Turkish police banned from searching murder car by Saudi regime


This 22 October 2018 video says about itself:

Review of facts around Khashoggi murder | Al Jazeera English

Despite the differing narratives about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi on October 2, some facts are indisputable, pieced together using security footage and Turkish intelligence.

Turkish sources say the leader of what they call the Saudi “hit team” was Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman‘s bodyguard Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons looks back at Jamal Khashoggi’s last day.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Turks not allowed to investigate surfaced Saudi car

The Saudi consulate in Istanbul has forbidden Turkish detectives to search a parked car owned by the consulate. The car, with a diplomatic license plate, was found earlier today in an underground car park, 15 kilometers away from the consulate where the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed on October 2nd.

The Turkish police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office investigate exactly what happened at the consulate. According to the Saudis, the critical journalist was killed in the diplomatic post during a [fist]fight. That statement, more than two weeks after the disappearance of the journalist, has been received with great skepticism. It is generally assumed that the 59-year-old Khashoggi was murdered at the consulate by a death squad.

Permission required

For the investigation of the Saudi car, permission is required from the consulate and from the office of the Turkish prosecutor. CNN Turk reports that the car will be inspected tomorrow, without reporting any details. The police have closed the parking garage for the public.

A television channel … has today shown images of a security camera showing three men who, according to the television channel burn documents in the backyard of the consulate, one day after the disappearance of Khashoggi.

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Colourful birds in Panama


This video says about itself:

Colorful Morning on the Panama Fruit Feeders – Oct. 22, 2018

The Panama Fruit Feeder cam was as colorful as an artist’s palette this morning as it hosted an entire spectrum of brilliantly plumaged visitors. A bright orange-and-green Rufous Motmot zipped front and center to begin the day. Soon after, vibrant Crimson-backed and Golden-hooded tanager, Thick-billed Euphonias, and a wintering Tennessee Warbler followed to feast on fresh bananas. Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders.

Trump too militarist even for Macron


Macron and Trump, AFP photo

This July 2018 AFP photo shows Macron and Trump behaving like buddies at the NATO conference in Brussels.

However, now it seems that Trump with his nuclear escalation has gone too far even for fellow militarists like Macron.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Macron: security of Europe is at issue as Trump tears up treaty

French President Macron has expressed concern about his American colleague Trump’s plan to withdraw from the INF nuclear missile treaty. …

Macron pointed out to Trump the importance of the treaty, which bans nuclear missiles for the medium distance. Especially for European security and “our strategic stability”, the treaty concluded after the Cold War by the US and Russia is important, said the French president.

Trump announced Saturday that the United States will produce nuclear missiles again. According to him, Russia is violating the treaty. He did not adstruct that statement …

Germany also responded to Trump’s speech. The government regrets the American decision, says a spokesperson. “NATO partners must consult on this.”

The threat of an arms race comes after the White House announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia because Moscow had violated the Cold War-era agreement. Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev slammed the U.S. decision as “not the work of a great mind.” [HuffPost]

Trump’s threat to tear up nuclear pact with Russia met with alarm in Europe, silence from Democrats: here.

France to send aircraft carrier to South China Sea to threaten China: here.

As he prepares to host US President Donald Trump on Saturday in Paris for the centenary of the armistice that ended World War I, French President Emmanuel Macron gave a long interview last week to Ouest France: here.

‘Vampire’ finches of the Galapagos


This 20 October 2018 video says about itself:

The vampires of Wolf Island | Natural History Museum

When resources run short, the sharp-beaked finches of Wolf Island turn into vampires to survive. Dr Alex Bond, Senior Curator of Birds at the Museum, explains the unexpected behaviour of these small birds. Blood Thirsty was captured by Thomas P Peschak, and won Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 in the Behaviour: Birds category. Discover more about this image here.

Why Evolution [of birds] Goes Wild on Islands: The Science of Adaptive Radiation: here.

‘Saudi regime used fake Khashoggi to cover up murder’


This video says about itself:

CNN releases video of alleged Khashoggi body double in Istanbul

22 October 2018

New video released by CNN shows a Saudi operative allegedly disguised as Jamal Khashoggi, leaving the back door of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the day of the journalist’s murder, in an attempt to make it look like Khashoggi left the building alive.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘Saudi Arabia used look-alike to conceal the death of Khashoggi’

A member of the death squad that killed the Saudi journalist Khashoggi in the consulate in Istanbul left the building that same day in Khashoggi’s clothes. A Turkish official said that to CNN. The news channel has seen surveillance images that confirm the version of the source.

The images show that a man leaves the consulate on the 2nd of October through the back door, apparently in the clothes in which Khashoggi had entered the building more than one and a half hours earlier. He also seems to wear a false beard and glasses.

Later that afternoon the man appears in the same disguise on images of surveillance cameras at the Blue Mosque, in the center of Istanbul. Another half an hour later he changed his clothes, he carried a plastic bag of stuff and his beard had disappeared.

The Turkish official identifies the look-alike as Mustafa al-Madani. He is said to have been a member of the team responsible for the death of the journalist Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi rulers.

Diversion maneuver

The news about this possible diversionary maneuver feeds the criticism that Saudi Arabia wanted to cover up the case. The country denied having anything to do with Khashoggi’s death for two weeks and initially stated that he had left the premises unharmed.

Last weekend the Saudi government changed their story. According to a new statement, the journalist died after a [‘fist’]fight with people at the consulate. The Minister of Foreign Affairs called Khashoggi’s death a big mistake. Eighteen people have been arrested.

Phone calls

The minister added that crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman knew nothing of the matter, but the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak questioned that. Around the time Khashoggi was killed, four calls were made from the consulate to [Prince] Mohammed‘s office, the newspaper states.

Saudis reportedly scrap coverup plan because Khashoggi ‘body double’ wore the wrong shoes: here.

Jared Kushner Shrugged Off Khashoggi’s Murder. It Shouldn’t Surprise You. By Peter Feld.

America’s Shameful Love Affair With A Saudi Prince, by Batya Ungar-Sargon, April 8, 2018.

Fly agarics, chaffinches and swans


This 2016 video from Britain is called Amanita muscaria, The Fly Agaric.

Today, a walk from ‘s-Graveland to Hilversum.

Beautiful fly agarics along the road in ‘s-Graveland.

A mute swan couple with their youngsters.

In the Spanderswoud forest, many chaffinches.

In a meadow next to the Corversbos, a grey heron and an Egyptian goose couple.

A robin sings.

Donald Trump’s nuclear escalation


This video from Australia says about itself:

Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump and the prospect of nuclear war

7 February 2018

American intellectual and public figure Noam Chomsky is well-known for his articulate criticisms of US politics, foreign interference, and the global economy. Professor Chomsky is a long-time professor of linguistics and philosophy at MIT and more recently the University of Arizona. He sat down to discuss the rise of US President Donald Trump with the ABC’s The World program, as well as the tough decisions Australia must make moving forward.

By Alex Lantier:

Trump says US will withdraw from Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty

22 October 2018

Speaking at a campaign rally in Nevada on Saturday, President Donald Trump said Washington will repudiate the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and develop intermediate range nuclear missiles. “We’ll have to develop those weapons”, he said. “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”

With this decision, Washington is scrapping the entire nuclear arms control framework that emerged from the Cold War. In 2001, Washington repudiated the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, so it could begin working on a “Star Wars” anti-ballistic missile system to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. Now it is scrapping the 1987 treaty that bans US or Russian manufacture and deployment of nuclear missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kilometers (310-3,420 miles). For the first time since 1972, there is to be no treaty limiting the major powers’ deployment of nuclear arms.

Washington is aggressively stoking a nuclear arms race, with Russia and China first in its gun-sights, which would provoke stepped-up missile deployments across Europe and East Asia. It points to the immediate and growing risk of nuclear war between the major powers.

Trump blamed his decision to scrap the INF treaty on Moscow and Beijing: “Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years and I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out. … Unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and they say, ‘Let’s all of us get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons’, but if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable. So we have a tremendous amount of money to play with with our military.”

Moscow condemned Trump’s statement as “blackmail” against Russia. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS: “At first glance, I can say that apparently the INF Treaty creates problems for pursuing the line towards the US total domination in military sphere…This would be a very dangerous step, which, I’m sure, won’t be just understood by the international community, but arouse serious condemnation of all members of the world community.”

Ryabkov said he would discuss it with US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who supports killing the INF treaty. Bolton arrived yesterday in Moscow for two days of talks starting today.

Trump’s attempt to blame Moscow and Beijing for his decision is a transparent political fraud. The US repudiation of nuclear arms control treaties is part of a longstanding, aggressive foreign policy aiming to exploit US military supremacy in the aftermath of the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union to counterbalance the effects of its accelerating economic decline in world affairs. The 2001 repudiation of the ABM treaty was part of the Bush administration’s turn to war, including the illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, to dominate the Eurasian landmass.

The Democratic Party escalated this policy, launching wars in Libya and Syria while initiating a “pivot to Asia” to confront China in Barack Obama’s first term. In his second term, together with its European allies, Obama backed a far-right coup in Ukraine that toppled a pro-Russian government and provoked an all-out military confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe. Washington and its European allies have deployed tens of thousands of troops on the very borders of Russia.

The coup in Ukraine and the resulting escalation by Washington and the European imperialist powers in Eastern Europe set the world on course towards nuclear war. Amid the NATO military build-up against Russia, Washington first alleged in July 2014 that Moscow was developing a ground-launched cruise missile system violating the INF treaty. Recently, on October 2, US Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchinson took the extraordinary step of threatening to bomb Russia to “take out” these missiles, after again denouncing Russia for violating the INF treaty.

It is not Russian but US aggression that is driving Washington’s decision to scrap the INF treaty. In fact, powerful factions of the US military and foreign policy establishment have been campaigning for years to scrap the INF treaty—not because of Russia, but to threaten China.

After Obama launched the “pivot to Asia” in 2011, Beijing sought to develop intermediate-range missiles capable of hitting US aircraft carriers and military bases in the Western Pacific, to deter Washington from using them to attack China. As the balance of power in that region shifted ever more in China’s favor, voices in US ruling elite began to call for scrapping the INF treaty, using tensions with Russia as a cover for a policy designed to target China.

In 2014, the National Interest published an article, “China’s Missile Forces Are Growing: Is It Time to Modify the INF Treaty?” It wrote that “forward-based missile forces could be a partial solution to emerging operational problems in the Western Pacific.” However, the INF treaty bans Washington and Moscow from having the type of missiles the Pentagon would deploy to the Western Pacific to target China. So, it added, “How might Washington leverage current tensions with Moscow to improve its long-term military posture vis-à-vis Beijing? One option is to abrogate INF.”

Admiral Harry Harris, who recently stepped down as commander of the US Pacific Fleet, became an aggressive proponent of renegotiating or scrapping the INF treaty. Last year, Harris said that he considered arms control “problematic”, as the INF treaty limits “our ability to counter Chinese and other countries’ cruise missiles, land-based missiles.”

Testifying to the US Senate this March, Harris made clear that scrapping the INF treaty as critical to trying to re-establish full US military dominance of the Pacific Ocean. “We are at a disadvantage with regard to China today in the sense that China has ground-based ballistic missiles that threaten our basing in the western Pacific and our ships”, he said. “We have no ground-based capability that can threaten China because of, among other things, our rigid adherence…to the INF treaty.”

Washington’s repudiation of nuclear arms control as it seeks to maintain global military dominance is a warning to the working class in America and worldwide.

With the major powers pledge to spend massive sums on their arsenals of missiles and nuclear warheads, led by Washington, who pledged in 2014 to spend $1 trillion to modernize its nuclear arms, untold social resources are being squandered on creating conditions for a nuclear war. Governments internationally are determined that the costs of this insane policy are to be borne by workers, through austerity and attacks on living standards.

The construction of an anti-war movement based in the working class is a critical necessity, objectively posed by the rapid development of the danger of wars that could end in a nuclear conflagration.

US missile treaty withdrawal: “Prepare for nuclear war”: here.