World News

Lawlessness and Terrorism Pervades Putin’s Russia

Reuters reported on February 28:

“Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s involvement in the war in Ukraine, was shot dead steps from the Kremlin in central Moscow late on Friday. Nemtsov, 55, was shot four times in the back by assailants in a white car as he walked across a bridge over the Moskva River with a Ukrainian woman who was unhurt…

“Nemtsov was by far the most prominent opposition figure killed in Russia under Putin’s 15-year-rule and the Kremlin swiftly sought to deflect any blame for the murder. Putin condemned the ‘brutal’ slaying and took the investigation under presidential control, saying it could have been a contract killing and a ‘provocation’ on the eve of a big opposition protest [against the war in east Ukraine] Nemtsov had been due to lead on Sunday.

“But the killing focused attention on the tough treatment of Kremlin opponents in Putin’s third term, during which several leading critics have been jailed or fled the country following mass rallies against the former KGB spy three years ago. ‘That a leader of the opposition could be shot beside the walls of the Kremlin is beyond imagination. There can be only one version: that he was shot for telling the truth,’ Mikhail Kasyanov, an opposition leader and a former prime minister under Putin, said at the scene…

“Ed Joyce, the Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said ‘lawlessness now pervades Putin’s Russia… Regardless of who killed Boris Nemtsov, this shocking murder is the latest assault on those who dare to oppose the Putin regime,’ he said…

“Nemtsov briefly served as a deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the late 1990s, when he gained a reputation as a leading liberal economic reformer… Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist and Putin critic, was shot dead outside her Moscow apartment in 2006. Paul Klebnikov, an investigative U.S. journalist, was shot dead in 2004.”

Putin’s Murderous Dictatorship

CNN added on February 27:

“Critics like [Opposition leader Ilya] Yashin and [World chess champion-turned opposition activist Garry] Kasparov pointed fingers in the direction of Putin or a supporter of the Russian President. ‘It’s clearly a political murder. It’s definitely a contract one,’ Yashin said. ‘I don’t know who killed Boris, but I know that it’s the government and personally Putin who are responsible for it. They’ve been constantly promoting a hatred towards everyone who doesn’t support their course and thinks different.’…

“Kasparov said the Russian President is to blame even if not directly involved. ‘If Putin gave order to murder Boris Nemtsov is not the point. It is Putin’s dictatorship. His 24/7 propaganda about enemies of the state,’ Kasparov tweeted. ‘In Putin’s atmosphere of hatred & violence, abroad & in Russia, bloodshed is the prerequisite to show loyalty, that you are on the team,’ he added.

“Critics of Putin have in the past suffered miserable circumstances and demises. Oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky accused Putin of corruption and wound up spending 10 years in prison and labor camps. Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko accused state security services of organizing a coup to put Putin in power. He was poisoned by a lethal dose of radioactive polonium and died in London in 2006. No killer has been caught.

“Viktor Yushchenko, the former Ukrainian president, was poisoned, disfigured and nearly killed by a toxic dose of dioxin in 2004…”

Did Putin Set It Up?

The Washington Post wrote on February 27:

“The killing was a dramatic and bloody turn for Russia’s oppressed opposition movement, which has struggled to find its footing during a wave of nationalistic fervor unleashed by the annexation of Ukraine’s semi­autonomous Crimean region last year. Many leaders have been marginalized with prison terms or other forms of harassment, and public rhetoric has grown extremely aggressive toward those who deviate from the majority line…

“Politically motivated slayings are not unknown in Russia, but not once in the 24 years since the breakup of the Soviet Union has such a high-profile figure been the victim…

“Just hours before his death, Nemtsov told Ekho Moskvy radio that Putin had pushed Russia into an economic crisis through his ‘mad, aggressive and deadly policy of war against Ukraine’… Nemtsov had been working on a report that he said would prove that Russian soldiers were fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, where a bloody 11-month-conflict has claimed nearly 5,800 lives. The Kremlin has hotly denied any direct involvement, which Russian opinion polls suggest would be deeply unpopular…

“Russian opposition leaders said Saturday that they were fearful that Nemtsov’s slaying was only the first in a new era of political repression…

“In 2012, Putin warned publicly that his opponents were prepared to murder one of their own so they could blame him for the death. ‘They are looking for a so-called sacrificial victim among some prominent figures,’ Putin, a former KGB agent, told a gathering of the All-Russia Popular Front, a group organized to support him, ahead of Russia’s 2012 presidential election. ‘They will knock him off, I beg your pardon, and then blame the authorities for that.’”

This sounds like Putin might have been toying with the idea as early as 2012, if not even earlier. US Secretary of State John Kerry has claimed that Putin blatantly lied to him and the West when denying Russia’s militaristic support of pro-Russian rebels in East Ukraine.

All Signs Point at Putin

The Telegraph wrote on February 27:

“The leading liberal politician who organised street demonstrations against the authorities was shot four times by unidentified attackers yards from the Kremlin walls… His uncovered body lay for about an hour at the spot where he was killed…

“Only two weeks ago Mr Nemtsov said he feared for his life and that President Putin might order his killing. Speaking to Russia’s Sobesednik news website, he said: ‘I’m afraid Putin will kill me. I believe that he was the one who unleashed the war in the Ukraine. I couldn’t dislike him more.’”

The Guardian added on February 27:

“His murder took place in the heart of Moscow, within touching distance of the Kremlin and the fantastical bulbous domes of St Basil’s cathedral. It is an area infested with police, who typically break up opposition manifestations within seconds. And yet Nemtsov’s killer was seemingly able to escape, having shot his target four times in the chest from a white car…

“In the end, Nemtsov fell victim to old-fashioned mafia methods. His shooting is the first assassination of a major political figure in Moscow for a decade. It robs Russia of a brave, authentic and distinctive voice at a time when the country is locked in a dark spiral of war and propaganda.”

Developments in Russia begin to mirror events in Nazi Germany after Hitler came to power.

How Putin Supresses the Truth

Deutsche Welle reported on March 2:

“The murder of staunch Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov on Friday and the march in his memory through downtown Moscow on Sunday were the main media topics over the weekend, and Russian media were no exception. This politically motivated attack is, without doubt, a tragic and significant event in recent Russian history. It was also interesting to observe how the Kremlin and Russia’s state-controlled media began churning out the usual disinformation in an attempt to obscure the facts.

Normally, Russia’s state-controlled media remain silent about events involving criticism of President Vladimir Putin. That most likely would have been the case for the opposition march that was actually planned to take place on Sunday. But there was no way to avoid reporting about the murder of a leading opposition politician on a bridge in full view of the Kremlin. Nemtsov was an internationally known figure from his years serving as deputy prime minister in the 1990s. But it would be wrong to speak of any independent reporting – quite the opposite. Instead, the reporting highlighted the skill with which the Kremlin manipulates the media, and in turn, the Russian people.

“Shortly after Nemtsov was killed, the Russian president issued guidelines to the media. He explained that the murder of his critic was a “provocation” aimed at destabilizing the country. Putin made it clear that he himself was actually the target and the victim of the attack – not Nemtsov. It followed that the state prosecution and the Russian media pointed the finger of blame at those who oppose Putin: ‘the Americans,’ ‘the Ukrainians,’ ‘the Islamists,’ and any other groups seen as a threat to Russia’s national security.

“In reporting on the possibility of an Islamist background to the attack, the Russian media seized the opportunity to emphasize that Nemtsov was Jewish. Given the widespread anti-Semitism in Russia, the effect of such information in relation to the murder was evident: to wipe out any sympathy for the 55-year-old victim who, in addition, was in the company of his Ukrainian (!) girlfriend. For all those comrades who remain skeptical of the usual conspiracy theories circulating in Russia, the media made sure to mention Nemtsov’s alleged involvement in dodgy real estate dealings.

The extensive reporting by the Russian media was not aimed at finding truth, but rather obfuscation. The responsibility of the Russian government, which has for years used the media to slander its opponents, was not a topic up for discussion. Nor was the question of why, right at the time of the murder, all the surveillance cameras around the Kremlin were either switched off, broken, or being repaired.

“With all the talk in the media concerning Nemtsov’s murder, the truth is being drowned out. Boris Nemtsov himself would hardly have been surprised.”

Only the willfully blind cannot see what is happening in Russia, under Putin’s totalitarian dictatorship.

China in Support of Russia

The Independent reported on February 27:

“China has voiced its support for Russia’s handling of the Ukraine crisis…  the Chinese ambassador to Belgium said the West should take ‘the real security concerns of Russia into consideration’… [and that the] ‘nature and root cause’ of the crisis was the ‘game’ between Russia and western powers the United States and EU, and that a change of approach is required to resolve it. After nearly a year of relative silence on the subject, China’s intervention is striking, not least because it comes just as harsher sanctions against Moscow are being discussed…

“This week Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western powers of trying to dominate and impose their ideology on the rest of world. Meanwhile US and European delegations have slammed Moscow for its continued supported of the rebels in eastern Ukraine.”

No surprise that two totalitarian regimes would support each other…

Russia Heavily Militarizes Crimea

The Business Insider reported on March 2:

“Russia is heavily militarizing Crimea as a way to project power deep in to the Black Sea, USNI News reports citing supreme commander of NATO Gen. Philip Breedlove… Breedlove said that Russia had moved anti-air and anti-surface missile systems into the peninsula. These weapons could be used to hit targets in the Black Sea…

“The Kyiv Post reports that Russia has moved Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems into the peninsula. These missile systems can be redirected in flight to hit moving targets. In addition, Russia is developing a ‘rocket-artillery regiment equipped with Khrizantema, Msta, and Tornado-G missile defense systems’ in Crimea, according to the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM)…

“PISM notes that Russia is also making use of the shipbuilding facilities in Crimea to reconstitute its ageing Black Sea Fleet into a more viable force through the introduction of new ships and equipment. Russia elevated Crimea into one of its three main geopolitical priorities in a new military doctrine announced at the end of 2014. Alongside the Arctic and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, Moscow has designated the militarization of Crimea as a key national priority in order to exert influence beyond the country’s borders.”

Germany’s Armed Forces

Deutsche Welle reported on February 27:

“Germany plans to activate a tank battalion that exists only on paper as it seeks to increase the country’s military capability. The defense minister spoke of a “changed security situation” amid the conflict in Ukraine….

“Among other things, von der Leyen called into question the ceilings for heavy weapons systems established by her predecessor, current Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere…

“Germany’s plans to increase the flexibility and capability of its armed forces come amid growing demands from NATO for member states to boost their reaction speed. In response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, the military alliance called in September for the founding of a new rapid response force based in eastern Europe, in which the German Bundeswehr plays an important role…”

Anti-Semitism on the Rise in Europe

Reuters reported on February 26:

“Germany’s Jewish community leader has advised Jews not to wear skullcaps in areas with a large Muslim population, a warning that underscores fears about growing anti-Semitism in Europe… Seventy years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism remains a particularly sensitive issue in Germany, and other European countries, including France and Britain, are also worried by a growth in hostility towards Jews.

“Last week, Berlin’s Jewish community decided to send its monthly newspaper out in a neutral envelope to protect recipients. The number of reported anti-Semitic crimes rose by more than one third last year to 1,076…

“Some German politicians and German Jews blame the rise in anti-Semitism on feelings about Middle East violence. A survey by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation last November highlighted a blurring of the lines in Germany between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel, with 27 percent of those asked equating the Jewish state’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis’ persecution of Jews in World War Two…”

Cooperation between Israel and Jordan

JTA reported on February 26:

“Israel and Jordan signed a bilateral agreement to exchange water and to work together to save the Dead Sea. Government officials from the two countries signed the Seas Canal agreement at a ceremony Thursday on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. Dignitaries from both sides, as well as representatives from the World Bank and the U.S. embassies in Israel and Jordan, were on hand…

“The agreement implements the first stage of the Seas Canal project, including the construction of a desalination plant north of Aqaba to supply water to the Arava region in Israel and to Aqaba in Jordan. Residual saline brines will be piped to the Dead Sea through an approximately 125-mile pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea in order to stabilize and save the Dead Sea.

“Also in the framework of the agreement, water from northern Israel will be piped to Amman… ‘This is the most important and significant agreement since the peace treaty with Jordan,’ said Silvan Shalom, Israel’s regional cooperation minister, who signed the agreement on behalf of his country. ‘This is the peak of fruitful and very good cooperation between Israel and Jordan and will assist in rehabilitating the Dead Sea and in resolving water issues in Jordan and the Arava.’”

“Iran Continues to Make Its Presence Felt…”

The Jerusalem Post wrote on February 27:

“A senior Iranian cleric with close ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Friday that ‘we will raise the flag of Islam over the White House’ in response to the killing of Hezbollah and Revolutionary Guards operatives on the Golan Heights last month… Israeli attack helicopters killed six Hezbollah terrorists along with six Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) operatives, including a high-ranking general…

“The cleric added that Iran continues to make its presence felt in a number of areas throughout the region, including Yemen, where a sect affiliated with Shi’ite Islam has overthrown a ruling government and taken power. ‘The Islamic Republic directly supports the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq,’ he said.”

Netanyahu Warns Obama Against Iran

Thomson/Reuters reported on March 3:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday against accepting a nuclear deal with Iran that would be a ‘countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare’ by a country that ‘will always be an enemy of America’. ‘If the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – it will all but guarantee that Iran will get those nuclear weapons, lots of them,’ the Israeli leader said in a 39-minute speech to the U.S. Congress that offered a point-by-point critique of Obama’s Iran diplomacy.

“In an appearance that strained U.S.-Israeli relations and was boycotted by dozens of Obama’s fellow Democrats, Netanyahu said Iran’s leadership was ‘as radical as ever,’ could not be trusted and the deal being worked out with world powers would not block Iran’s way to a bomb ‘but paves its way to a bomb.’ ‘This deal won’t be a farewell to arms, it will be a farewell to arms control … a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare,’ Netanyahu told lawmakers and visitors in the House of Representatives. His speech drew 26 standing ovations…

“Obama refused to meet Netanyahu, saying that doing so just ahead of Israel’s March 17 general election would be seen as interference. Aides to Obama said he would not be watching the speech, broadcast live on U.S. television [but he did announce that he had read Netanyahu’s transcript of the speech]. Underscoring the partisan divide over Netanyahu’s address, House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said afterwards that as a friend of Israel, she was near tears during his speech, calling it ‘an insult to the intelligence of the United States.’ She said she was ‘saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran.’…

“Netanyahu, who has hinted at the prospect of unilateral strikes as a last resort on Iranian nuclear sites, told lawmakers Israel would stand alone if needed…

Even though the New York Times Editorial Board and many other left-liberal commentators, including President Obama himself, criticized the speech as unconvincing and lacking true alternatives, we feel that his speech was very persuasive and convincing. The alternative to a deal with Iran was very obvious and clearly spelled out: No deal! Why should there be a deal with Iran, if it does not guarantee peace and safety in the Middle East for all parties? Netanyahu also stated that America’s desire to fight with Iran against ISIS was ill-conceived, because “the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.” He said:

“Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam… Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire, first on the region, then on the entire world. They just disagree who will be the ruler of this empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there is no place for America or Israel…When it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”

To counter Nancy Pelosi’s comments, it truly appears that the Obama Administration and many lawmakers, as well as a majority of Americans who favor a deal with Iran, are indeed oblivious to the danger of a nuclear Iran.

Will Israel Stand Alone?

Breitbart wrote on March 3:

“Netanyahu got to the heart of his message: absolutely devastating Obama’s reported Iranian peace deal. In the shadow of the Jewish holiday of Purim, when a Jewish woman pled for the survival of her people from the genocidal intentions of a Persian anti-Semite, Netanyahu echoed Queen Esther’s language: ‘I feel profound obligation to speak to you about a threat to the survival of my country and the survival of my people, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. In nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people.’”

Netanyahu added:

“Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed. For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.”

The article in Breitbart continued:

“Netanyahu concluded by citing the Bible, in Hebrew. He quoted the parting words of Moses as the Jews were about to enter the land of Israel, from Deuteronomy 31:6: ‘Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years…Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them. My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute, may we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead, may we face the future with confidence, strength and hope. May God bless the state of Israel, and may God bless the United States of America.’

“The controversy over the politics of the speech is over. Now the world must answer Netanyahu’s question: will Israel have to stand alone?”

It might very well have to.

The Deadly Dangers of Smoking

Newsmax wrote on March 1:

“When beloved actor Leonard Nimoy was rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment eight days before his death, it signified his final struggle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition he had battled for years. Although the ‘Star Trek’ star had quit smoking 30 years earlier, Nimoy said that the damage from the habit didn’t surface until later. And when it did, the results were tragically lethal. The 83 year old, best known for his portrayal as Mr. Spock, died in his Bel-Air home on Friday…

“There are three degrees of COPD – mild, moderate, and severe. When COPD becomes severe, it causes flare-ups, which are called ‘exacerbations.’ With each exacerbation, COPD patients lose more lung tissue, further eroding their breathing capacity. Nimoy was apparently suffering a flare-up when he was rushed to the hospital on Feb. 19 complaining of chest pain…

“In the last year of his life, Nimoy made it his mission to warn others about COPD, often taking to social media to warn against smoking, which is the primary cause of the illness. Although he was able to make public appearances during his fight with the ailment, he used an oxygenator, a portable device that helps people with COPD breathe. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.

“Before he quit in the 1980s, Nimoy was a three-pack-a-day smoker. He said he was shocked to be diagnosed with COPD decades after quitting… Last year he took to Twitter in an effort to help others avoid his fate: ‘Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you’re diagnosed with lung damage it’s too late… learn my lesson. Quit now. LLAP (Live long and prosper).’”

Smoking is a deadly killer… but far too many, following their own carnal desires, do not want to see this, until it is too late.

British Flower Supermarket Giant Prohibits the Use of the Word “Christ’ in Gift Messages

The Daily Mail wrote on March 1:

“The words ‘Christ’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ have been placed on a list of banned words by Marks & Spencer and cannot be used in gift messages. Customers buying a bunch of flowers who try to add a free message containing them are prevented from completing their order. An on-screen notification, which pops up if any blocked words are entered, reads: ‘Sorry, there’s something in your message we can’t write.’… ‘Christ’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ join other banned words including ‘f***’ and ‘gay’ – but some terms including jihad, Buddha and Allah are accepted. ‘Terrorist’ and ‘d**k’ can also be included in messages. The policy emerged earlier today after one customer was stopped from buying a £35 bouquet for a funeral because she said in the gift message that it was from a family in ‘Christ Church Teddington’…

“When Gerardine Stockford, 53, phoned customer services an employee told her that it must be a blocked word. Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, was shocked. He said: ‘If Christ becomes an offensive word in a Christian land then all of us should be alarmed.’ Despite the supermarket giant being made aware of the issue yesterday, it still has not changed the facility. A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: ‘An automatic phrase checker is in place to prevent the use and misuse of certain words and it includes hundreds of words of varying nature. ‘The words Jesus and Christ are included to prevent their misuse.’”

This is SO ridiculous and offensive at the same time!

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