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DUTCH ANTISEMITISM WATCHDOG ASKS GOVERNMENT TO BAN ‘HAMAS FRONT’ CONFERENCE

 

AMSTERDAM — A watchdog on anti-Semitism in the Netherlands petitioned the government to ban an upcoming Rotterdam conference that it said was organized by Hamas-affiliated groups.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, on Friday asked Justice Minister Stef Blok and Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk to stop the conference, titled “Palestinians in Europe,” which is slated for April 15. CIDI said it has made repeated appeals to Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb to prevent the forum.

 

“The organizers of this conference are affiliated with the terrorist group Hamas,” CIDI wrote in a statement, noting that Hamas is classified by the European Union and the Dutch government as a terrorist entity, and espouses an anti-Semitic policy.

CIDI also wrote that the German security service, BfV, has called the PRC group that organizes Palestinians in Europe conferences “a front for Hamas.”

The watchdog said in the statement that Aboutaleb, a Labor politician who was born in Morocco to a Muslim family and has spoken harshly against anti-Semitism, told CIDI that he had consulted with the Dutch National Coordination for Counterterrorism and Security, a homeland security organ of the government, and it said there was no grounds to ban the event.

But CIDI said in its statement that the security agency said it had not given such an advisory opinion to the City of Rotterdam.

“The basis for the mayor’s decision is unclear to us and we find this highly disconcerting,” CIDI wrote.

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Bernie Sanders at J Street: One can be pro-Israel and rap its government

Bernie Sanders J Street

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, speaking with affection of his life in Israel decades ago, told a rapturous J Street conference that one could sharply criticize the Israeli government’s policies and be pro-Israel.

Sanders, I-Vt., speaking Monday in his first Middle East policy speech since ending his bid last June for the Democratic presidential nomination, also blasted President Donald Trump for retreating from a commitment to a two-state solution and not speaking out forcefully against anti-Semitism and bigotry.

Sanders’ recollection of his time in Israel was rare – he barely addressed it during his presidential run, and indeed has not been as expansive about his life on kibbutz since he first ran for Congress in 1990.

He laced his call to urge Israel to adopt more progressive policies with appeals to progressives to embrace Israel as a Jewish homeland.

“Now, as many of you know, I have a connection to the State of Israel going back many years,” Sanders said, addressing the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group’s annual conference.

“In 1963, I lived on a kibbutz near Haifa,” he said. “It was there that I saw and experienced for myself many of the progressive values upon which the State of Israel was founded. I think it is very important for everyone, but particularly for progressives, to acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people after centuries of displacement and persecution, and particularly after the horror of the Holocaust.”

Sanders said that recognizing the ensuing Palestinian suffering should not diminish support for Israel.

“But as you all know, there was another side to the story of Israel’s creation, a more painful side,” he said. “Like our own country, the founding of Israel involved the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people already living there, the Palestinian people. Over 700,000 people were made refugees. To acknowledge this painful historical fact does not ‘delegitimize’ Israel, any more than acknowledging the Trail of Tears delegitimizes the United States of America.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made combating “delegitimization” of Israel a central plank of Israeli diplomacy, and Sanders said opposing Netanyahu did not amount to being anti-Israel.

“We can oppose the policies of President Trump without being anti-American,” he said. “We can oppose the policies of Netanyahu without being anti-Israel. We can oppose the policies of Islamic extremism without being anti-Muslim.”

Explicitly citing a need to oppose Islamic extremism also sets Sanders apart from some other progressives, who fear singling out Muslim extremism fuels anti-Muslim bigotry.

Sanders began his speech by slamming Trump for what he said was his failure to address the spike in anti-Semitic and other bias incidents since his election.

“When we see violent and verbal racist attacks against minorities – whether they are African-Americans, Jews, Muslims in this country, immigrants in this country, or the LGBT community, these attacks must be condemned at the highest levels of our government,” he said.

“It was rather extraordinary that in the White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, the murder of 6 million Jews was not mentioned by the Trump administration,” Sanders said, referring to a controversy still brewing. “I hope very much that President Trump and his political adviser Mr. [Stephen] Bannon understand that the world is watching. It is imperative that their voices be loud and clear in condemning anti-Semitism, violent attacks against immigrants in this country, including the murder of two young men from India, and all forms of bigotry here and around the world.”

He also faulted Trump for retreating earlier this month in a meeting with Netanyahu from the U.S. commitment since 2002 to a two-state solution.

Your Taxes Are Funding a Secret, Multibillion-Dollar Government Enterprise That Tortures and Kills Tens of Millions of Animals Every Year

Last week—following criticism from bipartisan Congress members, citizens, press, and advocacy groups like the White Coat Waste Project, a nonprofit that seeks to eliminate cruel, wasteful and unnecessary taxpayer-funded animal testing—the U.S. Department of Agriculture began to reverse course on its unjustifiable animal welfare database blackout. It started by restoring documents about government and other animal laboratories. This is a crucial resource, but we’re still fighting systemic government transparency failures about $15 billion in wasteful taxpayer-funded experimentation on dogs and other animals.

Months before the recent USDA purge—a scandal first exposed by WCW—we released “Spending to Death,” a report documenting cruel and unnecessary government dog experiments, and a troubling abundance of secrecy about the practice and what it costs.

As reported in the Washington Post, we used the now-notorious USDA animal welfare database to reveal that agencies—including Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health and others—subjected more than 1,100 dogs to experiments in 2015. The USDA data indicated that this number had increased from the year before, and that one quarter of these dogs were subjected to experiments involving pain and distress. These basic figures are not available elsewhere, so it’s encouraging that USDA is in the process of restoring access to these documents. For non-federal animal laboratories, the database also includes evidence of any abuses documented by government inspectors, which can be grounds for losing taxpayer funding.

However, beyond the animal use numbers on the USDA site (which notably exclude mice and rats, who comprise 95 percent of animals used in laboratories), other publicly-available details about how dogs and other animals are used are scarce. It is estimated that across the nation, federal agencies are funding the abuse and death of tens of millions of animals in laboratories every year.

We did triangulate some information to determine that government agencies are purchasing months-old beagle, hound and mutt puppies and subjecting them to abuses including forced heart attacks and tick infestations. But overall, with very few exceptions, the agencies using tax money for painful and deadly dog experiments fail to disclose what they are doing, how much they are spending, the purpose or the outcome. In many cases, it appears agencies intentionally omit or obscure information to prevent scrutiny.

Our top recommendation in the report: “Provide Transparency.”

A beagle confined in standard caging in a U.S. laboratory awaits his eventual torture and death. Federal agencies subjected more than 1,100 dogs to experiments in 2015 alone. An estimated 100 million animals are tortured and killed by agencies across the nation each year. (image: White Coat Waste Project)

Thankfully, we attracted the attention of Congress. Citing our work, a bipartisan group led by Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Dina Titus (D-NV) asked the Government Accountability Office to conduct an audit of systems for public disclosure about federally-funded animal experiments. In their December GAO request, they wrote: “Such transparency and accounting deficiencies prevent assessments by Congress and the public of the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of what we estimate to be a multi-billion-dollar government enterprise.”

A companion letter to the GAO from Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stated:

Transparency about federal spending on animal research is especially critical given some evidence suggesting that such research is often wasteful and inefficient. … Government transparency and accountability are cornerstones of our democracy. The public has a right to know how federal agencies spend their tax dollars and whether this spending improves American lives. Congress must also have access to this information in order to assess the effectiveness of government programs and prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

For instance, since 2000 there has been an interagency government program charged with facilitating the reduction and replacement of expensive and inaccurate animal testing for chemical toxicity with more efficient alternatives like cell-based tests and computer models. However, the 15 federal agencies that participate in the program do not report how many animals are used in tests they conduct or require, so there is no way to measure the progress of this important effort. Even the head of the program recently stated, “We need a way to measure success quantitatively.”

To address this problem, earlier this month bipartisan Congress members introduced the Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act. With over 30 Republican and Democratic cosponsors, the common-sense bill improves existing biennial reporting requirements so that agencies must include the number of animals they use, their species, and for what tests.

A WCW review conducted in support of the FACT Act uncovered unnecessary, multi-million-dollar government tests that involve poisoning animals with massive force-fed doses of herbal supplements sold for sexual dysfunction, cosmetics ingredients and even components from green tea and french fries.

As members of Congress expressed in their requests to GAO, transparency about taxpayer-funded animal experiments is critical to identifying waste and abuse.

The NIH laments that 90 percent of drugs that work in animal tests fail in humans because they are dangerous or ineffective. In the agency’s current Strategic Plan, it writes, “animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies.” Still, 47 percent of the agency’s $32 billion budget is spent on animal experiments.

At an NIH lecture last year titled, “Inefficiency and Waste in Biomedical Research,” the former President of the American College of Epidemiology reported that as much as 87.5 percent of biomedical research—especially animal experimentation—is flawed, redundant or completely unnecessary.

This is clearly cause for a serious reappraisal of research funding decisions. Yet, when we asked via a Freedom of Information Act request, NIH could not even determine what other federal agencies it funds animal experimentation at.

Americans may disagree on many things, but this isn’t one of them. A recent Lincoln Park Strategies poll of 1,100 voters found that a supermajority—73 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats—want more transparency about taxpayer-funded animal experiments.

USDA restoring its animal welfare database is a start, but major reforms are still needed to ensure transparency and accountability about billions in wasteful government spending for outdated and unnecessary experiments on dogs and other animals.

Visit FACTact.org to urge Congress to support the bipartisan Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act (HR 816) to increase transparency about government animal testing.

Justin Goodman is the vice-president of advocacy at White Coat Waste Project, a non-profit dedicated to ending taxpayer-funded animal experiments. Read more at blog.whitecoatwaste.org.

Government Is Still Recording Your Every Move Under Trump

http://www.renegadetribune.com/government-still-recording-every-move-trump/

 

By Steven Maxwell of Activist Post

As soon as Trump became the President-elect, sales of George Orwell’s book 1984 surged to the top of Amazon Best Sellers where it has remained for the last couple months. It seems that learning about Statism is all the rage by those who opposed Trump. And no one defined it more succinctly than Orwell: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” However, if they read carefully enough, they’ll realize that temporary leaders of “Big Brother” merely continue the machinery of the State.

Your computer, smartphone, car, smart TV and appliances, and credit cards didn’t just start spying on you when Donald Trump became president. They were put in place by Big Brother over decades, and they will continue to expand under Trump because he’s continuing the manufactured war on terror. Moreover, a new approach to immigration signals that even more doors could be opened up for invading the privacy of travelers and residents alike.

As we learned in 1984, all of the tyrannical measures of control are justified by convincing the people that they’re perpetually fighting a dangerous enemy: “Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”

Trump uses more colorful language when describing the bogeyman than previous administrations, but make no mistake, it’s the exact same tactic. Yet Trump’s style has the added benefit of getting everyone to argue about the insensitive rhetoric instead of the concrete actions. I say this because I see some former liberty/privacy advocates going quiet, or misdirected, under Trump much like the anti-war crowd went quiet under Obama.

The lack of any significant improvement to civil liberties was evident as soon as Trump announced his pick for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, just weeks after being elected.

As recently pointed out by Derrick Broze, Sessions’ voting record indicates support for the drug war and bulk data collection:

Media reports have so far focused on the possibility that Sessions anti-cannabis and pro-Drug War voting record would lead to a massive growth of arrests for victimless crimes like drug use. Sessions has also been attacked as a possible racist, or at the least, unfriendly towards equality laws. Finally, Senator Jeff Sessions’ past comments regarding immigration have some activists worried about how he will enforce immigration policy as Attorney General.

Each of these issues deserves your time and research so you may develop a more informed opinion regarding Jeff Sessions’ stances. However, I wish to take a moment to focus on Sessions’ views on surveillance and how that view will play into the issues mentioned above. In a new report, the Center for Democracy & Technology focuses on the senator’s voting record and comments on the government’s use of surveillance. His actions and comments should have all lovers of liberty concerned.

What’s more, Sessions has vowed to mandate encryption backdoors for “national security.” During his confirmation hearing he said this about encryption:

Encryption serves many valuable and important purposes. It is also critical, however, that national security and criminal investigators be able to overcome encryption, under lawful authority, when necessary to the furtherance of national-security and criminal investigations.

This issue was discussed further by Broze and James Corbett in the video below:

 

The government’s commitment to “overcome encryption” due to national security would seem to dovetail nicely with Trump’s Executive Order of January 27th, which went far beyond the controversy of “bans” placed on certain countries. In fact, it is something that will affect all travelers into the U.S. and easily could trickle down into the everyday lives of Americans. According to Section 7 of that order, Homeland Security is directed to implement biometric registration and databasing of all who enter.

While that might seem unrelated to encryption, there is an “interview” stipulation as well that easily could expand what type of data is deemed open for examination. This appears already to be happening, as even U.S.-born Americans have been caught up in the early dragnet. Perhaps the most striking case is that of Sidd Bikkannavar, a NASA scientist who was born in the United States, but was stopped at the border with a demand to unlock his smartphone and give up his social media passwords. There are also various reports coming in from around the country of people being stopped on the street and asked for documentation. All of this is to illustrate that the current administration is clearly interested in further tracking citizens and non-citizens alike – at the borders, as well as internally – and employing the latest technology to do it.

These are fundamental issues for privacy and liberty, and, yet, we are clearly on a path where the government sees privacy and liberty as liabilities rather than guarantees. It’s a good reminder for you to do what you can to limit the government’s ability to spy on you, as well as limit tracking by any other source. Use encrypted chat apps and email services. Get a good VPN or use Tor when appropriate. Buy things with cash and bitcoin. Don’t make it easy for them.

As the fresh new enemies are established, national security will remain the excuse for the Surveillance State to expand under Trump. The government will continue recording your every move and sound through your Internet-connected smart devices, and databasing your information wherever you leave a digital trail.

In 1984, the telescreens that filmed and recorded Winston seemed nearly impossible to believe. Now we carry them around in our pockets everywhere we go, and Trump’s government has access to the data.


This article originally appeared on Activist Post.

Syria rebels, regime invited to talks next week in Kazakhstan

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry announced Saturday that Syrian government officials and armed rebels are being invited to peace talks to be held next week in its capital Astana.

“It is planned to hold the latest high-level meeting within the Astana process on resolving the situation in Syria on February 15 and 16,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that those invited include “the Syrian government” and “representatives of the Syrian armed opposition,” as well as UN envoy Staffan de Mistura and US observers.

The talks are being brokered by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s allies Russia and Iran and rebel backer Turkey, which are all key players in the conflict.

From left: Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal, Russia's special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura and Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari pose after the announcement of a final statement following Syria peace talks in Astana on January 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

From left: Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal, Russia’s special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari pose after the announcement of a final statement following Syria peace talks in Astana on January 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

They follow a meeting in Astana last month that ended without a breakthrough in the nearly six-year conflict, in which more than 310,000 people have died.

Those talks were expected to see the first face-to-face negotiations between the regime and the armed opposition since the conflict erupted in 2011.

The rebels refused to meet directly. However, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed that the rebels should take part in UN-led peace talks opening in Geneva on February 20.

The next round of Astana talks will discuss observance of the ceasefire and stabilization measures for specific areas and other “practical steps” ahead of the talks in Geneva, Kazakhstan said.

2 NFL stars pull out of Israel government publicity trip

Two top US National Football League players have pulled out of publicity trip to Israel, saying that they do not want to be “used” by the Israeli government.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett was the first to pull out of the trip planned for 12 football stars to tour Israel, including stops at Rambam hospital, Yad Vashem, and Jordan River’s Yardenit baptismal site.

Bennett first tweeted a picture of Martin Luther King Jr., saying “Im not going to Israel.” He then followed it with a long letter late Friday explaining his motivation.

“I was excited to see this remarkable and historic part of the world with my own eyes. I was not aware until reading this article about the trip in The Times of Israel that my itinerary was being constructed by the Israeli government for the purposes of making me, in the words of a government official, an ‘influencer and opinion-former’ who would then be ‘an ambassador of good will.’”

“I will not be used in such a manner,” Bennett said. “When I go to Israel — and I do plan to go — it will be to see not only Israel but also the West Bank and Gaza so I can see how the Palestinians, who have called this land home for thousands of years, live their lives.”

After he published the letter, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills retweeted Bennett, saying “Couldn’t have said it any better. I’m in!”

Bennett noted in his letter that one of his heroes was Muhammad Ali, who ” always stood strongly with the Palestinian people,” and said that he wants to be a “voice for the voiceless.”

“I cannot do that by going on this kind of a trip to Israel,” he said.

The original delegation of 12 — Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Martellus Bennett, Delanie Walker, Michael Kendricks, Cameron Jordan, Kenny Stills, Calais Campbell, Carlos Hyde, Dan Williams, Justin Forsett, and ESPN commentator and former linebacker Kirk Morrison — were to visit Rambam hospital in Haifa, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem and the Black Hebrew community in the southern city of Dimona, according to a statement announcing the trip from Israel’s tourism and public diplomacy ministries.

During the visit, the players will hold an exhibition game together with players from the Israeli Football Association on February 18 in Jerusalem.

Players will also visit Christian sites in Israel, including the Jordan River site of Yardenit, where some of the players will be baptized.

Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots works out during a practice session ahead of Super Bowl LI on February 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Bob Levey/Getty Images/AFP)

Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots works out during a practice session ahead of Super Bowl LI on February 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Bob Levey/Getty Images/AFP)

Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Gilad Erdan expressed hope the visit would offer the players “a balanced picture of Israel, the opposite from the false incitement campaign that is being waged against Israel around the world.”

“The ministry which I lead is spearheading an intensive fight against the delegitimization and BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanction] campaigns against Israel, and part of this struggle includes hosting influencers and opinion-formers of international standing in different fields, including sport,” Erdan said.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin echoed the sentiment.

“Football stars are a source of inspiration for all American citizens. I am sure that, after the experiences that the players will enjoy in Israel and after they have seen the unique tourist sites and the special atmosphere here, they will become ambassadors of good will for Israel,” he said.

It was not immediately clear who was funding the trip. A February 5 press release by Israel’s Tourism Ministry said the visit “was initiated in cooperation with America’s Voices in Israel.”

Austria Cracks Down on “Nazi Number Plates”

Austria’s government plans to ban coded Nazi messages on custom number plates on cars.

THE transport ministry and an organisation representing “victims of National Socialism” have been receiving photos from concerned citizens showing vanity plates with codes such as 88, which stands for the NS greeting Heil Hitler. Authorities have no statistics on how frequently such number combinations appear among the 500,000 custom plates on Austrian vehicles, “but every one is one too many”, ministry spokeswoman Andrea Heigl said.

The current law on number plates already bans offensive or overtly National Socalist era acronyms such as SS. The ministry’s planned amendment, which is scheduled to go to a vote in parliament in the middle of the year, would also forbid numerical codes representing letters in the alphabet, such as 18 for Adolf Hitler. “The far-right scene keeps developing new codes. The legislative branch must watch out for these trends,” Heigl said.

(news.com.au)

Trump bans government scientists from sharing their work with the taxpayers who funded it

Donald Trump wants to be known as the president who tweets, but his administration is prohibiting government researchers from sharing their findings with the Americans who pay for their work.

The president signed executive orders Tuesday that cut off all new contracts and grantsfor the Environmental Protection Agency — and he also banned the agency’s employees from providing updates on social media or to journalists, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent an email Monday morning, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News, prohibiting its employees from communicating with the public about their taxpayer-funded work.

Those “public-facing documents” include news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content, said Sharon Drumm, chief of staff of the Agricultural Research Service.

The U.S. Department of the Interior reportedly ordered employees to stop posting messages on government Twitter accounts after the National Park Service a post comparing the size of Trump’s inauguration with President Barack Obama’s in 2009.

Drumm’s message did not specifically refer to Trump, but the department’s scientists believe the order was a message from the administration.

The memo was vaguely worded enough that department officials aren’t sure whether scientists are allowed to publish studies in academic journals or present findings at conferences.

Washington Post reporter also tweeted Tuesday afternoon that taxpayer-funded economists might also be forbidden from sharing their findings with the public without approval from the Trump administration.

 

A University of Maine researcher issued a warning on social media that additional political attacks on scientists were coming.

“Please, stand up for science and the environment,” warned Jacquelyn Gill, a paleoecologist and biogeographer. “This is the emergency we were all worried about.”

Reporter Udo Ulfkotte, Who Exposed Governments Creating Fake News War Propaganda, Found Dead

By Baran Hines

Udo Ulfkotte, a German journalist and whistleblower who spoke out against fake news from government and intelligence sources, has died from a heart attack at the age of 56. He was an assistant editor for German mainstream media newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and he lived in many Middle Eastern countries during his career, including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan.

As Ulfkotte became increasingly upset at news reports sourced from false government information, he began publishing a magazine called Whistleblower, which reports on topics not covered by the German media. He also wrote multiple books on the subject during the 2000s.

Ulfkotte is best known to international viewers from select appearances on Russia Today, specifically an October 2014 interview about his book Bought Journalists, in which he discussed the epidemic of propaganda in mainstream media news reports and the increased anti-Russia sentiment being generated. He also discussed the heavy influence on international news from American, Israeli and other Western intelligence agencies.

Ulfkotte described his experience saying “I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years and I was educated to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public,” referring to his career in mainstream media. He also noted that he was “fed up” with the propaganda and said he was speaking out, despite admitting having heart trouble on television.

I’ve had three heart attacks, I have no children, so if they want to bring me to court or to prison, so it’s worth for the truth.

The interview only has 166,000 views on the official RT channel; however, it has likely been seen millions of times because the video has been uploaded by many other YouTube channels and Facebook pages. The interview is often shared as a detailed example of mainstream media’s disinformation campaigns.

His comments were one of the earlier warnings about anti-Russia propaganda which came before the recent escalation that features American media claiming Russian officials influenced the 2016 US election in favor of Donald Trump. He went on to condemn the anti-Russia propaganda related to the Ukraine crisis, telling RT “seeing right now within the last months how the German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe to bring war to Russia, this is a point of no return.” Ulfkotte also apologized for his role in the past because he felt “ashamed” for some of the news reporting in his name.

I’m going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia and it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past, because they are bright, to betray the people not only in Germany all over Europe.

The reason I’m writing this book [Bought Journalists] is that I am very fearful of a new war in Europe and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is not never coming from itself. There’s always people behind it to push for war and this is not only politicians, this is journalists too.” He then noted the problem is “especially” in German media saying “my colleagues who day by day write [propaganda] against the Russians, who are in trans-Atlantic organizations, and who are supported by the United States to do so.

Ulfkotte went on to describe his personal experience with American influencers and intelligence agencies.

“I was bribed by the Americans not to report exactly the truth. I was invited by the German Marshall Fund of the United States to travel to the US. They paid for all my expenses and put me in contact with Americans they’d like me to meet,” he said. “I became an honorary citizen of the state of Oklahoma in the US just because I wrote pro-American. I was supported by the CIA. I have helped them in several situations and I feel ashamed for that too.”

Many journalists based in different countries are involved in the same practice of working with American and European intelligence agencies to varying degrees, Ulfkotte also added.

Most of the journalists you see in foreign countries, they claim to be journalists and they might be. But many of them, like me in the past, are so-called ‘non-official cover.’ It means you work for an intelligence agency. You help them if they want you to, but they will never say they know you.

Ulfkotte also discussed the specific progression of how mainstream media journalists are sought out and eventually approached by government agents. The unofficial working relationships between these journalists and intelligence agencies usually begin as a friendship, to prep the journalist before proposing the cooperation.

“They work on your ego, make you feel like you’re important, and one day one of them will ask you ‘Will you do me this favor?’” he explained.

Udo Ulfkotte referenced one instance where he was asked to print a news report based on intelligence which he could not verify, and he noted the conclusion of the article was already determined. The propaganda effort was part of building the campaign by Western countries to remove Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi from power.

“One day the BND (German foreign intelligence agency) came to my office at the Frankfurter Allgemeine in Frankfurt. They wanted me to write an article about Libya and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. They gave me all this secret information and they just wanted me to sign the article with my name,” Ulfkotte told RT. “That article was how Gaddafi tried to secretly build a poison gas factory. It was a story that was printed worldwide two days later.”
Udo Ulfkotte has also been part of the increased controversy in Germany about how to handle the growing refugee crisis, as migrants from the Middle East and Africa flee war zones and poverty. Facebook temporarily blocked his page in July 2016 after he bought an ad for his new book titled Boundless Criminal, which exposes alleged cover-ups by authorities and mainstream media to hide crimes committed by migrants. The message he received from the social network read that the content of the posting “violated its guidelines,” likely because of a perceived anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim message.

“I don’t claim every migrant to be a criminal, that would absolutely not be correct, but we have not checked which people that we in our country,” Ulfkotte told RT when asked about his positions.

Prior to the current crisis, Ulfkotte had expressed concerns about the “Islamization” of Germany for 15 years, writing multiple books on the subject.

Germany received almost one million asylum seekers in 2015 and may have reached similar numbers in 2016. Many of the refugees have come from Syria and Iraq after fleeing their hometowns because of the Islamic State and other groups.

Florida shooter told FBI gov’t controlling his mind, forcing him to watch IS videos

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — An Army veteran who complained that the government was controlling his mind drew a gun from his checked luggage on arrival at the Fort Lauderdale airport and opened fire in the baggage claim area Friday, killing five people and wounding eight, authorities said.

He was taken into custody after throwing his empty weapon down and lying spread-eagle on the ground, one witness said.

“People started kind of screaming and trying to get out of any door they could or hide under the chairs,” the witness, Mark Lea, told MSNBC. “He just kind of continued coming in, just randomly shooting at people, no rhyme or reason to it.”

The gunman was identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago of Anchorage, Alaska, who served in Iraq with the National Guard but was demoted and discharged last year for unsatisfactory performance. His brother said he had been receiving psychological treatment recently.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that Santiago had walked into the FBI office in Anchorage in November to say that the US government was controlling his mind and making him watch Islamic State videos.

An injured woman is taken into Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

An injured woman is taken into Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Agents questioned an agitated and disjointed-sounding Santiago and then called police, who took him for a mental health evaluation, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said Santiago did not appear intent on hurting anyone.

Authorities said the motive for the attack was under investigation. Shortly after the shooting, and before details of Santiago’s mental health became public, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said that it remained to be seen whether it was terrorism or the work of “someone who is mentally deranged.”

One witness said the attacker gunned down his victims without a word and kept shooting until he ran out of ammunition for his handgun, sending panicked travelers running out of the terminal and spilling onto the tarmac, baggage in hand.

People stand on the tarmac at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after a shooter opened fire inside a terminal of the airport, killing several people and wounding others before being taken into custody, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP/Lynne Sladky)

People stand on the tarmac at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after a shooter opened fire inside a terminal of the airport, killing several people and wounding others before being taken into custody, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP/Lynne Sladky)

Others hid in bathroom stalls or crouched behind cars or anything else they could find as police and paramedics rushed in to help the wounded and establish whether there were any other gunmen.

Bruce Hugon, who had flown in from Indianapolis for a vacation, was at the baggage carousel when he heard four or five pops and saw everyone drop down on the ground. He said a woman next to him tried to get up and was shot in the head.

“The guy must have been standing over me at one point. I could smell the gunpowder,” he said. “I thought I was about to feel a piercing pain or nothing at all because I would have been dead.”

It is legal for airline passengers to travel with guns and ammunition as long as the firearms are put in a checked bag — not a carry-on — and are unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container. Guns must be declared to the airline at check-in.

Santiago arrived in Fort Lauderdale after taking off from Anchorage aboard a Delta flight Thursday night, checking only one piece of luggage — his gun, said Jesse Davis, police chief at the Anchorage airport.

At Fort Lauderdale, “after he claimed his bag, he went into the bathroom and loaded the gun and started shooting. We don’t know why,” said Chip LaMarca, a Broward County commissioner who was briefed by investigators.

The bloodshed is likely to raise questions of whether aviation safety officials need to change the rules.

People flee the area outside the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport after a shooting took place Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

People flee the area outside the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport after a shooting took place Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

The attack also exposed another weak point in airport security: While travelers have to take off their shoes, put their carry-on luggage through X-ray machines and pass through metal detectors to reach the gates, many other sections of airports, such as ticket counters and baggage claim areas, are more lightly secured and more vulnerable to attack.

In 2013, a gunman with a grudge against the Transportation Security Administration shot and killed one of the agency’s screeners and wounded three others during a rampage at Los Angeles International Airport. Last November, an airline worker was shot and killed near an employee parking lot at Oklahoma City’s airport, and in 2015 a machete-wielding man was shot to death after he attacked federal security officers at the New Orleans airport.

“While we have authorized doubling the number of TSA canine teams to try to prevent tragedies like this, the fact is that wherever there are crowds, such as at our airports, we remain vulnerable to these types of attacks,” Nelson said.

The Fort Lauderdale gunman said nothing as he “went up and down the carousels of the baggage claim, shooting through luggage to get at people that were hiding,” according to Lea. The killer went through about three magazines before running out of ammunition, Lea said.

“He threw the gun down and laid spread-eagle on the ground until the officer came up to him,” Lea said.

The gunman was arrested unharmed, with no shots fired by law enforcement officers, and was being questioned by the FBI, Sheriff Scott Israel said.

The condition of the wounded was not disclosed. At least one of the victims was seen lying in a pool of blood with what appeared to be a head wound.

The airport was shut down, with incoming flights diverted and outgoing flights held on the ground.

Law enforcement officers walk around Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

Law enforcement officers walk around Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP)

President Barack Obama was briefed by his Homeland Security adviser, the White House said. President-elect Donald Trump said that it is a “disgraceful situation that’s happening in our country and throughout the world” and that it was too soon to say whether it was a terrorist attack.

Santiago’s brother, Bryan, told the AP that his brother had been receiving psychological treatment in Alaska. He said Santiago’s girlfriend alerted the family to the situation in recent months. Bryan Santiago said that he didn’t know what his brother was being treated for and that they never talked about it.

He said Esteban Santiago was born in New Jersey and moved to Puerto Rico when he was 2. He was sent to Iraq in 2010 and spent a year there with the 130th Engineer Battalion, according to Puerto Rico National Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen. He later joined the Alaska National Guard.

The Pentagon said Santiago had gone AWOL several times during his stint with the Alaska National Guard and was demoted — from specialist to private first class — and given a general discharge, which is lower than an honorable discharge.

John Schilcher told Fox News said he came up to the baggage claim and heard the first gunshot as he picked up his bag off a carousel.

“The person next to me fell to the ground and then I started hearing other pops. And as this happened, other people started falling and you could hear it and smell it, and people on either side of me were going down and I just dropped to the ground,” said Schilcher, who was there with his wife and mother-in-law. “The firing just went on and on.”

“I was down on the floor. When we finally looked up there was a policeman standing over me,” he said. “That’s when I assumed it was safe.”

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