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Russia Has Lost Almost 90% of Its Prewar Army, U.S. Intelligence Says – The Wall Street Journal

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Russia Has Lost Almost 90% of Its Prewar Army, U.S. Intelligence Says  The Wall Street Journal

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@general_ben: “The British Min of Def said the average number of daily Russian casualties had increased by nearly 300 per day in 2023 compared to the first year of the war. The increase in daily averages almost certainly reflects the degradation of Russia’s forces.” https://t.co/xfNLZwuulw

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“The British Min of Def said the average number of daily Russian casualties had increased by nearly 300 per day in 2023 compared to the first year of the war. The increase in daily averages almost certainly reflects the degradation of Russia’s forces.” https://t.co/xfNLZwuulw

— Ben Hodges (@general_ben) December 31, 2023


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Ex-FBI counterintelligence official gets more than 4 years in prison for aiding Russian oligarch – NBC New York

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Ex-FBI counterintelligence official gets more than 4 years in prison for aiding Russian oligarch  NBC New York

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Hamas leaders lived like wealthy celebrities in Gaza terror reign prior to Oct. 7 massacre – Fox News

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Hamas leaders lived like wealthy celebrities in Gaza terror reign prior to Oct. 7 massacre  Fox News

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Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to exchange POWs, take steps on normalising ties – FRANCE 24 English

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Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to exchange POWs, take steps on normalising ties  FRANCE 24 English

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@mikenov: I say: But first investigate the criminal #FBI to its bare bones, and put all its mafiosi psychopaths in prison for the rest of their miserable lives! “Shut It Down”: Vivek Ramaswamy Says FBI Can’t Be Reformed Vivek Ramaswamy posted, “The FBI can’t be reformed.’ The right answer…

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Bob Dylan walking with his then-girlfriend Suze Rotolo in September, 1961, in New York City, New York.
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Rotolo’s FBI file is a reminder that the greatest threat to freedom is the agency tasked with protecting it.

There Are Good Reasons to Defund the FBI. They Have Nothing to Do With Trump.

posted at 13:59:40 UTC via truthout.org

This week the FBI took the unprecedented step of executing a search warrant on the Mar-a-Lago home of former President Donald Trump. No former president has ever been the subject of such an investigative practice. In response, chief Trump supporter and MAGA cheerleader Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed outrage at the FBI’s actions by tweeting, “DEFUND THE FBI!” Far right Rep. Paul Gosar hit similar notes, tweeting, “We must destroy the FBI. We must save America.” While this about-face on “Back the Blue” is an amusing example of the right-wing ideological confusion that ensues when lawmakers adhere to diehard Trump loyalism, we on the left should use this moment as an opportunity to explore a plan to actually do that. The FBI should indeed be defunded — though the reasons for that have nothing to do with the fact that the agency searched Donald Trump’s home.

The January 6 attack on the Capitol showed us the deep fissures in the Back the Blue concept trotted out by the right in response to the Black Lives Matter protests of recent years. While conservatives claim to support the police, they do so on a very narrow basis. Police authority is desirable to them only as long as it is solely directed at what they perceive to be suspect classes, including poor people, BIPOC communities, trans people, immigrants, anti-fascists, sex workers, and other marginalized groups. Built into right-wing support for the police is an understanding — grounded in history — that police authority should not be exercised against the powerful classes, including the wealthy, the politically dominant — and white nationalists. This understanding is why many on the right do not view images of “Back the Blue” proponents beating Capitol police with their Trump flags as hypocritical.

This seeming contradiction helps us get to a deeper truth about the nature of police power. The FBI in particular, and the police in general, were not created to provide justice. Instead, the history of the FBI is one of repressing movements for liberation and carrying out wars on marginalized communities in the guise of wars on drugs, crime, terrorism, gangs and communism, among other phenomena determined by the state to be threats. The FBI’s long-running stretches of state-sanctioned violence have served to criminalize those that challenge the status quo, either through organized resistance or through survival strategies that interfere with capitalist notions of protecting the private property and individual autonomy of the rich and powerful.

The precursor to the FBI, the Bureau of Investigation, was created in 1908 in large part to investigate political threats to the power of the robber barons. These threats included striking workers, anarchists and communists. Driven initially by fears of communist revolution following the Russian Revolution and then the massive strikes and labor militancy of the 1930s, the Bureau of Investigation became the primary federal tool for surveilling and subverting left organizing. It was taken over by J. Edgar Hoover in 1924 and transformed into the FBI in 1934, when it became a massive domestic intelligence-gathering operation with files on millions of Americans including politicians, celebrities, labor leaders, journalists, religious figures, and anyone suspected of subversive leanings, many of whom were people of color, Jews, and other members of historically oppressed communities. Tim Weiner, in his book, Enemies: A History of the FBI, meticulously documents the political origins of the FBI and its dirty tricks.

In the 1960s, Hoover identified a new subversive threat: the civil rights movement. The Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), was an FBI-created program that spied on and undermined both socialist leaders and civil rights movement leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., and helped coordinate local attacks on the Black Panthers, the Socialist Workers Party, and many other groups. FBI agents attended activist groups’ meetings, openly photographed license plates of attendees, wiretapped phones, sent fake correspondences, and used informants to plant false rumors about marital infidelities and police cooperation to sow fear and dissension. The FBI was directly involved with local officials in Chicago who conspired to assassinate Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.

Related Story

FBI agent looks at laptop computer

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White supremacy continues to be the greatest domestic threat, but the FBI is more interested in its own fantasies.

The history of the FBI is one of repressing movements for liberation and carrying out wars on marginalized communities.

The FBI has long been a tool of political subversion used to suppress threats to the status quo. But, in contrast to the claims of Trump loyalists, the focus of the FBI’s attacks has rarely been the right-wing extremists that now dominate much of the Republican Party. In his book Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide, former FBI agent Michael German points out how federal law enforcement has largely ignored or excused right-wing violence, leaving a focus on Muslim immigrants, environmental activists and the Movement for Black Lives, among other marginalized groups.

Given this history of politically motivated repression, it should be the left calling for defunding and defanging the FBI. Here is a concrete program to begin that process:

1) End the FBI’s role in political policing. The FBI should be forced to shut down the intelligence-gathering activities that make possible the subversion tactics at the center of the agency’s history. Following the revelations of COINTELPRO in the 1970s, the Church Committee attempted this through the power of congressional oversight, but many of the FBI’s harmful practices remained, although they were better hidden from view and protected by language intended to restrict — but not eliminate — their activities.

2) End the FBI’s role in the “war on terror.” One of the primary tools in waging this war has been the entrapment of people who are lured into fantastical plots invented by FBI agents so that they can be arrested for planning actions they had no intention or ability to ever complete. The goal of these operations, such as the targeting of an intellectually disabled man in New York who was lured into a FBI-created plot to bomb the Herald Square subway station, seem designed to give the FBI the appearance of winning — to garner support for counterterrorism funding for the agency. We should also dismantle fusion centers and Joint Terrorism Task Forces. As Brendan McQuade documents in Pacifying the Homeland, these efforts have had little to do with protecting us from actual violence. Instead, they have morphed into all-purpose “predictive” policing operations that spend much of their time preparing threat assessments for local police and private business interests that both exaggerate the threat of politically motivated violence and use complex algorithms to justify intensive and invasive policing of poor and BIPOC communities.

3) End the FBI’s role in the “war on drugs.” The war on drugs has been an unmitigated failure, if your metric of success is saving lives and improving community safety. If, however, your metric of success is one of criminalizing political enemies and violently targeting the poor and people of color, then the mission has certainly been accomplished. The federal prohibition on many drugs has been a major driver of mass incarceration, the criminalization of non-white communities and the overdose crisis. Susan Phillips’s Operation Flytrap shows how the eponymously named FBI anti-drug sting did nothing to end the flow of drugs into Los Angeles, and instead pointlessly criminalized the most vulnerable people in a community hard hit by poverty, unemployment, and public and private sector disinvestment. In addition, we should abolish the Drug Enforcement Agency, and use the savings to invest in police-free harm reduction projects, high-quality and noncoercive drug treatment, and targeted economic development programs.

4) End the FBI’s role in so-called violence reduction. Presidents have repeatedly used the FBI as a political tool for looking “tough on crime.” “Gang takedowns” and special initiatives have been created to give the appearance of federal action to tackle crime, but have little to show for themselves other than police-perpetrated abuse and mass incarceration. For years the FBI has been using RICO conspiracy laws to target youth violence. As The Policing and Social Justice Project documented in New York City, these takedowns ensnare large numbers of young people based on their associations, rather than direct involvement in violence. City University of New York law professor Babe Howell showed that in one such mass arrest of 120 young people, half of those charged were simply accused of drug-related offenses, despite being called the “worst of the worst” and held without bail for up to two years awaiting dispositions. (However, even if they had been accused of actual violence, there would be no justification for treating them in this way.) Instead of pouring money into “anti-violence” initiatives that are themselves purveyors of violence, we should be looking to community-driven solutions. The New York City G.A.N.G.S. Coalition and others around the U.S. have called instead for investments in community-based anti-violence initiatives and reinvestments in communities devastated by deindustrialization, redlining and austerity.

Federal law enforcement has largely ignored or excused right-wing violence.

In 2019, Donald Trump laid out his plan to use the FBI to help with his reelection effort, called Operation Relentless Pursuit. He targeted seven cities run by Democratic mayors to receive infusions of federal agents and money for more local police to engage in intensive policing of “high crime” communities, backed up by intensive federal prosecutions. Local activists in the targeted cities of MemphisClevelandMilwaukeeBaltimore and Albuquerque mobilized against local cooperation with this initiative citing the lack of federal accountability and the need for community investments, not more policing.

These four steps would dramatically shrink the scope and power of the FBI and pave the way toward abolishing an agency that has not provided real justice or protection for large segments of U.S. society. As right-wingers make a bizarre and twisted case for defunding the FBI, we on the left need to make our own case for defunding the FBI’s intrusive and illegitimate political policing. Then we must go further and question the basic function of federal law enforcement in propping up a system of profound inequality, injustice and state violence.

For 22 years, Truthout has been a platform for new and daring ideas, uplifting voices and producing trailblazing, award-winning journalism. The stories we’ve published over the last two decades have been read by tens of millions of people and inspired the conversations and actions that are necessary for social change.

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Veteran singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is currently promoting his album Rough and Rowdy Ways, with the epic song “Murder Most Foul” — a deconstruction of the John F. Kennedy assassination and the larger 1960s, full of paranoia, intimations of conspiracy and foreboding. While the song reconstructs the world of the ‘60s, it is also, with its allusions to sinister forces at play, very much a song of the moment. The irony in all this, however, is that documents buried in the archives recently discovered by this author detail how Dylan himself was a target of a secret government program during that period.

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On December 13 that year, the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (ECLC) — an advocacy group for constitutional rights, with considerable Communist Party influence — held its annual Bill of Rights Dinner. The event aimed to honor people it considered at the forefront of the fight for civil liberties. One of those up for an award was Bob Dylan.

Dylan, who had been drinking freely throughout the evening, was not employing the most diplomatic behavior. When he rose to accept the honor, he proceeded to give a rambling speech, where among other things, he opined on the assassination — a matter still white-hot in most people’s thinking:

I got to admit that the man who shot President Kennedy, Lee Oswald, I don’t know exactly where — what he thought he was doing, but I got to admit honestly that I too — I saw some of myself in him. I don’t think it would have gone — I don’t think it could go that far. But I got to stand up and say I saw things that he felt, in me — not to go that far and shoot.

While much of the audience responded to Dylan’s remarks with boos and hisses, FBI informants — there were at least five in the audience — were taking notes. Based on these, an internal memo claimed Dylan had said, “He would not go that far, but he is not sure.” Later reports, such as those in his girlfriend Suze Rotolo’s Bureau file, would omit the provocative phrase “but he is not sure.” The initial report, however, went into and would remain in the FBI’s records.

Related Story

Bob Dylan walking with his then-girlfriend Suze Rotolo in September, 1961, in New York City, New York.

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Rotolo’s FBI file is a reminder that the greatest threat to freedom is the agency tasked with protecting it.

Dylan would walk back his comments to a degree, issuing a statement saying, among other things, “when I spoke of Lee Oswald, I was speakin of the times I was not speakin of his deed if it was his deed the deed speaks for itself.” But it did not stop the fallout. We now know the FBI quickly crafted a plan for using the remarks against Dylan and the ECLC. These revelations come via memos buried in the voluminous, and largely unexamined, files of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) aimed at the Communist Party U.S.A. (CPUSA).

In the wake of the dinner, the New York FBI sent a memo, dated December 16, 1963, to J. Edgar Hoover recounting the particulars of the incident. In it, agents wrote, “The statement in the letterhead memorandum made by Dylan pertaining to the assassination of President KENNEDY has been furnished to the Secret Service in New York City.” However, in another memo a week later, they made clear they were not limiting things to the Secret Service:

The above statement of Dylan’s [on Oswald] was furnished to the Secret Service in New York City by the New York Office (NYO). At the Seat of Government [Washington DC] we disseminated copies of the memorandum concerning the meeting, including Dylan’s statement, to Secret Service, Assistant Attorney General Yeagley and to the intelligence agencies of the armed services.

In this way, the FBI was not just alerting the Secret Service, but was also alerting other key federal agencies, suggesting Bob Dylan was a potential national security threat.

That same memo also laid out what the FBI knew about Dylan up to that point. In it, they report that the April 16 issue of the National Guardian — a leftist weekly — “contained an announcement regarding a ‘Folk and Jazz Concert’ to be presented on 4-25-62 by the U.S. Festival Committee. One of the individuals listed to perform at this ‘concert’ was Bob Dylan.” The scare quotes around the word “concert” suggesting ulterior aims.

That same report notes Dylan’s aborted appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” citing a New York Times article from May 14, 1963. Dylan had been scheduled to appear on the show and planned to perform the song, “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” which ridiculed that right-wing organization. However, the producers told him after the rehearsal that he could not play the song because it was “controversial.” That incident in turn led CBS — which owned Dylan’s label, Columbia Records — to remove the song from Dylan’s forthcoming Freewheelin’ album.

The Bureau, however, was not content to just write memos. The incident occurred at a time when the FBI was undertaking an aggressive campaign to disrupt the Communist Party through COINTELPRO. In the FBI’s view, the CPUSA was in disarray in the aftermath of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Joseph Stalin in 1956. As such, the Bureau assessed that the situation was “made to order for an all-out disruptive attack against the [Communist Party] from within.” What followed was an extensive campaign to disrupt the group by spreading rumors, sending out poison pen letters, planting stories in the press, and other secret measures. In that regard, they saw Dylan’s speech as an opportunity:

Under the Counterintelligence Program, it is urged that this statement of BOB DYLAN, made at this meeting, be brought to the attention of all the Bureau’s contacts in the mass media field so that proper publicity will be given to DYLAN, who by means of his folk singing, has the ability to have some communication with American youth. In addition, publicity of this sort will point up the type of organization the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee is to honor an individual of Dylan’s mentality.

The contempt exhibited for Dylan in this is palpable.

Two weeks later, a piece by nationally syndicated columnist Fulton Lewis Jr. was published in newspapers around the country. Lewis’s column was a detailed report of the dinner — though notably, he did not claim to be in attendance — that reads as if taken straight from the FBI’s files. For example, he notes the attendance of Robert Thompson, a “top-ranking Communist official once convicted of violating the Smith Act, and Harvey O’Connor, the oft-identified Communist.”

The column also disparages James Baldwin — honored at the event alongside Dylan — as a “liberal egghead,” before turning to the musician:

The ECRC Tom Paine Award went to folksinger Bob Dylan, who wore dirty chinos and a worn-out shirt. He accepted the award “on behalf of all those who went to Cuba because they’re young and I’m young and I’m proud of it.” He went on to say that he saw part of Lee Harvey Oswald “in myself.”

It is not surprising that Lewis would have such information. He was one of the media sources considered to be among the FBI’s “press contacts.” He was also considered to be an ally of the Bureau and its longtime director, J. Edgar Hoover. This closeness can be seen in a letter from Hoover, obtained via a FOIA request by this author, to Lewis’s successor after Lewis died in 1966. While the addressee of the letter is redacted, a typed “Note” on the bottom reads “Fulton Lewis, Jr., was a good friend to the Bureau and the Director.”

How all this ultimately impacted the ECLC and the CPUSA is unclear — it was but one among a barrage of efforts by the Bureau. With Dylan, however, it offers another piece in the puzzle of the attention and repression aimed at him during his most overtly political period, when he wrote such songs as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Masters of War,” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” Not only had he been prohibited from singing “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues” on “The Ed Sullivan Show” that May, two weeks before the ECLC dinner, there was a hit piece on Dylan in Newsweek. The piece, along with ridiculing his singing, claimed a New Jersey high school student — not Dylan — wrote the song “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Notably, those attacks were conducted more or less in the open. The FBI, however, was operating in the shadows.

The pushback on Dylan happened amid the Cold War contention between the now long-gone U.S.S.R. and the U.S. While that was a time with its own peculiar forms of repression, the impulse has not disappeared. Putting aside for the moment the fascistic politics percolating across the U.S., one need look no further than the current calls and actions to suppress those standing with the people of Gaza to see how fraught the current landscape is. If the Bob Dylan of today is writing songs about a dark turn of events in the U.S. — or as Dylan writes in “Murder Most Foul,” the place where faith, hope and charity die — he is only expanding on a narrative that has been in play for a considerable amount of time.

For 22 years, Truthout has been a platform for new and daring ideas, uplifting voices and producing trailblazing, award-winning journalism. The stories we’ve published over the last two decades have been read by tens of millions of people and inspired the conversations and actions that are necessary for social change.

But to continue publishing meaningful, powerful, inspiring journalism, we still need to raise $38,000 by midnight tomorrow — and for a limited time, any donation you make will be matched, dollar for dollar.

This fundraiser is our most important drive, and the perfect time to make your end-of-year donation. Your support is both vitally needed, and deeply appreciated, so if you’re in a position to give, please make your tax-deductible gift today.

—Ziggy West Jeffery

Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

World NewsEdited by NDTV News DeskUpdated: December 31, 2023 2:26 pm IST
'Shut It Down': Vivek Ramaswamy Says FBI Can't Be Reformed

Vivek Ramaswamy’s remarks have sparked a debate

New Delhi:

US Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has expressed his strong opinions about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), Mr Ramaswamy argued that the FBI is beyond reform and should be permanently shut down. He asserted that the president has the authority to take such action and pledged to do so if elected. 

Vivek Ramaswamy posted, “The FBI can’t be ‘reformed.’ The right answer is: Shut It Down. Yes, the President can do it. I will.”

The FBI can’t be “reformed.”The right answer is: Shut It Down.Yes, the President can do it.

I will.

— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) December 31, 2023

Mr Ramaswamy’s remarks have sparked a debate about the role and reform of federal law enforcement agencies on the social media platform.

A user wrote, “The correct position on this matter. Whether you win or not, I’m just glad someone in the race is saying this. Thank you.”

The correct position on this matter. Whether you win or not, I’m just glad someone in the race is saying this. Thank you.

— Daniel de la Fé (@dandelafe) December 31, 2023

Another one added, “I agree with your general ideas about the #FBI. However, there needs to be a real well thought out replacement/ transition plan. You can’t just waive your magic wand. There are important existing operations going on. Granularity is required. A well thought out plan is needed,”

I agree with your general ideas about the #FBI. However, their needs to be a real well thought out replacement/ transition plan. You cant just waive your magic wand.
There are important existing operations going on. Granularity is required. A well thought out plan is needed

— Bernie Gartenlaub (@argoexp) December 31, 2023

“Wow. That’s quite a statement. Is the corruption within the FBI of such a kind that there’s no way to clean up the house but only one option = shut it down?” read a comment.

Wow. That’s quite a statement Vivek. Is the corruption within the FBI of such a kind that there’s no way to clean up the house but only one option = shut it down? ????

— Carine Knapen (@CarineKnapen) December 31, 2023

This is not the first time Vivek Ramaswamy has shared a strong opinion about the FBI. Earlier, he had said that fire over 75 per cent of the federal workforce and shutter several major agencies if he is elected the US President, the New York Times reported. 

Mr Ramaswamy had said that he would disband the “Department of Education, the FBI, the Food and Nutrition Service, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” the report added.

Meanwhile, Vivek Ramaswamy has also urged his party leaders to avoid taking part in primary elections that exclude Donald Trump from the ballot. This request comes after Colorado decided not to include Mr Trump in their state polls. 

Now California is trying to remove Trump from ballot, citing Colorado.

DeSantis, Haley, & Christie should join me in pledging to withdraw from the primary in *any* state that removes Trump from ballot. That’s the only way to stop blatant election interference in the GOP primary. https://t.co/5xvuLWRWGD

— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) December 20, 2023

On December 20, the Colorado Supreme Court said Donal Trump is “disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” 

 NT-News-and-Times.png

Tweets from Michael Novakhov – TNT – The News And Times – TheNewsAndTimes.com
I say: But first investigate the criminal #FBI to its bare bones, and put all its mafiosi psychopaths in prison for the rest of their miserable lives!”Shut It Down”: Vivek Ramaswamy Says FBI Can’t Be ReformedVivek Ramaswamy posted, “The FBI can’t be reformed.’ The right answer… pic.twitter.com/XeAOikpAv3— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) December 31, 2023…
posted 19m ago by @mikenov via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Good day, fellow Vets & Patriots! 👊🏻🇺🇲🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿The rest of you anti-American dirtbags & supporters of the senile, bag of bones #Biden & his Gestapo #FBI can go to hell!#FJB #NotSorry#MagaVeteran#BidenMustGo #Trump2024TheOnlyChoice pic.twitter.com/jLx5qtVEtb— Shawn Hawkins (@ArmedPatriot45) December 27, 2023
posted 19m ago by @mikenov via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
NYTimes is the subtle pro-Putin INFLUENCER!https://t.co/Shwg7EWAuuIS NYTIMES BOUGHT BY PUTIN? – GS https://t.co/tp4wJisz0j Where Was the Israeli Military When Hamas Attacked?https://t.co/7HmoOGIKdxThis article points to NYT’s bias one more time: It blames the victim and… pic.twitter.com/gVOcH8kgux— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) December 31, 2023
posted 19m ago by @mikenov via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
NYTimes is the subtle pro-Putin INFLUENCER!https://t.co/Shwg7EWAuuIS NYTIMES BOUGHT BY PUTIN? – GS https://t.co/tp4wJisz0j Where Was the Israeli Military When Hamas Attacked?https://t.co/7HmoOGIKdxThis article points to NYT’s bias one more time: It blames the victim and… pic.twitter.com/4S261uQXwb— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) December 31, 2023
posted 49m ago by @mikenov via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Nicola Jennings on #Hamas #Netanyahu and #Putin – political cartoon gallery in London https://t.co/dePcTdovuE pic.twitter.com/NaHddkz86z— Political Cartoon (@Cartoon4sale) December 26, 2023
posted 49m ago by @Cartoon4sale via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Time to change places. #Putin pic.twitter.com/grG64P2tDi— Steve Weatherill (@SteveWeatherill) December 31, 2023
posted 49m ago by @SteveWeatherill via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
https://t.co/Cvakv8E8IX#News #Times #NewsAndTimes #NT #TNT #Israel #World #USA #POTUS #DOJ #FBI #CIA #DIA #ODNI #Mossad #Putin #Russia #GRU #Ukraine #SouthCaucasus #NewAbwehr— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) December 31, 2023
posted 1h ago by @mikenov via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
NYTimes is the subtle pro-Putin INFLUENCER!https://t.co/Shwg7EWAuuIS NYTIMES BOUGHT BY PUTIN? – GS https://t.co/tp4wJisz0j Where Was the Israeli Military When Hamas Attacked?https://t.co/7HmoOGIKdxThis article points to NYT’s bias one more time: It blames the victim and… pic.twitter.com/9yjYurTXbH— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) December 31, 2023
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posted 1h ago by @generalsvr_en via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Logically, it is incredible that Russia thinks it is entitled to bomb civilians, hospitals, residential houses, schools & infrastructure whenever & wherever it feels like but gets outraged if one single Russian is being killed in Russia. But such is Putin & the KGB. He must go!— Anders Åslund (@anders_aslund) December 30, 2023
posted 1h ago by @anders_aslund via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Report exposes lapses in Israeli security during October 7 Hamas attack https://t.co/QQ7H6pUFHmvia @prapti_upadhayy— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) December 31, 2023
posted 1h ago by @mikenov via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Where Was the Israeli Military When Hamas Attacked? – The New York Times https://t.co/KpuiuUsAK6— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) December 31, 2023
posted 1h ago by @mikenov via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
IDF operations in Daraj and Tuffah may have degraded the al Qassem Brigades’ command and control of its battalion there.The IDF continued clearing operations near Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, on Dec. 29. The IDF also said that it is “expanding operations” in Khan Younis.… pic.twitter.com/ZgDUrlrWSl— Institute for the Study of War (@TheStudyofWar) December…
posted 19h ago by @TheStudyofWar via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
While Putin is hiding somewhere in the Kremlin, President Zelensky arrived today in the city of Avdiivka, located on the front lines to visit Ukrainian troops.Ukrainians are blessed to have such a brave leader. 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/7EtQcF7Vla— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) December 29, 2023
posted 19h ago by @RpsAgainstTrump via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Ukraine, backed by 30 other nations, has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council in response to a massive Russian missile attack across Ukraine, @SergiyKyslytsya told VOA.https://t.co/Ae0TlA5PF3— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) December 29, 2023
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Умер российский публицист Максим Соколов. Об этом сообщила в его аккаунте ВКонтакте жена Соколова. По её словам, он умер внезапно, причины смерти уточняются.https://t.co/7Y4pN2q7A0— Радио Свобода (@SvobodaRadio) December 30, 2023
posted 19h ago by @SvobodaRadio via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Russia spent over $1 billion in the largest single-day missile attack on Ukraine to date. Result: 30 Ukrainian civilians murdered, 160 injured.Ukrainian air defenses shot down 87 out of 127 missiles and 27 out of 36 drones.https://t.co/oEMShmEqay— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) December 29, 2023
posted 19h ago by @igorsushko via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Why does the @nytimes admonish Ukraine to give in to Putin?— Anders Åslund (@anders_aslund) December 29, 2023
posted 19h ago by @anders_aslund via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
Es solo una cuestión de tiempo❗Las FDI allanaron hoy el cuartel general de inteligencia militar de Hamás en Khan Yunis, un golpe al corazón del grupo terrorista. #HamasisISIS #Israel #Gaza #Hamas #Hezbollah #WestBank #فلسطين #بالقدس #السلطة #هنية #نابلس #السهم_الواقي #اطلاع… pic.twitter.com/ujslWdMgCx— Agencia AJN (@AgenciaAJN) December 30, 2023
posted 19h ago by @AgenciaAJN via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
PM said to bar Mossad and Shin Bet heads from an operational meeting with Gallant | The Times of Israel https://t.co/iK5U8yqS3k— Dr. Dan Lomas (@Sandbagger_01) December 30, 2023
posted 20h ago by @Sandbagger_01 via (@mikenov) / Twitter
 
The News And Times Information Network – Blogs By Michael Novakhov – thenewsandtimes.blogspot.com

The post @mikenov: I say: But first investigate the criminal #FBI to its bare bones, and put all its mafiosi psychopaths in prison for the rest of their miserable lives! “Shut It Down”: Vivek Ramaswamy Says FBI Can’t Be Reformed Vivek Ramaswamy posted, “The FBI can’t be reformed.’ The right answer… first appeared on Links – The News And Times.


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There Are Good Reasons to Defund the FBI. They Have Nothing to Do With Trump.

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This week the FBI took the unprecedented step of executing a search warrant on the Mar-a-Lago home of former President Donald Trump. No former president has ever been the subject of such an investigative practice. In response, chief Trump supporter and MAGA cheerleader Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed outrage at the FBI’s actions by tweeting, “DEFUND THE FBI!” Far right Rep. Paul Gosar hit similar notes, tweeting, “We must destroy the FBI. We must save America.” While this about-face on “Back the Blue” is an amusing example of the right-wing ideological confusion that ensues when lawmakers adhere to diehard Trump loyalism, we on the left should use this moment as an opportunity to explore a plan to actually do that. The FBI should indeed be defunded — though the reasons for that have nothing to do with the fact that the agency searched Donald Trump’s home.

The January 6 attack on the Capitol showed us the deep fissures in the Back the Blue concept trotted out by the right in response to the Black Lives Matter protests of recent years. While conservatives claim to support the police, they do so on a very narrow basis. Police authority is desirable to them only as long as it is solely directed at what they perceive to be suspect classes, including poor people, BIPOC communities, trans people, immigrants, anti-fascists, sex workers, and other marginalized groups. Built into right-wing support for the police is an understanding — grounded in history — that police authority should not be exercised against the powerful classes, including the wealthy, the politically dominant — and white nationalists. This understanding is why many on the right do not view images of “Back the Blue” proponents beating Capitol police with their Trump flags as hypocritical.

This seeming contradiction helps us get to a deeper truth about the nature of police power. The FBI in particular, and the police in general, were not created to provide justice. Instead, the history of the FBI is one of repressing movements for liberation and carrying out wars on marginalized communities in the guise of wars on drugs, crime, terrorism, gangs and communism, among other phenomena determined by the state to be threats. The FBI’s long-running stretches of state-sanctioned violence have served to criminalize those that challenge the status quo, either through organized resistance or through survival strategies that interfere with capitalist notions of protecting the private property and individual autonomy of the rich and powerful.

The precursor to the FBI, the Bureau of Investigation, was created in 1908 in large part to investigate political threats to the power of the robber barons. These threats included striking workers, anarchists and communists. Driven initially by fears of communist revolution following the Russian Revolution and then the massive strikes and labor militancy of the 1930s, the Bureau of Investigation became the primary federal tool for surveilling and subverting left organizing. It was taken over by J. Edgar Hoover in 1924 and transformed into the FBI in 1934, when it became a massive domestic intelligence-gathering operation with files on millions of Americans including politicians, celebrities, labor leaders, journalists, religious figures, and anyone suspected of subversive leanings, many of whom were people of color, Jews, and other members of historically oppressed communities. Tim Weiner, in his book, Enemies: A History of the FBI, meticulously documents the political origins of the FBI and its dirty tricks.

In the 1960s, Hoover identified a new subversive threat: the civil rights movement. The Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), was an FBI-created program that spied on and undermined both socialist leaders and civil rights movement leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., and helped coordinate local attacks on the Black Panthers, the Socialist Workers Party, and many other groups. FBI agents attended activist groups’ meetings, openly photographed license plates of attendees, wiretapped phones, sent fake correspondences, and used informants to plant false rumors about marital infidelities and police cooperation to sow fear and dissension. The FBI was directly involved with local officials in Chicago who conspired to assassinate Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.

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White supremacy continues to be the greatest domestic threat, but the FBI is more interested in its own fantasies.

The history of the FBI is one of repressing movements for liberation and carrying out wars on marginalized communities.

The FBI has long been a tool of political subversion used to suppress threats to the status quo. But, in contrast to the claims of Trump loyalists, the focus of the FBI’s attacks has rarely been the right-wing extremists that now dominate much of the Republican Party. In his book Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide, former FBI agent Michael German points out how federal law enforcement has largely ignored or excused right-wing violence, leaving a focus on Muslim immigrants, environmental activists and the Movement for Black Lives, among other marginalized groups.

Given this history of politically motivated repression, it should be the left calling for defunding and defanging the FBI. Here is a concrete program to begin that process:

1) End the FBI’s role in political policing. The FBI should be forced to shut down the intelligence-gathering activities that make possible the subversion tactics at the center of the agency’s history. Following the revelations of COINTELPRO in the 1970s, the Church Committee attempted this through the power of congressional oversight, but many of the FBI’s harmful practices remained, although they were better hidden from view and protected by language intended to restrict — but not eliminate — their activities.

2) End the FBI’s role in the “war on terror.” One of the primary tools in waging this war has been the entrapment of people who are lured into fantastical plots invented by FBI agents so that they can be arrested for planning actions they had no intention or ability to ever complete. The goal of these operations, such as the targeting of an intellectually disabled man in New York who was lured into a FBI-created plot to bomb the Herald Square subway station, seem designed to give the FBI the appearance of winning — to garner support for counterterrorism funding for the agency. We should also dismantle fusion centers and Joint Terrorism Task Forces. As Brendan McQuade documents in Pacifying the Homeland, these efforts have had little to do with protecting us from actual violence. Instead, they have morphed into all-purpose “predictive” policing operations that spend much of their time preparing threat assessments for local police and private business interests that both exaggerate the threat of politically motivated violence and use complex algorithms to justify intensive and invasive policing of poor and BIPOC communities.

3) End the FBI’s role in the “war on drugs.” The war on drugs has been an unmitigated failure, if your metric of success is saving lives and improving community safety. If, however, your metric of success is one of criminalizing political enemies and violently targeting the poor and people of color, then the mission has certainly been accomplished. The federal prohibition on many drugs has been a major driver of mass incarceration, the criminalization of non-white communities and the overdose crisis. Susan Phillips’s Operation Flytrap shows how the eponymously named FBI anti-drug sting did nothing to end the flow of drugs into Los Angeles, and instead pointlessly criminalized the most vulnerable people in a community hard hit by poverty, unemployment, and public and private sector disinvestment. In addition, we should abolish the Drug Enforcement Agency, and use the savings to invest in police-free harm reduction projects, high-quality and noncoercive drug treatment, and targeted economic development programs.

4) End the FBI’s role in so-called violence reduction. Presidents have repeatedly used the FBI as a political tool for looking “tough on crime.” “Gang takedowns” and special initiatives have been created to give the appearance of federal action to tackle crime, but have little to show for themselves other than police-perpetrated abuse and mass incarceration. For years the FBI has been using RICO conspiracy laws to target youth violence. As The Policing and Social Justice Project documented in New York City, these takedowns ensnare large numbers of young people based on their associations, rather than direct involvement in violence. City University of New York law professor Babe Howell showed that in one such mass arrest of 120 young people, half of those charged were simply accused of drug-related offenses, despite being called the “worst of the worst” and held without bail for up to two years awaiting dispositions. (However, even if they had been accused of actual violence, there would be no justification for treating them in this way.) Instead of pouring money into “anti-violence” initiatives that are themselves purveyors of violence, we should be looking to community-driven solutions. The New York City G.A.N.G.S. Coalition and others around the U.S. have called instead for investments in community-based anti-violence initiatives and reinvestments in communities devastated by deindustrialization, redlining and austerity.

Federal law enforcement has largely ignored or excused right-wing violence.

In 2019, Donald Trump laid out his plan to use the FBI to help with his reelection effort, called Operation Relentless Pursuit. He targeted seven cities run by Democratic mayors to receive infusions of federal agents and money for more local police to engage in intensive policing of “high crime” communities, backed up by intensive federal prosecutions. Local activists in the targeted cities of Memphis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Albuquerque mobilized against local cooperation with this initiative citing the lack of federal accountability and the need for community investments, not more policing.

These four steps would dramatically shrink the scope and power of the FBI and pave the way toward abolishing an agency that has not provided real justice or protection for large segments of U.S. society. As right-wingers make a bizarre and twisted case for defunding the FBI, we on the left need to make our own case for defunding the FBI’s intrusive and illegitimate political policing. Then we must go further and question the basic function of federal law enforcement in propping up a system of profound inequality, injustice and state violence.

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The post There Are Good Reasons to Defund the FBI. They Have Nothing to Do With Trump. first appeared on Links – The News And Times.


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IDF canines take down Hamas terrorists in Gaza, protect soldiers

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In many cases, the canines are sent into buildings to conduct an initial scan before the soldiers enter.

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3 profound New Year’s resolutions you can make when you feel helpless in our chaotic times

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“From whence cometh my help…” (Psalm 121:2)

It takes no great measure of depth or intelligence to realize that the global community is living through an incredibly painful moment in history – deep divisions continue in the political landscape of our nation; conflict seems unceasing in places around our globe – Haiti, Nigeria, Central and South America; the war in the Ukraine is just maddening – and now – now, that land called Holy – is steeped in the most serious moment of conflict in the last 50 years.

In the face of this – and so much more – what I am hearing and experiencing from the believers I serve in the church I pastor, but also believers in other Christian communities as well as other faith traditions – Jewish and Muslim – can be summed up in one word… “helpless.” 

Many have told me they feel helpless – anxiety, fear, worry. “What to do when you can’t do anything?” is what I am hearing. Maybe you feel that. I certainly have from time to time in the last year or so, and yet I am in the “hope” business! That said, so, well is there anything you can – really do? I think the answer is a resounding “yes.” What to do?

Pray. The world that lives beyond the parameters of a belief in the Almighty is a world without hope, without a future, without that Greater Power available to humankind since we humans first were brought out of the primordial dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). 

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2024. HERE’S HOW TO MAKE THEM STICK

With all of the things “swirling” beyond our control in the world – one thing to really take hold of is that most of them – if not all of them, are beyond your control… but they are not beyond the reach of your prayers to the One Who does, finally, hold all the cards, (forgive the crass wording there, but it’s true).

When King David – revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims – had his own sense of helplessness, he sat down and wrote these prophetic, therapeutic if you will, words;

“I will lift up my mine eyes to the hills:
From whence cometh my help?
My help cometh even from the Lord,
Who hath made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

There is so much wrapped up in those few words, that there is neither time nor space to unpack them here… but suffice it to say… when you feel helpless you can pray.

Take God’s Side. We know – or we should – that when God Almighty looks down on planet earth, which He created, He sees no borders, no nations, no dividing lines – He sees His children. I was fortunate to befriend, and officiate at the funeral, of history’s “Last Man on the Moon,” Capt. Gene Cernan

Capt. Cernan and I had many great conversations, but when I asked him about his experiences on the moon, he would smile and say, “I got to sit on God’s front porch.” But then his eyes would soften, as would his words, and he would say, “And I saw earth as God sees it…”

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There is a lot of pressure on you (this is a personal note to my reader) – on you, this day – to “take sides.” And my hunch is, it has already happened today – if not in conversation, certainly in whatever news program you have turned on today. 

Surely there are just “sides” to be taken – but please be careful about the cultural lines you draw – make certain they are in sand, and not in concrete. Because what you may find through your prayers (see last suggestion) is that a line in the sand, should be brushed aside for the greater good.

For that reason – perhaps commit to memory (and practice) this beautiful prayer from The Book of Common Prayer,

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all people may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.”

When you feel helpless, take God’s side.

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Do Good. My hunch is, with few exceptions, that there is little you can do about those things playing out on the national or world stage that are, at present, vexing the soul – but there is something you can do in response to them – do good.

Every single day, you are given the opportunity to give into the collapse of hope in the world about us, to be part of the problem – or part of the solution by being a messenger of hope. We do that in the way we treat others – full stop. Our words, our ways, our motives; the look on our face, the tone of our voice – all of these can be used to curse, or to bless, the lives of others. 

May our lives incarnate the beautiful prayer of St. Francis, “Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union… where there is darkness, light…” Amen to that.

When you feel helpless, you can do good. 

We are days away from a new year – and perhaps you are considering a number of “New Year’s Resolutions.” As you do, may I invite you to consider at least three that will surely, if not absolutely, help you deal with the helpless feelings that may have become traveling companions in 2023 – pray, take God’s side and… do good. 

You will be blessed if you do these three simple things – and, perhaps more importantly, you will be a blessing. And our world needs all the blessings it can get in this moment in history.

A Happy New Year to you.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM REV. DR. RUSSELL LEVENSON, JR.


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Knesset extends Israel’s ‘incarceration emergency’ as prisons near capacity

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According to the Israel Prison Service, 19,756 people are currently held in Israeli jails and ‘within a week or two, we will reach the maximum capacity for prisoners’

The post Knesset extends Israel’s ‘incarceration emergency’ as prisons near capacity appeared first on The Times of Israel.

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