Tag Archive | Europe

Attack on Muslims in London Was Terrorism, U.K. Prime Minister Says*

Attack on Muslims in London Was Terrorism, U.K. Prime Minister Says*

Forensic investigators work the scene in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, 2017, after a vehicle hit pedestrians

By Robert Mackey

“This morning, our country woke to news of another terrorist attack on the streets of our capital city,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday, hours after a white, male van driver drove into a crowd of Muslim pedestrians outside a mosque in north London, wounding at least 10 people.

“Hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed” – Theresa May responds to #FinsburyPark attack https://t.co/3A5ouLb4Ph pic.twitter.com/LH6iJUZD8P

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 19, 2017

The attack outside the Finsbury Park mosque, May added, was “the second this month, and every bit as sickening as those which have come before.”

The Metropolitan Police confirmed later in the day that a 47-year-old suspect “was arrested for attempted murder” and “the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism.” Officers on the scene first described it as “a terrorist incident” at 12:29 a.m. just eight minutes after they were alerted to the crime. A man who had fallen ill moments before the attack was pronounced dead at the scene 40 minutes after it, but it was not immediately clear if he was a victim of the attack.

May’s clear statement that the assault on innocent civilians was terrorist in nature stood in stark contrast to the reticence officials in the United States have shown about using that term to describe violence perpetrated by far-right extremists against Muslims. It also clashed with President Donald Trump’s obsession with only one form of terrorism, that carried put by “radical Islamic” fundamentalists.

Perhaps because the U.K. has relatively recent experience with a conflict, in Northern Ireland, in which more than a thousand civilians were killed by terrorists who were either Protestant or Catholic, British authorities are more forthright about acknowledging that terrorism is a tactic and a crime that is not specific to a single faith or ethnic group.

Similar language was used by the police and other leading politicians, including Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, and the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.

‘An attack on a mosque … is actually an attack on all of us’: Jeremy Corbyn on the #FinsburyPark terror attack https://t.co/gi4Jikjd1Y pic.twitter.com/mrXNadtbLq

— ITV News (@itvnews) June 19, 2017

London Mayor @SadiqKhan has condemned the #FinsburyPark terror attack pic.twitter.com/AwWYUbbpM5

— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 19, 2017

The suspected attacker was captured and turned over to the police by witnesses to the assault, who told BuzzFeed News that he made his motivation for it clear by screaming, “I’m going to kill all Muslims!”

Eyewitness tells @jamesrbuk man drove van at pedestrians outside London mosque, then shouted “Kill me, kill me, I want to kill all Muslims” pic.twitter.com/gSgTX05aSQ

— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) June 19, 2017

As the bystanders who tackled the driver held him down and waited for the authorities to arrive, one said, the man had urged them to kill him.

The police later praised a local imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, for urging people not to harm the attacker.

Footage shows the moment crowds restrain man suspected of driving van into pedestrians near #FinsburyPark mosquehttps://t.co/CBG8mzBpgY pic.twitter.com/NtYoQbLGXC

— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 19, 2017

Video of the suspect being loaded into a police van just before 1 a.m. local time, shared on social networks by witnesses, gave a sense of the raw anger among members of the community, who demanded to know how he could justify the murder of innocent civilians.

This racist bastard ran over innocent civilians on their way home from taraweh #FinsburyPark pic.twitter.com/YHvsVZHqIY

— Didier (@Known_As_H) June 18, 2017


In the aftermath of the attack, some observers suggested that anti-Muslim screeds in the British tabloids and on social networks could have incited the attacker to violence.

Just a couple of weeks since The Sun carried a headline stating ‘…We Need Less Islam’. A fool could see some might take it literally. https://t.co/S0VmTINCph

— James O’Brien (@mrjamesob) June 19, 2017

We need to look at the real issue of the radicalisation of supremacist terrorists aka right wing media #FinsburyPark

— Ahmed Masoud (@masoud_ahmed) June 19, 2017

Two notorious Islamophobes came in for particular criticism: the Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins and the former head of the English Defence League, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who uses the alias Tommy Robinson.

You’re a hate preacher @KTHopkins and it would appear that someone was listening #FinsburyPark pic.twitter.com/E8arelx5ve

— Otto English (@Otto_English) June 19, 2017

Two extremists.
Both shunned by Muslim Community.
Both preach hate to their minions.

Yet @TRobinsonNewEra not stopped. Why?#FinsburyPark pic.twitter.com/04V1Is2MNZ

— Siema Iqbal (@siemaiqbal) June 19, 2017

“Extremist preacher sends out chilling warning weeks before terror attack.” pic.twitter.com/pbUM69b9v1

— Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) June 19, 2017

Before the motive for the early morning attack was reported, Hopkins incorrectly suggested that it was Islamist in nature. Later on Monday, Robinson referred to it as a “revenge attack,” and claimed that it justified his dire prediction that far-right militias would soon form to defend Britain against the perceived threat from multiculturalism.

The attack came just after Britons marked the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Jo Cox, a pro-Europe member of Parliament who was killed by a pro-Brexit extremist who screamed “Britain First!” as he shot her.


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Russian Gov’t Approves European Convention against Terrorism Financing*

Russian Gov’t Approves European Convention against Terrorism Financing*

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chairs a Government meeting. © Alexander Astafyev / Sputnik



The Russian government has approved the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism and recommended the document for ratification by the parliament.

The government statement that recommends President Vladimir Putin submit the convention to the State Duma for ratification was published on the cabinet’s website on Friday. The bill on ratification of the convention has been prepared jointly by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian State Agency for Financial Monitoring.

The Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism was introduced in May 2005 and signed by Russia in January 2009. The explanatory note published by the government as an attachment to the bill on the ratification of the convention reads that, once ratified, the document would boost the effectiveness of cooperation between Russian and foreign agencies targeting terrorism and money laundering.

The convention is also expected to give additional impetus for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

Russia introduced the latest major package of anti-terrorist amendments to its legislation about a year ago, making international terrorism a separate crime punished with up to 10 years in prison, as well as ordering up to 15 years behind bars for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups.

Attracting new recruits to a terrorist organization was also criminalized, and will be punished with prison terms of between five and 10 years. Public calls for terrorism and public justification of terrorist crimes were also criminalized, with possible punishment of up to seven years in prison.

The new bill also lowered the age threshold for terrorist crimes, such as terrorist attacks and hostage taking, to 14 years of age from the current 16. Presently the age of minors in Russia is 16, with exceptions for crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping and several others, where the age of criminal responsibility is 14.

Most recent changes to the Russian anti-terrorist laws was made in late May this year when Putin signed into law the bill that introduced administrative surveillance for people who have committed terrorist crimes and have already served their sentences.


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Europe Moves Away from U.S. to Become Independent in Terms of Defense Capability*

Europe Moves Away from U.S. to Become Independent in Terms of Defense Capability*

By Alex Gorka

The idea to create a European defense structure independent from NATO had been floated for some time. It was a topic for discussions but no concrete steps have been taken to make it come true. It appears to be changing now after U.S. President Trump apparently made no mention of Article 5 or collective defense during the May 25 NATO summit to stun his European allies. «Trump Leaves NATO» was the Carnegie Endowment’s assessment of the event. No such thing ever happened before. It provides a powerful incentive for the Europeans to push ahead with plans to convert the words into deeds. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Europeans “to take our destiny in our hands” and warned that the United States was no longer a reliable partner. Her words marked a turning point.

The first thing German, French defense chiefs did right after the summit was to launch a joint initiative to create a European security force. The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is at the core of the effort. PESCO is a mechanism allowing willing countries to launch joint security projects without requiring all E.U. member states to agree or participate. The Initiative has been supported by the E.U. executive branch of power.

On June 7, the European Commission proposed a new common defence fund to reverse billions of euros in defense cuts to let governments club together to develop and buy new helicopters and planes at lower costs, also opening the door to new drones, cyberwarfare systems and other hi-tech gear. The measure would help Europe stand alone as a global military power while the ties with the U.S. get more strained.

The E.U. executive is mobilizing €39 ($43, 8) billion by 2027 to support the joint development of military capabilities. Together with national contributions, the Commission expects to mobilize €5.5 ($6, 2) billion per year after 2020. National governments will identify jointly with the European Defence Agency what military capabilities should be prioritized.

The E.U. estimates it loses up to a €100 ($112, 3) billion a year on duplication, leaving it with far fewer capabilities than the U.S. Europe has 37 types of armoured personal carriers and 12 types of tanker aircraft compared to nine and four respectively in the United States, according to E.U. analysis. For the future, an idea of a common European defence bond for joint purchases is floated, though no decisions have been taken so far.

The Commission also presented a reflection paper that hopes to kick off the process of articulating a political vision on three possible scenarios for the development of nascent cooperation on defense. One of the options foresees a mutual assistance clause to respond to external attacks, sharing the cost of expensive military assets, and the E.U.’s «high-end security and defence operations» with a greater level of integration of national defence forces. It envisages the creation of «pre-positioned permanently available forces» for rapid deployment «on behalf of the union,» as well as a European border and coast guard relying on joint intelligence assets, such as remotely piloted aircraft systems or satellites. All these measures would enable the bloc to run high-end operations in hostile environments.

The European Union’s defense fund idea, which still needs to be approved by governments and the European Parliament, is part of an emerging network of proposals that E.U. leaders are set to consider at a summit in Brussels on June 22-23. The European Union is setting up a military headquarters – the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) – for training missions abroad. It wants to make it easier to use its E.U. battlegroups that have never been put to action.

The 13 battalion-sized battle groups were envisioned as small, collective defense forces ready for rapid response to developing crises anywhere in the world. Declared fully operational in 2007, they have never deployed due to political and financial considerations. In 2013, European leaders drew up plans to send a battle group to the Central African Republic to help avert the developing civil war there but the UK strongly opposed the idea to make it be swept under the rug. The plans will be revived when Estonia assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of the E.U. on July 1. The Estonian government says one of its main priorities will be securing common funding for the battle groups. Today, the nations comprising each battle group cover their own costs.

Actually, the new decisions dovetail with the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy adopted a year ago when Brexit hit headlines meaning the staunchest opponent of the European defense was leaving the bloc, paving the way for implementation of the European defense concept. The document says it is highly desirable for Europeans to build foreign policy, security, and defense capabilities instead of relying solely on the United States for protection and global services.

The meaning is obvious – the E.U. must develop the capability to carry out its own military operations without Americans. Allocating military resources to an independent European structure will greatly weaken NATO. But the idea of a European military independent from the U.S. is gaining traction. If the idea goes through, arrangements could allow Norway, a NATO member outside the E.U., to contribute, while Sweden and Finland, E.U. members outside NATO, might find an E.U. alliance preferable to one that crosses the Atlantic.

In the past, E.U. members have been dragged into conflicts, like Afghanistan and Iraq that had no relation to European security in order to demonstrate solidarity with America. If implemented, the European defense concept will allow to give priority to European, rather than transatlantic, security interests. For instance, creating a E.U. border force to counter the refugees’ problem. Europe is facing multiple threats in its strategic neighbourhood, while the U.S. is moving to Asia. Better relations with Russia would be an additional bonus for a E.U. security alliance independent from U.S.-dominated NATO. United by common threats to the European continent, the two could more easily reduce tensions and mistrust.

With the U.S. and Europe apparently going separate ways, NATO will be weakened and a new pattern of European security will emerge. This process has been launched and it’s hardly possible to stop it.


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Putin says European Elites Are Working to Prevent Brexit*



Putin says European Elites Are Working to Prevent Brexit*

Putin says European Elites Are Working to Prevent Brexit*

By Baxter Dmitry

President Vladimir Putin has sent a warning to the people of the United Kingdom, telling them that “Brexit will never happen” if left to the elites, and that the “the final battle for British sovereignty” is being fought right now.

The U.K. election resulted in a hung parliament and Putin explained that although Conservative PM Theresa May campaigned on a pro-Brexit platform, she relied on “fake enthusiasm” and had “more bad days than good” during the campaign.

The British people saw through her act and refused to rally behind her, according to Putin. The sad fact is that in 2017 Britain does not have leaders who are willing to stand up to the European elite and fight for the British people’s desire to reject the New World Order.

President Vladimir Putin said he fears that the United Kingdom “will never leave” the European Union because “Brexit was untenable for the powers that be.

The British people must fight for their rights now, right now,” Putin explained, “or else the elites will get them in a vice-like grip of which they will never be able to free themselves.

“It is now or never for them. They rejected the globalist vision, the European superstate, in favor of their national identity, their great history, their great culture. Now they need to force their leaders to respect them. Because, mark my words, their leaders are doing everything they can to betray them.”

Putin also warned that the gains made by the Labour Party in the election represent the start of a complete overhaul of the Brexit decision. Theresa May’s Conservative Party have lost their parliamentary majority and another election in the near future is highly likely.

Another swing towards the socialist Labour Party in the future will be the final nail in the coffin of the “Brexit dream”. The European elites will have recovered from the devastating loss of the United Kingdom from their New World Order project.


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West Finds New Pretext to Interfere and Extend the Syrian Conflict*

West Finds New Pretext to Interfere and Extend the Syrian Conflict*

The Syrian government army is launching simultaneous attacks in different directions, which are so successful that the attempts to slow it down won’t be long in coming, says Russian political analyst Evgeny Krutikov. He suggested that the West has found a new pretext for the extension of the conflict – the control over the borders with Syria.

From the beginning of summer, the Syrian government forces have been steadily maintaining their initiative on all ongoing military fronts, Evgeny Krutikov writes in his article for Russia’s online newspaper Vzglyad.

Russian aviation is being used to deliver selective strikes on the columns of jihadists, who are moving to the front lines from the rear, mostly from Raqqa.

The Syrian army is now able to move freely in the desert, which was earlier accessible only to the militants. Before, the Syrian Forces were able to move only along the highways, and it was very easy to cut off its supply routes.

These developments pose a threat to external political players, the political analyst says, who would try if not to stop the successful operations of the government forces, then at least will attempt to slow them down, “until further clarification.”

Krutikov then suggests how the U.S.-led coalition might be able to do it. For example, he says, the U.S. -coalition in Iraq voices its dissatisfaction that part of the Syrian-Iraqi border is now under control not of Damascus, but of its allied Shia units.

Baghdad sees it as Iran’s scheming, which is allegedly going to set up a military corridor from its territory through Iraq to Syria, thus seeking more favorable conditions at a new round of peace talks either in Astana, or Geneva.

“Those are the usual geopolitical fears of the Middle East. Similar claims are being laid by Ankara to the Kurdish units. Such bogus claims could have a serious influence on the western judgment of what is going on the ground in Syria and provoke its interference,” the political analyst says.

Hence it could use it as a formal pretext to return control over the borders with Syria, this time blaming not Assad, but Iran.


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For Centuries European Aristocrats Proudly Claimed Foreign Ancestry*

For Centuries European Aristocrats Proudly Claimed Foreign Ancestry*

By Blake Smith

Aeneas and his Father Fleeing Troy by Simon Vouet c 1635. San Diego Museum of Art/Wikipedia


Modern nationalism valorises a people’s deep, primordial relationship with land. It also depends on enemies, outsiders and foreigners to help unite the members of the nation. These claims do not have to be historically accurate to be politically powerful. Far-right Hindu nationalists in India today, for example, claim that the Taj Mahal, a symbol of the Muslim sultans of the Mughal dynasty, was originally a Hindu temple. Defying historical fact, such claims portray Indian nationalist movements as guardians of native heritage while denying Indian Muslims any ties to the nation’s past glories.

For much of Western history, however, claiming foreign ancestry was the key to political legitimacy. From the Roman Empire to the Renaissance, noble families across Europe insisted that they were not related to the populations they ruled. They traced their ancestry back to illustrious foreign powers, including figures of myth and legend. Among the most popular were the protagonists of the Trojan War. Europeans were familiar with the exploits of Greek heroes such as Ajax and Achilles as recorded in the Iliad. Roman emperors, Germanic warlords and crusading nobles, however, identified themselves not with the Greek victors of the war, but with the defeated Trojans. While European nationalists today see migrants of Middle Eastern wars as an existential threat to their homelands, Europe’s Roman and medieval elites boasted of their Trojan ancestors, refugees fleeing the ruins of their Asian home.

The most famous of these refugees was Aeneas, a legendary prince of Troy. Barely mentioned in the Iliad, he became a key figure of Roman myth in the first century BCE. Romans imagined that the Trojan prince had escaped his city as it was sacked by the Greeks. Aeneas resettled in Italy, conquered the local people and became the forefather of Romulus, founder of Rome. The Roman Republic was by then master of the Mediterranean world, and the story of Aeneas offered justification for its conquests. By conquering the Italian peninsula, it could be argued, Rome had finished Aeneas’ mission. By humbling the Greek city-states and Hellenistic kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean, Rome had avenged Troy’s fall. The Romans were an intensely patriotic people, but rather than imagine themselves as sons of the Italian soil, they preferred to think that they were born to move, fight and reign across the world.

The legend of Aeneas was such a powerful ideological tool that the ambitious general and politician Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE) and his adopted son Augustus (63-14 BCE) made it their own, creating a genealogy to prove their direct descent from Aeneas. The poet Virgil immortalised their claims in the Aeneid, an epic poem about Aeneas’ journey from Troy to Rome (written in 29-19 BCE). Caesar and Augustus transformed the Roman Republic into an empire ruled by a single dynasty. They smoothed the transition by conflating Rome’s Trojan heritage with their own family tree. Foreign origins served to differentiate the imperial household from the Roman masses, and to legitimise a cosmopolitan empire.

The imperial myth of Aeneas would outlive the empire. In the turbulent third, fourth and fifth centuries CE, groups of Germanic warriors wrested much of western Europe from Roman control. Besides seizing territory, Germanic elites also appropriated the symbols of Roman authority, including the myth of Trojan origins. The Merovingians, rulers of the Frankish tribes who had seized what is now France, stole a page from Virgil’s book in the seventh-century Chronicle of Fredegar. This text traced the history of the Franks back to Francio, a clone of Aeneas who supposedly settled on the Rhine. When the Carolingians, a rival Frankish dynasty, deposed the Merovingians, these newcomers sought to prove that they were even more Trojan than the kings they had overthrown. In chronicles and poems, the propagandists of the Carolingian court celebrated its rulers as descendants of Aeneas, asserting their connections to the most celebrated Trojan exile.

The other dynasties of western Europe forged their own stories of Trojan ancestry, eager not to let the Franks keep the symbolic heritage of Troy and Rome to themselves. After their conquest of England in 1066, the Normans, originally of Viking origin, invented the Trojan hero Brutus, who was said to have fled Troy at the same time that Francio and Aeneas were setting out for the Rhine and the Tiber. In Germany, rival dynasties seeking control of the Holy Roman Empire claimed that they, too, were the offspring of a Trojan refugee. Mythical genealogies offered a basis for elites across Europe to emphasise their superiority over common people. Heirs to Troy, and by extension to the Roman Empire, they had a right to rule inherited from the heroes of classical antiquity.

Like the Romans, medieval Europeans used their purported connections to Troy as a rationale for conquest. In 1204, relatives of the French royal family diverted what was supposed to be a crusade in Syria and Palestine towards a new target: Constantinople. The capital of the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire, it was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe. The crusaders sacked it, slaughtering thousands of fellow Christians. To justify their actions, French leaders of the crusade claimed that they were taking their revenge against the Greeks for the fall of their ancient Trojan homeland. Instead of fighting Muslims in the Holy Land, they refought the Trojan War.

For nearly 1,500 years, ties to ancient Troy offered Europe’s leaders justification for autocratic rule at home and military adventures abroad. But, by the early modern era, Europe was beginning to forget its Trojan roots. The rise of the Ottoman Turks, who conquered Constantinople in 1453 and menaced Europe for the next 300 years, seems to have dampened European rulers’ enthusiasm for being identified with Asia Minor. Meanwhile, historians of Europe’s emerging nation-states debunked legends about Trojan immigrants settling Britain, Germany and France. They sought to learn more about the long-forgotten ancient peoples of the continent, like the pre-Roman Celts.

By the end of the 18th century, as the age of democratic revolutions began, European aristocrats would have reason to regret their conspicuous identification with foreigners. Leading figures of the French Revolution denounced the nobility as descendants of barbarian invaders, and identified the common people as the true heirs of the Celts. Today, the Celts or ‘Gaulois’ are still key figures in French national consciousness, inspiring the comic-book hero Asterix. Trojans – and aristocrats who claimed descent from them – are nowhere to be seen.

In recent years, many scholars have highlighted the longstanding historical connections between Europe and Asia, or Europe and Islam, as a response to nationalist movements across Europe that see immigrants as a threat to local cultures. By challenging accounts of history that pit virtuous natives against dangerous outsiders, such historians promote more inclusive understandings of identity and more open immigration policies. But, from the long view of European history, nationalist myths about indigenous peoples are a recent invention, a response to elites’ emphasis on their foreign origins. Roman and medieval rulers’ cosmopolitan identities were no guarantee of tolerant or peaceful policies.

Scholars who try to resist the rising tide of nationalism in Europe and throughout the world by pointing to the rich connections between cultures of the past should be on guard against undue optimism; for centuries, identification with immigrants from Asia Minor was an ironic but effective tool of imperial power.


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Putin Exposes U.S. Presidents Are Not Ruling Washington*

Putin Exposes U.S. Presidents Are Not Ruling Washington*


From Alexandra Bruce

This week, Russia is hosting the St. Petersburg Economic Form, in which local leaders, like Indian
Prime Minister Narendra Modi are showing up to discuss their deal for a new nuclear energy plant, etc. and Putin took the opportunity to share his views about U.S. politics:

“I have already spoken to three U.S. Presidents. They come and go but [U.S.] politics stay the same. Do you know why? Because of the powerful bureaucracy. When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well-dressed, wearing dark suits, just like mine, except for the red tie, since they wear black or dark blue ones.
“These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes. This is what happens with every administration.
“Changing things is not easy, and I say this without any irony. It is not that someone does not want to, but because it is a hard thing to do.
“Take Obama, a forward-thinking man, a Liberal, a Democrat. Did he not pledge to shut down Guantánamo before his election? But did he do it? No, he did not. And may I ask why not? Did he I am sure he did, but it did not work out. He sincerely wanted to do it, but did not succeed, since it turned out to be very complicated.
“This is not the main issue, however, even though it is important, since it is hard to fathom that people have been walking there, in chains for decades without trial or investigation.
“Can you imagine France or Russia acting this way? This would have been a disaster. But it is possible in the United States and continues to this day.
“I referred to this example just to show that it is not as simple as it may seem.
“That said, I am cautiously optimistic, and I think that we can and should be able to reach agreements on key issues.”

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