Global Research – “The President has committed, as a matter of strategy, that we will not leave Syria. We are not going to declare victory and go. And that is not my opinion; that’s the President’s strategic judgment. We’re going to stay for several reasons: stabilization and assistance in the vital north and northeast, protection of our allies the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have fought so valiantly against ISIS in the northeast, try to work to help transform the political structures in that area to a model for the rest of Syria, and capable of being credibly represented in a new Syrian state; but for other reasons as well, including countering Iran and its ability to enhance its presence in Syria, and serving as a weight or force helping us to achieve some of those broader objectives.” That’s as spoken by David M. Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State, 11 January 2018, addressing the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on the topic of “U.S. Policy Toward Syria.” You can see it in this clip from C-Span. His statement hasn’t been reported in U.S. newsmedia; so, it’s still news; and this means that it’s news to the American people, and to all others who, though this news wasn’t reported to them, trust U.S. media to report any important American news (such as this U.S. Government policy-statement to the U.S. Senate certainly is).
Global Research – Independent Senator Frances Black, yesterday, launched the “Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018”, which is scheduled for debate in Seanad Éireann on Wednesday 31 January 2018. According to a press release announcing its launch the bill “seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories”. “Such settlements,” said the statement, “are illegal under both international humanitarian law and domestic Irish law, and result in human rights violations on the ground”. Despite the illegality of the import and sale of goods from Israeli settlements, the statement points out that Ireland is still providing “continued economic support through trade in settlement goods”. Drafters of the bill revealed that the legislation had been “prepared with the support of Trócaire, Christian-Aid and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), and applies to settlements in occupied territories where there is clear international legal consensus that they violate international law”. They insisted that the “clearest current example of these violations were the expansion of settlements in the Palestinian West Bank, which have been repeatedly condemned as illegal by the UN, EU, the International Court of Justice and the Irish Government”.
Al Jazeera – The United States has designated Ismail Haniya, the senior political leader of Hamas, as a “global terrorist”. The US State Department issued a press release on Wednesday saying that Haniya “has close links with Hamas’ military wing” and “has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians”. Haniya’s placement on the “terror list” means that there will be a travel ban on him, and that any US-based financial assets he may have will be frozen. There will also be a ban on any US citizen or company from doing business with him.
Al Jazeera – An earthquake has jolted Afghanistan, with tremors felt in neighbouring Pakistan.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake late on Wednesday morning was magnitude 6.1, with a depth of 191.2km, and shook Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush region.
Tremors were felt across Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries. The epicentre was located 265km northeast of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and 120km west of Pakistan’s Chitral in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, USGS said. The area has seen frequent earthquakes over the last few years.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Breitbart – A report from Politico suggests that an Amtrak train carrying members of Congress and staff to a retreat at the Greenbrier in West Virginia hit a truck near Charlottesville, Virginia on Wednesday. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told a Washington Post reporter that there were three passengers on the truck that was struck by the train and that one is dead and two others are injured. This is not yet confirmed by local authorities. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) told another reporter that the crash was “loud and surprising. Some minor bumps and bruises in this car. We saw debris go by the left side of the train. The part of the truck we can see was decimated. Very relieved when the train came to a stop and still on the tracks.” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was reportedly on the train as well and was not affected by the crash.
Investment Watch Blog – FBI Director Christopher Wray was allegedly “shocked to his core” after viewing the four-page FISA memo Sunday night – hours before asking Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to step down, according to journalist Sara Carter. McCabe may have instructed FBI agents to alter their “302” forms – the paperwork an agent files after interviewing someone: Obstruction of justice. This is something the Inspector General is investigating. If this is true and not alleged, McCabe will be fired. I heard they are considering firing him within the next few days if this turns out to be true.
Judicial Watch – On Wednesday, we announced the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for text messages and other records of FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)). Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, revealed in a letter dated January 20 that the FBI claimed it is unable to preserve text messages for a five-month period between December 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017, due to “misconfiguration issues” with FBI-issued phones used by Strzok and Page. The missing messages span dates between the presidential transition and the launch of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, where both Strzok and Page were employed. So, lo and behold, right after we sued for the texts, the Justice Department said it has found the texts. According to Fox News, Inspector General Michael Horowitz reported that his office “succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from FBI devices, including text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page that were sent or received between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.”
Science & Technology
CNN – Secretary of Defense James Mattis is actively considering banning US military and civilian personnel from bringing their personal cell phones into the Pentagon, the world’s largest office building, according to three US defense officials familiar with an ongoing review of the issue.
The officials told CNN that while the issue is under review and a final decision has not been made, the recent revelations that a fitness tracking app that maps people’s exercise habits could pose security risks for US troops has only underscored the need for the review. The officials added that the review was ordered after Mattis expressed his intent to ban personal cell phones in the Pentagon. A defense official told CNN that the intelligence about the risk of cell phone vulnerabilities that drove the Pentagon’s review is the same intelligence that helped lead to a similar ban of personal cell phones among White House staffers in the West Wing, a ban that went into effect this month.
GreenMedInfo – Time is running out. A crushing wave of vaccine bills — 4 in the past two weeks — aim to strip Floridians and their kids of the right to privacy, informed consent, and medical freedom. Most immediately in need of attention: 2 HPV vaccine bills aim to force school children to receive a questionably effective vaccine known to have debilitating and even lethal side effects. CLICK HERE for the call to action on how you can help
Health Impact News – Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has been known as a health tonic since at least the 1950s. Scientific studies exist to back up many of the health claims made for ACV.
There are other vinegars that can do a few of the health solutions ACV manages, but overall, apple cider vinegar with the “mother” is considered the most effective to support healing. Raw apple cider vinegar, lemons, limes, and grapefruits should be a major part of preventing and recovering from colds and influenza, to make digestion easier, and raise pH values enough to make life for disease microbes, whether bacterial or viral, intolerable by increasing cellular respiration or oxygenation. When it comes to using ACV to make potent anti-flu or cold tonics, there are a few combinations using raw honey and herbs that are available. You can access a couple of unique ACV tonic recipes here and here.
CNN – Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resigned Wednesday, a day after Politico reported Fitzgerald’s purchase of tobacco stock after she took the position at the nation’s top public health agency.
Such an investment is obviously at odds with the mission of the CDC, considering cigarette smoking will result in the deaths of nearly half a million Americans this year. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Global Research – Today, it can’t be denied that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) are doing their work and even achieving certain results, but at the same time one cannot help but notice that these organizations are prejudiced to some extent. In the face of increased attention to the upcoming Olympic Games in Pyeongchang sports officials seem to be blind to such obvious things as manipulation of anti-doping rules and the excessive number of approved TUEs. There is only one possible explanation of such a criminal failure to act: the sports officials simply have no wish to stir up a hornets’ nest.
World sports officials don’t want to recognize the fact that prominent athletes and multiple Olympic champions who have become heroes and role models for millions of fans are cheaters who have been deluding the whole world. Therefore, today the respected gentlemen from Montreal and Lausanne have no other choice but to keep on their alleged anti-doping activity and observe the outrageous lawlessness with eyes wide shut.
Care2 – In the editorial that accompanied the landmark study showing an extract of the spice turmeric could be used to fight ulcerative colitis, the authors congratulated the researchers on performing the largest study ever on complementary or alternative medicine approaches to treat inflammatory bowel disease. But that’s not saying much.
Two of the only other high quality trials tested aloe vera gel and wheat grass juice. No significant improvements in clinical remission rates or endoscopy findings on aloe vera were observed, but the wheat grass findings were impressive.
“The use of wheat grass…juice for treatment of various gastrointestinal and other conditions had been suggested by its proponents for more than 30 years, but was never clinically assessed in a controlled trial”…until now.