September 2019 News

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative September 2019 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

 Sept. 4

UK Democracy Crisis

united kingdom flagwashington post logoWashington Post, House of Commons passes bill seeking to avert no-deal Brexit in blow to Johnson, Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam​, Sept. 4, 2019. The legislation — which won’t be final until the House of Lords votes later this week — would effectively delay Brexit an additional three months. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s motion to call a general election is also expected to fail Wednesday.

Inside DC

greg craig lawyers 9 4 19 cropped IMG 6681

Washington attorney Gregory Craig, center, holds a brief news conference surrounded by his lawyers on Sept. 4 following his acquittal on a false statement charge in the federal district court in Washington, DC (Justice Integrity Project photo).

washington post logoWashington Post, Gregory Craig found not guilty of lying to investigators probing work to aid Ukraine president, Spencer S. Hsu, Sept. 4, 2019. A federal jury found Gregory B. Craig not guilty of lying to the Justice Department, acquitting the Democratic former White House counsel on Wednesday of concealing media contacts in 2012 related to his work for the Ukrainian government.

greg craig smiling cropped headshot 9 4 19 IMG 6685Jurors deliberated less than a day before vindicating Craig, 74, right (shown in a Justice Integrity Project photo at a press conference after the verdict), a former top legal adviser to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Craig’s defense urged them to weigh his towering reputation in Washington and decades in government and private practice before passing judgment after a three-week trial.

The acquittal marks a high-profile setback for a Justice Department crackdown on foreign lobbying in the United States, exposing flaws in a difficult prosecution that was handed off among several offices before Craig’s April indictment. Before the trial began, a judge dismissed a count against Craig directly involving the registration requirements, saying the rules seemed vague as applied to Craig’s circumstances.

The verdict is likely to stir debate over whether to clarify or strengthen provisions of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires Americans paid by foreign governments or politicians to influence U.S. policy or opinion to register with the Justice Department.

Craig, 74, was left facing one felony count of making false statements to investigators who were trying to determine whether he and his law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, should have registered under the law. The central issue was Craig’s outreach on Dec. 11, 2012, to the New York Times regarding coverage of the law firm’s upcoming report reviewing the jailing of Yulia Tymoshenko, a political rival to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The report was commissioned by the Ukrainian government in a project led by Paul Manafort, a political adviser to Yanukovych. A wealthy Ukrainian businessman, Viktor Pinchuk, secretly paid Skadden $4.15 million for work on the report, testimony showed.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Well that just blew up in Bill Barr’s face, Bill Palmer, Sept. 4, 2019. Shortly after Donald Trump’s corrupt Attorney General Bill Barr brought an end to Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation and then tried to bury Mueller’s findings, Barr’s Department of Justice brought criminal charges against an obscure guy named Gregory Craig. The reason why was obvious enough.

bill palmer report logo headerOf all the numerous people who got caught up in Paul Manafort’s international web of criminal deceit, one of them was Greg Craig, who had previously served in the Obama administration. Bill Barr rather obviously had the DOJ target Craig for prosecution, despite the sketchy nature of the criminal case against him, so that Trump and Barr could then claim the Trump-Russia scandal was actually an Obama scandal.

Today, however, a jury rather quickly acquitted Greg Craig. To date it’s the only criminal case resulting from the Mueller probe which hasn’t resulted in a conviction and/or guilty plea, which tells you just how weak of a case this was.

So now Bill Barr is stuck with the reality that the one and only person acquitted in the Trump-Russia scandal is the one and only Obama Democrat who had been charged in the Trump-Russia scandal. If the charges against Greg Craig were supposed to be some kind of 2020 campaign slogan for Donald Trump, it’s ended up being the opposite.

Assault Ban Worked

john donohue headshotny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: That Assault Weapon Ban? It Really Did Work, John Donohue, above, law professor at Stanford University) and Theodora Boulouta (senior at Stanford), Sept. 4, 2019. Since the ban was lifted in 2004, gun massacres involving military-style weapons are way up.

Recent mass shootings have revived demands for meaningful gun control. But many opponents of a renewed federal ban on assault weapons, led by the National Rifle Association, say the earlier ban, from 1994 to 2004, made no difference. Our new research shows otherwise.

We found that public mass shootings — which we defined as incidents in which a gunman killed at least six people in public — dropped during the decade of the federal ban. Yet, in the 15 years since the ban ended, the trajectory of gun massacres has been sharply upward, largely tracking the growth in ownership of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

This decline is plausible because assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms designed for rapid fire and combat use, and large-capacity magazines increase the number of rounds that can be fired without reloading. While the gun lobby prevented the ban from being as effective as it could have been and saddled the law with a 10-year sunset provision, the ban did impede the easy access to the type of lethal weaponry that those intent on mass killing have readily available in most of the country today. (Assault weapons are legal in 43 states; large-capacity magazines, commonly understood as ammunition-feeding devices holding more than 10 rounds, are legal in 41.)

The Supreme Court should heed the words of the conservative Reagan appointee Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson when the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit voted to uphold the Maryland assault weapons ban:

“To say in the wake of so many mass shootings in so many localities across this country that the people themselves are now to be rendered newly powerless, that all they can do is stand by and watch as federal courts design their destiny — this would deliver a body blow to democracy.”

The extraordinary increase in the body count from public gun massacres since the end of the federal assault weapons ban and the passage of the federal immunity statute for the gun industry has one obvious explanation: the brazen promotion and the proliferating, loosely regulated, highly profitable sales of the most desirable and effective weaponry for committing mass murder.

Disastershurricane dorian sept 2 5 preview Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Hurricane Dorian starts inching north, closer to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas after pounding the Bahamas, Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, Sept. 4, 2019 (print ed.). Dorian brought an historic and extended onslaught to the Bahamas. 

Hurricane Dorian is beginning a much-advertised turn to the north-northwest, away from the Bahamas but toward the U.S. mainland, where it is expected to bring significant impacts. As of Tuesday morning, the storm was moving northwest at 1 mph just to the north of Grand Bahama Island and was continuing its historic onslaught in the northwestern Bahamas.

Dorian, which has weakened some to a still-formidable Category 3 storm, slammed into the northwestern Bahamas over the weekend with the historic full fury of its 185-mile-per-hour winds and 23-foot storm surge.santa clara fire ktla

washington post logoWashington Post, 34 feared dead as bodies are recovered after boat fire off Calif. coast, Scott Wilson and Eli Rosenberg, Sept. 4, 2019 (print ed.). Five crew members escaped the 75-foot boat, but authorities fear the rest of the passengers were lost as rescuers searched the wreckage of the boat, which sank in about 65 feet of water. (Photo above via KTLA-TV.)

There was a fire burning uncontrollably in the galley of the 75-foot Conception just after 3 a.m. on Monday, a blaze that would consume the boat, which was filled with divers on a private excursion and the tanks of air they used to explore the depths. The guests, sleeping tightly packed in stacks of bunk beds below, were trapped. Five of the crew members were able to escape into the waters near the shores of Santa Cruz Island.

 

U.S. 2020 Politics

Roll Call, Longtime Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner not running for reelection, Bridget Bowman, Sept. 4, 2019. Congressman becomes 12th House Republican to retire this year. Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner announced Wednesday that he will not run for reelection next year.

The longtime lawmaker’s exit means the Badger State is losing its most senior member, and the second-most-senior Republican in the House. He is also the second Wisconsin Republican to announce he is leaving Congress after Rep. Sean P. Duffy said last month that he would be resigning on Sept. 23.

Sensenbrenner has represented the Milwaukee suburbs since he was first elected in 1978. President Donald Trump carried his 5th District by 20 points in 2016 and Sensenbrenner won a 21st term last year by 24 points..

  • California Democratic Rep. Susan Davis announces retirement
  • Republican Rep. Bill Flores to retire, continuing exodus from Texas ranks

Trump Watch

Palmer Report, Opinion; Arrest warrant issued for Donald Trump’s pal Jacob Wohl, Bill Palmer, Sept. 4, 2019. Jacob Wohl is best known for a few things. He’s the guy who tried to frame Robert Mueller for sexual harassment, only for the whole thing to blow up hilariously in Wohl’s face. He’s also the guy who got banned from Twitter for using fake accounts to defend himself. Wohl is also, naturally, buddies with Donald Trump. Now Wohl is about to be best known for something else: his arrest.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Jacob Wohl, on charges of trying to sell “unqualified securities” to would-be investors, according to NBC News and other sources. We have no idea if he’s guilty or innocent on these charges. But it’s notable that years ago, the National Futures Association banned Wohl for life, for allegedly making fraudulent financial transactions.

Unless Wohl goes on the lam, this warrant means that he’ll be arrested today and taken to jail. We’ll then see whether or not a judge lets him out on bail. He’ll join a long list of Donald Trump associates who have been arrested and/or indicted since Trump took office, including Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and others.

washington post logoPresident Donald Trump officialWashington Post, Trump said he granted a disaster declaration at the request of North Carolina’s Republican senator. It came from the state’s Democratic governor, John Wagner, Sept. 4, 2019. With Hurricane Dorian heading toward the Tar Heel State, the president appeared to inject politics into the federal emergency process. Sen. Thom Tillis (R) is up for reelection next year.

Inside DC

washington post logoWashington Post, Days after leaving post, ex-Interior official who pushed drilling in Alaska takes oil company job, Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, Sept. 4, 2019. Joe Balash, who served as the Interior Department’s top official overseeing oil and gas leasing on federal land until Friday, is joining an oil firm that’s expanding drilling operations on Alaska’s North Slope.

washington post logoWashington Post, Pentagon approves diversion of military construction funds for Trump’s wall, Paul Sonne and Seung Min Kim, Sept. 4, 2019 (print ed.). Defense Secretary mark esperMark T. Esper, right, agrees to take $3.6 billion that was designated for 127 military construction projects to pay for 175 miles of border wall.

Trump Watch

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump encouraged Pence to stay at his golf resort in Ireland, Robert Costa, David A. Fahrenthold and John Wagner, Sept. 4, 2019. The vice president and Marc Short, his chief of staff, defended an arrangement on a government trip that has drawn criticism from Democrats, who contend it is helping to enrich Trump.

More On Epstein’s Scandals

ny times logoJeffrey Epstein Harvard University New York Times, Jeffrey Epstein’s New York Hunting Ground: Dance Studios, Ali Watkins, Sept. 4, 2019 (print ed.). The financier recruited young dancers to give him erotic massages even after his 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from a minor. Lisa was 17 when a fellow dancer approached her after a ballet class in 2002 and asked if she wanted to give private exercise classes to a wealthy man named Jeffrey Epstein.

Sept. 3

UK Democracy Crisis

washington post logoWashington Post, Boris Johnson loses Parliamentary majority, faces Brexit showdown, Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam​, Sept. 3, 2019. The showdown in Parliament, which returned from its summer recess Tuesday, follows days of legislators accusing each other of attacking British democracy. ​ Here’s what we know:

●Johnson has lost his majority in Parliament, with the defection of Conservative Phillip Lee to the Liberal Democrats.united kingdom flag

●The opposition, including members of Johnson’s party, is seeking to pass legislation to delay Brexit.

●Johnson, who is addressing Parliament now, has said that if his foes succeed he will call early elections.

CNN, Johnson says he would in fact request a Brexit delay if Parliament passed a law ordering him to, Bianca Britton and Ivana Kottasová, Sept. 3, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson (shown in a file photo below) said that if the Parliament passed legislation requiring him to go to Brussels and request another extension to Brexit, he would in fact follow the law. See also, 1:24 min. video via CNN.

boris johnson hand up unsourcedboris johnson brexit guardian sept 4 2019His comments come a day after Johnson said that “there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay” Brexit. Earlier in the debate, Johnson also said he would obey the law if Parliament passed a bill rejecting a no-deal Brexit.

The statement comes after Michael Gove, a member of Johnson’s cabinet, refused on Sunday to confirm that the government would abide by any law preventing a no-deal Brexit if one is passed by Parliament. Questioned about what the government would do if attempts in Parliament by the opposition were successful to prevent the UK exiting the European Union without a deal, Gove told the BBC: “You’re asking me about a pig in a poke and I will wait to see what legislation the opposition may try to bring forward.

Trump 2016 Payoff Scandal

djt stormy daniels 2006

washington post logoWashington Post, House Democrats plan to launch inquiry into Trump’s alleged role in scheme to silence affair accusations, Rachael Bade and Tom Hamburger, Sept. 3, 2019 (print ed.). House Democrats plan to make President Trump’s alleged involvement in a 2016 scheme to silence two women who claimed they had affairs with him a major djt karen mcdougal blue dressinvestigative focus this fall, picking up where federal prosecutors left off in a case legal experts say could have led to additional indictments.

The House Judiciary Committee is preparing to hold hearings and call witnesses involved in hush-money payments to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal (at right) and adult-film star Stormy Daniels (shown above with Trump in a 2006 photo) as soon as October, according to people familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

Democrats say they believe there is already enough evidence to name Trump as a co-conspirator in the episode that resulted in his former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleading guilty to two campaign finance charges.

Cohen, who is serving a three-year prison sentence for those counts and other crimes, testified under oath that Trump directed the payments that helped land him behind bars. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan also described Trump’s alleged role in the scheme, referring to him in court papers as “Individual-1.” But they concluded their investigation this summer without bringing any additional charges.

Inside DC

 ny times logoNew York Times, To Start Afghan Withdrawal, U.S. Would Pull 5,400 Troops in 135 Days, Mujib Mashal, Sept. 3, 2019 (print ed.). It still needs President Trump’s approval. An agreement with the Taliban was finalized “in principle”, a U.S. envoy said, 

ny times logoNew York Times, Facing criticism, the Trump administration reversed a move to abruptly end humanitarian relief for gravely ill migrants, Miriam Jordan, Sept. 3, 2019 (print ed.). The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would reconsider its decision to force immigrants facing life-threatening health crises to return to their home countries, an abrupt move last month that generated public outrage and was roundly condemned by the medical establishment.

On Aug. 7, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, without public notice, eliminated a “deferred action” program that had allowed immigrants to avoid deportation while they or their relatives were undergoing lifesaving medical treatment.

The agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, had sent letters informing those who had asked for a renewal, which the immigrants must make every two years, that it was no longer entertaining such requests. The letters said that the immigrants must leave the country within 33 days, or face deportation.

ny times logopaul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: The Great Tax Break Heist, Paul Krugman, right, Sept. 3, 2019 (print ed.). The many, many fiascos of policy by tax cut. A few days ago The Times reported on widespread abuse of a provision in the 2017 Trump tax cut that was supposed to help struggling urban workers. The provision created a tax jared kushner head shotbreak for investment in so-called “opportunity zones,” which would supposedly help create jobs in low-income areas.

In reality the tax break has been used to support high-end hotels and apartment buildings, warehouses that employ hardly any people and so on. And it has made a handful of wealthy, well-connected investors — including the family of Jared Kushner, left, Donald Trump’s son-in-law — even wealthier.

U.S. 2020 Politics

washington post logomichael gersonWashington Post, Opinion: 2016 taught us a lesson about Trump. Now we need to unlearn it, Michael Gerson (syndicated columnist and former White House speechwriter, shown right in an official photo, for George W. Bush), Sept. 3, 2019 (print ed.). The outcome of the 2016 presidential election reinforced a certain lesson: Don’t underestimate Donald Trump.

All good lessons, however, are eventually overlearned, especially by once-burned political commentators. In this case, our reticence disguises just how weak Trump really is. While it is absurd at this point to predict anything about the 2020 presidential election, no sane candidate would prefer to be playing Trump’s hand.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: It’s more than obvious that we are all living with a dementia sufferer, Sept. 3, 2019. Anyone who has ever cared for a relative or a close friend suffering from dementia is well aware of the effects of this debilitating disease.

Sept. 2

Global Headlines (Details below)

Texas Mass Shooting Toll

washington post logoseth atorWashington Post, Texas shooting death toll rises to 7, Ben Guarino, Sept. 2, 2019 (print ed.). ​​Police said the gunman, who was killed by officers after he hijacked a mail truck and went on a highway rampage, was a white man in his 30s, identified as Seth Ator, right. Police were searching for a motive.

  • New York Times, The man who sprayed gunfire across West Texas on Saturday had an erratic, nomadic life, including clashes with the law.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Texas Is Facing An Epidemic of Gun Violence, Richard Parker (author of “Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America”), Sept. 2, 2019 (print ed.). How many dead Texans does it take for Gov. Greg Abbott to respond?

Hurricane Dorian

washington post logoWashington Post, Hurricane Dorian city-by-city forecasts, Matthew Cappucci, Sept. 2, 2019. Hurricane Dorian has been lashing the Bahamas since early Sunday, bringing destructive winds at times topping 200 mph, along with a devastating surge of up to 23 feet. The now-Category 4 hurricane has moved less than 100 miles in 24 hours, stalling just northeast of Freeport in the Bahamas, parking its tornado-like eyewall over some areas for a terrifying six to 12 hours or more.

Dorian will barely move from the northwest Bahamas on Monday into early Tuesday before meandering slowly north, passing dangerously close to Florida and the U.S. Southeast coast. It will be a nail-biter for a number of U.S. cities, but just how close a shave Dorian becomes is still somewhat uncertain.

A hurricane warning has been posted for the immediate coastline from just south of Cape Canaveral to near Jupiter, Fla. On either side, a hurricane watch is up — down to Boca Raton and up through the Florida/Georgia border. Below, we’ve included a look at the forecast for several cities.

Boat Disaster

ny times logoNew York Times, 34 Missing in Boat Fire Off Santa Cruz Island in California, Officials Say, Niraj Chokshi, Sept. 2, 2019. Coast Guard officials said they believe there were 39 aboard and that five were rescued, all of them crew members who were awake and on the ship’s bridge when the fire began.

The boat sank 20 yards offshore as fire department crews were fighting the blaze. The boat was a 75-foot scuba diving vessel named “Conception.”

Global Crises

washington post logoWashington Post, Britain’s Johnson threatens to purge rebel party members as Brexit battle heats up, Karla Adam and Kevin Sullivan, Sept. 2, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson sharply raised the stakes in the Brexit fight on Monday, threatening to kick members of Parliament out of the Conservative Party if they don’t support his plans to leave the European Union next month.

united kingdom flagThe move comes as Johnson, shown below left, and his opponents position themselves for a fierce showdown over Brexit on Tuesday when Parliament returns from its summer recess.

A cross-party group of opposition legislators, led by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, plan to introduce legislation to block Britain leaving the E.U. without an boris johnson hand up unsourcedagreement in place to regulate trade, border security and other critical issues — the so-called no-deal Brexit.

Most lawmakers in Parliament oppose leaving without an exit plan, something many analysts say could be economically damaging and lead to food and medicine shortages. Johnson has dismissed those predictions as fearmongering.

Conservative rebels reacted angrily to Johnson’s threat to force them out of the party, which would mean they could not run as Conservative candidates in future elections. A general election, as soon as the next few weeks, is a possibility if Johnson and his opponents fail to reach agreement over Brexit.

Nick Boles, a former Conservative legislator who quit the party over Brexit, told the BBC that Johnson’s tactics meant the party had been “taken over” by the “hard right.”

Britain’s next general election is scheduled for 2022. But under the British system, a general election can be called at virtually any time, as long as two-thirds of Parliament supports it.

Asia Times via Consortium News, Opinion: Amazon Burns Amid Brazil’s Incendiary Politics, Pepe Escobar, right, pepe escobar recentSept. 2, 2019. Fires rage in the Amazon as Brazilian President Bolsonaro becomes a target of global indignation. Brazil has always been a land of superlatives. Yet nothing beats the current, perverse configuration: a world statesman lingers in jail while a clownish thug is in power, his antics now considered a threat to the whole planet.

In a wide-ranging, two-hour, world exclusive interview out of a prison room at the Federal Police building in Curitiba, southern Brazil, former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva not only made the case to global public opinion for his innocence in the whole Car Wash corruption saga, confirmed by the bombshell leaks revealed by The Intercept, but also repositioned himself to resume his status as a global leader. Arguably sooner rather than later – depending on a fateful, upcoming decision by the Brazilian Supreme Court, for which Justice is not exactly blind.

The request for the interview was entered five months ago. Lula talked to journalists Mauro Lopes, Paulo Moreira Leite and myself, representing in all three cases the website Brasil247 and in my case Asia Times. A rough cut, with only one camera focusing on Lula, was released this past Thursday, the day of the interview. A full, edited version, with English subtitles, targeting global public opinion, should be released by the end of the week.

U.S. Afghan Policy Dispute

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Administration Officials at Odds Over C.I.A.’s Role in Afghanistan, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Julian E. Barnes, Matthew Rosenberg and John Ismay, Sept. 2, 2019. Senior White House advisers have proposed secretly expanding the C.I.A.’s presence in Afghanistan if international forces begin to withdraw from the country, according to American officials. But C.I.A. and military officials have expressed reservations, prompting a debate in the administration that could complicate negotiations with the Taliban to end the war.

cia logoSome administration officials want C.I.A.-backed militia forces in Afghanistan to serve as part of a counterterrorism force that would prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda as American military troops prepare to leave — in effect, an insurance policy.

gina haspel screenshotBut others are skeptical that the shadowy militias, many of which face accusations of brutality, can serve as a bulwark against terrorism without the support of the American military.

The C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, left, has raised logistical concerns about the plan with other administration officials, emphasizing that the agency operatives — who marshal the militias to hunt Taliban, Qaeda and Islamic State militants — largely depend on the military for airstrikes, overhead surveillance, medical support and bomb technicians.

The disagreement underscores the fault lines between those who want a final withdrawal and those who fear it would expose the U.S. to terrorist threats.

Global News: Israeli Attack

washington post logoisrael flagWashington Post, Israel strikes targets in southern Lebanon after apparent Hezbollah missile attack, Ruth Eglash and James McAuley, Sept. 2, 2019 (print ed.). An exchange of fire erupted Sunday on Israel’s northern border in a dramatic escalation of regional tensions, after Hezbolla  militants apparently fired antitank missiles from Lebanon toward an Israeli military base. Israel responded to the cross-border missile attack with heavy fire directed at targets in southern Lebanon.

OpEdNews, Opinion: Is Netanyahu ready to deceive Israelis and the US into war before the general election? Joseph Zernik, Sept. 2, 2019. IDF’s “cute deceptive maneuver” failed. It could have led to escalation and war against Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, dragging the US into war as well. In short, Israel may drag the US into an undesired conflict in the Middle-east, driven by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal expediency.

benjamin netanyahu frownBasically, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) spokesman today issued a false presser to the Israeli public informing Israelis of wounded soldiers in a Hezbollah attack on a “medical vehicle.”

It is likely that the “cute deception maneuver” failed because Rambam hospital doctors refused to collude. It should also be noted that IDF deliberately exposed medical evacuation personnel to Hezbollah fire. Bbut the bait failed, Hezbollah didn’t bite.

All of this is taking place a couple of weeks before the general election, while Netanyahu is facing three indictments on three different corruption affairs, which may doom him to prison.

Therefore, it is not inconceivable that the prospect target is the Israeli public at large, and the goal may be escalation and possibly a smaller or larger scale operation in Lebanon.  After all, the Israeli government has been busy escalating tension the region over the past couple of weeks, striking as far as Iraq, to open US condemnation.Netanyahu is also displeased with Trump’s recent opening to negotiations with Iran, which undermines Netanyahu’s election campaign, which as usual is heavily dosed with Iran scare tactics.

Al Manar TV via SouthFront, Hezbollah Reveals Video Of ATGM Strike On Israeli Armoured Personnel Carrier, Staff report, Sept. 2, 2019. Hezbollah-linked al-Manar TV channelhas released a video showing Hezbollah’s anti-tank guided missile strike on Israel’s Wolf armoured personnel carrier near Avivim in Upper Galilee. Hezbollah says that the vehicle was destroyed and several Israeli soldiers were killed or injured. Israel denies any casualties.

Hong Kong Riots: Biased Coverage?

Moon of Alabama, Analysis: Hong Kong Rioters Wage Sabotage Campaign To Press Congress Into Punishing China, B, Sept. 2, 2019. The Associated Press is doing its best to make the Hong Kong police look bad by describing an incident without its context

Late at night Saturday, video from Hong Kong broadcaster TVB showed police on the platform of Prince Edward subway station swinging batons at passengers who backed into one end of a train car behind umbrellas. The video also shows pepper spray being shot through an open door at a group seated on the floor while one man holds up his hands.

Police officers said at a briefing Monday that they rejected accusations that they “beat up” ordinary citizens without first confirming their identities. They said they specifically targeted those who they believed to be rioters, including those who had changed out of their black protester outfits, and arrested 63 people on suspicion of illegal assembly and possessing explosives and offensive weapons.

The incident described in the first paragraph above did indeed happen. But it was only the last part of a larger story which the AP fails to mention. Here is how it started:

The violence in Prince Edward Station began during a dispute between protesters and some older men who were insulting them. One of the men swung a hammer at the protesters, who threw water bottles and umbrellas and later appeared to set off fire extinguishers in the car. After the clashes, the subway system suspended service across much of Hong Kong. Three stations remained closed on Sunday.

A full 10 minutes long video of the scene can be watched here.

It was the above incident that led the MTR, the public Mass Transit Railway operator, to stop the traffic at the station and to call up the police. When the riot police entered the station it immediately faced resistance:

The whole scene was not an isolated incident. Black clad folks ripped wastebaskets off the wall and threw them on the rail tracks. They smashed customer service centers, vandalized subway entry gates and hit regular passengers who disliked their behavior. This happened not only in one subway station but was part of a systematic attempt to disrupt the whole service:

The intent was obviously not to protest but a well planned and coordinated sabotage campaign against the city’s indispensable mass transport system. Sabotaging infrastructure is an old CIA tactic to “harass and demoralize enemy administrators and police.” Tianamen was, as we now know, a CIA-led color revolution attempt, set up within a background of general protests, in which the U.S. regime change mastermind Gene Sharp was directly involved. The mostly falsely reported incident, during which soldiers were lynched and protesters gunned down, led to ‘western’ sanctions against China.

Beijing is not going to fall for the same trick twice. The Joshua Wong op-ed [by a protester in the New York Times] shows that the aim has now been lowered. The riots and the inevitable police response to them are now supposed to push Congress to give the Treasury a tool to sanction Chinese officials for interfering in a Chinese(!) city’s affairs.

Model Magnate, Epstein Pal Disappears 

  • Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in jail while facing child sex trafficking charges
  • Jean-Luc Brunel, 72, is sought by French authorities who have ‘urgent’ questions
  • He founded New York model agency MC2, who signed Svetlana Pozhidaeva
  • Pozhidaeva has been pictured at Epstein’s New York mansion back in 2016
  • A millionaire model agency boss who is thought to have key information about the Jeffrey Epstein scandal ‘has disappeared like a ghost without a trace.’ Jean-Luc Brunel, 72, has vanished as police seek to ask the Frenchman ‘urgent’ questions about the pedophile.

Daily Mail Online, Millionaire model agency boss thought to have key information into the Jeffrey Epstein scandal ‘has disappeared like a ghost without a trace,’ Sebastian Murphy-jean luc brunelBates, Sept. 2, 2019 (updated version). French authorities want to speak with Jean-Luc Brunel (pictured) to ask him ‘urgent’ questions regarding Jeffrey Epstein. Brunel – who founded New York’s MC2 – denies any involvement with crimes committed by Epstein. A Paris legal source told the Daily Mirror: ‘He is a ghost who has disappeared without trace.’

It comes after former model Svetlana Pozhidaeva, who was signed to MC2, was pictured at convicted paedophile Epstein’s mansion in New York back in 2016.

Virginia Roberts, who was a victim of Esptein’s, claims to have slept with Prince Andrew three times. Pozhidaeva, who was signed to Brunel’s agency was pictured outside the New York mansion of Epstein (above). The Duke of York has vehemently denied that he slept with her and says he knew nothing about Epstein’s illegal behaviour.

Roberts says she also slept with Brunel ‘many times’ when she was aged 16 to 19. Many of the girls believed to have been used by Epstein are alleged to have been ‘sourced’ in Paris. Epstein owned a £7 million apartment in the French capital, where Brunel also lived. The agency boss was searching for new talent in Brazil until the start of this summer.

This month, French prosecutors have started a preliminary inquiry into whether Epstein sexually abused minors from France. They say Brunel is ‘uncontactable’ because he has no address, internet accounts or social media.

Sept. 1

Mass Shootings

ny times logoNew York Times, Fifty-three people died in mass shootings in the U.S. this August alone, Neil Vigdor, Sept. 1, 2019 (print ed.). So far this year, there have been at least 38 shootings with three or more fatalities, data shows. This month’s loss of life was most acute in Texas, where four of the eight deadliest shootings occurred, including an Aug. 3 massacre at a Walmart in El Paso that killed 22 people.

Trade War Toll

ny times logoNew York Times, How Much Will the Trade War Cost You by the End of the Year? About $460 for the average family, according to a new economic analysis, NQuoctrung Bui and Karl Russell, Sept. 1, 2019. A new wave of tariffs by the Trump administration went into effect on Sunday, rendering the majority of goods imported to the United States from China subject to import taxes.

It is the latest move in a drawn-out conflict between the world’s two largest economies. This round — a 15 percent tariff on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods as varied as cereal bowls, paint brushes and pajamas — is likely to hit American households in the most direct way yet.

 

Hurricane Dorian

washington post logoWashington Post, Dorian, a ‘catastrophic’ Category 5, bears down on the Bahamas, Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, Sept. 1, 2019. Dorian will move close enough to bring impacts to Florida and the Southeast U.S. coast.

With peak winds of 175 mph, Hurricane Dorian is about as powerful as an Atlantic hurricane can get as the core of its strongest winds and most dangerous storm surge moves over the northwestern Bahamas. These winds are the strongest so far north in the Atlantic Ocean east of Florida on record.

Global News: Saudi Attack

SouthFront, At Least 80 Prisoners Of War Killed In Saudi Airstrikes On Dhamar, Staff and wire reports, Sept. 1, 2019. At least 80 captives were killed and 100 others were injured when Saudi warplanes pounded the prison they were being held inside the central Yemen city of Dhamar, the Houthis Health Ministry announced on September 1.

Saudi-led coalition warplanes targeted the prison and the nearby Community College in the early hours of the morning. The coalition claimed that the Houthis were storing attack drones and anti-aircraft missiles in the target sites.

Chairman of the National Committee for Prisoners, Abdul Qader al-Mortada, revealed that all the captives were Saudi-backed fighters who were captured by the Houthis. Al-Mortada claimed that at least half of the captives were set to be freed soon as a part of an exchange deal.

The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that the prison was well-known and that its team in Yemen visit it on a regular basis. The Saudi-led coalition and its main backer, the U.S, are yet to comment on the Dhamar massacre.

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