"Officials at Baghdad International Airport became suspicious earlier this month when their X-ray machines could not see into 23 large bags unloaded from a Qatari plane, producing only a black image because the contents were wrapped in a special material impenetrable to detecting devices. They were further amazed when they opened the bags to discover that they contained hundreds of millions of dollars and euros in cash worth a total of $500m (£389m), says an Iraqi source.
It is now clear that the money was ransom for 24 Qataris, several of them leading members of the Qatari royal al-Thani family, and two Saudis who had been hunting with falcons with official permission in supposedly safe southern Iraq when they were kidnapped 16 months ago by a Shia militia task force. A deal to get them released has been complicated by negotiations involving Qatar and Iran as well as Shia and Sunni militias over the simultaneous evacuation of people long besieged in four towns, two Shia and two Sunni, in northern and southern Syria respectively.
The extraordinary story of the $500m ransom – perhaps the biggest ransom ever in history – and the release of the Qatari royalty is revealed in a confidential document sent by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and obtained exclusively by The Independent. In a special report dated 22 April, six days after the episode at the airport, he gives senior members of his ruling Dawa Party a detail account of actions by his government, Qatar and other players inside and outside Iraq though the precise identity of several is left vague.""Evidence Consistent with the Possibility of a Poison Gas Release from an Attack on an Ammunition Depot in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017" (Postol). "“An Impeachable Offence”: Professor Postol and Syria". "French ‘Proof’ That Assad Used Sarin in Khan Sheikhoun Turns out to Be Complete BS".
"Russian ground forces in Syria? - TTG". "Turkish Airstrikes On Kurds Complicate U.S. Operations In Iraq And Syria". "‘Safe Zone’ In Syria: A Ploy to Ignite a New Battle Front". "'With Syria In Pieces, It’s Time To Recognize Israel’s Annexation Of The Golan'".
"Shambolic Doings in Washington" (Giraldi). Still, the hot-air/actually-doing-stupid-shit ratio is close to 100%, while the old fashioned Republican class warfare carries on in the background: "You Think Trump And The GOP Have No Accomplishments So Far? You Are Wrong".
"US ‘deep state’ sold out counter-terrorism to keep itself in business" (Porter). Typically vague conclusion, but you can fill in the blanks. "The Satanists who destroyed the Middle East are back in Washington" (Alexis).
"Meet Emmanuel Macron – The Consummate Banker Puppet, Bizarre Elitist Creation". No effort whatsoever made to hide the creepy mechanics of power. You'd think the French people would be insulted by the assumption of their stupidity. Details of the elite manipulation: "The Macron Phenomenon".
"Russia: Isis Once Apologized for Accidentally Attacking Israel". The politeness of head-loppers to their masters.
"Electrical Separation". Are Ukrainians morons?
"Hassan Diab, the Canadian Academic Extradited to France on Fake Terrorist Charges". "Bilocation" is apparently a concept in French (and Canadian) 'law'.
"#Hoaxgate: Fake Hate Crime Jew was Blackmailing American Government Officials". Obvious front for Mossad.
Jews, and the kind of people they would hire to convey their precious lies, don't like to live in the sticks. You'd think the internet might have made a difference in the mechanics of journalism, but the cultural factors still dominate.