In Ukraine….”there will be thousands of people killed and this blood of children and adults will be on Trump’s hands.”

President Donald Trump’s deeply disturbing airy comparison last night of Russian president Vladamir’s Putin’s record as a killer to our own is still  getting crickets in right-wind media this morning. So it’s easy to wonder what transpired in the conversation between Trump and Putin this week. Strange that we have details of Trump playing hardball with presidents of Mexico and Australia, but none of the one he had with the United States’ greatest geopolitical foe. Moscow-based journalist Anna Nemtsova speculated earlier this week that Ukraine, engaged in war with Russia for three years may be a casualty in a new Trump-Putin partnership:

The State Department issued a statement Tuesday, saying the United States is “deeply concerned with the recent spike in violence” and calling for a ceasefire. But Trump has so far remained silent and Ukraine is terrified Washington will ultimately turn its back on Kiev in an effort to appease Putim

Sitting in a small Chinese café in Kramatorsk, deputy governor of the Donetsk region Yevgeny Vilinsky and his staff complained that the renewed fighting makes it hard to get supplies to people or rebuild what has been destroyed.

Like many Ukrainian officials, Vilinsky is convinced that without the backing of Washington or more involvement from the EU, Ukraine will not be able to find solutions with regard to Donetsk and Luhansk.

“The discussion about how to stop this war is two years too late,” he said.

“This is a test for Donald Trump,” said Mustafa Nayem, a deputy in the Ukrainian parliament. “If he wants to sacrifice Ukraine and make some secret deal with Moscow behind our backs, there will be thousands of people killed and this blood of children and adults will be on Trump’s hands.”

………Sitting in a small Chinese café in Kramatorsk, deputy governor of the Donetsk region Yevgeny Vilinsky and his staff complained that the renewed fighting makes it hard to get supplies to people or rebuild what has been destroyed.

Like many Ukrainian officials, Vilinsky is convinced that without the backing of Washington or more involvement from the EU, Ukraine will not be able to find solutions with regard to Donetsk and Luhansk.

“The discussion about how to stop this war is two years too late,” he said.

Putin knows that condemnation and criticism from the US State Department and from Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is rhetorical statecraft. He is both unmoved and unaffected by it and realizes that whomever is the US president would be doing the same. Those words were meaningless to Putin, but the ones he had with Trump over the phone meant everything.

 

 

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Trump Utters the Deal Breaker

From Abby Phillip for the Washington Post:

In an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, which will air ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday, Trump doubled down on his “respect” for Putin – even in the face of accusations that Putin and his associates have murdered journalists and dissidents in Russia.

“I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them,” Trump told O’Reilly.

O’Reilly pressed on, declaring to the president that “Putin is a killer.”

Unfazed, Trump didn’t back away, but rather compared Putin’s reputation for extrajudicial killings with the United States’.

“There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers,” Trump said. “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”

There are many of us who voted for him hoped that he had learned from the error in applying America in a moral equivalence with Putin’s KGB inspired killings. Perhaps he just felt he arrogantly could just get by with it again after not paying a political price for saying the same thing in a 2015 interview with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC.

Trump’s main media enablers such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingram, and Ann Coulter could have helped curb such rhetoric at the time, but chose not to. Now, there is no turning back from a philosophical point in  which Trump truly believes. Someone who says he wants to “make American great again” or believes in “America first” cannot utter such a thought cannot assume to have the moral compass to lead.

Alexis de Tocqueville supposedly penned a famous line about American which went, American is great because America is good.” The line has sadly been dispatched by historical scrutiny as not ever being written but Americans from all political sides still gain inspiration from it. John Kerry used the line in a speech in which he conceded the 2004 election to then president George W. Bush and refusing to contest the election. Donald Trump can claim such devotion to a quote as this.

Trump now asks much of people who voted for him. Even more from the staff whom has to defend him in the morning on talk shows. Their boss is on an island that only fringes of our nation’s society stroll. What Trump said tonight to Bill O’Reilly is unforgivable to many, including this writer.

 

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Is this cover for a big lie from Erdogan?

Turkey’s president Recep Tayipp Erdogan called the July 15 coup last year a gift from God and justification and it prompted an unprecedented jailing of  political opponents and members of the Turkish media. Erdogan and his allies have taken the disturbing rhetorical leap of referring to any opponent or critic as a terrorist. The greatest of these is a former ally of Erdogan’s, a reclusive cleric now living in Pennsylvania,  Muhammed Fethullah Gülen. Perhaps Erdogan’ greatest rhetorical excess has been to label Gulen followers, Gulenists or a movement known as Hizmet (The Service), collectively as a terrorist organization known as The Gulenist Terror Organization – FETO.

Erdogan, his purge of an honest, skeptical media complete, is  surrounded by sycophantic cheerleaders masquerading as journalists. Some have even gone as far as serving on a propagandist like roadtrip to European countries. It is with these allies he spoke with last month on a plane as he flew back from Africa. No Turkish daily has been friendlier to Erdogan’s crackdown on fellow journalist than Daily Sabbah. During his sit down, Erdogan offered this about Gulen:

The commercial dimension of ties with the U.S. was equally important, he argued. “There were many joint military defense projects between the two countries. Will there be such cooperation in the future or will the commercial ties be based on the ‘you are the market and I’m the dealer’ mentality? Our attitude is that further cooperation on joint projects will be of mutual advantage.”The extradition of Fetullah Gülen, the mastermind behind the coup attempt on July 15 last year and the leader of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), from the U.S. to Turkey will definitely be one of the topics of discussion with Trump, Erdoğan noted, adding, “We will ask the fate of the boxes of evidence we sent to American authorities to start the extradition process.”

Scathing Purple Musings emboldened the last line as it essentially serves as breaking news. Western news outlets are unaware of “boxes of evidence” or any evidence for that matter that Gulen and/or any of his followers are terrorists.

Up until the end August of 2016, even Turkey was admitting they had not sent any evidence that Gulen was engaged in terrorism. No subsequent news reports on the matter appear to exist until Daily Sabbah’s interview with Erdogan was published on January 26. Moreover, it is Daily Sabbah which just four days after the Erdogan interview published a story about those boxes.

Following the newly sworn-in U.S. President Donald Trump taking over the oval office, Turkey’s Justice Ministry has sent further evidence linking Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fetullah Gülen to the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, despite having already sent four different comprehensive files to the U.S. Department of Justice back in October 2016.While Gülen’s terrorist network, which formed a quasi-state within the Turkish state and attempted to topple the government with the ultimate intent to take over the state, continues to conduct its operations in the U.S., the former Barack Obama administration chose to remain idle and take no action against the U.S.-based terror leader despite President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ’s determined efforts.

So around six weeks after the Turkish government admitted they had not provided any evidence of Gulen’s terrorism they sent evidence to the US Department of Justice. And remarkably, no western media reporter got wind of it. The Daily Sabbah is indeed breaking news.

Or are they?

Clearly Daily Sabbah reporters were aware that there were no new reports that Turkey had turned over any evidence regarding Gulen to the US in their  efforts to extradite him, yet their follow-up story makes no mention of the aside that Erdogan gave them on the plane four days before. They should have and to not do so in their story is at best sloppy journalism, but their omission now makes them part of the story.

And quite a story it is. Striking details of the evidence within the investigation and their “expectations from the Trump administration” includes names and travel plans of the conspirators to meet with Gulen. Documents assert that Gulen officially gave the go ahead for the coup just three days before its execution. This stunning evidence comes from an anonymous  witness code-named “Kuzgun.” Another named “Sapka” is also prominent.

Daily Sabbah’s journalistic bias is clear and easily outed by a high school journalism class. Only within the lexicon of Erdogan’s loyalist  media – the ones not thrown in jail – is “Gulenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fetullah Gülen” published without “alleged” or “suspected” or “reported.” Daily Sabbah and Hurriyet Daily News, who also got the story obviously enjoy the favor of the Erdogan administration.

There is little difference between the two stories. They both look like press releases. Neither contain any detail from what’s called a  1300 page FETO file. Nor does either story provide any corroborating quote from an official from the US Department of Justice.

An acknowledgement from the US Department of Justice of the receipt of the 1300 page file is overdue. The fact than any mention of one from the two dailies freindly to the Erdogan goverment puts them in peril of being accussed of trafficing propaganda on behalf of Erdogan  or what’s come to be called fake news in the US. Or are they providing some sort of cover for a big lie from Erdogan?

 

 

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The Anatomy of the Yemen Raid #Fake News Smear of Trump

Dispatching with the #fakenews smear of the Trump administration does  #NeverTrump leader David French in National Review:

Journalists spread the Reuters report far and wide, but anyone with the slightest experience in complex special operations missions should have been instantly skeptical. The anonymous attacks on Trump look a lot more like ass-covering than whistle-blowing. Absent truly extraordinary circumstances not outlined in the report, these officials seem to be relying on reporters’ ignorance and willingness to believe anything about Trump to cover to deflect criticism of a dangerous operation that turned out to be even more dangerous than anticipated. That happens in war. It happened all the time when I was in Iraq……don’t believe claims that Trump botched the raid in Yemen. He didn’t plan the operation, and we don’t want him planning operations. We want presidents to rely on professionals. But those same professionals will tell you that war is terrible by its very nature, and no president can guarantee victory without cost.

Scathing Purple Musings takes creative blogging licence – as it is – with French’s piece. Whet appears above is his second paragraph and his last. It’s a worthy read is French dissects the Reuter’s piece and includes the responsible journalism that came from CNN and the New York Times. He further offers:

As the Times makes clear, there were “months of detailed planning” that took place under Obama, and the Department of Defense had conducted a legal review that Trump approved. Oh, and it turns out that Trump approved the raid at a dinner attended not just by General Mattis, but also by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the vice president, and his national security adviser (a man who has enormous experience with special forces operations).

And about the beginning of the #FakeNews chain, this in French’s lede:

On Twitter, many journalists are rapidly reaching the point of maximum credulity — they’ll immediately believe virtually anything negative about Donald Trump, not matter how thinly-sourced or implausible. Take the kerfuffle that erupted last night in response to this Reuters report where unnamed defense officials blamed the losses in last weekend’s Yemen raid on, you guessed it, Trump: “U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations. As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.”

Looks as if someone – either in the military and intel community – had a Reuter’s reporter on speed dial. Ayesha Rascoe identifies herself on her twitter page as a White House correspondent for Reuters, someone who would have contacts in both communities. Her page doesn’t reveal herself a partisan; indeed they convey the integrity of a responsible, professional journalist. Her’s was not a hit piece. In fact her story in no way infers any sort of blame on the Trump administration. That came later from the editors and hack journalists from the likes of The Huffington Post, The Hill, and Salon all of whom hijacked Rascoe’s honest reporting and twisted it into a hit piece.

 

 

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So the PLO is worried they’ve not heard from Trump yet

Writes Caroline Glick in RealClear Politics:

The PLO is disoriented, panicked and hysterical. Speaking to Newsweek this week, Saeb Erekat, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas’s chief conduit to Israel and the Americans, complained that since President Donald Trump was sworn into office, no administration official had spoken to them.

“I don’t know any of them [Trump’s advisers]. We have sent them letters, written messages. They don’t even bother to respond to us.”

The Trump administration’s shunning of the PLO is a marked departure from the policies of its predecessor. For former president Barack Obama, together with Iran, the Palestinians were viewed as the key players in the Middle East. Abbas was the first foreign leader Obama called after taking office.

Well, now.

Obama did say that he was going to fundamentally change America, after all. Trump’s decision to give the PLO the silent treatment is quite a signal that his administration won’t be treating them with kid gloves anymore. Trump’s busy changing American back it seems in a way which will actually hold the PLO and their terrorists masters accountable in ways they aren’t accustomed.

Glick agrees:

Erekat’s statement reveals something that is generally obscured. Despite its deep support in Europe, the UN and the international Left, without US support, the PLO is irrelevant.

All the achievements the PLO racked up under Obama – topped off with the former president’s facilitation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 against Israel – are suddenly irrelevant. Their impact dissipated the minute Trump took office.

Israel, in contrast, is more relevant than ever.

While Trump occasionally pays lip service to making peace in the Middle East, his real goal is to win the war against jihadist Islam. And he rightly views Israel as a woefully underutilized strategic ally that shares his goal and is well-placed to help him achieve it.

 

Unlike Obama – and to an extent previous GOP administrations, Trump represents the American side of the dispute as weary of indulging terrorists and their political arms. Concludes Glick:

Trump’s emerging strategy on Iran and ISIS, together with his refusal to operate in accordance with the standard US playbook on the Palestinians, indicates that the US has abandoned this practice. Under Trump, Israel is free to defeat its enemies. Their most powerful deterrent against Israel – the US – is gone.

Israel has long argued that there is no difference between al-Qaida and Hamas or between ISIS and Hezbollah. It has also argued that Iran threatens not only Israel but the world as a whole. Hoping to co-opt the forces of jihad rather than defeat them, successive US administrations have chosen to deny this obvious truth.

Unlike his predecessors, Trump is serious about winning. To do so, he is even willing to take the radical step of accepting Israel as an ally.

The PLO is right to be hysterical.

With Iran doubling down on the Trump administration’s fresh sanctions after their ballistic missile test with war games, its clear Trump may have to deal with an Iranian-inspired intifada from Hamas in the region. But Israel will defend itself this time without silly reminders from the State Department to show restraint and remember that path to peace or something.

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Jailed Turkish Journalist Derya Okatan is in the 14th Day of Her Hunger Strike

The unjustly persecuted continues to suffer at the hands of a corrupt and brutal Erdogan regime. Sacthing Purple Musings first posted on Okatan’s hunger strike here.

Turkish to English translation:

journalistic activities in custody. This is to protest the unlawful of 14 days on a hunger strike

 

 

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Was Turkish Journalist Ahmet Sik Working on a Piece that Would Cause Upheaval in Erdogan’s Ruling AKP Party?

FreePress, a blog published in Europe, posted comments from a colleague of jailed journalist Ahmet Sik and brought some new details to light. Alican Uluda works with Sik at Cumhuriyet, a daily newspaper the Erdogan government considers an opposition publication.

ahmet-oneHe has continued to criticise the stance of the current government about the Kurdish issue and the Syrian crisis. I believe the real reason behind his detention is something else, although it is said that the reason is his criticism.

He was so close to reaching all the details required for the piece. My opinion is that his tweets aren’t the reason for his detention. The real goal is to prevent him from publishing the piece he has been working on. If the piece was to be published, there would be an upheaval within the ruling party (AKP). Ahmet Şık, who was put in jail for an unpublished book in 2011, has now been arrested for a piece he has not yet written.

Sik is indeed one of Turkey’s most famous investigative journalist. The 2011 incident Uluda mentions involves a book he wrote on the Gulen movement, The Imam’s Army. Ironically, it was the Gulenists who orchestrated Sik’s incarceration. 

 

 

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Derya Okatan Enters 9th Day of Her Hunger Strike in a Turkish Jail

Friends of Derya Okatan have confirmed for Scathing Purple Musings that she is in her 9th day of a hunger strike. She was jailed before Christmas for alleged connections to Redhack, a group claiming to be behind the leaked emails of a Turkish minister.

derya-2

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REPORT: Jailed Turkish Journalist Derya Okatan in Hunger Strike

From the Tesujin Gazzette:

deryaISTANBUL – Detained six journalists will be kept in custody until January 24. The journalists, who were allowed to see their lawyers, sent a message and said, “Buckle down more to report”.

The closed Dicle News Agency (DİHA) News Director Ömer Çelik, DİHA reporter Metin Yoksu,  former Diken editor Tunca Öğreten, Birgün worker Mahir Kanat, Etkin News Agency (ETHA) Managing Editor Derya Okatan, Yolculuk Newspaper Editor in Chief Eray Saygın were detained five days ago. A confidentiality order has been imposed on the case. The journalists’ lawyers saw their clients after five days. The lawyers stated that the journalists were detained allegedly “being members of an [illegal] organization”. The lawyers said that the journalists kept their morale high and sent their greetings to their journalist colleagues outside. The journalists also sent a message to their colleagues and said “Buckle down more to report”.

The closed Dicle News Agency (DİHA) News Director Ömer Çelik told his lawyers that, “We are the people who are doing journalism. They keep us in custody unjustly by criminalizing us over Redhack. We don’t even know we are accused of what. I am sending my greetings to all friends, they should continue to write. I keep my morale high.”

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Turkey Just Released American Wall Street Journal Reporter After Being Jailed For 3 Days

From The Daily Beast:

Wall Street Journal reporter held in Turkish detention for nearly three days without any contact with his family or lawyers has been released. National security reporter Dion Nissenbaum was taken from his Istanbul apartment on Tuesday night before being released Saturday morning. His detention is believed to be connected to a government ban on publishing images from an Islamic State video. “While we are relieved that Dion was released unharmed after nearly three days, we remain outraged at his peremptory detention, without any contact with his family, legal counsel or colleagues,” WSJ editor in chief Gerard Baker said in a statement released Saturday. Nissenbaum’s release comes after the Journal was unable to determine his location for two days, with the reporter not being allowed to contact his employer or a lawyer despite repeated requests. The incident comes amid a wider crackdown on journalists and academics in the country after a failed coup attempt in July.

This one flew under the radar as news that an American journalist had been jailed in Erdogan’s crackdown would have drawn far more scrutiny. But Nissenbaum is leaving Turkey which was probably what the Erdogan’s thugs wanted anyway. They don’t want a leading US newspaper snooping around. Here are two of Nissenbaum’s recent tweets:

Arresting American journalists makes Erdogan more and more like his new pals in Russia and Iran. Perhaps Nissenbaum was taken into custody for his Twitter habits as well and that they are trying to intimidate US news outlets from reporting of what really is going on. At any rate, Nissenbaum and his wife Seema Jilani have a tale to tale.

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