Aletho News


Russia seeks to ‘create conditions so that NOBODY wants to fight us’ – Putin

RT | March 2, 2020

Vladimir Putin has confided that US President Donald Trump privately lamented the “insane” US military budget. He also says Russia protects itself by making the costs of attacking the country too high for anyone to contemplate.

“The US has outstripped us” in terms of annual defense expenditure, the Russian president said in a new episode of news agency TASS’s ‘20 Questions to Vladimir Putin’ series. But being the world’s largest military spender doesn’t really make Donald Trump particularly happy, Putin said.

“Donald told me that they have adopted an insane [military] budget for the next year, $738 billion.”

The US commander-in-chief, who likes to talk up his country’s military hardware during overseas trips while bragging about the armed forces, tends to be more reserved in private, according to Putin. “He told me that the costs were too high, but he had to do it,” he said, describing his counterpart as “an advocate of disarmament, as he says.”

In terms of military spending, Russia trails behind China, Saudi Arabia, the UK, France, and Japan, with a defense budget worth $48 billion, although its lower cost base gives it more purchasing power than most western states. “Moreover, our annual expenditures are falling. In contrast, other countries’ spending has been rising,” Putin stated.

“We are not going to fight against anyone. We are going to create conditions so that nobody wants to fight against us.”

Putin also explained why Trump – who already dismantled the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty the US signed with the old Soviet Union – is reluctant to talk non-proliferation and arms control.

“That is another question, this is a question which relates to the understanding of security and how to ensure it… We can discuss this topic,” the Russian president replied without going into details.

Another crucial treaty which now hangs in the balance is the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which dramatically reduced the number of nuclear warheads and the means of delivery.

The current edition of the pact, known as New START, was signed by former US President Barack Obama and his then-Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev in 2010. It is set to expire in February next year.

While Moscow has signaled its readiness to prolong the treaty immediately, the US has kept silent on the matter.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Guyana: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Prior to 2020 Elections

teleSUR | March 1, 2020

The small Caribbean country of Guyana is on the brink of becoming one of the largest oil-producing nations in the world thanks to the 2015 discovery of major offshore oil deposits.

This newfound wealth set into motion a transformative period for the country, which is one of the poorest nations in South America as more than 36 percent of its people are living in poverty.

But as in many cases, the blessing and promise of billions of dollars in revenue to fill the state’s coffers have also been marred in corruption scandals and caused in 2018 a major political crisis that will be resolved on March 2 as hundreds of thousands of Guyanese head to the polls.

The Guyanese people have been waiting for this day ever since President David Granger received a motion of no confidence in Dec. 21, 2018 with 33 votes against 32. A decision later upheld by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in 2019.

The no-confidence motion, a first in the nation’s history, on the leader of the Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) party was led by former president and opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).

Jagdeo stated Granger “sold” the country’s “patrimony” to Exxon Mobil, accusing the government of mismanaging oil resources and granting the transnational overly generous contract terms.

The government, on the other hand, has insisted that it got the best deal it could and is banking on new oil wealth to transform the economy of the English-speaking country of just 750,000.

So as people head to the polls to elect a new five-year administration amid the recent oil boom, Guyana’s situation could be summarized into the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

In May 2015 ExxonMobil shocked the world and the Guyanese as the company announced the discovery of significant oil deposits in the Liza-1 well, followed by Payara, Liza Deep, Snoek, Turbot, Ranger, and Pacora by early 2018.

ExxonMobil and Hess reported that new discoveries contained estimated resources exceeding eight billion barrels of oil equivalent – one of the world’s largest reserves-, potentially producing 750,000 barrels per day by 2025. In rough estimates, this placed the oil wealth at over US$300 billion.

In a nation with a per capita income of under US$4,000, the findings meant a game-changer.

The revenue is expected to generate an estimated US$168 billion over the life of the project until 2056, representing 120 times Guyana’s annual budget, which in 2019 stood at US$1.4 billion.

By 2024 the amount of money coming in could lift income per person from US$5,000 to US$19,000, nearly the same as in Poland. All the wealth promised for impoverished Guyana hopes of tremendous economic growth in the years ahead. The International Monetary Fund forecasts an 85.6 percent GDP growth in the small nation.

By 2030 the government’s share of earnings from oil could reach US$10 billion in real terms, more than double last year’s GDP. However, not everything that glitters is gold.

The Bad

But Guyana is no stranger to oil exploration and drilling. Since the 1940s transnational companies had operated in the Guyana basin and in small wells. Yet the 2015 find was so unexpected it took even Exxon by surprise as, by April 2016, the United States oil giant had a problem.

The company had recently found oil off the coast in the Stabroek oil block but its license was about to expire in only two years, putting in jeopardy the company’s increasingly valuable asset.

So in early April 2016, the company began a powerful negotiation campaign by confronting two inexperienced Guyanese officials with a new draft license to be signed within ten weeks.

“Exxon did not want to change the favorable financial terms from its 1999 license, despite having recently found significant oil reservoirs that would customarily allow the government to ask for more,” a report titled ‘Signed Away’ by international watchdog Global Witness states.

The Guyanese government despite having a strong bargaining position when the contract came up for renegotiation in 2016 was outmaneuvered by the international company, due to “inexperienced” bureaucrats according to the report.

Guyana’s Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman ended up giving Exxon largely the same tax terms as before it found oil and then the company regained parts of the license area it was supposed to give up.

Also, and within months of signing Stabroek, Exxon agreed to buy portions of two additional licenses from companies that had obtained them under apparently suspicious circumstances. Only three days after getting its new license, Exxon announced its massive find.

The agreement left Guyana with a two percent royalty and a 50 percent profit share after the company recoups its costs. Granger has defended that the attractive terms were needed to secure investment in a risky new location.

However, for German-based company Open Oil -which specializes in providing financial analysis of natural resource investments for public policy purposes – Guyana lost a lot.

“If the royalty had been at 10 percent and standard corporate income tax (CIT) of 25 percent had been applied, both of which are well within international norms, the resulting government take would have been 69 percent, and Guyana would earn US$55 billion more during the life of the Stabroek field, up until 2056,” their report reads.

On average, Guyana will lose over US$1.3 billion a year over the life of the project from signing in 2016 until expiry. With the additional money, the country could have doubled its annual US$172 million health budget, US$251 million education budget, US$185 million infrastructure budget, and still have US$700 million left each year.

“This is a story about how an aggressive company negotiated an exploitative deal with a minister who may not have been working in Guyana’s best interests,” Global Witness’ commented on the matter. Supposedly the opposition voted to end granger’s government in order to renegotiate these contracts, which they thought to be unfair for Guyana.

And this is where things get ugly.

The Ugly

As Granger’s administration came to a halt by the opposition’s vote, the reassuring argument to the Guyanese people was that oil contracts would have been revised and renegotiated. The March 2 elections were meant to prove this thesis as the issue was the deciding factor, or at least it seemed so for campaign purposes.

With elections looming, the People’s Progressive Party presidential candidate announced in January that Exxon’s contract wouldn’t be renegotiated, despite the numerous warnings of the lopsided nature of the agreement.

“Exxon is a different case,” Ali told Reuters after a campaign rally in the contested western Essequibo region, adding that he would administer the deal better after reviewing terms.

For Associate Fellow in the energy, environment and resources program at Chatham House, Valerie Marcel, although the stakes are high in the elections as that the winning party will reign over the country’s oil revenues there is no real difference regarding the party’s policies approaching the oil boom.

Both are on a similar path with the development strategy set up by Granger, support the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and a sovereign wealth fund, and mainly imitate their approach to licenses and future agreements.

“Exxon was a pioneering investment,” Ali reiterated. “But those that came after that time they were not pioneering, so they have to be examined in totality.”

However, others have not yet confirmed significant commercial finds. Tullow has made several discoveries in the past year, but the company has yet to find enough reserves to make the project work so Exxon continues to be the main winner in all this transaction.

If asked what’s really at stake in Guyana’s election, the answer might be as unpleasant as it sounds: nothing. As the good tidings of newfound immense natural resources for one of the poorest nations in the continent have been marred by power struggles and the ugliness of transnational greed over sovereign interests.

See also:

Guyana Polls Close, Results Not Expected Before Friday

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | | Leave a comment

Fighting the Canadian Media Crackdown – Dan Dicks on The Corbett Report

Corbett • 03/02/2020

The Canadian government has recently considered a proposal to require all Canadian media to be licensed by the government. The proposal has been rejected for now, but how long can independent media continue to function in the increasingly draconian Canadian police state? Dan Dicks of joins us to discuss the issue.

Watch this video on BitChute / / / YouTube or Download the mp4


Trudeau’s Digital Charter And The $600M Media Bailout Explained

Ezra Levant of Rebel News Interrorgated For His Book Exposing Justin Trudeau

Licensing The Global News Circuit Soon To Be A Reality in Canada Despite Claims They Won’t Do It

Into the Fire – Dan Dicks on The Corbett Report

Dan Dicks on BitChute / / Minds / Steemit / YouTube

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , | Leave a comment

Report details Israel’s February violations against Palestinian media

MEMO | March 2, 2020

The Journalists’ Support Committee (JSC) reported on Sunday that Israel committed 84 violations against Palestinian media during February.

The JSC said that Israeli occupation forces wounded 24 Palestinian journalists by shooting steel-coated rubber bullets at them while they were carrying out their work.

Israel also tried to prevent Palestinian journalists from covering the violations committed by its occupation forces.

As part of these efforts, the Israeli occupation forces arrested eight Palestinian journalists. Although four were released, the other four are still in prison.

The detention of five other journalists was extended by the occupation authorities during February.

The JSC pointed out that at least six Palestinian journalists being held by Israel have been prevented from meeting their lawyers and subjected to harsh interrogation, including verbal and physical abuse.

In the report, it was revealed that the Israeli occupation imposed very high fines on four Palestinian journalists before putting them under house arrest or expelling them from their home cities.

Journalists have been beaten by security forces and prevented from travelling in the course of their work.

Employment and Press accreditation documents have been confiscated by Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel is continuing to put pressure on social media sites to censor anything remotely pro-Palestine. Many journalists’ and media accounts have been suspended or closed accounts.

Ironically, three Palestinian journalists from the occupied West Bank, said the JSC, were taken before Israeli courts on the day that the Committee’s report was issued.

According to rights groups, there are 22 Palestinian journalists inside Israeli jails. There are around 5,500 Palestinians prisoners being held by Israel, including 42 women and girls, 250 children, 450 under administrative detention and around 1,000 in need of urgent medical care.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

US: Pro-BDS store wins major legal victory against Israel advocates

MEMO | March 2, 2020

Advocates for the state of Israel have suffered an embarrassing defeat in a decade-long legal battle to sue Olympia Food Co-op over its decision to boycott Israeli goods. The US grocery store, which campaigns for ethical food consumption, was fully vindicated by a Washington appeals court on 20 February in a legal case that is likely to have positive ramifications for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian rights.

The original case that was filed in 2011 by five co-op members, purporting to act on behalf of the co-op and seeking to block the boycott, sought to collect monetary damages against the board members.

The case was dismissed five months later as a SLAPP, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, but reinstated when Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute was struck down.

Two years later, an appeals court upheld that judge’s ruling and the plaintiffs were ordered to pay $160,000 in statutory damages – $10,000 to each of the 16 co-op board members – as well as other legal fees.

Last week’s ruling dismissed the case a second time.

Board member, Grace Cox, who supported a measure to ban Israeli products from the store’s shelves, were put through years of litigation by several former Co-op members who worked closely with the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs.

The right-wing Israel lobby group is reported to have secretly planned the lawsuit in coordination with Israeli government officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has been authorised to lead the global campaign against BDS.

In its press release, the Centre for Constitutional Rights, which has represented the defendants during the entire legal battle, said that it had discovered emails between the plaintiffs celebrating the news from StandWithUs that the lawsuit had successfully discouraged other co-ops from boycotting Israeli goods.

StandWithUs, which is described as one of many groups trying to suppress the growing US movement for Palestinian freedom, took credit for filing the case, stating that it was a by-product of the partnership between StandWithUs and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Following their victory Cox said: “As a co-defendant, I am pleased, but not surprised, that the courts have once again found in our favor. When the plaintiffs first threatened to sue us, they promised a nuisance lawsuit, and they have delivered.”

Deputy Legal Director for the Centre for Constitutional Rights Maria LaHood spoke of the wider ramifications of the case, viewing it as a victory for free speech. “In the face of widespread assault, the right to advocate for Palestinian freedom, including via the time-honored tradition of boycotts for social change, has again been vindicated,” said LaHood. “This victory demonstrates that although the fight can be long, it’s necessary in order to achieve justice.”

Lawyers say the lawsuit is part of a broad and growing pattern of suppressing activism in support of Palestinian rights, a phenomenon that the Centre for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal have documented and called the “Palestine Exception” to free speech.

The two organisations have documented the widespread use of administrative disciplinary actions, harassment, firings, legislative attacks, false accusations of terrorism and antisemitism, and baseless legal complaints. Palestine Legal has responded to 1,494 incidents of suppression targeting speech supportive of Palestinian rights between 2014 and 2019.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 5 Comments

Israel says US will ‘punish’ those who boycott UN blacklist companies

MEMO | March 2, 2020

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN said on Sunday that the US will punish those who boycott companies and individuals on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) blacklist of those which profit from the occupation of the West Bank.

“This further attests to the strength of the bond of the US-Israel relationship and the alliance between the peoples,” explained Danny Danon at the 2020 conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC is the largest pro-Israel lobby organisation in North America.

Danon used his speech to criticise Democratic Party presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders for refusing to address the conference.

Sanders explained his decision by saying that he remains concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. “Sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country,” added the veteran US Senator.

The Israeli Ambassador insisted that nobody wants to see Sanders at AIPAC or in Israel. “Anyone who calls the Israeli Prime Minister a racist is a liar or an ignoramus, or a dangerous combination of the two,” Danon concluded.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 12 Comments

Spike in suicides amongst veterans of British military campaigns in Afghanistan

British forces in Afghanistan committed countless abuses against the local population
Press TV – March 2, 2020

Veterans of Britain’s recent costly military campaigns in Afghanistan are killing themselves in record numbers.

According to the Times newspaper, some 14 former and serving army personnel have killed themselves in the past two months alone.

This unusually high number is compounded by the fact that all the deceased are from a “particular grouping” involved in Operation Herrick, which guided all avowed British military actions in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2014.

The government’s response to this apparent emergency has been muted, with John Mercer, the minister for veterans, merely expressing “concern” at the spike in deaths.

The latest spike comes against the backdrop of repeated warnings by British military chiefs of the deteriorating mental health of serving military personnel and veterans alike.

Last November, the former head of the army, General Lord Dannatt, warned that suicide among veterans has become an “epidemic of our time”.

Whilst the precise reasons for the latest spike in suicides is largely unknown, disillusionment with the British military in general, and the UK’s pointless military intervention in Afghanistan in particular, are believed to be major factors.

The widespread disillusionment in the British army is likely to be compounded by the recent announcement of a so-called peace deal between the United States and the Afghan Taliban.

The deal is likely to intensify widespread feelings amongst British veterans of Afghan military campaigns that the entire effort had been in vain.

That feeling is likely to be compounded by the British government’s mixed messaging on the so-called peace deal.

The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, played down the significance of the so-called peace deal by describing it in reductive terms as a “small but important step”.

By contrast, Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, glorified the deal as a “significant moment in the pursuit of peace”.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 13 Comments

Mr President! Pompeo wants a US War in Syria!

Sic Semper Tyrannis | February 29, 2020

“This was and remains a bad idea,” said one of the people familiar with the discussions. Turkey and the U.S. have a history when it comes to the Patriot. Over Washington’s objections, Ankara last year received an advanced Russian S-400 missile-defense system that the U.S. considers a threat to the F-35 fighter jet and NATO air defenses. The U.S. had offered the Patriot as an alternative, but Turkey has committed to the Russian system. As a result, Washington kicked Turkey out of the F-35 program, for which it was both a customer and manufacturing partner. A DoD spokesperson declined to comment. A spokesperson for Jeffrey referred POLITICO to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who on Friday condemned the attack and called on the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian backers to cease their assault on Idlib. He noted that the U.S. is “reviewing options to assist Turkey against this aggression.” –  Politico

Idlib Governorate is Syrian territory. The Syrian government is a member state of the UN. The Russians are assisting the Syrian government at the request of that government. “Fatih” Sultan Erdogan has introduced thousands of Turkish Army troops into northern Syria in what amounts to a neo-Ottoman land grab.

He has a major problem in that so far, neither the Turkish Army (TSK) nor their Sunni jihadi allies are fighting very well. They have managed to re-capture the town of Saraqib on the four lane highway between Damascus and Aleppo, but for how long? The SAA and their militia allies are massing to re-take the town.

To the west nearly all of Idlib Governorate south of the M-4 east-west highway is within artillery fire of the advancing SAA and at the northern end of the al-Ghaab Plain the spearheads are apparently within 6 miles of the M-4. Assuming that the M-4 is the Turkish Main Supply Route (MSR) out of Hatay Province to the west, an SAA interdiction of that major road will imperil the Turkish led force around  Saraqib. The Turks will then either withdraw from Saraqib or attack any SAA blockage of  the M-4 or both. In classic militaryspeak, the Turks would be said to have been “turned out” of their position at Saraqib by the SAA move onto the M-4 to the west. The resulting engagement would be a desperate fight. In the midst of this situation the Russian Aerospace expeditionary force would be heavily engaged.

Mike Pompeo, Jeffrey, his henchman, and all the neocons in and out of the Borg (foreign policy establishment) want the US to become directly involved in this battle by providing Turkish forces in Syria air defense from US manned Patriot missile batteries. The Turks could not man the systems themselves if we provided them. They also want the US to declare a “no-fly zone” over Idlib Governorate. Such a zone would be a declaration that the US and little friends would shoot down any military aircraft flying over this piece of Syrian territory without US permission. This would be an act of war by the United States and would cause a de facto state of war to exist between the US and Russia.

The US Department of Defense thinks that such engagement on our part is a stupid neocon conception that has it roots in Israeli desire to destroy the Syrian Government, preferring to have a zone of warring factions where Syria once was, a Hobbesian scene of desolation and a war of all against all,  The Israeli idea is as stupid as that of the neocons.

President Trump, the Commander in Chief of the US armed forces, holds the sole power to decide.  Let us hope that he decides well.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

IOC presented forged signatures in doping case against Russian biathletes, lawyers say

RT | March 2, 2020

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been given one day to provide an explanation regarding alleged forged signatures on documents presented as evidence against Russian biathletes accused of doping.

On Monday the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) considered a claim by Russian lawyer Alexey Panich, who said that IOC documents on the case involving three Russian biathletes – Olga Zaitseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina – contained fake signatures of former Moscow Anti-Doping laboratory chief Grigory Rodchenkov.

The trio of Russian athletes were slapped with lifetime bans in 2017 and stripped of medals over alleged doping violations.

According to TASS, the IOC will need to provide an explanation regarding the documents – the key evidence against the Russian athletes – by Tuesday.

The athletes retired from sport in 2017, but filed an appeal with CAS attempting to overturn the decision imposed by the IOC on the verge of the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

The athletes are seeking monetary compensation for damage inflicted to their reputation and sporting career.

The former head of the Moscow laboratory Rodchenkov fled Russia at the end of 2015, becoming WADA’s key informant in the case on the alleged state sponsored doping program in the country.

His accusations instigated a massive crackdown against Russia, which affected the country’s participation at the 2016 and 2018 Games in Brazil and South Korea respectively.

At the 2018 PyeongChang Games, Russian athletes are competing under a neutral flag and under the name Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) without national emblems, which were banned by the IOC.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Supreme leader’s advisory council member dies of coronavirus – Iranian media

RT | March 2, 2020

Seyyed Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a long-standing member of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council, has reportedly died from a novel coronavirus infection.

He was being treated at the Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran when he succumbed to the Covid-19 infection at the age of 71. Mirmohammadi’s mother, sister of senior cleric Ayatollah Shobeiri Zanjani, also died from a coronavirus infection on Monday.

Mirmohammadi was a member of the sixth and seventh Iranian parliaments and was appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei as a member of the Expediency Discernment Council in August 2017.

Iran’s former ambassador to the Vatican, Hadi Khosroshahi, died of Covid-19 last week, while the country’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi placed himself in isolation after appearing to sweat profusely and seeming ill while giving a press conference to assuage fears over the outbreak. He later confirmed that he had been infected with the virus.

Iran is battling shortages of medical supplies – exacerbated by US sanctions – but authorities have allocated a number of military hospitals to treat the general public and help stem the tide of infection. Meanwhile, schools, universities and sports centers have been closed and the parliament has been shut down.

Iran has the world’s second highest death toll outside of China. The country has officially announced 978 cases and 54 deaths. At 5.5 percent, the country’s death rate is more than twice the global average of two percent.

Several of Iran’s neighbours have closed their borders as the virus spreads across the region. These countries include Kuwait and Bahrain, each with 50 confirmed cases, the UAE with 21, and Iraq with at least 19 cases.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Hate vs. Peace and Harmony

By Gilad Atzmon | March 2, 2020

We learned today that Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Dannon told AIPAC that Bernie Sanders is an ‘ignorant fool, a liar or both. “We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel… Whoever calls the prime minister of Israel a ‘racist’ is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both,” Ambassador Dannon announced.

The evidence of Israel’s racism and the Netanyahu government’s racialist policies is, unfortunately, conclusive. One can look at the Netanyahu government’s approach to Black migrants. Or examine the racist Israeli national bill. This leads one to wonder what motivated Ambassador Dannon to act so ‘undiplomatically,’ by attacking the Democratic Party frontrunner for expressing a reasoned criticism of Israel and its PM?

But even before we can get to that question, we have to consider what the same Israeli media outlets have informed us. In a leaked recording, Netanyahu senior adviser Natan Eshel, revealed that “hate is what unites” the Israeli right-wing and it “works well on non-Ashkenazi voters.”

Eshel, a former Netanyahu chief of staff who resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, continues to work with the Israeli PM, and last year led the two coalition negotiations.

In the recording, Eshel explains that Likud minister (and former IDF Spokeswoman) Miri Regev  is “excellent” at “stirring up” Likud supporters. Eshel refers to Regev as “an animal,” but notes her tactics work very well in “drumming up the crowd.”

It is reasonable to think  that Ambassador Dannon’s description of Sen. Sanders served a similar purpose: to drum up the AIPAC crowd. And, of course, the British Jewish media together with Jewish pressure groups and the Israeli Lobby have, since 2017, also used this technique to ignite their crowd’s hatred of the Labour party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn. Some people, so it seems, are united by hate.

Netanyahu’s senior adviser’s leaked recording shines a light on the ever- growing Jewish fear of antisemitism. Those who are so easily ‘united by hate’ tend to believe that others are also similarly hateful. The Jewish fear of antisemitism can be seen as projection. Those who are ‘united by hate,’ may well attribute their own hatefulness to their neighbours whether they are Palestinians, Labour voters, or even the Democratic frontrunner.

What we see is a lethal snowball of loathing and fear: the more hateful one happens to be, the more one is tormented by imagining that the Other is afflicted by the same hatefulness.

Jesus Christ diagnosed this very dangerous trait amongst his brethren. His solution was shocking, if simple. Instead of stockpiling weapons, he preached that his followers turn the other cheek: take a step forward, love your neighbour, break away from the vicious circle, seek peace and harmony.

The fate of Jesus is known to us all. The fate of those who try to preach peace to Israelis and Zionists isn’t exactly a secret either.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

A Key FBI Photo Analysis Method Has Serious Flaws, Study Says

By Ryan Gabrielson | ProPublica | February 25, 2020

A study published this week casts doubt on the reliability of a technique the FBI Laboratory has used for decades to identify criminals by purporting to match their bluejeans with those photographed in surveillance images, potentially undermining evidence used to win numerous convictions.

The FBI’s method, used principally in bank robbery cases, matches denim pants by the light and dark patches along their seams, called wear marks. An FBI examiner’s scientific journal article on bluejeans identification in 1999 argued that wear marks create, effectively, a barcode that is unique on every pair. That article provided a legal foundation for the FBI to use an array of similar techniques to assert matches for clothes, vehicles, human faces and skin features.

After a ProPublica investigation raised questions about the technique, Hany Farid, a University of California, Berkeley, computer science professor and leading forensic image analyst, and Sophie Nightingale, a postdoctoral researcher in image science, tested the bureau’s method and found several serious flaws. Their study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first known independent research on the technique’s reliability, even though the courts have allowed bluejeans identifications as trial evidence for years.

The new study determined that seams on different pairs of bluejeans are often highly similar. Separately, multiple pictures of the same pant seam, taken under varying conditions, can appear starkly different from one another.

Taken together, the authors write, these deficiencies show “identification based on denim jeans should be used with extreme caution, if at all.”

The FBI declined to comment on the study.

In its articles last year, ProPublica revealed that FBI examiners have tied defendants to crimes in thousands of cases over the past half-century by using crime-scene pictures in unproven ways and, at times, have given jurors baseless statistics to say the risk of errors in their analyses was extremely low. In several cases, the FBI’s most prominent image examiner contradicted the original conclusions and results in his lab reports when presenting evidence to criminal courts, FBI records and legal filings show.

The FBI’s issues with image analysis echo earlier controversies over other forensic techniques. The bureau’s lab technicians and scientists had long testified in court that they could determine what fingertip left a print and which scalp grew a hair “to the exclusion of all others.” Research and exonerations by DNA analysis have repeatedly disproved those claims, and the U.S. Department of Justice no longer permits its forensic scientists to make such unequivocal statements.

ProPublica found that examiners on the Forensic Audio, Video and Image Analysis Unit, based at the FBI Lab in Quantico, Virginia, continue to use similarly flawed methods and to testify to the precision of these methods, according to a review of court records and examiners’ written reports and published articles. At ProPublica’s request, several statisticians and forensic science experts reviewed the unit’s methods. The experts identified numerous instances of examiners overstating their techniques’ precision and said some of their assertions defied logic.

In response to ProPublica’s reporting, Nightingale and Farid said they decided to test the FBI’s photo comparison techniques, starting with bluejeans identification.

The researchers purchased 100 pairs of jeans from local second-hand stores and collected images of more than 100 additional pairs of jeans through Mechanical Turk, the Amazon service that provides workers to complete tasks. The researchers used four high-resolution pictures of the seams on each pant leg.

They documented wear marks in the same manner FBI examiners do. But the researchers used what is known as signal analysis to digitally convert the patterns into numeric values and calculate how similar the jeans in different images were to each other.

Images of bluejeans seams showing wear collected by the researchers. (Courtesy of Sophie J. Nightingale and Hany Farid)

The authors were consistently able to mark the same features, suggesting the first step in the bureau’s process works as intended.

But then the analysis measured wear mark patterns and found the FBI Lab’s method struggled to match images of the same pant seam, which were frequently no more similar to one another than to seams from different pairs.

Nightingale and Farid hypothesize that denim jeans are too flexible, as the material easily stretches and shrinks, changing how wear marks appear, even moment to moment.

The technique failed to correctly match images of the same bluejeans in most cases unless they allowed for a high rate of false positives. When inaccurate matches were limited to one in 10,000, it identified less than 30% of the true matches.

Ultimately, comparing bluejeans seams is relatively useless, Farid said. “If you’re willing to tolerate that only one in four times this will be useful, OK, fine, use the analysis.”

Brandon Garrett, a Duke University law professor who studies the reliability of forensic science, agreed the study’s results cast serious doubt on the accuracy of jeans identifications, similar to the problems earlier research found in hair fiber and tool mark evidence.

“This is one of many studies uncovering non-trivial error rates for forensic techniques,” Garrett said. “Any lawyer or any judge in a case involving this discipline should, at minimum, hear about the error rates. Many people assume that these techniques are perfect.”

The error rates found in the study are probably the best-case scenario, the researchers said. Every image used in the study was taken in a controlled setting, under good lighting and with the pant seams flattened against a hard surface.

FBI examiners often analyze low-quality images from security cameras and “it is reasonable to expect that the reliability of this technique may degrade under real-world imaging conditions,” the authors wrote.

They argue that all image pattern analysis should undergo validation tests, performed by researchers independent of the FBI and other forensic laboratories. “Mistakes in these identifications are costly, resulting in an innocent person being accused or sentenced and a guilty person walking free.”

While further research is critical, Garrett argued that alone isn’t sufficient. He said this study and scores of others make clear the federal government should regulate the work of forensic scientists in the same manner they do clinical laboratories, setting rules and constantly testing their accuracy.

“We’ve known about the need for national regulation for over a decade now,” Garrett said, “and we haven’t seen it.”

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment