‘I don’t give a damn’ – Italian fans sing fascist chant during Anne Frank diary readings

By ethan / October 26, 2017

Ultras of Italian football club SS Lazio reacted to readings from Anne Frank’s diary by singing a fascist Italian song before their game at Bologna on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Italian football fans in anti-Semitic storm over Holocaust victim stickers

A portion of away fans defiantly sang “Me ne frego”, which translates as “I don’t give a damn”, as passages from the diary Jewish Holocaust victim Anne Frank were read before the game. “Me ne frego” also became a popular slogan in fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini, whose name appears in the lyrics.

The readings from Anne Frank’s diary were part of a series of actions in response to Lazio ultra stickers depicting her wearing a jersey of arch rivals AS Roma left at Stadio Olympico, which the two clubs share in the Italian capital, last weekend. The stickers were accompanied by anti-Semitic slogans.

Rome police later announced it had identified the 16 fans – 3 of them minors – responsible for the offensive material, each face charges of instigation to racial hatred, carrying a sentence of up to 4 years in prison.

At each game on Wednesday, every captain and referee handed out copies of Italian-Jewish writer Primo Levi’s memoir of deportation ‘If This Is A Man’, and stickers which said ‘we are all Anne Frank’. A minute’s reflection was held after the readings, which turned into a minutes applause at some grounds.

Lazio players also wore t-shirts bearing the image of Anne Frank before their warm-up. 

Upon learning of such plans ahead of the Bologna match, Lazio’s hardcore faction, ‘Irriducibili’, announced it would boycott the game at the Dall’Ara Stadium so as not to participate in what it perceived a “media theatre.”

“Lazio and its curva [end] comes first. For this reason the [Irriducibili] will not be present in Bologna,” the group posted, as well as referencing its “eternal hatred of modern football.”

Lazio were not the only set of fans to rebel against the pre-match rituals. In Turin, fans of the Italian champions, Juventus, opted to instead turn their backs and sing the Italian national anthem before their match with SPAL.

Ironically, some Roma fans attending their team’s match in Stadio Olympico, drowned out the readings with chants for ‘Giallorossi’.   

As a further measure to prevent future reciprocal incidents, Lazio announced plans to organise educational trips to Auschwitz for its young fans.

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Britain's Merlin to bewitch New Yorkers with Legoland theme park

By ethan / October 26, 2017

Madame Tussauds-owner Merlin Entertainments plans to invest $ 350 million in building a new Legoland amusement park. The project is the company’s largest investment in a single park.

The theme park will be located in Goshen, Orange County, about a hundred kilometers from New York City, and will serve a catchment area of 23 million people.

“Legoland New York is the first new major theme park in the North East of the US for several decades, and is perfectly located for visitors from New York, Boston, and Philadelphia and beyond,” Chief Executive Nick Varney said.

The new Legoland, the third theme park built by the company in North America will be wholly owned and operated by Merlin.

The UK firm pledged to build a 250-bedroom Legoland Hotel on the site of the new attraction.

New York’s Legoland is scheduled to open its gates in 2020, according to Merlin.
The company said that once completed, Legoland New York would be open from April to November, and the hotel will work all-year round.

Merlin plans to create more than 1,000 jobs, along with 800 construction jobs as the park is built.

Legoland New York will be Merlin’s ninth Legoland Park.

The other theme parks devoted to the art of plastic construction toys are in the Danish town of Billund, Gunzburg in Germany, Windsor in England, Dubai in the UAE, the

Californian resort of Carlsbad, Winter Haven in Florida, the Japanese city of Nagoya and the Malaysian township of Iskandar Puteri.

Danish Legoland opened in 1968 and is the oldest Lego attraction in the world, while Legoland Windsor is the biggest set in 150 acres of parkland.

Apart from New York, the company intends to open Legoland Parks in South Korea and China.

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‘False assurances’? Boris Johnson declares all EU citizens will have rights protected after Brexit

By ethan / October 26, 2017

Boris Johnson has unilaterally declared all EU citizens in the UK will have their “rights protected whatever happens.” The pledge goes beyond what Prime Minister Theresa May has ever promised, and some are accusing the foreign secretary of more Brexit falsehoods.

Johnson made the promise at the Belvedere Forum on Polish-UK relations last Tuesday, and the quote was later tweeted out by the Polish embassy.

“We have 30,000 businesses in this country that are Polish. We have 1 million poles in Britain. We are thoroughly blessed, we are lucky,” Johnson proclaimed.

“I have only one message for you all tonight: you are loved, you are welcome, your rights will be protected whatever happens. Yes. You are recording this? Your rights will be protected whatever happens.”

May has held off on promising to continue EU citizens’ rights until those of UK citizens in the rest of the EU have been secured. During the referendum campaign, Johnson made a promise to EU citizens that their rights would be protected after Brexit.

The government did not hold this position when May became PM, however. Since then, Johnson has kept to the Tory party line that the rights of EU citizens in the UK can only be guaranteed when the rights of UK citizens in the bloc can be confirmed by Brussels.

Only hours before his claim at the Polish embassy, Johnson had appeared more reserved when he told the House of Commons that the deal on EU citizens had not yet been settled and it was “up to our friends and partners in the EU now to look seriously at the offer we are making.”

Ed Davey, the former cabinet minister and Lib Dem spokesman on Home Affairs, told the Guardian Johnson’s claim was “in direct contradiction to the government, which is continuing to use EU nationals as bargaining chips in the negotiations.”

“We all know what a Brexit promise from Boris Johnson is worth, and it’s considerably less than what he was paid for his last column,” he said.

“Boris let down millions of leave voters by promising them an extra £350 million [US$ 460 million] a week for the NHS, now he’s doing the same thing by giving false assurances to Polish nationals living in Britain. If Boris wants to make a statement on a change of policy in the House of Commons, we would be more than happy to hear it.”

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Follow the money: How could Hillary Clinton not know about DNC funding ‘Russian dossier’?

By ethan / October 26, 2017

The Russian dossier funding revelations are horribly damaging to the Democrats who should distance themselves from Hillary Clinton as she has to answer a lot of questions about how and why, says RT America host Ed Schultz.

Hillary Clinton’s election team and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reportedly helped to bankroll the so-called Russian dossier against Donald Trump which outlined unsubstantiated links and deals between Moscow and the Trump campaign in the run-up to last year’s presidential election.

A report by the Washington Post alleged that Marc E. Elias, a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer along with the DNC, hired Fusion GPS to conduct research into Trump’s supposed coordination with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

RT: It is now confirmed the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign helped to fund the Trump-Russia dossier. Are you surprised by this?

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump © Lucas Jackson

Ed Schultz: I am disappointed because it is a sad commentary on politics in our country. And I also think it is very damaging to the process. This emboldens the president and his credibility because he has said all along he has been a victim of fake news. You can’t get any more fake than this. But it also has strained relations between the US and Russia in the process. The accusation the Clinton surrogates made on cable shows day after day for months on and before the election underscored just how dishonest the Democrats were saying that this was Vladimir Putin’s dossier. That this was Russian intelligence, and this was dug up by the former British agent which now we know was being paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. You have to follow the money. You referenced the interview with President Trump where he said they spent a lot of money on it. They sure did. How could Hillary Clinton not know that this was going on? How could John Podesta, the chairman of the campaign not know that some $ 6 million was being spent by the lawyer to go out and get this trash smear research done on their opponent, Donald Trump, which has soured relations and played a part in souring relations between the two superpowers? I think this is horribly damaging for the Democrats. I think the Democrats are going to have to distance themselves from Hillary Clinton, and I think Hillary Clinton has to answer a lot of questions about how and why.

RT: The man who compiled the dossier, Christopher Steele, has ties to the FBI. How do you view the role the FBI has played in this? Have they been impartial?

ES: We don’t know that, and the investigations that are going on right now should bear this out. It should be pointed out that Devin Nunes (R-CA) who recused himself from the House Intel investigation into collusion, went out and did some investigating on his own. And all of this came to light through his investigation when he wanted to see the tax records of the firm Fusion GPS and of course, they uncovered all of these payments from the DNC and from the Hillary Clinton campaign. If it is to be dug up in Washington, it is going to be found. And I think that at the end of the day, we are going to find out that the Clintons were pretty heavy into smearing Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is going to be emboldened by the truth by saying that this was all fake news.

RT: The Washington Post also reported that an anonymous Republican donor helped fund the dossier prior to involvement of the DNC. Why aren’t we seeing as much focus on that aspect of the story?

Read more

Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton © Global Look Press

ES: It didn’t have the impact that a presidential candidate has. There’s a difference between a Republican donor who wants to dig up dirt on a candidate as opposed to someone who could be the president of the US taking campaign funds and trying to dig up dirt, but then – here’s the key – trying to pin it on a foreign country. It was surrogate after surrogate that went out on the cable shows in [the US] for months, and they tried to blame this on Russia and accused the Russians and the Trump campaign colluding to deep six Hillary Clinton in the election. The fact of the matter is – this was all ginned up and paid for by the Clinton campaign, by Hillary Clinton, by the DNC, hired a smoking gun who was retired and off doing other things – who by the way isn’t giving any interviews. Where is this Christopher Steele? Why isn’t he speaking up? Why isn’t John Podesta speaking up? Why isn’t Hillary Clinton speaking up? And I’ll tell you why: because they are all guilty.

RT: Why do you think the Washington Post which been accused of being the mouthpiece of Democratic Party for the last two years decided to publish this revelation now?

ES: Because Devin Nunes went to the Washington Post with the story. The Post didn’t dig this up. That is the nasty truth of all of this. This is not journalism. This is the House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes who has recused himself, got this tax information and gave it to the Washington Post and said “Here, print this. Try to tell a lie about this. See how Hillary Clinton was involved in this. You want a real story, here it is.” That is how they got it. The fact of the matter is, had Devin Nunes not gone after the truth, this would have never come out. The tax records are what they are. What is interesting in the legal fight in all of this is that Devin Nunes wants all of the tax records released by Fusion GPS. But of course, their attorneys are in court arguing saying “Wait a minute. This subpoena goes too far. We’ve got so many clients that we are dealing with. This would damage our business.” So, it wouldn’t damage their business. They have offered up the tax records and here are all these payments from the DNC, here are all these payments from the Hillary campaign. That is how they got the story. Devin Nunes to support the president, took this material and gave it to the Washington Post and had the Washington Post in an untenable position where they had to report this if they wanted any credibility whatsoever in the department of journalism.

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‘We’re the f***ing law here’: Rowdy off-duty Spanish cops cause ruckus in Barcelona bar

By ethan / October 26, 2017

A group of seven off-duty Spanish policemen have reportedly been accused of unruly behavior in a Barcelona bar. They damaged property and allegedly abused Italian-speaking waiters, mistakenly thinking they were conversing in Catalan.

The bar’s owners called the Mossos d’Esquadra, the police force of Catalonia, after being shocked at the aggression and destruction being caused by the group of customers. On arrival, the local police discovered that the trouble-makers were actually off-duty Spanish policemen.

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Spanish police officers drag a man as they try to disperse voters arriving to a polling station in Barcelona, on October 1, 2017 © Pau Barrena

According to eyewitnesses, the Spanish officers had been causing a disturbance since their arrival at the bar, El Mon reported. They shouted, disturbed other clients and treated the Italian-speaking waiters rudely. The officers appear to have confused them with local Catalans and demanded that they speak Spanish because “Barcelona is Spain.” The aggression further escalated when the officers reportedly refused to pay, asking staff to bring the “same again.” One of the waiters refused, saying the bar was closing, but the officers reportedly replied: “We are the f***ing law here, in Barcelona! You close and open when we say so!”

When Catalan police offers arrived at the bar to deal with the incident on Monday night, their Spanish counterparts called them “rats” and “Catalan b**ches,” RAC1 reported.

Spanish police came under fire for using batons and rubber bullets when they stepped in to stop an independence referendum on October 1, after the local Catalan force refused to prevent the vote. The poll had been deemed illegal by the central authorities in Madrid.  

Several Mossos officers told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the 17,000-strong force was split among those who opted for independence and those who opposed it. Three out of five officers said they would not resort to force to remove Spanish lawmakers from power.

“I‘m not going to use force and beat people with my baton if they are passive,” a 15-year Mossos veteran and secessionist said, adding that many others felt the same: “I would have to obey it. My family has to eat.” 

On Friday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will seek Senate approval to assume central control of Catalonia, including its government and the running of Mossos.

Read more

© Maite Solé

“At the moment Catalan society is deeply divided  and that’s a fact that would be hypocritical to deny. The same division can be seen inside the police. First of all, we want to say that we remain calm. Of course, we will continue to do our everyday work no matter what happens. And we want the Catalan police to stay as the police for all Catalans,” Mossos spokesperson Valentin Anadon told RT.

The Spanish police crackdown during the vote resulted in over 800 people being injured across the region, according to Catalonia’s Health Department. Shortly after the referendum, the human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe contacted the Spanish interior minister, seeking “swift, independent and effective” investigations into allegations of disproportionate use of force by the police. Human Rights Watch slammed the actions of Spanish national police, saying they used “excessive force towards peaceful Catalans expressing their political opinion.”

Madrid argues, however, that the actions of Civil Guard and National Police were “prudent, appropriate and proportionate to the objective of ensuring compliance with the law and the rights of all citizens.”

The Mossos are a permanent fixture in Catalan society, having emerged from citizen militias in the 18th century.

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Taliban death threats & disguise: Story of Pakistani girl who dressed as a boy to play squash

By ethan / October 26, 2017

A documentary detailing the struggles of squash player Maria Toorpakai, who was forced to disguise herself as a boy to play squash in a volatile area of Pakistan, has scooped a top award.

‘Girl Unbound: The War to be Her’ recently won the Peace and Sport Documentary Prize at the SPORTEL award ceremony in Monaco.

It tells the tale of Toorpakai’s beginnings in the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan – one of the most dangerous places in the world and where girls are banned from playing sports.

“I used to dress up like boys. I wanted to play outside freely so I took all my girly dresses and burned them,” the 26-year-old says in the documentary trailer.

In a bid to maintain the facade, Toorpakai even produced a false birth certificate that stated she was a boy in order to compete, and her father introduced his daughter to sports authorities as his ‘son.’

Toorpakai turned professional in 2006, but when her true identity was revealed, she and her family received death threats from the Taliban.

She subsequently remained confined to her house from age 16 to 19, relegated to searching the internet for ways to play her sport.

Finally moving to Toronto, Canada, she competed on the professional women’s tour and, although she gained prominence, her family continued to be threatened back in Pakistan. The documentary follows her fight for freedom.

Toorpakai is currently ranked No.99 in the world, having been rated as high as 41, and continues to occupy the No.1 spot in Pakistan’s women’s rankings.

She reached the semifinals of the Richmond Open, held in the US, in April.

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Bitcoin to hit $50,000, surpassing Apple’s market cap in next 5 yrs – analyst

By ethan / October 26, 2017

The price of bitcoin will grow tenfold in the next decade with the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization exceeding a trillion dollars, says an investment analyst who predicted the surge to $ 5,000 when bitcoin was trading at $ 2,600.

Ronnie Moas, founder, and director of Standpoint Research suggests that in the next five years the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency could surpass Apple’s market capitalization.

“People need to start taking this seriously because today bitcoin caught up with Goldman Sachs. Within five years, it’s going to catch Apple which has a more than $ 800 billion market cap,” the analyst said in an interview with CNBC.

Bitcoin’s current market cap is over $ 95 billion, according to the data from CoinMarketCap.com.

Meanwhile, the market value of Goldman Sachs Group was $ 93.51 billion in New York in after-hours trading, while Apple’s market cap was $ 807.89 billion.

Despite all the recent skepticism over bitcoin, the cryptocurrency hit another milestone of $ 6,000. The current price for a bitcoin token is $ 5748.92, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

Opinions have been split on the future of cryptocurrencies.

Earlier this week, infamous stockbroker Jordan Belfort warned investors over participating in initial coin offerings (ICOs), calling the fundraising system a scam that will blow up in people’s faces.

Saudi billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal also predicted bitcoin’s collapse. He said the currency would burst like the US energy and commodities giant Enron that went bankrupt in 2001 after its fraudulent structures and massive accounting fraud had been exposed.

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO, denounced the bitcoin cryptocurrency as a fraud, which is bound to fail, while BlackRock CEO Larry Fink called the cryptocurrency an “index of money laundering.”

Moas, ranked in the top ten stock pickers among more than 4,000 at TipRanks, pointed out that his three antagonists have been heavily invested in publicly-traded US banks, which are currently under threat because of the cryptocurrency.

“I don’t expect those people to come out and recommend… to buy bitcoin. Because that hurts their business,” the analyst said.

The expert added that he was focusing on just twenty out of the 1,000 current cryptocurrencies, describing most of the rest as “pump-and-dump scam operations.”

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‘Deeds not words’: May’s promise to tackle mental health undermined by stats

By ethan / October 26, 2017

Theresa May has made her pledge to tackle mental-health issues a key policy objective, but the level of NHS spending in the area has prompted some to question her commitment.

The PM previously commissioned a report that found 300,000 had lost their jobs as a result of mental-health conditions. The research, titled ‘Thriving at Work’, was cited by May as proof that “We must take action.”

“It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change the way we see mental illness, so that striving to improve your mental health – whether at work or at home – is seen as just as positive as improving our physical well-being,” she said.

Read more

© Juan Carlos Ulate

Her Tory government pledged back in February to increase support for children and young people experiencing mental health through a £1.4-billion ($ 1.8-billion) fund. Critics, however, suggested that the government’s wider economic policy of austerity may actually be the cause of many mental-health issues that people are facing.

“Addressing mental health is not just about ensuring more ‘treatment’ is available and stigma is reduced, although they are important,” said a spokesperson for Psychologists Against Austerity earlier this year.

“It is fundamentally also about the evidence that ideological economic policies, like the continued austerity programme, have hit the most vulnerable the hardest and have been toxic for mental health,” he added, according to a report by The Independent in January.

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BAME prisoners more likely to suffer ill treatment in Britain - study © Eddie Keogh

The number of young people arriving in A&E with psychiatric problems has doubled since 2009.  The Conservatives entered government in 2010. A recent report by the Children’s Commissioner estimated that only between a quarter and a fifth of children with mental-health conditions received help last year.

“Progress in improving children’s mental health services has been unacceptably slow,” stated the report.

A total of 40 percent of NHS mental-health trusts suffered cuts between 2015 and 2017, while 62 percent were found to require improvement.

The Tory leader said she that more workplace supports are planned, along with the expansion of “digital mental-health services,” and more investment in community services.

May did, in fact, pledge a further £15 million ($ 19.8 million) to community services, but many people still have to travel hundreds of miles to access mental-health support, or wait long periods to be seen on the NHS.

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Who killed JFK? The various theories behind the Kennedy assassination

By ethan / October 26, 2017

Just hours ahead of the disclosure of classified documents on one of the defining moments of 20th-century US history – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – RT takes a look at some of the main theories regarding what really happened.

Ever since John F. Kennedy was gunned down by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963 while visiting Dallas, Texas, there has been endless speculation around the circumstances of the 46-year-old’s death.

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Lee Harvey Oswald © AFP

Here, we take a look at what different people say happened on that tragic day.

Lone wolf – the official version

Following the tragic event, the Warren Commission was set up by President Lyndon B. Johnson to shed light on Kennedy’s murder. In 1964, the commission concluded that Kennedy was killed by a lone assassin – former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald.

The shooter fired three shots from a sixth-floor window in the Texas School Book Depository and two bullets reached his target – President Kennedy – and wounded Texas Governor John Connally, who was travelling in the car with Kennedy.

Although the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald was not part of any conspiracy, the findings were criticized for allegedly ignoring some witness accounts and for the fact that the CIA and FBI, who assisted the investigation, withheld some information.

A second shooter?

Over a decade later, Kennedy’s death was once again investigated – this time by the US House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Established in 1976, the committee issued its final report in 1979, which agreed with the Warren Commission’s findings, though it added there was a “high probability” that two gunmen fired at Kennedy.

The HSCA also found that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy,” although it did not go into details.

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© JFK Presidential Library / AFP

Communist conspiracies

It’s no secret that Oswald visited the Soviet Union and attempted to obtain citizenship due to his Marxist beliefs. After being denied, however, he grew disillusioned with the USSR, which seems to have provided the grounds for alleged Soviet involvement in Kennedy’s assassination.

Several months before the assassination, Oswald reportedly visited the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico to re-apply for a Soviet visa, but failed.

Amid speculation of a US plot to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro, this added fuel to the theory that Oswald colluded with the Cuban government to kill Kennedy.

This was dismissed by the Warren Commission, however, with the report stating that neither the Soviet Union nor Cuba were “involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.”

CIA conspiracy

As tensions with communist Cuba continued to grow, the CIA attempted to oust Castro, which included their ill-fated Bay of Pigs operation.

Despite Oswald having no connections with the CIA, according to the Warren Commission and the HSCA, some theories emerged claiming that the agency wanted revenge for the failed operation, which it blamed on Kennedy, and for the president’s alleged plan to cut its budget.

READ MORE: JFK, CIA, Mafia and Fidel Castro – Trump can finally allow the truth to emerge from the shadows

Often presented as “proof” is the fact that CIA agent E. Howard Hunt and US soldier Frank Anthony Sturgis were among three men, also known as the “three tramps,” spotted in photographs being escorted by police near the Texas School Book Depository.

Hunt was involved in the Bay of Pigs operation, while Sturgis was an anti-Castro activist.

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© France Presse Voir

Others says that Oswald himself was a CIA agent, although this, and the involvement of Hunt and Sturgis, was also dismissed by the Warren Commission.

Umbrella man

Witnesses spotted what they said was a “suspicious” man holding an umbrella as Kennedy’s motorcade was driving by, despite it being a clear, sunny day. One theory is that ‘umbrella man’ fired a tranquilizer at the president, signaling to the shooter to fire the kill shot.

The man was later identified as Louie Steven Witt, who explained that the umbrella was a form of protest aimed at Kennedy’s father Joseph, and his support for British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, who was known for carrying an umbrella, was seen as “appeasing Hitler” in the lead-up to World War II, and Joseph Kennedy supported Chamberlain.

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US wants Pakistan military force in Afghanistan but won’t pay the cost – former intelligence chief

By ethan / October 26, 2017

The US wants Pakistan to establish and maintain a military presence in Afghanistan but will not pay for the cost of such an expedition, the former chief of Pakistan’s intelligence service has told RT following a visit to the region by the US Secretary of State.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has once again accused Pakistan of providing refuge to numerous terrorist groups that threaten the region. “There are too many terrorist organizations that find a safe place in Pakistan from which to conduct their operations and attacks against other countries,” he said while in New Dehli, a day after visiting Islamabad.

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© Munir uz Zaman

“Certain expectations” had been outlined during his visit regarding “mechanisms of cooperation” that Pakistan must honor or face consequences from the US, Tillerson said on Wednesday.

US policy in the region focuses on military presence and not on maintaining peace, former director-general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and former director-general of the Pakistan Army’s Military Intelligence, Asad Durrani told RT.

“Essentially the policy remains the same and that is you have to dig in Afghanistan, stay there, keep the bases, keep the military presence. That is more important than either peace there or settlement there,” Durrani told Sophie Shevardnadze in an interview which will be aired on RT on Friday.

Washington has previously accused Islamabad of helping the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani-network militants – allegations that Pakistan denies.

READ MORE: Assisting US in Afghanistan was wrong choice – Pakistani FM to RT

In a bid to get the country to change its stance, Donald Trump’s administration has threated to reduce the aid to the country and even impose sanctions against Pakistani officials.

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Baghdad, Iraq October 23, 2017. © Alex Brandon

Speaking to Pakistan’s leadership on Tuesday after his visit to Afghanistan, Tillerson made the White House’s expectations of Islamabad very clear, reiterating “President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country,” according to a statement from the US Embassy on October 24.

Pakistan enjoys certain privileges as one of 16 countries that Washington introduced to a “Non-NATO Major Allies” club. As a member of this group, Pakistan receives billions of dollars in aid and access to US military technology. Pakistan can, however, lose such privileges if it disobeys US strategy in the region.

Durrani has downplayed the US threats, suggesting that Washington really has nothing to take away from Pakistan and that any possible sanctions would have no effect on the country.

Only “some hundreds of millions” have trickled down to Pakistan in terms of US aid assistance, Durrani said, claiming that as much as “90 percent” of the money goes back to Washington.

“Dependence on America? That finished a long time ago. I think this is a game – one of those myths that have been created. These billions of dollars never came,” the former intelligence chief explained.

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