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Thursday, 22 December 2016

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Russian ambassador in Ankara shot dead in gun attack (Updates)

2016-12-19 17:44:00


The Russian ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot by a gunman in Ankara, where he was attending a photo exhibition, the Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed.

« This is a tragic day in the history of Russian diplomacy. Today, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov died after being shot at during a public event in Ankara, » Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Monday evening.

The assault on the Russian ambassador is an « act of terrorism, » she added.


« We are in touch with Turkish officials, who assured us that there will be a thorough and comprehensive investigation [into the case], » Zakharova said.

The ambassador, Andrey Karlov, was shot as he was delivering a speech on the opening of the exhibition « Russia in the eyes of Turks. »

Photos purportedly showing the perpetrator bearing a firearm are now increasingly circulating on social media. Users are also posting pictures which they say show the Russian ambassador lying on the ground after having been shot.

Comment: Absolutely, this is pure provocation. Just over a year ago, NATO’s fifth column inside Turkey shot down a Russian bomber…

‌Strange world we live in, where the Russian ambassador in Turkey was killed because his country was fighting terrorists in Syria, while the US ambassador in Libya was killed in 2012 because he was supplying the same terrorists with weapons.

Update (19:57 CET): Video of the lunatic immediately after killing the ambassador has surfaced:

Also, reports say that shooting has been heard at or near the US embassy in Ankara. The U.S. State Department is warning Americans to avoid the embassy due to the « ongoing security incident ». The embassy, 2.5 miles from the gallery where Ambassador Karlov was assassinated, is on lockdown.

Update (20:24 CET): The attacker has been identified as Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a member of the Ankara Riot police born in 1994 and a graduate of the Izmir Police School. He was not on duty at the time of the attack. (More pictures of the attacker here.) His mother and sister have been detained by police.

Update 8:59 CET: Video of the attack itself (warning: distressing) has surfaced…

Update: Putin has called the murder a provocation aimed at derailing Syria negotiations:

Turkish FM Cavusoglu called it an attack on both Russia and Turkey, and Pres. Erdogan vowed to thoroughly investigate the attack. MHP Deputy Chairman Mehmet Gunal said it was designed to destroy relations between Russia and Turkey. And Erdogan’s adviser, Ilnur Cevik, points out that the assassination comes at a time of « excellent cooperation between Turkey and Russia in Aleppo », which has obviously angered certain people. He also tied the assassin to Gulen and the West:

It was inevitable that the West would try to sabotage these relations. It is sad that they used a policeman affiliated to Fethullah Gulen’s terrorist organization to assassinate the ambassador. This organization was also behind the downing of the Russian fighter that hurt our relations.

Update (Dec. 20): Both Iran and the U.S. have closed their consulates in Turkey in response to the murder. Egyptian MP Zeinab Salem told RIA Novosti he criticized Turkey’s security measures, but says the attack should unite the world around Russia’s anti-terror efforts. Where the shootdown of the Russian jet may have soured relations, that seems unlikely this time around (e.g., Russia’s ambassador to France says Russia plans to continue working even more intensively with Turkey). The Turkish Defense Minister assured Shoigu that any and all information discovered would be turned over to Russia.

Russia’s 18-person investigative team (including one prosecutor and two defense attaches) has arrived in Turkey to jointly probe the attack with their Turkish counterparts. The street where the Russian embassy is located in Ankara will be renamed Karlov Street.

More information has come out about the killer, Altintas. He used to guard the Russian embassy, as early as a month ago, during the rallies protesting Russia’s involvement in Syria. He refused to pass through the x-ray scanner at the gallery yesterday, but was let through when he showed his police ID.

He took a leave of absence on December 19 and stayed at a hotel close to the gallery. He fired 11 shots, 9 at Karlov. He also took a leave of absence after the failed coup attempt in July:

Altıntaş reportedly took a report of absence for two days after the thwarted coup, even though all police officers were called to duty after July 15.

He was on duty in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on July 15, but arrived in Ankara on July 16 after obtaining a leave of absence. He stayed in a house in the Demetevler district of the Turkish capital, daily Habertürk reported.

The police chief who allowed him to take the leave of absence, Kahraman Sezer, was arrested after the failed coup attempt over links to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Altıntaş himself was suspended over suspected links to FETÖ on Oct. 4 but was returned to duty on Nov. 16.

Update (Dec. 21): Pictures of the reception of Ambassador Karlov’s body by Russian honor guard:


Up to 13 people have been detained so far in Ankara, Izmir (six suspects) and Aydin (four suspects) provinces, suggesting that Turkish authorities may believe the murder was a conspiracy, not a lone wolf attack. Among those detained so far: Atlintas’s parents, sisters, two other relatives, and his Ankara roommate. FM Cavusoglu reportedly told Kerry that both Russian and Turkish officials « are aware » that Gulen was involved (Gulen naturally denies it). Other officials have hinted at U.S. involvement, prompting Kirby to say:

It’s a ludicrous claim, absolutely false, there’s no basis of truth in it whatsoever. Any notion that the United States was in any way supportive of this or behind this or even indirectly involved is absolutely ridiculous.

Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has claimed responsibility for the murder in a letter posted on Egyptian news site Al-Youm Al-Sabea.

In yet another stunning display of Western support for terrorism, here’s CNN Moscow correspondent Clarissa Ward justifying Karlov’s murder:

Update (Dec. 22): The man who assassinated Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov is « obviously » a member of the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, citing the killer’s background and connections as « proof ».

« The assassin of the Russian ambassador is obviously a member of FETO. There is no need to hide it, » Erdogan said during a press conference with his Albanian counterpart.

« Where he grew up, and all connections reveal this [FETO membership], » the Turkish leader added.

Erdogan said that the assassin’s international links were being investigated by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

Update: An investigation into the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov has found that his murderer had contacts with police officers, who had been fired after an attempted military coup in Turkey in July:

The investigation has found that the Russian envoy’s assassin contacted several people, who used a program of exchanging encrypted messages ByLock, which had been used by members of the group supporting opposition Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, FETO, Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the agency’s police source, the General Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara examined data from the mobile phone of the Russian ambassador’s murderer jointly with Russian experts from the Moscow Police Department.

Five police officers, as well as a police commissioner and his deputy, who were using the program and were fired after an attempted coup on July 15, were among Mevlut Mert Altintas’ contacts. His links to them are currently being investigated.

Karlov has been laid to rest in Moscow with special honors, posthumously named a hero of Russia. Putin attended and Lavrov presented the « Hero of the Russian Federation » star to Karlov’s family. Turkish PM Yildirim joined the ceremony.



What freedom looks like: Aleppo, then and now

Joanna Ruck
The Guardian, UK
2016-12-21 22:47:00

Comment: The Guardian prefaces this photo essay with the following: « Aleppo was Syria’s most populous city when the civil war arrived in July 2012, but the conflict has taken a huge toll, with Russian airstrikes since September 2015 causing intense devastation, as these before and after images show. »

Bollocks. This is what war does to a country. As if Russia, or even Syria for that matter, had any desire to destroy Aleppo. This is what the U.S. does to Middle Eastern countries. It is what the U.S. has done to Syria. The war never would have happened if not for the U.S. policy to radicalize « opposition » to Bashar al-Assad, to move in foreign jihadis to launch a violent revolution to topple the secular government and install a radical Islamist one in its place.

Is it therefore any wonder that the U.S. are so hated around the world?

Aleppo’s citadel photographed on 9 August 2010 and 13 December 2016.



Puppet Masters

Nadia Savchenko removed from Ukrainian delegation to PACE

2016-12-22 21:54:00


The Ukrainian parliament has removed Ukrainian lawmaker Nadia Savchenko from the country’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

A total of 237 lawmakers out of 324 present at a December 22 session of the Verkhovna Rada supported the move.

It came eight days after the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party announced that Savchenko, a former military aviator who spent nearly two years in Russian jails, had resigned from the party in late October.



With US reportedly poised to abstain on UN resolution slamming Israel, Egyptians withdraw it under pressure

Philip Weiss
2016-12-22 21:42:00


High stakes diplomacy. This morning, under pressure from Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Egyptian government put off a vote in the United Nations Security Council on a draft anti-settlement resolution scheduled for today at 3 o’clock.

There was speculation that the United States was planning not to veto that resolution, a historic step.



Obama administration dismantling ‘Muslim registry’ enhanced after 9/11, not used since 2011

2016-12-22 17:41:00


The Obama administration is dismantling the so-called Muslim registry that logged visitors from countries with active terrorist groups. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to create a similar list.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted a rule change on Thursday to dismantle the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program.

At its height, the registry listed arrivals from at least 25 countries and amassed a roster of 80,000 names of teenage boys and men. « DHS ceased use of NSEERS more than five years ago, after it was determined the program was redundant, inefficient and provided no increase in security, » Neema Hakim, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement, according to the New York Times.

Hakim said the program was « not only obsolete » and « outdated » but diverted personnel and resources from other areas that were seen as more effective.

The decision comes as the Obama administration is taking several actions to distance itself from Trump’s proposed policies. The president-elect suggested during his campaign that he would resurrect the program.



Trump says U.S. nuclear arsenal must be ‘greatly’ expanded- New arms race?

2016-12-22 21:34:00


« Until such times as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes, » President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Thursday, the US should be happy to spend money on more doomsday weapons.

Trump campaigned to put domestic policy at the forefront of his administration’s goals and championed a non-interventionist foreign policy. In a complete reversal, Trump advocates the US enter a nuclear arms race, despite having an arsenal that could destroy human civilization many times over.

It is not as though America’s Cold War stockpile has been collecting dust on the shelf. Recent nuclear modernization efforts have included refurbishing and extending the life of old warheads, building new strategic delivery systems, and funding new production facilities.

And despite President Obama’s quest for a nuclear-free world, the US has recapitalized its nuclear enterprise with billions of dollars. The US has 441 Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic missiles alone, according to a report from the Arms Control Association, and the next US President is now suggesting that America needs better, and more, nuclear weapons. Nuclear-armed ICBMs are just one way to mercilessly incinerate entire ecosystems of human, animal, and plant life. The nuclear modernization program in the US also includes fortifying submarines and stealth bombers with atomic weapons, according to the report.

Comment: Unilateral US build-up of nuclear weapons will mean destruction of the system of Russian-US agreements in these sphere, Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian parliament’s upper house, said Thursday.

« The unilateral build-up of nuclear weapons will mean destruction of the existing system of Russian-US agreements in this sphere and Trump has cannot but know that, » Kosachev told RIA Novosti.

He added that it was too early to draw any conclusions basing on only one tweet.



#FakeNews Main Stream Media propaganda over the liberation of Aleppo

Claire Bernish
The Free Thought Project
2016-12-22 00:00:00


When it comes to disinformation, no one does a better job than corporate media — and one prime example of coverage constituting government propaganda is reporting on the situation in Aleppo. In fact, if you’re only following mainstream outlets, you don’t know what’s actually happening in the largest city in Syria — at all.

According to corporate media and the U.S. and other Western governments, Aleppo fell into violent chaos recently as the Syrian Arab Army — backed by the Russian military — moved to seize control of the eastern portion from Daesh (the Islamic State) and U.S.-backed terrorists commonly deemed « moderate rebels. »

In fact, the American propaganda machine went so far as to blindly parrot allegations Assad’s troops were going door-to-door killing people in an act described by activists as « genocide » of the Syrian people.



Mormon WikiLeaks creator: Church should be more transparent

2016-12-22 20:17:00


A former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has built a secure website, modeled on WikiLeaks, that aims to leak internal information about the secretive Mormon church’s financial dealings and inner workings.

The website, MormonWikileaks, provides an encrypted portal for any potential leaker to upload documents, videos, and other materials that may shed light on the Mormon church’s internal culture. The site was built by Ryan McKnight, a former member of the church and the person responsible for leaking in October a series of videos on a « Mormon Leaks » YouTube channel that revealed private meetings among church elders in which they discussed matters of church policy.

Prior to that, in 2015, McKnight was instrumental in surfacing a church position known as the « November 5th policy, » which banned the baptism of any Mormon children of same-sex couples until they reach the age of 18 and disavow homosexuality. The policy also mandated that same-sex couples should be considered apostates.

McKnight told RT America that he hopes the site, modeled after Wikileaks, will open up information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) for the benefit of all Mormons. « The LDS church, in my opinion and in the opinion of many, falls short in their responsibilities to their stakeholders for transparency, » McKnight said.



Wikileaks’ tremendous service in revealing how politics, government really work

James North and Phillip Weiss
2016-12-22 20:06:00


Now that everyone in the mainstream media and the intelligence establishment are blaming Russia for allegedly tilting the election in Donald Trump’s favor, it is important to review a key element of this charge: that the Wikileaks emails released from the Democratic National Committee, allegedly by Russian hackers acting with the blessing of Vladimir Putin, were a sinister intervention, and equivalent to the Nixon team’s 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate.

This charge needs to be met head-on, in one respect. However the emails wound up in our laps through the fall, they were a great revelation to the American public. They exposed the workings of a political party, and at times its corrupt workings; they showed how the party was rigged against Bernie Sanders and in favor of big donors.

These revelations about how our political system operates were not themselves shocking: they were what smart people suspected. What was shocking was the naked confirmation of the corruption. Seeing the political deals in flagrante was important. If a newspaper had managed to publish these emails on its own, documenting these practices, its reporters would be in line for the Pulitzer Prize. Whoever got into those emails did us a tremendous public service.

Let’s remember some of the things we learned from those emails. For a year, Bernie Sanders repeatedly challenged Hillary Clinton to release the secret speeches she gave, for munificent fees, to Goldman, Sachs and other corporate groups. She never did. Wikileaks did release those speeches in October. They showed that Clinton wanted the U.S. to « covertly » intervene in Syria. « We used to be much better at this than we are now, » she said.



White Helmets’ fake news in Syria, supervised by the British Intelligence Agency, funded by Soros

2016-12-22 20:38:00


Vzglyad daily said in a report that there is reason to believe that the organization is supervised by the British intelligence service and the Soros Fund.

« The Government of the United Kingdom had allocated around 32 million pounds for the needs of the White Helmets in 2013 while another 12.5 million pounds has been paid to the organization only in the year 2016, » a source close to the organization told Tass news agency.

According to the source, the whole budget of the organization is about 50 million dollars a year.

The White Helmets should have also received an additional US $13 million from the United States and the United Kingdom, including the companies associated with George Soros, he added, saying that the organization has also received $23 from the US International Development agency.

The source also said that one of the leaders of the White Helmets, Mosab Obeidat, has already been identified to have contributed a major role in the financing of the terrorist groups.

According to some reports, Obeidat has played the role of a mediator in providing the Syrian militants with around 2.2 million dollars to pay for weapons and ammunition supplies.

Speaking about the founder of White Helmets James Le Mesurier, the source pointed out that, in all probability, « he is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, which to this day is at the service of Her Majesty (the British Queen), to be exact – in the British military intelligence. »



Snopes Snoped: Fake news arbiter accused of defrauding site to pay for prostitutes, embezzlement

Claire Bernish
The Free Thought Project
2016-12-22 19:30:00


Fraud, embezzlement, and using company funds to pay for prostitution are just a sampling of the accusations against the CEO of fact-checking website, Snopes — a site which, incidentally, is part of Facebook’s new panel to combat « fake news. »

Facebook’s choice to hire Snopes to arbitrate which news items will be allowed to stand and which should receive the Scarlet-Letter label ‘disputed’ already brought outrage — the site is notoriously left-leaning — but an exclusive report from the Daily Mail on alleged shady dealings should turn Mark Zuckerberg’s cheeks a deep shade of red.

David and Barbara Mikkelson, ex-spouses and founders of Snopes, have been hurling accusations allegations at one another in an ongoing bitter legal dispute following their divorce — and many of the claims don’t exactly give the company an air of professionalism.

Last month, David remarried — his new wife is a former porn actress and escort — and is now one of the site’s fact-checkers. As for the accusations, reports the Daily Mail:

They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of ’embezzlement’ and suggesting he is attempting a ‘boondoggle’ to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.



Trump: Attacks in Berlin and Ankara prove Muslim immigration ban justified

2016-12-22 18:44:00


President-elect Donald Trump said Monday’s attacks in Berlin and Ankara proved he was justified in proposing a ban on Muslim immigration to the US.

While condemning the Christmas market attack in Germany, Trump was asked if it would reignite his plan to ban Muslim immigration to the US, or the establishment of a Muslim registry.

« You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right, 100 percent correct. What’s happening is disgraceful, » Trump said, adding that the violence is « an attack on humanity and it’s got to be stopped. »

Later on Wednesday, transition spokesman Jason Miller stated that the president-elect’s words « might upset those with their heads stuck in the politically correct sand. »



National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen says, ‘Homosexuals are like salt in soup’

2016-12-22 18:13:00


The founder of France’s far-right National Front party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has compared homosexuals to salt in soup, telling a newspaper that « if there’s too much, it’s undrinkable. » The full online video of his interview has since been removed.

Speaking to Le Figaro newspaper during a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, Le Pen said that « homosexuals are like salt in soup, if there is none at all, it is a little bland, but if there is too much, it is undrinkable. »

The video of the interview has since been withdrawn from Le Figaro’s website.

It’s far from the first controversial remark to be made by Le Pen. In April, he was fined €30,000 (US$31,374) for comments made on a French television show last year in which he said that gas chambers used to kill Jews in the Holocaust were only a « detail » of history. He had already received two previous civil court convictions for making the same comment. He first stated that view in 1987, and repeated it in Germany and the European Parliament.



Interview with Eva Bartlett: Extracting Aleppo from the propaganda

Dennis J Bernstein
2016-12-20 18:33:00


The mainstream U.S. news has supplied a consistent narrative regarding Syria that treats the « rebels » as the good guys and the « regime forces » as the bad guys, but it has never been that clear-cut.

It’s rare for Americans to hear any version of the Syrian conflict other than the simplistic accounts favored by the U.S. government and the mainstream news media that rely heavily on rebel sources and their international supporters who often traffic in propaganda.

One of the few independent Western journalists covering the horrific conflict is Eva Bartlett who has traveled to Syria six times in the last two years and just returned from a six-month stint in the war-torn country where she investigated human rights violations and terrorism against Syrians.

Her multiple investigations have led the seasoned Canadian journalist and human rights activist to conclusions that contradict what the Western media and governments have been reporting non-stop, regarding human rights violations by all sides.

I spoke with Bartlett last Thursday during her West Coast speaking tour about her discoveries, the situation in Aleppo, and the impact the war has had on large numbers of Palestinians who live in exile in Syria.



Aleppo liberated: Syrian Army regains full control over the city

2016-12-22 18:39:00


The Syrian Army has regained control over all of Aleppo, returning « security and stability to the city, » the army’s general command announced in a statement. The city has been liberated from « terrorism and terrorists » the statement said, as quoted by Syria’s state SANA news agency. Aleppo will now mark a turning point in the war against terrorism, the Syrian Army statement said. « It strikes a smashing blow to the forces that backed a terrorism plot against Syria, » the statement added.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Thursday that the liberation of Aleppo from terrorism is a victory not just for Syria but for all those who are effectively contributing to the fight against terrorism, including Iran and Russia. « It is also a setback for all the countries that are hostile towards the Syrian people and that have used terrorism as a means [by which] to realize their interests, » he said. A SANA reporter wrote previously on Thursday that the last stage of evacuating terrorists and their families from eastern Aleppo was underway.

Comment: The Western sanctions and war have destabilized every sector of Syria’s economy, transforming a once self-sufficient country into an aid-dependent nation. Russia’s long-term strategy in Syria is to extinguish the terrorist threat and rebuild the country from the ashes.
See also:



South Front: Questions about Russian envoy assassination – Turkish forces storm al-Bab (VIDEOS)

South Front
2016-12-22 18:44:00


Russian Envoy Assassination: Questions Must Be Answered

Comment: A partial answer to these questions: First, security for ambassadors is the responsibility of the host state (which just goes to show that Turkey’s security was inadequate). Second, Turkish newspapers say that the special forces who killed the assassin tried to get him to surrender, but after he returned fire and reached into his pocket, they feared he may have had an explosive vest. It’s a valid concern – such vests are not very bulky.



Former MI6 chief says 7,000 terrorist suspects on loose in Germany, impossible to track

2016-12-22 19:54:00


Thousands of terrorism suspects are on the loose in Germany and there is no way to track them down, says the former head of counterterrorism for MI6, Richard Barrett.

His intervention comes as it was revealed the Berlin truck attack suspect Anis Amri was known to security services and police as a criminal with proven extremist leanings.

Barrett said Amri was just one of hundreds of « really extreme potential terrorists on the books » in Germany.

« In addition to that though, if you include all the Lander (local regions) in Germany, they have about 7,000 live cases, » he told the Daily Mail.

« As you can imagine, that is an almost impossible number to control. »



Society’s Child

12 dead, many injured as truck plows into Christmas market in Berlin in likely terrorist attack: Update

2016-12-19 20:09:00


A truck has ploughed into a Christmas market in western Berlin killing nine and injuring several people, according to police.

The incident happened on one of Berlin’s largest Christmas markets, located in the western Charlottenburg district. It is also close Berlin’s key shopping mile Kurfuerstendamm and a famous Gedaechtniskirche (Memorial church) tourist site.

« We can confirm nine fatalities & many injured. A lot of our colleagues are at #Breitscheidplatz to investigate the background, » a message on the official police Twitter account said.

A police spokesperson told German media that they are treating the truck incident in Berlin as a terrorist attack.

Comment: Updates: Videos from the scene available on RT here.

No doubt Berlin truck incident was terrorist attack – German Interior Ministry:

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said there is « no doubt » that the truck incident at a Christmas market in Berlin was a terrorist attack.

« At this point, we have no doubt that this horrific crime was a terrorist attack, » de Maiziere told a news conference on Tuesday. He added that there is no evidence so far to indicate the suspect is linked to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) or any other terrorist group.

Pakistani refugee named as Berlin attack suspect by minister, police not sure they agree:

The man, suspected of ramming a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, is a Pakistani refugee aged 23, the German Interior Minister confirmed. Meanwhile, police say they aren’t sure if that man is the perpetrator.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has confirmed that Naved B., who was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the Berlin truck attack, is from Pakistan and had applied for asylum earlier this year. He arrived in Germany last December and arrived in Berlin in February. De Maiziere also said the suspect denies the charges.

A Polish haulier, who also was a cousin of the victim and owner of the truck, said he lost contact with the driver on Monday at 4pm local time, according to the newspaper. It is still unclear how the Pakistani suspect managed to get into the truck.

Ariel Zurawski, the haulier who owned the truck, told Polish television he noticed that the vehicle was maneuvering in a strange way before the attack. « Someone was making forward and backward movements as if he was learning how to drive, » said Zurawski. He added that « someone was in the cabin » by the time he lost contact with the original driver.

Berlin police detained ‘wrong man,’ truck attacker still at large, armed:

The Pakistani suspect arrested following the truck attack in the German capital reportedly had no involvement in the crime. The actual perpetrator is armed and still at large, Die Welt reports, citing high-ranking security sources.

« We have the wrong man, » Die Welt cited a Berlin police official as saying. « And thus a new situation. The actual perpetrator is still at large and armed, and can inflict more damage. »

The source said that all police and special forces units in Berlin have been informed and put on high alert.

Speaking at a press conference, Berlin police chief Klaus Kandt said investigators are unsure if the Pakistani man arrested shortly after the truck attack was actually the driver who rammed the vehicle into a crowd at the Christmas market.

« As far as I know it is in fact uncertain whether that really was the driver, » he said.

Despite the heightened security alert, the preparations for New Year’s Eve celebrations will continue as planned, Kandt added.

Entrances to all Christmas markets will be guarded by police officers armed with submachine guns, and security barriers will be erected.

Update (Dec. 20): Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the driver responded to IS’s call for attacks. (In other words, he likely had no actual connection to IS and was either a lone wolf, or manipulated by a third party not formally connected with IS.) The Polish man found in the truck’s cabin has been identified as Lukasz Urban, 37, the truck’s original driver. He was stabbed and shot to death during the hijacking of his truck.

Update (Dec. 21): German police are now looking for a young Tunisian man whose identity documents were found in the cabin of the truck used in the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin, which killed 12 people and injured 48 others. The suspect, identified as a Tunisian national named Anis A., is also believed to have several IDs, according to various media reports.

Der Spiegel reports that his identity document has been found by investigators under the driver’s seat in the truck cabin. The suspect was born in Tataouine, Tunisia in 1992, according to the report. Bild, however, quoted police sources which suggest that Anis A. had several passports in different names with ages between 21 and 23. All of the passports have surnames starting with the letter A, according to Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz. One of his aliases could be Ahmed A., the newspaper reports. The man’s German residence permit was reportedly issued in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. Meanwhile, Suddeutsche Zeitung reports that Anis A. arrived to Germany as a refugee and filed an asylum request. He was later granted a resident permit.

Police and secret services are now stepping up « immense security measures » in North-Rhine Westphalia, DPA news agency said. According to German media, Anis A. was in contact with Salafist preachers from the cities of Hildesheim and Duisburg. Earlier, German special forces had interrogated radical preachers who were suspected of recruiting for Islamic State.

Berlin police have reportedly received more tip-offs after the attack and are looking for a suspect, according to Spiegel. Earlier, investigators released a 23-year-old Pakistani refugee detained on suspicion of carrying out the attack, admitting that the wrong man was taken to custody. Police say the actual attacker may be armed and is still on the run.

Update (Dec. 22): Dashcam footage of the truck has been released:



Texas woman stabbed, killed by step-son after gloating over Dallas Cowboys win

CBS News – Austin
2016-12-21 21:07:00


According to an affidavit, police say the person who stabbed and killed a woman at a South Austin apartment Sunday night was her own step-son, and the incident happened after the victim had been « gloating » about a Dallas Cowboys victory.

It happened at approximately 10:40 p.m. at a complex in the 2700 block of South Congress Avenue. Detectives say Magdalena Ruiz and her husband were at their home sitting on the couch watching television. Also present was her step-son, 20-year-old Pontrey O’Neal Jones.

Jones told officers he had initially decided to break his little sister’s neck, but after changing his mind he had « developed a plan against » the victim, stashing a black-handled knife in the living room couch.

Police say Jones’ father and the victim watched the Cowboys game on the couch and, when the game was done and Jones had returned from getting fresh air, he noticed the victim was « disrespecting his father and gloating about how the Cowboys won the game. »

According to police, that’s Jones when retrieved the knife, walked behind the couch, lunged over Ruiz, and stabbed her multiple times. Her husband intervened to stop the attack and Jones then fled the apartment. He was located about 10 minutes later, lying naked in the grass in the 2400 block of South Congress Avenue, where he was taken into custody by police.



Miami FOP President ‘Reprimanded’ for Doxxing Innocent Woman Who Made Video of Him Speeding

Matt Agorist
The Free Thought Project
2016-12-22 19:11:00


In late January, Claudia Castillo pulled over Miami Police Lieutenant Javier Ortiz and accused him of speeding. She filmed the encounter and posted it to YouTube, where it went viral.

In response to being caught breaking the law, Ortiz, leader of the Miami FOP, used his police powers to access and post Castillo’s personal information and photo online. He had doxxed her.



US state police have spent millions on Israeli phone cracking tech

Joseph Cox
2016-12-22 19:03:00


When cops have a phone to break into, they just might pull a small, laptop-sized device out of a rugged briefcase. After plugging the phone in with a cable, and a few taps of a touch-screen, the cops have now bypassed the phone’s passcode. Almost like magic, they now have access to call logs, text messages, and in some cases even deleted data.

State police forces and highway patrols in the US have collectively spent millions of dollars on this sort of technology to break into and extract data from mobile phones, according to documents obtained by Motherboard. Over 2,000 pages of invoices, purchase orders, communications, and other documents lay out in unprecedented detail how one company in particular has cornered the trade in mobile phone forensics equipment across the United States.



Agitated snowflake: Two passengers removed from JetBlue flight after harassing Ivanka Trump

2016-12-22 19:16:00


Two New Yorkers were removed from a JetBlue flight after harassing President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her family. The men were identified as a Brooklyn lawyer and his husband, a professor at Hunter College.

The altercation took place on a flight bound for Miami, Florida from New York City’s JFK airport. Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and their children were flying coach, when they were approached by a man TMZ identified as Daniel Goldstein, a Brooklyn lawyer.

« Your father is ruining the country, » Goldstein said, according to the celebrity gossip site. « Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private. » Goldstein yelled.

« You’re kicking me off for expressing my opinion?!! » Goldstein shouted as JetBlue staff was removing him and his husband from the plane, TMZ reported.

Comment: Some Twitter reactions to the incident.

Ricky Garza: « Matt Lasner, liberals cry about peace and love but yet they are the ones who do the most bullying. »

Rich Algeni: « Matt Lasner, Why are you deleting tweets showing your intolerance? »

Rich Algeni, Jr.: « This moron has a PhD?!? In what? Harassment? »

Halcion: « Lol that’s ridiculous, protest Trump if you want but not his family. »

Deplorable Trumpster: « Weird Matthew harassed Ivanka and kids. Shameful! Not so tolerant of others. Apologize! »

Naida Darling: « What happen to your tweet bragging your husband harassed and screamed at a woman with her young children, while holding a baby? Irrational and abusive behavior, I fear for the child they’re raising. Child services should investigate! »

Kaye d: « ICYMI Matt’s husband chases down women and children to harass them. »

Matt Ri: « You sir are the deplorable one… harassing another human being is never ok!!! »





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