Aletho News


The condensed case against the White Helmet imposters in Syria

Vanessa Beeley | January 26, 2018

A reading of the evidence presented by Vanessa Beeley regarding the UK FCO & USAID multi-million-financed White Helmet organisation embedded with terrorist factions inside Syria, also funded by the same hostile governments.

White Helmet archives:…

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Russia sanctions a ‘dead horse,’ seriously damaged economy – German regional heads

RT | January 27, 2018

Anti-Russian sanctions have achieved nothing other than placing a significant burden on the German economy, prime ministers of two German federal states have argued, calling on fellow regional leaders to demand their lifting.

The German government should gradually lift sanctions it imposed against Russia over its alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis, Minister President of Saxony-Anhalt Reiner Haseloff told journalists in the German city of Magdeburg on Friday. He said he would raise the issue at a conference of the heads of five German states on Monday and urge them to adopt a unified position against the anti-Russian sanctions.

The initiative has already been supported by Bodo Ramelow, Minister President of Thuringia, who said the German economy had already suffered enough because of the effects of the sanctions. “There must be an exit strategy [as to] the anti-Russian sanctions,” Ramelow told the German DPA news agency, adding that “they have already seriously damaged us economically.”

Sanctions are “a dead horse one should not ride anymore,” Ramelow told Der Spiegel as he pointed out that they did not actually contribute anything to the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis. Ukraine’s problems cannot be “solved through a symbolic policy at the expense of our industries,” he said.

Economic restrictions that the EU imposed against Russia indeed put a heavy burden on the economy of Germany, and its eastern states in particular. Between 2014 and 2016, the volume of Russian imports to the eastern German states has halved while the volume of their export to Russia has decreased by one third, Der Spiegel reported citing the German Federal Statistical Office.

Eastern German states might lose access to some markets for a long period of time, Ramelow warned, adding that Germany’s agriculture and food industries are hit particularly hard by this situation. “However, this is not just about agriculture, but also about machine industry and the [sector] of engineering technologies,” he added.

The head of Thuringia also said that the initiative of the East German states might receive backing from other parts of Germany. “I have heard that Bavaria could possibly support it,” Ramelow said, as cited by DPA.

In the meantime Haseloff, a member of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said that he would put the issue of lifting the anti-Russian sanctions on the agenda of the ongoing collation talks between the CDU and the Social Democrats. The politician, who is part of the CDU negotiating team, said he would do so in case the head of the eastern German states succeed in forming a unified position on the issue.

In December 2017, a study published by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy showed that Germany is de facto Europe’s biggest loser from the EU penalties introduced against Russia. German exports to Russia dropped nearly 40 percent with the country losing €618 million ($768 million) each month because of the sanctions.

The sanctions were introduced in 2014 over Russia’s alleged involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and its reunification with Crimea. The EU restrictions targeted Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors, along with some government officials, businessmen and public figures.

Moscow responded by imposing an embargo on agricultural produce, food and raw materials on countries that joined the anti-Russian sanctions. Since then both sides have repeatedly broadened and extended the restrictive measures.

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s endgame in Gaza: Resistance is futile

Israel’s deliberate targeting of Gaza’s health sector and denying those in need of humanitarian care from obtaining it constitute a crime against humanity

By CJ Werleman | Middle East Eye | January 16, 2018

Some describe Gaza as either the world’s largest “concentration camp” or “open air prison”, while others liken it to the modern-day equivalent of the Warsaw ghetto.

Whatever appropriate analogy you apply to the enclave, that traps two million Palestinians on a slender piece of coastal land along the Egyptian-Israeli border, it’s impossible to overstate the level of human misery and suffering that is taking place there today.

A catastrophic situation

When I spoke with Dr Basem Naim, the former Palestinian minister for health and resident of Gaza, I referred him to a UN report that forewarned that Israel’s medieval-like blockade promises to make the territory “uninhabitable” by 2020.

“What do they [UN] mean? It’s uninhabitable here now,” Naim told me. “The situation today is catastrophic.”

Dr Naim explained how Israel’s intentional cutting of Gaza’s power supply, meant to exert pressure on Hamas but, instead, punishing ordinary Palestinians, is having dire affects on the health sector in Gaza.

“The typical Palestinian gets only three to five hours of electricity each day,” he said. “You can’t pump water to apartments that are above ground level. You can’t pump sewage, which is why more than 95 percent of Gaza’s drinking water is undrinkable.”

He explained that hospitals, which depend on 24-hour electricity, are unable to perform life-saving surgeries, and that some, including Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, have ceased doing operations altogether.

This is happening while newborn babies and the elderly freeze to death in the winter, and die from heat exhaustion in the summer. This is happening because Israel is allowing only 120 watts of power to be provided to Gaza, knowing that 400 watts are needed to meet the basic minimum survival needs of two million Palestinian people.

“The scarcity of energy and the severe shortage of fuel in Gaza have damaged all aspects of life in the Strip,” said the International Committee of the Red Cross in a statement issued last year.

Closed borders

But the biggest problem facing the imprisoned citizens of Gaza is the “closed borders”, according to Dr Naim. He explained:

“For example, the last time Rafah border crossing was opened, which was one week ago, came after more than 100 days of closure, and out of the 35,000 people waiting to leave Gaza through Rafah, only 2,000 were able to leave, and the others must wait again for another 100 days. When I talk about 35,000 people, I’m talking about urgent humanitarian cases; patients, and people who need to meet their families for urgent situations. It’s nearly impossible for Palestinians in Gaza to get urgent medical care in Israel, Egypt, or Jordan.

“If a Palestinian wants to leave Gaza for urgent medical care or treatment, he or she must wait 70 days to get [an] Israeli reply saying he or she is allowed or not. And after 70 days, and even if the request is approved, he or she must come to Erez crossing for an interrogation, and he or she might be arrested. I know many cases where the families of patients were blackmailed by Israeli security forces, like Shin Bet, under these very circumstances.”

It’s worth noting that it’s not only from Gaza that Palestinians are denied freedom of movement. Earlier this month, Omar Barghouti, who lives in Israel and is one of the founders of the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli occupation, was denied the right to visit his cancer-stricken mother in Jordan.

Israel’s refusal to allow a prominent Palestinian figure, who has a demonstrable lifetime track record of non-violent activism, undercuts Israeli claims that travel bans have little to do with security and everything to do with meting out collective and inhumane punishment to the Palestinian people, writ large.

A new report published by the human rights group Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement shows that 2017 was the worst year for the movement of Palestinians in and out of Gaza since Israel’s attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, reducing the number of exit permits by 51 percent from 2016 to 2017.

The report shows that Israel allowed fewer than 6,000 monthly exits in 2017 compared with the more than 14,000 allowed the previous year.

The authors of the report also identified a list of policies that were carried out by Israeli authorities to prevent or restrict freedom of Palestinian movement through the Erez crossing.

These new restrictive measures were “introduced with little or no justification provided as to their purpose and, it appears, no consideration of the impact they would have on the lives of Gaza’s residents”.

Targeting the health sector

These measures include “significant extension of the processing times of permit applications, leaving thousands of permit applications pending with no response; a new directive prohibiting Palestinians from exiting Gaza with electronic devices, toiletries and food; freezing travel to the American Consulate; mandatory shuttle services to Allenby Bridge Crossing; “security blocks” blocking travel for medical patients, traders, and humanitarian workers; increase in the frequency and severity of “security interviews” at Erez; trader permits cancelled as new approvals declined; travel for Friday prayers in Jerusalem remaining blocked, and; recipients of permits for travel abroad increasingly made to sign a commitment not to return for a year.”

It’s not only inexcusable for Israel to impose any kind of restriction of movement, but to deliberately target Gaza’s health sector by cutting power to the Strip, and then to deny those in need of humanitarian care from obtaining it – constitutes a crime against humanity by any definition.

“The magnitude, the deliberateness, the violations of international humanitarian law, the impact on the health, lives, and survival, and the overall conditions warrant the characterisation of a crime against humanity,” says Richard Falk, a former UN special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“This is an increasingly precarious condition. A recent study reports that 46 percent of all Palestinian children in Gaza suffer from acute anaemia. There are reports that the sonic booms associated with Israeli overflights have caused widespread deafness, especially among children. Children need thousands of hearing aids.

“Malnutrition is extremely high in a number of different dimensions and affects 75 percent of Palestinians in Gaza. There are widespread mental disorders, especially among young people … Over 50 percent of Palestinian children in Gaza under the age of 12 have been found to have no will to live,” wrote Falk in 2008.

When I referred to Falk’s findings from a decade ago, Dr Naim said things have become “much worse”, pointing to the fact that much of Gaza’s critical infrastructure was destroyed during Israel’s 2014 assault, noting that 20,000 tons of explosive ordinance was dropped on the Strip by Israeli jets and artillery, and that unemployment and poverty have skyrocketed since.

Breaking the Palestinians’ will

Israel’s restriction on Palestinian movement is also preventing Gaza from building a functioning civil society as human rights workers, social workers, health workers, educators, engineers, etc are denied opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills in other countries.

It also runs afoul of Israel’s “obligations to respect the human rights of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including their right to freedom of movement, which includes, with some limitations, a right to enter and leave one’s country and to choose one’s place of residence within it,” according to Human Rights Watch.

In fact, Palestinians in Gaza may visit their families in the occupied West Bank only if he or she can prove their relative is “dead, dying, or getting married“, which constitutes another violation of not only international law but also the Oslo Accords that stipulate the Palestinian territories – East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank – constitute one unified territorial entity. Israel has made movement between the territories all but impossible for Palestinians.

Given that nearly a third of Palestinians in Gaza have relatives in either the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, or Israel, one can see how needlessly cruel Israel’s brutal policies of occupation truly are.

Of course, Israel tries to justify its near total freeze of Palestinian movement in and out of Gaza with concerns for its security, but this has always been a rhetorical fig leaf for Israel’s sustained effort to break the will of the Palestinian people.

Israel’s intent has always been to strangle Palestinian political, social, and civil life in the hope that those it occupies will come to the realisation that resistance is futile.

– CJ Werleman is the author of Crucifying America (2013), Koran Curious (2011), and he is the host of Foreign Object. Follow him on twitter: @cjwerleman 


Yes, Palestinians under siege are ‘dehumanised’ – by Israel

Remembering Cast Lead: How corporate media continue to justify Israel’s criminal excesses

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 6 Comments

Drinking the Self-driving Car Kool-aid

By Othello | Dissident Voice | January 27, 2018

Recently, a Tesla on autopilot slammed into a parked fire engine at 65 mph. It turns out that there was no malfunction. According to Tesla’s manual:

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control cannot detect all objects and may not brake/decelerate for stationary vehicles, especially in situations when you are driving over 50 mph (80 km/h) and a vehicle you are following moves out of your driving path and a stationary vehicle or object is in front of you instead.

So whereas any half way decent human driver would have braked and/or swerved to avoid the collision, Tesla’s “smart” car proceeded full-speed ahead.

Even if you choose not to buy a self-driving car, you or your loved ones could have been in that parked vehicle struck by a stupid “smart” car. This is not just about technophiles who want to be able to play World of Warcraft while speeding down the highway… this technology is potentially dangerous to all road users and any deaths, injuries or property damage caused by this flawed technology should see the drivers, manufacturers and approving authorities prosecuted or sued… no high-tech exemption!

It is not only Tesla; according to the Wired article referred at the start of this article:

Volvo’s semi-autonomous system, Pilot Assist, has the same shortcoming. Say the car in front of the Volvo changes lanes or turns off the road, leaving nothing between the Volvo and a stopped car. Pilot Assist will ignore the stationary vehicle and instead accelerate to the stored speed.

The article explains why these self-driving systems are engineered that way but blithely promises that in the future LIDAR (Light Identification Detection and ranging, which uses lasers) will replace and/or augment radar and cameras to solve this problem. However, one can discern the real agenda when it informs us that:

Lidar’s price and reliability problems are less of an issue when it comes to a taxi-like service, where a provider can amortize the cost over time and perform regular maintenance. But in today’s cars, meant for average or modestly wealthy consumers, it’s a no-go.

Self-driving cars are a promising new profit center for auto and technology companies. They want to own personal and commercial road transportation which they will provide as a service (at a tidy profit, of course). They repeatedly argue that the technology is safer that using human drivers using flawed statistics while self driving cars cause fatal accidents because the car’s cameras failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky or knock over motorcyclists.

There is a general love-fest for things regarded as cool technology. However, unlike the great innovations that have made driving safer like ABS, ESP, collision avoidance systems, air bags etc. the real intent of self-driving cars seems to be creating a new industry that will be dominated by auto and tech giants who would ultimately control all road traffic…a truly huge potential market.

You probably didn’t hear about the conclusions of Germany’s Highway Research Institute (BASt) that:

After many thousands of kilometers of testing, BASt reportedly concluded that Autopilot represents a significant traffic hazard. Judging that is was not designed for complex urban traffic situations, the report declared that the car’s sensors are too short-sighted to cope with the reality of German motorways.

Or that:

American research conducted by John F. Lenkeit of Dynamic Research, which concludes that forward collision warning systems for automobiles fail dramatically to detect motorcycles.

Before concluding that self-driving cars are an inevitable part of a rosy future one should read an article like The “Self-Driving” Car is only an Oxymoron. In it you might learn that:

… in the first week of March, Uber’s 43 test cars in three states logged some 20,000 miles on public roads. Their drivers had to intervene and take control away from the software, an average of once every mile. Critical interventions, required to save lives and property, were counted separately; they occurred every 200 miles.

In a world where millions would love to have the job of driver and where training and technology geared towards supporting safe driving provide accessible solutions to improving road safety, self-driving cars seem to be of dubious value and downright dangerous as well.

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

US expands sanctions on Russian firms, individuals

Press TV – January 26, 2018

The United States has expanded its sanctions against Russia by adding more individuals and companies to its blacklist because of what Washington calls Moscow’s continued interference in Ukraine.

The US Treasury Department announced on Friday it had added 21 people and nine companies to the sanctions list, including some that had been involved in the delivery of Siemens gas turbines to Crimea. According to the statement, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Andrey Cherezov was in the black list.

“Today’s action is part of Treasury’s continued commitment to maintain sanctions pressure on Russia,” the department said in a statement.

“This action underscores the US government’s opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and firm refusal to recognize its attempted annexation of the peninsula,” it added.

The latest sanctions have also affected some power and energy companies, including Techno-prom-export engineering company and multiple subsidiaries of oil producer Surgut-nefte-gaz.

On Thursday, the US called on the EU to follow in the footsteps of the US by blacklisting more Russian oligarchs in line with a US sanctions review.

The US has also blacklisted dozens of Russian individuals and companies over what Washington calls Russia’s interference in Ukraine and its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The US and its allies had already levied broad economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged support for pro-Russia separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia after a referendum in 2014.

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

‘US hacks and meddling quite unlike China & Russia’s hacks and meddling’ – ex-Pentagon chief

RT | January 27, 2018

One could almost see the proverbial pots and kettles on Friday, when ex-Pentagon chief Ashton Carter informed us that America’s cyber operations and election meddling are entirely dissimilar to the activities of China and Russia.

The panel, held as part of the World Economic Forum in Davos, was dedicated to state cyberwarfare, the risks of cyber operations spiralling out of control, and ways to rein in the emerging threat – from making better software and incentivizing people to update it, to establishing international rules for states to voluntarily observe.

The ghost of Russia’s alleged interference with 2016 election in the US haunted the event, with supporting roles as cyber menaces given to China, alleged thief of US top secret military technologies, and North Korea, alleged perpetrator of the 2014 Sony hack and last year’s WannaCry ransomware epidemic. The panel were debating how the US and the West in general can respond to such attacks, but barely mentioned the role played by the US in bringing the cyberwarfare situation to its current state.

One noticeable exception came from Carter, Defense Secretary during the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, who tried to explain how American actions differed from those of China and Russia.

“We conduct espionage on the Internet. And when we are spied on, I don’t complain. I am unhappy with it because I wish we had not had our secrets stolen. But I put it into a different category. Covert action… is not espionage. It has the effect of harming,” he said.

So… when China steals F-35 blueprints, it harms America; when the US spies on German or Brazilian companies and gets competitive advantage in the market, that’s – no biggie? Sounds plausible. But there is more, because US meddling in foreign elections is not the same thing as somebody meddling in US elections, according to Carter.

He said China and Russia tell the US: “You stick up for democracy. You oppose leaders who are oppressing their people… That’s true, but that’s overt.”

First, being a democratically elected official does not mean the US will not have you overthrown, or worse. Just ask Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, or Chilean President Salvador Allende or, if you want someone who is still alive – Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich.

Second, by implication if hypothetically President Vladimir Putin were to come out tomorrow and say: “OK, we hacked the DNC to help our buddy Donald,” that would somehow make all fine? Carter repeated the phrase “attack is an attack” explaining his attitude to clandestine state-sponsored cyber operations some half a dozen times during the hour-long discussion, and it didn’t sound like a nation claiming credit for one would make it less of an attack in his opinion.

The former Pentagon chief argued during the panel that the US has to “get doctrinally settled” in its response to harmful actions of other states that cannot be clearly attributed to those states. His examples were Russia’s deployment of troops with no insignia from its naval base in Crimea during the 2014 crisis in Ukraine and what he termed “stirring up minorities” in the Baltic states by Russia. “We need a war plan… We need to make it painful to do that kind of thing to us,” he said.

Frankly, the secret supply of US arms to Syrian anti-government groups, attempts to create a Cuban version of Twitter to foster dissent in the island nation or the reported hacking of the Iranian uranium enrichment facility to blow up centrifuges – arguably the best-known case of a state conducting an act of cyberwarfare on another state, by the way – all fall into the same category. But somehow no war plan for those nations was suggested during the panel.

There were some other things that the panel missed. Like the US intelligence practice of hoarding exploits. The WannaCry attack was based on leaked tools developed by the NSA, not some super-secret North Korean cyber warfare unit. Or the fact that the US public often has to trust its government when it points the finger at another nation and says ‘they did it’. Which is disconcerting, if you take into account the historic record of false claims and the fact that the US cyber warfare experts know how to fake “digital fingerprints” to make an attack look like it came from Russia or China. Or that report that the Obama administration ordered “digital bombs” planted, ready to take out critical Russian infrastructure should Washington chose to do so.

Read more:

US unleashed Stuxnet cyber war on Iran to appease Israel – report

#Vault7: How CIA steals hacking fingerprints from Russia & others to cover its tracks

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Ex-FBI Agent: NSA Unlikely to Be Punished for Illegal Data Destruction

Sputnik – January 27, 2018

WASHINGTON – National Security Agency officials are unlikely to face any punishment or censure for defying a court order and destroying data they had broken the law to collect in the first place, former FBI special agent and whistleblower Colleen Rowley told Sputnik.

The NSA was under court order to hold on to information that was linked to warrantless wiretapping during the George W. Bush administration, but instead the agency got rid of data it had been specifically asked to retain, according to US media reports.

“What should be shocking about this news is that it’s about the illegal deletion of the previously illegally collected data on US citizens in the Presidential Surveillance Program,” Rowley said.

There was no accountability for the government’s prior destruction of evidence, including the CIA’s destruction of the “torture tapes,” Rowley noted.

Consequently, “I don’t think there is much chance of any accountability of NSA officials for any of their official negligence or malfeasance that led to these intercepted communications being destroyed and not preserved for purposes of this court proceeding,” she said.

The data was gathered during the administration of President George W. Bush under an illegal program called the “Presidential Surveillance Program,” Rowley recalled.

However, “When the Pulitzer-prize winning news of the illegal program was finally released by New York Times writers, [President] George Bush misled the US public by downplaying it and calling it his ‘Terrorist Surveillance Program,’” she said.

The illegal surveillance of Americans had been secretly “legalized” just as the CIA’s practice of torture as so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques had been by Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) attorney John Yoo and his senior OLC partner Robert Delahunty, Rowley noted.

Yoo and Rowley justified the secret surveillance program “shortly after 9-11 in dozens of secret memos claiming the President had inherent “Commander in Chief” powers to violate the Bill of Rights, a form of martial law,” she said.

The NSA’s interception of communications was illegal in the first place and was in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) statute and the entire program was also possibly unconstitutional, Rowley pointed out.

Rowley also said much of the deleted material might have contained details of secret sexual activities that could have proven highly embarrassing to US military and diplomatic personnel who were involved.

“From some of my prior readings, I also suspect that these previously illegally intercepted communications after 9-11 contained a lot of ‘pillow talk’ between American spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends of military members and State Department personnel stationed abroad,” she said.

Had the secret data not been destroyed, it might have exposed the falsehood of many statements and assurances by President George W. Bush that claimed the surveillance program was responsible and limited in scope, Rowley remarked.

“So this content that apparently no longer exists would have proved very embarrassing if it had ever been made public… contradicting George Bush’s descriptions that his program only targeted ‘terrorists,’” she said.

The destroyed NSA data would have angered the important constituency of US military and Foreign Service members as well as other American travelers whose privacy and rights were violated, Rowley noted.

Rowley sent a May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller that exposed some of the FBI’s pre- September 11, 2001 failures. She was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Mueller is now the Special Counsel investigating President Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. Both Trump and Russia have denied colluding during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , | 3 Comments

Social media giants crack down on RT under Senate pressure

RT | January 26, 2018

Facebook, Google and Twitter are taking action against RT in response to pressure from the Senate Intelligence Committee, but have found very little to indicate ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2016 elections, new documents show.

Google Search, for example, has labels “describing RT’s relationship with the Russian Government” and the company is “working on disclosures to provide similar transparency on YouTube,” according to a letter sent to the committee by Google’s VP and general counsel Kent Walker.

Twitter has “off-boarded” RT and Sputnik “and will no longer allow those companies to purchase ad campaigns and promote Tweets on our platform,”said the letter from the company’s acting general counsel Sean Edgett.

The letters were provided following the October 31, 2017 hearing at which the senators grilled social media executives on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election via their products and services.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) was interested to know whether any of the companies accepted advertising from RT or Sputnik. Unlike Twitter, Facebook and Google continue to carry ads from both outlets. Google’s Walker wrote that such ads remain subject to “strict ads policies and community guidelines,” and that “to date, we’ve seen no evidence that they are violating these policies.”

Walker added that Google took RT out of its Preferred Lineup on YouTube. In November, Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, told an international forum that he planned to “de-rank” RT and Sputnik in displayed search results.

Facebook’s general counsel Colin Stretch wrote that RT and Sputnik can “use our advertising tools as long as they comply with Facebook’s policies, including complying with applicable law.”

Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) asked whether any of the companies provide any data to the Russian government. Twitter said it had received requests for data, but did not comply with any of them. Facebook said it had received 28 requests for data between  2013 and 2017, but that it “did not provide any data in response.”

Google said it had “not complied with every request” but declined to provide any specifics, referring the senators to its Transparency Report. RT’s analysis of that data shows that Google received 237 requests in the first half of 2016 and provided responses in 7 percent of cases. Another 234 requests came in the second half of the year, with a 15 percent response rate. There were 318 requests in 2017 with a 10 percent response rate.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) was very interested to hear what the social media companies are doing with the revenue supposedly earned from “Russian” advertising. Edgett’s letter confirmed Twitter’s commitment to donate the $1.9 million that RT had spent globally on ads to “academic research into elections and civic engagement.” He did not specify the organizations that would benefit from this funding.

Although Stretch said that revenue from ads running on pages managed by the Internet Research Agency (IRA, usually described in the Western press as the “St. Petersburg troll farm”) was “immaterial,” he revealed that Facebook has contributed “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to the Defending Digital Democracy Project, an outfit based at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government “that works to secure democracies around the world from external influence.”

Furthermore, the investments Facebook has made to “address election integrity and other security issues” have been so significant that “we have informed investors that we expect that the amount that we will spend will impact our profitability,” Stretch added.

Google said the total amount of revenue from “Russian” ads amounted to $4,700, while the company has contributed $750,000 to the the Defending Digital Democracy Project.

The outfit is run by Eric Rosenbach, former assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration. According to the Belfer Center at Harvard University, Rosenbach recruited Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager Robby Mook and Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager Matt Rhoades to co-chair the project.

Among the project’s advisers is Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, the law firm that has represented Clinton and the DNC, and was revealed to have paid for the notorious “Steele Dossier.” Another member of the project’s senior advisory group is Dmitri Alperovitch, CEO of Crowdstrike, the private company hired by the DNC which originated the accusation that Russia hacked into the party’s emails. Alperovitch is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank associated with anti-Russian reports and partially funded by the US military, NATO, and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Read more:

Twitter, Google & Facebook grilled by Senate, try hard to find ‘Russian influence’

Censoring #PodestaEmails, defining Russians, DNC advisers: Twitter & Google’s 2016 election tricks

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment