees to head north to Turkey, and thence to Europe. As the Mail’s front page on Saturday showed, an escalation in recent days has led to a human tide of tens of thousands pouring out of the city, many ending up at a refugee camp on the border with Turkey. Other families have fled into the government-controlled area of the city where I stayed.

I discovered that the famed Aleppo University has been turned into a giant camp, with 17 out of its 20 dormitory blocks used by displaced families, some of whom sleep a dozen or more to a room designed for two students.

One man, who looked 75 though he assured me he was only 50, told how his family home and olive oil business in the old city of Aleppo had been destroyed by the Islamists of Al-Nusra.

The terror group beheaded one member of his family, and ripped another apart by tying him between an electricity pylon and a moving car. Another family member has been kidnapped, and no one knows where he is.

One man, who had been a tailor in peacetime, told me he came into western Aleppo to flee Free Syrian Army fighters — who promptly came after him and made an unsuccessful attempt to abduct his daughter from their university shelter.

Such are the horrors that pass for everyday life in this benighted city. The inhabitants are now so accustomed to the sounds of shell and mortar fire that they no longer look up when they hear an explosion.

I met one schoolmistress who had just made a terrifying journey from her home in an Islamic State-controlled area just east of Aleppo to collect her monthly salary of 30,000 Syrian pounds (about £50) from the education directorate in the city centre.

Before the war, this journey had taken barely 40 minutes. Hers had taken five days as she made her away across Al-Nusra and Islamic State road blocks.

The teacher told me that in her home town she was made to dress entirely in black. She said simply: ‘They will kill me if I show any flesh.’

She was forced to live indoors, except when being ordered into the public square to witness the frequent beheadings and crucifixions.

Intriguingly, she told me the foreigner fighters who controlled her area included French, British, Egyptians, Afghans and Americans — ‘very blond Americans and black ones’.

Four years ago Aleppo was one of the most populous and prosperous cities in the Middle East

Four years ago Aleppo was one of the most populous and prosperous cities in the Middle East

Islamic State does not allow her to teach — but she is still paid by the Syrian government. This brave and stoical woman would shortly make the journey back to rejoin her husband and young children. She told me she had no doubt that the advancing Syrian government army would soon retake her home town.

‘Then the Islamic State will booby-trap the houses and use us as human shields,’ she said.

Aleppo today is a city of darkness and cold. Electricity has been cut for more than three months, and there had been no water for 12 days by the time I reached the city.

In both cases, Islamic State is to blame. Its fighters hold the power station which supplies electricity. They are now besieged by the Syrian Army.

Aleppo’s water comes from the Euphrates river to the east via a giant water processing plant, which is also under ISIS’s control.

The people make do with private generators — but they are expensive and most families can only afford a dull electric light. For water, they dig wells, but many cannot wash regularly. Doctors told me there was an epidemic of fleas in the city, and that they fear cholera when summer comes.

Doctors also told me of a deadly shortage of medical supplies. When they try to go to Islamic State-controlled areas to deliver vaccinations, they are often insulted and turned away.

As a result, long-forgotten diseases are being seen again. Even polio, eradicated ten years ago, is making a return.

Aleppans have a phrase for the kind of life they are living: they call it ‘dead alive’.

No wonder so many are fleeing. Large parts of the city feel empty. Of the more than two million who lived in Aleppo before the conflict, there are probably fewer than 800,000 today. One man, a lawyer, told me that three-quarters of his friends fled Aleppo last summer.

He guessed that of the estimated 200,000 Christian population before the conflict, there are only 25,000 today. They know all too well what Islamic State likes to do to Christians.

The churches do everything they can to encourage their congregation to stay. They provide food, electricity and sometimes even accommodation for their desperate congregations.

At the Arabic Presbyterian Church, I witnessed the elders handing out food vouchers after the service, and distributing water from a well.

‘One of our principles is that we shouldn’t leave the country when it is passing through difficult times,’ I was told by the Rev Selimian, pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church.

‘When your mother gets sick do you get another mother? We as church leaders are staying here, we say there is no reason for you to go.’

He added, however, that church-goers must make their own decisions, and many have done so, knowing that they face death if the jihadi groups in the east of Aleppo win victory.

If this trend persists, the Christian community in Aleppo, which dates back to the very earliest years after Christ’s death, will very soon cease to exist.

Frequently during the conflict, Aleppo has been completely surrounded by rebels and cut off from the outside world.

It was isolated for much of this winter. For the past few weeks, though, a relatively safe road has been reopened from the south into the city, thanks to recent military victories by the Syrian army. I entered the city with a government minder along this heavily protected road — and during my time in Aleppo I was eyewitness to a rapid and perhaps decisive turn in the Syrian civil war.

It is a change that opens up the prospect of relief for Aleppans in the west of the city — and makes it much more likely that the ancient Christian community can survive.

But it also means fresh hazard for hundreds of thousands of Syrians caught up in the conflict between the Syrian army — backed by merciless Russian airpower — and the Islamist militias.

Now, the unlucky ones are held as human shields or trapped between the two warring and brutal armies, while the ‘lucky’ ones flee with no more than the clothes they stand up in towards the Turkish border.

If they can gain access to Turkey, presumably many will seek a passage to Europe, to join the throngs of migrants who have already fled the conflict and are now in the European Union.

And, back in Syria, one of the most ancient civilisations in the world continues to be pitilessly destroyed.

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