Trump Tower on Temple Mount? Pompeo video tour omits mosque on holy site, includes ‘Third Temple’


While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s video tour from Jerusalem omits Muslim sites, Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, it does include a model of the Third Temple some Jewish groups want in place of it.

The iconic mosque and shrine are located on Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites in the world for Muslims, Christians and Jews. The video posted by the State Department shows Pompeo visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, followed by a model of the Third Temple, which some groups want to erect on Temple Mount triggering concerns that Muslim sites would be affected.

The Third Temple plays an important eschatological role in Judaism and is associated with the era of the Jewish Messiah. While most Jewish-Orthodox scholars believe the Messiah will ultimately rebuild the Temple, some hardline religious organizations call for an immediate construction of it in the present times.

Trump Tower on Temple Mount?


— Southern Fried Infidel (@SFriedInfidel) 22 марта 2019 г.

In the video the model is accompanied by the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking about the Golan heights, calling it “hard-fought” real estate.

His visit to the tunnels underneath the Wall and Temple Mount are a not subtle dog whistle to the fringe extremist movement that wants to retake the Temple Mount, blow up Al Aqsa mosque, rebuild the temple and institute a theocracy. It’s despicable. And he should be removed.

— Holtby For President (@FrenettMarco) 22 марта 2019 г.

Alright, the Jews get their land back! Time to take back the Temple Mount!

— Kana’i (@wailaupoint) 22 марта 2019 г.

Why wouldn’t you show Al Aqsa Mosque or the Golden Dome in your video? Are you denying the existence of The Muslim Palestinians? Was that a new 4 Seasons Hotel you are promoting?

— mak (@mkhatib0) 22 марта 2019 г.

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No new indictments!? Mueller concludes Russiagate probe, Dems demand ‘underlying evidence’


After two years investigating President Donald Trump’s alleged ‘collusion’ with Russia during the 2016 elections, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has at last delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review.

The Attorney General has yet to communicate the findings to the US Congress and decide how much detail would be made public. The White House has not yet received or been briefed on the findings, but the administration is “looking forward to the process taking its course.”

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The Democrats, who have spent years pushing the Russiagate narrative, have urged the AG not to share the report’s conclusions with the White House yet, claiming that, otherwise, the administration would try to interfere in which parts of the report are made public. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, a senior Democratic Senator from New York, say it is imperative that the report is released in “full.”

Trump, confident that the entire affair was a mere ‘witch-hunt’, had earlier indicated he would not mind if the report were made public, so it is unclear why the Democrats would assume the White House wants to interfere. Donald Trump’s legal team said the president was “pleased” that Mueller has finally delivered on his probe, noting that the Attorney General “will determine the appropriate next steps.”

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“I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review,” Barr wrote, in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees. The Attorney General also noted that he may advise on the findings of the report as early as this weekend.

The parts of the media that spent 2 years obsessing on Trump/Russia are now going to seamlessly pretend it was always unimportant whether Mueller indicted any Americans for conspiring with Russia over the election – when that was the key point all along & everyone knows this:

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 22, 2019

The key question Mueller was trying to answer was whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia’s alleged attempt to sway the results of the US presidential elections back in 2016. Since his appointment as special counsel to head the investigation back in May 2017, the former FBI chief has managed to indict six former presidential advisers, 26 Russian nationals and three Russian companies – yet none of the charges proved any ‘collusion’ between Trump and Moscow.

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Although a handful of key Trump associates, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Republican operative Roger Stone, have been charged and have even pleaded guilty to procedural crimes, nobody has been charged with any offenses relating to collusion. 

Pelosi/Schumer: “make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress. Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any ‘sneak preview’ of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings or evidence”

— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) March 22, 2019

The Mueller report has been released to Attorney General Barr. We’ve been waiting for two years! Barr has the discretion about what he releases to the public. Let’s tweet, tweet, tweet and demand that the entire report be released! We deserve nothing less!

— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) March 22, 2019

The report might prove a further disappointment to many as, according to a senior Justice Department official, Mueller is not recommending any additional indictments. Apparently not holding his breath for any smoking guns in the report, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, has promised to subpoena Mueller himself, unless the Congress is provided with “underlying evidence” to sift through.

J. K. Rowling confirms that Harry Potter would have wanted the underlying documents to the Mueller report made public as well.

— neontaster (@neontaster) March 22, 2019

Even crazier, imagine if a political party and the entire mainstream media baselessly turned the Mueller investigation into a political weapon for two years.

— Michael “Pedro” Knowles (@michaeljknowles) March 22, 2019

Moscow has repeatedly rejected the allegations as absurd, emphasizing that, in contrast to what Washington might consider a modus operandi, it is not Russia’s state policy to interfere with other nations’ domestic affairs, and also noting that it was ridiculous and humiliating for a democratic superpower to complain that its elections were somehow influenced from outside.

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Time to celebrate? Trump say ISIS fully destroyed in Syria. US-backed militants disagree


US President Trump has again boasted of victory over Islamic State terrorists. This time they’ve supposedly fully lost territorial control in Syria, but US-backed militants actually fighting IS on the ground disputed this claim.

Trump faced the media on Friday, yet again showing his favorite visual aid map of “ISIS defeat.”

“Here’s ISIS on Election Day. And here’s ISIS right now,” Trump told the reporters “You guys can have the map. Congratulations. I think it’s about time.”

Earlier on Friday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders stated that IS (formerly ISIS/ISIL) no longer held any territory in Syria, citing US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who had briefed Trump on that purported milestone.

The bold claims of –supposedly– the ultimate defeat of the terrorist group have quite unexpectedly come under friendly fire, from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group. Mustafa Bali, the head of SDF press service, personally challenged Trump’s claims on Twitter. To add insult to injury, he posted pictures to prove what has really been happening in the area.

The Kurdish-led group, backed by the US, is actually fighting IS on the ground in eastern Syria. Over the past few weeks the fighting concentrated around the Baghouz area, where IS fighters and their families have been holed-up in a makeshift camp. On Wednesday, Trump had already managed to jump the gun on the subject of the final defeat of IS, on that occasion promising the group’s destruction “by tonight.”

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‘Beautifully, technically, confidently’: Putin lauds Alina Zagitova for figure skating success


Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated 16-year-old Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova after she won the 2019 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, on Friday.

In a congratulatory note published on the Kremlin website, the Russian president spoke of his pride and admiration at the teenager’s performance, which wowed crowds in Japan.

Skating to an extract from Georges Bizet’s ‘Carmen,’ Zagitova added to the lead she had acquired on the short program with a free skate in which she appeared to pull out all the stops.

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A stunning triple-lutz and triple-toeloop combination was among the highlights of the first half of her performance. Five more triple jumps would then come towards the latter stage, meaning she scored an impressive total of 237.50 points overall for both performances.

You won beautifully, technically, and confidently,” Putin wrote. “Millions of fans and spectators were won over by your brilliant skill. 

Such achievements contribute greatly to the sporting glory of our country. Great job!”

Zagitova will add this championship to her ever-expanding trophy cabinet which already houses a 2018 Olympic gold medal, as well as Russian and European gold from the same year.

I realized that I needed a clean skate and I went into each jump determined to land it,” Zagitova said after her performance.

I was very nervous, but the experience from the Olympic Games helped me somehow.”

Zagitova is now unquestionably seen as one of the world’s best on the ice and it stands to reason that it won’t be long before the 16-year-old from Izhevsk adds to her already considerable trophy haul once more.

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‘Like Netanyahu’s spokesman’: What is behind Trump’s call to recognize Golan Heights as Israeli


Washington seems to be eager to once again blatantly violate international law, only to allegedly rig polls in another state in favor of one man – the Israeli prime minister, analysts believe.

US President Donald Trump has once again baffled the world with a tweet – this time by calling on the US to “fully recognize” Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights – a Syrian territory it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War and effectively annexed in 1981.

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If Washington actually goes for it, such a move would constitute a blatant disregard to international law as well as to the international commitments the US itself assumed when it supported a 1981 resolution, which declared the Israeli occupation of the Golan null and void. So why does the White House see it not just as possible but even a desirable outcome?

‘Family Friend’

It seems, out of all probable reasons, that the Trump administration might be motivated by a desire to help one Israeli politician swing a political situation in his favor back at home, where he faces tough competition in forthcoming elections, at a time when he faces corruption charges.

Officially, Trump denied any connection between his “long thought” decision and Netanyahu’s potential re-election that he supposedly “had no idea” about, but the timing of his sudden call is just too perfect to be a mere coincidence. Besides, it is an open secret that Netanyahu has close ties to some people in the Trump administration – and particularly to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner – a fact that has been covered by both American and Israeli media.

“He [Trump] is clearly doing this to help his friend Benjamin Netanyahu with his really difficult re-election campaign amid allegations of corruption,” Jim Jatras, a former US diplomat, told RT. The official recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan by the US could come as soon as next week, during Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, the analysts believe.

“It is a very transparent gift to Netanyahu,” Gideon Levy, a columnist at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said. Meanwhile, Abdel Bari Atwan, an author and the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website, went as far as to say that Trump “seems” to act as a “spokesman for Netanyahu.” Kushner, who arguably exerts significant influence on Trump’s Middle Eastern policy, could also play a major role in this ploy, as Alessandro Bruno, an independent political analyst, believes.

Intervention in Israeli elections?

As bad as a violation of international law for the sake of one man’s well-being might be, it is not the only problem associated with Trump’s new reckless idea. The whole move is effectively nothing but a blatant direct interference into Israeli elections, which is quite clearly aimed at giving one particular candidate a boost.

It is a flagrant interference in the election process, Levy said, adding that Netanyahu would likely try to present the whole ordeal as another “historic achievement” of his policies – just like he did with the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

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It still remains unclear, whether this move would help Washington’s favorite to actually win, as, according to Levy, the Golan heights “are not on the table” right now and the US gift to Netanyahu “is unlikely to have a major effect.”

But Washington goes its way recognizing the Golan after its previous stunt with moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“There is no one in the world, who has any doubts about the legal status of the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights are an occupied territory. And here comes an American president and says: ‘no matter what the international law says, no matter what the world says. We recognize it as Israel’s sovereign land because Israel holds it for so many years,’” says Levy.

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Facebook stored 7 years of passwords in plaintext, but it’s OK, they’re trustworthy!


Over half a billion Facebook users’ passwords sat unsecured on the company’s servers for years, the company has admitted, after an investigation uncovered the egregious bug – but it’s OK, only Facebook employees could access them.

Facebook acknowledged the glaring oversight after an anonymous employee blew the whistle to Krebs on Security, admitting “hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users” had been affected, then adding insult to injury with a casual admission that they’d discovered the security flaw “as part of a routine security review in January.”

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The scandal-plagued social media giant hastened to assure users that “no passwords were exposed externally and we didn’t find any evidence of abuse to date,” but their post was cold comfort from the company whose CEO has explicitly called the users who trust him “dumb f***s.”

As many as 600 million users – anyone who created their password after 2012 – had their login credentials stored in a plaintext, unencrypted database where they could be searched by any one of 20,000 Facebook employees, according to the leaker.

Passwords – especially high-value passwords like Facebook’s – are normally “hashed,” or cryptographically scrambled to prevent hackers from using them even if they are able to break into a company’s servers. Storing this data in unsecured plain text is the cyber-security equivalent of allowing guards to walk in and out of a bank vault without passing through a metal detector.

Facebook says it has fixed the bug and promised to notify all users whose passwords were stored unencrypted. The vulnerability is only the latest in a seemingly endless string of outrages. Earlier this month, it emerged that Facebook had made users’ ostensibly private phone numbers – given for security purposes only – into just another searchable attribute, with no option to opt out and the added indignity of those numbers being targeted with ads. In September, data from some 30 million accounts was stolen via compromised access tokens and, in December, seven million users learned that third-party app developers could access their private photos – even those they’d never uploaded to the platform.

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While it had their attention, Facebook took the opportunity on Thursday to notify users about a cool new “physical security key” they could login with – a “small hardware device that goes in the USB drive of your computer” ideal for “high-risk users including journalists, activists, political campaigns and public figures.”

There is nothing more important to us than protecting people’s information,” said Pedro Canahuati, vice president of engineering, security and privacy for Facebook – while presumably hiding a smirk.

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Washington targets Chinese firms in new round of North Korea-related sanctions


The US has slapped a fresh batch of sanctions on China over an alleged violation of the US embargo against North Korea. It happened less than a month after Trump hailed Beijing for being “very helpful” in dealing with DRPK.

Two Chinese shipping companies –Dalian Haibo and Liaoning Danxing– were added to the US Treasury’s blacklist on Thursday, over what was called using “deceptive practices” to help Pyongyang procure certain goods. The Treasury’s statement did not provide any details on the nature of the goods in question but said that one company had cooperated with a North Korean trading firm while another was operating in the DRPK’s transportation industry.

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Washington also issued an updated “shipping advisory,” which provided guidance to other nations and businesses on how to “avoid illicit North Korean maritime trade.” The document in particular urged states and companies to exercise caution while dealing with certain vessels, which the US believes are involved in what it considers illegal trade with North Korea.

The lists of such vessels particularly included two Russian ships, apart from dozens of vessels from North Korea and several African countries. The Treasury, however, stressed that the document itself was “not a sanctions list.”

The move came less than a month after Trump’s summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which the US president still hailed as “progress”, even though the two sides failed to reach any agreement – precisely because they could agree on the terms for removing US-imposed sanctions on Pyongyang.

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Following the summit, Trump also told journalists about his phone call with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, which seemed unusually cordial in light of the ongoing US-China trade dispute. Still, Trump said that the trade talks between the two nations are “in advanced stages” and praised China for being “very, very helpful … with North Korea.”

The latest developments, however, show that, despite all the perceived progress, Washington is still not ready to abandon its sanctions policy, which by now has turned into a sort of a routine in many respects.

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‘Armed terrorist cell’: Venezuela’s Interior Minister confirms arrest of Guaido’s aide


Venezuela’s Interior Minister has confirmed the arrest of self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido’s chief of staff. The opposition claims he was ‘kidnapped’ while authorities say he was the leader of a ‘terrorist cell.’

Roberto Marrero was taken into custody on Thursday as part of the government raid against a “terrorist cell” that plotted to carry out attacks against top Venezuelan politicians, the Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace, Néstor Reverol, said in a statement.

Dichas investigaciones condujeron a la detención de Roberto Marrero (49) y Luis Alberto Páez Salazar (34) responsables directos de la organización de estos grupos criminales. Durante un allanamiento se les incautó un lote de armas de guerra y dinero efectivo en divisa extranjera.

— MPPRIJP (@MIJPVenezuela) March 21, 2019

“Together with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the investigations led to the detention of the citizen, Roberto Eugenio Marrero Borgas, who is directly responsible for the organization of criminal groups,” he said.

The government also released images of two rifles allegedly seized by the Venezuelan Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) during the raid on Marrero’s house.

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Guaido had earlier accused the Venezuelan security forces of ‘planting’ weapons at Marrero’s house, while John Bolton, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, immediately denounced Marrero’s arrest as “illegitimate” and stressed that the move will “not go unanswered.”

Maduro has made another big mistake. The illegitimate arrest of Roberto Marrero, Interim President Juan Guaidó’s aide, will not go unanswered. He should be released immediately and his safety guaranteed.

— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) March 21, 2019

Caracas has long maintained that the Venezuelan opposition, enjoying unfettered US backing but incapable of gaining enough support through a popular vote, is resorting to ‘street democracy’ and might even be planning to carry out terror attacks to undermine the government.

Last month, the government of President Maduro refused to allow US ‘humanitarian aid’ into the country, not only rejecting it as a PR stunt but also as a humiliating offer of breadcrumbs, when compared to the billions of dollars seized by Washington, while also expressing concern that the convoys could be used to smuggle weapons directly into the hands of the opposition.

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Special UK armed soldiers in ‘NUCLEAR-PROOF BUNKER’ have been ‘activated’ to prepare for Brexit


A team of highly-trained British military personnel, located in no less than a “nuclear-proof bunker” under the UK Ministry of Defence, have been “activated” to prepare for a doomsday no-deal Brexit scenario.

Who said leaving the EU would be easy?

Operation Redfold, as it has been dubbed, will see 3,500 military personnel put on standby as Her Majesty’s Government prepares to enter “very high readiness mode” for the dreaded no-deal scenario, Sky News has revealed.

The bunker, called “Pindar” is located deep under the Defence Ministry and is used only at a time of war or outright national emergency. Enter Brexit.

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With the March 29 exit date fast approaching and no deal yet on the horizon, control of Brexit-related planning will shift next week from the Cabinet Office to the government’s “Cobra” emergency committee. This will involve near 24-hour manning of departments most at risk from Brexit-related disruptions, such as the health, transport and defence portfolios.

Special teams will be “primed to divert resources or deploy manpower where required,” a government insider told Sky.

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But that’s not all. From Monday, military troops will be ready for deployment at a day’s notice if a no-deal exit becomes reality and Theresa May’s government fails to avert disaster before next Friday – and, in fairness, given how things have been going, there’s hardly good reason to assume she’ll manage it.

Troops may be used to help transport food, fuel and other products around the country. A team of 200 has been prepped to drive fuel tankers to petrol stations, if necessary. Military bases might also be forced to open their gates to allow lorries and trucks backed up at ports to park, if there are major border delays.

Operation Redfold is the “military dimension” of the cross-Whitehall no-deal contingency preparations which are known as Operation Yellowhammer, the Sky report said.

It’s not the first time Britons have been issued with dire Brexit-related warnings. The government has already warned people about the potential need to stockpile food and medicine, with fears that civil unrest could take hold and that the pound would crash if the UK itself crashes out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place.

One German-owned company even hoarded 600 tonsof toilet paper in its UK warehouses to avoid disruption to supplies.

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Pouring $6 bn into tank factory, Trump says the M1 Abrams is ‘best in the world.’ Is it really?


US President Donald Trump pledged a hefty sum of $6 billion to upgrade America’s M1 Abrams tanks, lauding them as the best tanks ever built. The statement has more PR value than truth to it, military experts have told RT.

“America does not need conflict. But if conflict comes, and you know the story – you’ve got to be strong if conflict comes – we will dominate the battlefield, and we will win, win, win. We’re now set up to win, win, win,” Trump said on Wednesday, as he appeared at the Lima Army Tank plant in Ohio.

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The facility used to produce the M1 Abrams main battle tanks, and now it will be busy again, as Trump has pledged to pour $6 billion into it over the next three years in order to upgrade the ageing war machines.

The US president praised the plant, its workers, himself and, naturally, the tank, describing it as a true “warhorse” of the US ground forces and dubbing it “the most effective, reliable, and lethal battle tank in the history of war.”

“So how does this compare with the tanks made in China and Russia and other places? What do you think? Can we take them? They say it’s much better,” Trump bragged, as he pretasted the game-changing upgrades.

The assessment raised a few eyebrows, as the M1 Abrams could hardly have attained such a title. Trump’s statement, however, is perfectly legit as an over-the-top advertisement for the tank, Viktor Litovkin, a military expert with TASS, believes.

“They have to advertise American weaponry. Trump is making such advertising, yet it’s a big question if it really corresponds with the reality,” Litovkin told RT.

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Modern war machines, produced in Russia and China, surpass the iconic US tank in many respects, military expert Alexey Leonkov told Vzglyad newspaper.

“The latest [Chinese] Type 99 model is quite a decent tank with an automatic loader,” Leonkov said. “The top-notch M1 Abrams lacks an automatic loader. Its ‘loader mechanism’ is a serviceman. The rate of fire, the aim precision depends on how fast this soldier operates. And a loss of him makes the task hardly doable altogether.”

Abrams is a decent tank, but it belongs to the past century.

Adding further upgrades to the M1 Abrams could make the machine, which weight over 60 tons, even heavier, turning it into an old-school heavy tank rather than a modern main battle one, Leonkov speculated. Aside from the tonnage, the Abrams has quite impressive dimensions, which make it easier to hit.

“If we compare its silhouette with one of the T-90, the Russian tank has significantly lower projection. It is a hard target at the battlefield at a distance of 2 km.”

The history of the M1 Abrams use clearly shows it’s not the “best ever” tank, as Trump described it. Whereas the US campaigns in Iraq – where the majority of Iraqi armor was destroyed by aviation and not in land combat – might have produced such an impression, the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have clearly shown its vulnerabilities.

“If we recall how these tanks were fighting for Saudi Arabia against the flip-flop-clad Houthis – the latter have shown in Yemen that Abrams can be penetrated from various sides and burns very well. Therefore the experts simply cannot call the M1 Abrams a flawless tank.”

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