Saturday, 15 November 2014

Al-Nusra Front refuses to include Damascus in the negotiations



Al-Nusra Front fighters stationed in Syria. AFP
Published Saturday, November 15, 2014
Al-Akhbar
Fighting at the Qalamoun front broke out again. Fighters holed up in Jurud Ersal – the barren hills east of the town – are talking about the aid they are about to receive from the Islamic State group. They have decided to pledge allegiance to it, either out of fear or greed. As for the Lebanese soldiers kidnapped by al-Nusra Front and the “State,” there is no hope in sight that their case is going to be resolved.
The leader of the Islamic State group in al-Qalamoun, Abu Talal al-Hamad, did not die. The man who took the decision to invade Ersal in early August is still alive, as confirmed by people who know him and some of his close associates who are in contact with him. They affirm that he was not hurt in the Syrian raids that targeted one of the areas where his men are holed up in Jurud Ersal. It so happened that he was not there when the area was hit. The leader of the “State” survived, so did the leader of the al-Nusra Front before him and so did the kidnapped Lebanese soldiers. Rumors that recently multiplied about the death of a certain individual and the injury of another did not change anything. The situation remains as is, while fighters in Jurud Ersal wait for “the aid of the Islamic State to arrive.” These fighters, holed up in the Jurud of Qalamoun and Ersal, are eagerly awaiting this development, saying that it is “going to happen within days.” It is their only hope for survival in light of the siege that has been imposed on them.
Their optimism stems from the recent progress made by the “State” in Homs’ eastern countryside and their “arrival at the outskirts of the town of al-Qaryatain,” 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from Jurud Ersal. As a result, factions from the Free Syrian Army rushed to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State group, either out of fear of confronting it or in the hope of receiving funding from it.
According to sources, these factions believe that “the arrival of the ‘State’ is inevitable after it seized control of large swaths of the Homs countryside.” Therefore, this step will mark the beginning of the official end of the Free Syrian Army in Jurud al-Qalamoun because the most important factions in Jurud al-Qalamoun pledged allegiance to the “State,” like the Independent al-Farouk Brigade under the leadership of Muwafaq Abu al-Sus, the al-Qusayr Brigade under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Abu Arab and al-Muqanaa Brigade. All these brigades are now affiliated with the “Islamic State” whether in “Wilayat Homs” or in “Wilayat Damascus.” These three brigades are estimated to have 300 fighters. According to sources, the common denominator between the brigades is that they do not believe in an ideology, but were motivated by fear of the “State” and an interest in its money. Despite the exceptional relationship between al-Nusra Front and the “State” in this part of Syria (unlike other areas), sources close to al-Nusra see developments on this front as “a tactic by the Syrian regime through which the fighters of the “State” are allowed to advance in Homs in order to facilitate their arrival at the Qalamoun mountains and thus officially drag Lebanon into the war. Perhaps that will open the deferred confrontation between the two jihadi groups.” The sources indicate that most of the State’s fighters deployed in the area surrounding the Shaer gas field are foreign fighters, mostly from Chechnya, Europe and the Gulf. According to these sources, this means that “they only came to be martyred,” suggesting that they are different from the fighters of the “State” currently deployed in al-Qalamoun. These sources believe that the arrival of these fighters to Qalamoun means a major battle will break out in Lebanon. They also speak of the quality weapons these fighters have, which they looted from weapons depots in Syria and Iraq.
The case of the kidnapped Lebanese soldiers
On another front, it seems clear that neither al-Nusra Front nor the “Islamic State” are in a rush to end the case of the kidnapped Lebanese soldiers. Not only are they not pressed for time, but they might not even want to resolve it to being with.


Information indicates that “the interest of the kidnappers is to keep the soldiers with them until the end of the winter.” So why would a besieged group that has nothing to lose give up its last negotiating chip? Sources close to al-Nusra toldAl-Akhbar that the group’s leader, Abu Malik al-Talli, is insistent on the three proposals he relayed to the Qatari envoy, who informed him that the Lebanese government favors the third solution which entails the release of five prisoners from the Roumieh Central Prison in Lebanon and 50 female prisoners from Syrian prisons in exchange for every Lebanese soldier that al-Nusra releases. They indicate, however, that Talli believes, by choosing the third proposal, the Lebanese government is wasting time and dragging its feet in its response. Al-Nusra’s leader is reported to have said, “Whoever agrees to release 145 prisoners from Lebanon can raise the number to 300, which amounts to the first suggestion, and end the issue without bringing the Syrian regime into the negotiations and give it veto powers.” In addition: “Abu Malik is not asking for the release of any prisoner detained after the events in Ersal. He specified that the prisoners he wants released have to be detained in Lebanon before the Ersal events because those arrested recently in refugee camps in Lebanon have refrained from taking up jihad for the sake of God.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Kamal Khalaf Al-Taweel From Damucuss: On US-Led War on ISIL and the Regional/Global Scene


من دمشق _ د كمال خلف الطويل



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آخر طبعة _ ناصر قنديل ، رئيس تحرير البناء | الميادين





ستون دقيقة مع ناصر قنديل | توب نيوز


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UN setting the ground for Israel’s expanded siege on Gaza



A Palestinian man uses a hammer the break the rubble of houses, which were destroyed during the 51-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas-led militants in the Gaza Strip, on November 14, 2014, in Khan Younis' Khuzaa neighbourhood in the southern Gaza Strip near the Israeli border. AFP/Mohammed Abed
Published Saturday, November 15, 2014
Al-Akhbar
Fifty-one days of war were not enough to erase the consequences of seven years of siege, which affected every facet of life in the Gaza Strip. After the havoc and devastation caused by the war, it now seems that the siege has been reproduced in different ways. Since before the end of the Israeli shelling, international conditions stipulated that no one was allowed to bring in reconstruction material to Gaza except the “legitimate authorities” [the Palestinian Authority], who only gave “formal” support to Gaza yet was quick to declare that it had reached a tripartite agreement with Israel and the United Nations.
Gaza – While Israel was the first to leak information about this agreement, the Palestinian Authority (PA) did not deny it later. But resistance factions in Gaza, particularly Hamas, officially rejected its terms after several of them were put into force. Hamas declared that it had not known the agreement would lead to an “electronic siege by Israel” in a plan under the name of [UN peace envoy in the Middle East] Robert Serry.
A lot has been written about the details of the agreement, including the fact that the Zionist state has been seeking guarantees to tightly monitor building materials so they don’t reach the Resistance.
To this end, Israel imposed “booby-trapped” conditions, including setting up monitoring cameras that work around the clock in storage locations in a territory where electricity is supplied barely six hours a day. This is in addition to deploying guards – who must have a “history of good conduct” – in these warehouses, surrounded by fences that must have a specific height, all in parallel with GPS trackers that the occupation forces wants installed on vehicles and heavy machinery.
At first glance, it seems that the PA’s approval of these conditions is normal and to be expected, given its commitment to Israel’s security and keenness on coordinating with Israelis on all matters. However, what is not understood is the silence of the other Palestinian factions. To be sure, Hamas had rejected the crossings agreement back in 2005, which contained conditions for opening the crossings, especially Rafah, because of “Israeli surveillance through cameras and international presence.” So why has Hamas changed its position now?


It is even worse for Hamas not to know than to know and be silent about the matter. Yet all that Hamas official and spokesperson Taher al-Nunu said in this regard was that his group “was not up to speed from the beginning about this plan.”
“With [the plan] coming into force and as its details came to light, it turned out to be perpetuating and reformulating the siege,” Nunu said.
According to him, Hamas realized that reconstruction following this mechanism will take four to 10 years.
“[This] is illogical and we refuse it,” he said.
Asked about his group’s silence, Nunu told Al-Akhbar
“Hamas is no longer the government. It is the consensus government that is responsible for the Strip. We therefore cannot reject Serry’s plan like we had rejected the crossings plan.” 
The alternative, Nunu continued, would be 
“to demand that the consensus government reject the plan and search for another effective one.”
As soon as the UN got wind of a possible rejection, it made threats, saying that opposition to its envoy’s plan would disrupt the reconstruction process. The Hamas official reacted to this by saying, 
“The Gaza Strip does not respond to blackmail. The UN is not in a position to threaten to halt reconstruction.”
While researching the controversial details of what is best described as a new “electronic siege,” Al-Akhbar came across new equally controversial information: The UN had asked people wishing to rebuild their destroyed homes to supply complete data about themselves, including not only their names and ID card numbers, but also recent personal photos, the locations of their previous homes, where exactly they intend to rebuild, and blueprints of both old and new homes.
In light of this, it was necessary to return to the Palestinian side authorized to deal with UNRWA, namely, the Ministry of Housing and Public Works. The ministry presently operates in Gaza under a minister from the consensus government. An official at the ministry said that they agreed to Serry’s plan, “but in a way that is compatible with Gaza’s security.” For this reason, he continued, the data they sent only had the names and ID cards of the citizens, in addition to data on the required quantities of building materials to restore their homes. However, the UN rejected this and returned the information, sparking off a new crisis that culminated with the suspension of all cooperation between the two sides. In other words, the process of reconstruction has now stopped.
For his part, Naji Sarhan, an official at the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, said that the ministry rejected Serry’s plan “because it is futile and will prolong the reconstruction process.”
Meanwhile, the consensus government in Ramallah has called on Gaza to implement the plan despite its reservations. For this reason, Sarhan said, “They [the government] will not take part in besieging the Strip.” “The damage survey was carried out by international agencies, so why are there concerns about bringing in building materials?” he asked.
Even in economic terms, Serry’s plan was nothing to be “happy” about. One company that received security approval to store and distribute building materials said that it was forced to install surveillance equipment, including cameras, at the UN’s request.
The director of Awad Shamali Sons, Hatem Shamali, said that he had to install eight cameras, as well as a generator and batteries to power them, adding that a UN inspector has been conducting surprise visits and “obtaining reports on every single gram that we sell.”
Shamali continued, “It is not worth it. We buy a ton of cement from them for 500 shekels ($133), and have to sell it for 520 shekels (a profit margin of $5). This is not enough to cover the cost of labor and transportation, not to mention the surveillance.” Shamali added that if he sells under different terms, all dealings with his company would be suspended.


It was not possible to reach the UNRWA spokesperson in Gaza, currently on leave, for this article. Since he is the only one authorized to comment on the issue, Al-Akhbar could not obtain a comment on the “electronic siege” that will shift the international agency’s role from the realm of humanitarianism to the political and security arena.
However, the foreign relations official in Islamic Jihad, Khaled al-Batsh, said his group views Serry’s plan as a means to formalize the illegal Israeli blockade under the guise of an international cover.
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Batsh said that the UN plan agreed to by Israel and the PA not only prevents the entry of building materials to the resistance, “but also seeks to provide sensitive security information and details on the owners of all homes damaged in the war, in order to update Israeli databases on Gaza.”
“Israel will be able to re-engineer the homes in Gaza by controlling their location and the way they are built,” he added.
Batsh also revealed that part of the reconstruction funds “will go to the consensus government to cover the Palestinian Authority’s debts.”
“Twenty percent will be for wages and bonuses for international observers, and we also learned that the UN took $5 million as a fee for transferring funds. This is business, not humanitarian work,” he said.
Regarding the threat to freeze reconstruction, Batsh stressed that his group will not pay much attention to such threats and will continue to reject the plan.
“The UN has to make up its mind, is it a partner in reconstruction or a partner in the blockade?” he asked.
The Islamic Jihad official then promised to start working for an alternative plan that will not help internationalize the blockade.
(Al-Akhbar)
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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    The US could not achieve a surprise attack on Syria, not with cruise missiles, not with airpower.

    “But less noticed what the fact that Russia sent a hastily assembled but capable naval task force to the Syrian coast.  Not a task force big enough to fight the US Navy, but a task force capable of providing a full view of the skies over and beyond Syria to the Syrian military.  In other words, for the first time the US could not achieve a surprise attack on Syria, not with cruise missiles, not with airpower.  Worse, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah embarked on a covert and overt program of material and technical assistance for Syria which ended up defeating the Wahabi insurgency.  
    The AngloZionist were absolutely *livid*.  So to teach Putin and those damn Russkies a good lesson, they blew up the Ukraine and, again, Putin did two things they had never expected and which they could never forgive: he did sent forces Crimea but he did not do so in Novorussia: there he helped covertly.  There was no doubt possible: Russia had committed the “Crime of Crimes” of openly defying the will of our planetary overlords.  The Empire’s response waspredictable: a full-spectrum ‘war’ on Russia and Putin, albeit not an overtly military one (yet).”
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    Jewish Lobby against Muslim holidays at Montgomery Public schools

    Rehmat


    Israeli propagandist, The Washington Times, in a recent article has blamed Muslims parents for Montgomery County Board of Education’s decision on Tuesday to remove Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah name from its 2015-16 school calendar while keeping the Yom Kippur holiday name on. Both days are celebrated to please the tiny but powerful Jewish community in the County since 1970s.

    In 2015, Yom Kippur is projected to fall on Wednesday September 23, when County’s public schools will be closed for the Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Atheists students to join a dozen fellow Jew students to celebrate their Jewish holiday. Now, here comes the organized Jewry’s problem. On the very same day, County’s 10% Muslim population will be celebrating its Eid al-Adah (one day after the annual Hajj in Makkah, Saudi Arabia), and it could mean the County Board of Education may have recognized a Muslim holiday after all. This year, both Eid al-Adah and Yom Kippur were observed on the same day.

    The Muslim parents in Montgomery County have been campaigning for the addition of two Muslim holidays; Eid al-Fitr (end of one-month fasting) and Eid al-Adha on school calendar for over a decade.

    Earlier, Zainab Chaudry, CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager and Equality for Eid Coalition, on behalf of the Montgomery County Muslim community, urged the MCPS Superintendent Dr. Joshua P. Starr, a Zionist puppet and board members on the importance of fairness and equality in their decision to recognize religious holidays in public schools. Watch video below.

    On November 11, the Board decided to drop Rosh Hashanah name while keeping Yom Kippur and Christmas holidays on the 2015-16 calendar. The Board still refused to recognize Muslim holidays. However, Superintendent Joshua Starr said that schools would still be closed on both days as many staff members have record of being absent on those two days.
    Interestingly, Christmas and Easter are the only two days as holidays on the Maryland state calendar.

    Montgomery County Jewish Councilman George Leventhal wrote to MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr and Board of Education President Shirley Brandman on May 23, 2012 urging the school system to “provide two school closing days each school year for American Muslims.” Read more here.

    Note: The cartoon on top of this posts was originally posted by the Jewish World Review to tell the “Jewish view” on Board’s dropping Rosh Hashanah name from the school calendar.
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    JON STEWART - A RELATIVELY CLOSER LOOK - HITLER REFERENCE

    FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2014 AT 9:27AM GILAD ATZMON





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    "Family Of Jews Caught,…….Behaving Like Jews"

    So, what part of ‘Judaism is organized crime, masquerading as a religion‘, don’t you understand? LOL

    Link here

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    ISIL Faces War of Attrition in Syria’s Kobani

    Al-Manar

    The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant terrorist group is locked in a war of attrition in the Syrian border town of Kobani, where Kurdish fighters backed by US-led air strikes are mounting fierce resistance.
       kurds
    Two months after ISIL launched a major offensive to try to capture the strategic prize on the Turkish frontier, the terrorists have failed to defeat the town's Kurdish defenders. "Several weeks ago, it looked like Kobani would fall, but it is now clear that it will not," said Romain Caillet, a French expert on terrorist movements.

    "ISIL controls more than half of the town but is unable to advance further," he told AFP. Caillet said that foreigners, including French, Uzbek and Chechen militants, have been battling alongside Syrian combatants. "There were even five French (jihadists) killed in a single strike," he said.

    ISIL "now faces a war of attrition that is costing it more than its Kurdish adversaries", said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Observatory. Kurdish forces on Wednesday cut off a key supply route used by the militants, according to the Observatory, which monitors the war in Syria through a network of local sources.

    Source: AFP
    15-11-2014 - 10:11 Last updated 15-11-2014 - 10:1

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    Palestinian activists cross Israel's apartheid wall in protest

    Palestinian activists use a metal ramp to cross the controversial apartheid wall near the Israeli Qalandia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem on November 14, 2014 to protest against Israeli authorities allowing settlers to enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound. AFP / Abbas Momani

    Published Friday, November 14, 2014

    Al-AKhbar

    Dozens of Palestinian activists crossed Israel's illegal apartheid wall in the West Bank on Friday near the Qalandiya checkpoint as part of a series of non-violent protest actions to demonstrate solidarity with Jerusalem.

    Activists used makeshift ramps and ladders and cut through barbed wire to climb over the apartheid wall near Qalandiya military checkpoint, which is at least six meters in height.
    The action was part of a campaign entitled #On2Jerusalem that was organized by the Popular Resistance Committees.

    Tensions in Jerusalem have been running high after Israeli authorities' decision to hold a vote on splitting the al-Aqsa compound despite the existence of a Jewish prayer area at the Western Wall immediately next door.

    Several far-right Israeli members of the Knesset have entered the mosque complex in the past several months, drawing the ire of Muslim worshipers and official condemnation from Arab and Muslim countries.

    Groups of Zionist settlers have also forced their way into the site, prompting clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. In October, at least 1,355 Zionist settlers, including the Knesset members, stormed into the al-Aqsa mosque compound without permission.

    Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, an agreement with Jordan has maintained that Jewish prayer be allowed at the Western Wall plaza, which was built on the site of a Palestinian neighborhood of 800 that was destroyed immediately following the conquest, but not inside the al-Aqsa mosque compound itself.

    Coordinator of the popular committees Salah Khawaja said they attempted to enter Jerusalem but were prevented from doing so by Israeli forces, who were heavily deployed in the area.

    Israeli forces used live fire, tear gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse the march.

    Dozens of Palestinian activists also gathered near the village of Hizma carrying Palestinian flags and shouting slogans in support of Jerusalem.

    Several youths were injured as Israeli forces opened fire at them to prevent them crossing the checkpoint. The activists managed to close the road, with Israeli forces preventing settlers from traveling to the area.

    Dozens of activists also demonstrated by the entrance to the illegal Maale Adumim settlement waving Palestinian flags.

    "They attempted to detain us for carrying Palestinian flags," Khawaja said. "What we did today was to emphasize that we do not have a choice but popular resistance and clashing with Israel is a part of our fight to stop Israeli crimes against Palestinians."
    An Israeli army spokeswoman said there was an "attempt" to cross the wall, without providing further details.

    On Saturday, a similar incident occurred as Palestinian activists affiliated with local popular resistance committees in the villages northwest of Jerusalem broke open a hole in the apartheid wall to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    The illegal Israeli apartheid wall is in many places more than double as high and nearly six times as long at the German barrier, as it cuts across the West Bank to divide Palestinians from other Palestinians ostensibly in order to ensure Israeli "security."

    Israel began building the apartheid wall in 2002, and the route has been the target of regular demonstrations by border towns whose land is cut off by its path.

    Israel has regularly confiscated large plots of Palestinian land in order to build the wall.
    If the barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank.
    In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that the apartheid wall was illegal and "tantamount to annexation."

    Critics believe the wall to be a part of “a land grab” designed to ensure that Zionist-only settlements built on occupied territory and housing around 550,000 Israelis will become a de facto part of "Israel" despite the lack of a peace agreement, securing control over confiscated land.

    The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" in the now-famous Balfour Declaration.

    Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.

    In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

    (Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

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    How Many Times Has Russia Invaded Ukraine? Let’s Add Them Up

    Enough already with the lies
    Fri, Nov 14 | 

    How Many Times Has Russia Invaded Ukraine? Let’s Add Them Up              
    • We found 36 invasions!
    • From Sarah Palin to John McCain, from the NYT to the BBC, - Google delivers over 1.3 million results.
    • Its so old and worn out, people are tuning out to the "boy who cried wolf."
    This article originally appeared at Redpilltimes

    As we approach the one year anniversary of the “Euromaidan” protests, and eventual coup of President Yanukovych, one meme has dominated the Ukraine headlines ever since, the ‘Russian military invasion of Ukraine.’

    Last week Ukraine’s Military spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko, accused Russia of sending tanks, troops and lot’s of other stuff across the border into Ukraine, as reported by the NY Times:
    Speaking in Kiev, the capital, Col. Andriy Lysenko, a Ukrainian military spokesman, said 32 tanks, 16 howitzers and 30 trucks hauling ammunition and fighters had crossed into the Luhansk region from Russia. 
    He presented no clear evidence to support the claim, nor did the wealth of social media outlets in eastern Ukraine display any footage of a tank convoy. The Kiev government frequently made such claims that could not be substantiated during intense fighting between Ukrainian government troops and separatists earlier this year.
    Neither NATO nor the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is monitoring a cease-fire, could confirm the report.
    Zerohedge’s article on the newest Russian invasion into Ukraine was aptly titled, “The Ukraine Who Cried Wolf: Kiev Reports 32 Russian Tanks Cross Border, Market Completely Ignores.”

    So how many times has Ukraine, NATO, Jen Psaki and the main stream media “cried wolf?” Let’s find out.

    First off, doing a simple Google search for just the term, “Russian invasion of Ukraine” yields 1,350,000 results. Lots of Russian invasion stories are floating about online.
    Let’s get into just how many instances of ‘Russian invasions’ or near ‘Russian invasions’ have been reported this past year, starting from early days of the coup until Col. Andriy Lysenko latest‘invasion’ announcement.

    It’s a long, long list…


    Thats a lot of invasions, near invasions, possible invasions and fear of invasions going on…and that’s just like 3 pages of Google results.

    With all that Russian troop movement west, one would think they would have captured London by now.

    Now the truth as spoken by CounterPunch, in a post titled, “What Russian Invasion?”
    The agreement to stop the fighting was reached at negotiations organized and led by Russia and held in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. It was reached at the same time that the US was pressing leaders of the NATO countries, at a meeting in Wales, to boost their military spending and to set up more offensive military positions in countries bordering Russia. 
    The one thing that did not happen as a result of the cease-fire, and that in fact never even got addressed in the Minsk talks, was a withdrawal of Russian troops from eastern Ukraine. 
    There was no withdrawal or even mention of those troops — said to number about 1000 by the US and the Kiev government — because there never were Russian troops invading Ukraine.
    Usually when someone cries wolf it’s because they want something, likely a scam or some kind of swindling going down.

    In this case Ukraine is crying wolf in order to have EU and US taxpayers front the bill for their expenses…gas, oil, oligarch party funds, Hunter Biden – Igor Kolomoisky benders, etc…
    For the main stream media, well they are in bed with the MIC (military industrial complex), so their payoff is more business manufacturing war.

    The US and EU leaders who support the invasion meme are also in the pockets of the MIC, so it’s good business…and manufacturing fear is also what helps keep them in office.
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