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Bill Browder, a Billionaire Accused of Being a Fraud and Liar

By John Ryan • Unz Review  • July 1, 2020

William “Bill” Browder has been a figure of some prominence on the world scene for the past decade. A few months back, Der Spiegel published a major exposé on him and the case of Sergei Magnitsky but the mainstream media completely ignored this report and so aside from Germany few people are aware of Browder’s background and the Magnitsky issue which resulted in sanctions on Russia.

Browder had gone to Moscow in 1996 to take advantage of the privatization of state companies by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Browder founded Hermitage Capital Management, a Moscow investment firm registered in offshore Guernsey in the Channel Islands. For a time, it was the largest foreign investor in Russian securities. Hermitage Capital Management was rated as extremely successful after earning almost 3,000 percent in its operations between 1996 and December 2007.

During the corrupt Yeltsin years, with his business partner’s US $25 million, Browder amassed a fortune. Profiting from the large-scale privatizations in Russia from 1996 to 2006 his Hermitage firm eventually grew to $4.5 billion.

When Browder encountered financial difficulties with Russian authorities he portrayed himself as an anti-corruption activist and became the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which resulted in economic sanctions aimed at Russian officials. However, an examination of Browder’s record in Russia and his testimony in court cases reveals contradictions with his statements to the public and Congress, and raises questions about his motives in attacking corruption in Russia.

Although he has claimed that he was an ‘activist shareholder’ and campaigned for Russian companies to adopt Western-style governance, it has been reported that he cleverly destabilized companies he was targeting for takeover. Canadian blogger Mark Chapman has revealed that after Browder would buy a minority share in a company he would resort to lawsuits against this company through shell companies he controlled. This would destabilize the company with charges of corruption and insolvency. To prevent its collapse the Russian government would intervene by injecting capital into it, causing its stock market to rise—with the result that Browder’s profits would rise exponentially.

Later, through Browder’s Russian-registered subsidiaries, his accountant Magnitsky acquired extra shares in Russian gas companies such as Surgutneftegaz, Rosneft and Gazprom. This procedure enabled Browder’s companies to pay the residential tax rate of 5.5% instead of the 35% that foreigners would have to pay.

However, the procedure to bypass the Russian presidential decree that banned foreign companies and citizens from purchasing equities in Gazprom was an illegal act. Because of this and other suspected transgressions, Magnitsky was interrogated in 2006 and later in 2008. Initially he was interviewed as a suspect and then as an accused. He was then arrested and charged by Russian prosecutors with two counts of aggravated tax evasion committed in conspiracy with Bill Browder in respect of Dalnyaya Step and Saturn, two of Browder’s shell companies to hold shares that he bought. Unfortunately, in 2009 Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention because of a failure by prison officials to provide prompt medical assistance.

Browder has challenged this account and for years he has maintained that Magnitsky’s arrest and death were a targeted act of revenge by Russian authorities against a heroic anti-corruption activist.

It’s only recently that Browder’s position was challenged by the European Court of Human Rights who in its ruling on August 27, 2019 concluded that Magnitsky’s “arrest was not arbitrary, and that it was based on reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence.” And as such “The Russians had good reason to arrest Sergei Magnitsky for Hermitage tax evasion.”

“The Court observes that the inquiry into alleged tax evasion, resulting in the criminal proceedings against Mr Magnitskiy, started in 2004, long before he complained that prosecuting officials had been involved in fraudulent acts.”

Prior to Magnitsky’s arrest, because of what Russia considered to be questionable activities, Browder had been refused entry to Russia in 2005. However, he did not take lightly his rebuff by the post-Yeltsin Russian government under Vladimir Putin. As succinctly expressed by Professor Halyna Mokrushyna at the University of Ottawa:

[Browder] began to engage in a worldwide campaign against the Russian authorities, accusing them of corruption and violation of human rights. The death of his accountant and auditor Sergei Magnitsky while in prison became the occasion for Browder to launch an international campaign presenting the death as a ruthless silencing of an anti-corruption whistleblower. But the case of Magnitsky is anything but.

Despite Brower’s claims that Magnitsky died as a result of torture and beatings, authentic documents and testimonies show that Magnitsky died because of medical neglect – he was not provided adequate treatment for a gallstone condition. It was negligence typical at that time of prison bureaucracy, not a premeditated killing. Because of the resulting investigation, many high level functionaries in the prison system were fired or demoted.

For the past ten years Browder has maintained that Magnitsky was tortured and murdered by prison guards. Without any verifiable evidence he has asserted that Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight riot guards over 1 hour and 18 minutes. This was never corroborated by anybody, including by autopsy reports. It was even denied by Magnitsky’s mother in a video interview.

Nevertheless, on the basis of his questionable beliefs, he has carried on a campaign to discredit and vilify Russia and its government and leaders.

In addition to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, Browder’s basic underlying beliefs and assumptions are being seriously challenged. Very recently, on May 5, 2020, an American investigative journalist, Lucy Komisar, published an article with the heading Forensic photos of Magnitsky show no marks on torso:

On Fault Lines today I revealed that I have obtained never published forensic photos of the body of Sergei Magnitsky, William Browder’s accountant, that show not a mark on his torso. Browder claims he was beaten to death by prison guards. Magnitsky died at 9:30pm Nov 16, 2009, and the photos were taken the next day.

Later in her report she states:

I noted on the broadcast that though the photos and documents are solid, several dozen U.S. media – both allegedly progressive and mainstream — have refused to publish this information. And if that McCarthyite censorship continues, the result of rampant fear-inducing Russophobia, I will publish it and the evidence on this website.

Despite evidence such as this, till this day Browder maintains that Sergei Magnitsky was beaten to death with rubber batons. It’s this narrative that has attracted the attention of the US Congress, members of parliament, diplomats and human rights activists. To further refute his account, a 2011 analysis by the Physicians for Human Rights International Forensics Program of documents provided by Browder found no evidence he was beaten to death.

In his writings, as supposed evidence, Browder provides links to two untranslated Russian documents. They were compiled immediately after Magnitsky died on November 16, 2009. Recent investigative research has revealed that one of these appears to be a forgery. The first document D309 states that shortly before Magnitsky’s death: “Handcuffs were used in connection with the threat of committing an act of self-mutilation and suicide, and that the handcuffs were removed after thirty minutes.” To further support this, a forensic review states that while in the prison hospital “Magnitsky exhibited behavior diagnosed as “acute psychosis” by Dr. A. V. Gaus at which point the doctor ordered Mr. Magnitsky to be restrained with handcuffs.”

The second document D310 is identically worded to D309 except for a change in part of the preceding sentence. The sentence in D309 has the phrase special means were” is changed in D310 to “a rubber baton was.”

As such, while D309 is perfectly coherent, in D310 the reference to a rubber baton makes no sense whatsoever, given the title and text it shares with D309. This and other inconsistences, including signatures on these documents, make it apparent that D310 was copied from D309 and that D310 is a forgery. Furthermore, there is no logical reason for two almost identical reports to have been created, with only a slight difference in one sentence. There is no way of knowing who forged it and when, but this forged document forms a major basis for Browder’s claim that Magnitsky was clubbed to death.

The fact that there is no credible evidence to indicate that Magnitsky was subjected to a baton attack, combined with forensic photos of Magnitsky’s body shortly after death that show no marks on it, provides evidence that appears to repudiate Browder’s decade-long assertions that Magnitsky was viciously murdered while in jail.

With evidence such as this, it repeatedly becomes clear that Browder’s narrative contains mistakes and inconsistencies that distort the overall view of the events leading to Magnitsky’s death.

Despite Magnitsky’s death the case against him continued in Russia and he was found guilty of corruption in a posthumous trial. Actually, the trial’s main purpose was to investigate alleged fraud by Bill Browder, but to proceed with this they had to include the accountant Magnitsky as well. The Russian court found both of them guilty of fraud. Afterwards, the case against Magnitsky was closed because of his death.

After Browder was refused entry to Russia in November of 2005, he launched a campaign insisting that his departure from Russia resulted from his anti-corruption activities. However, the real reason for the cancellation of his visa that he never mentions is that in 2003 a Russian provincial court had convicted Browder of evading $40 million in taxes. In addition, his illegal purchases of shares in Gazprom through the use of offshore shell companies were reportedly valued at another $30 million, bringing the total figure of tax evasion to $70 million.

It’s after this that the Russian federal government next took up the case and initially went after Magnitsky, the accountant who carried out Browder’s schemes.

But back in the USA Browder portrayed himself as the ultimate truth-teller, and embellished his tale by asserting that Sergei Magnitsky was a whistleblowing “tax lawyer,” rather than one of Browder’s accountants implicated in tax fraud. As his case got more involved, he presented a convoluted explanation that he was not responsible for bogus claims made by his companies. This is indeed an extremely complicated matter and as such only a summary of some of this will be presented.

The essence of the case is that in 2007 three shell companies that had once been owned by Browder were used to claim a $232 million tax refund based on trumped-up financial loses. Browder has stated that the companies were stolen from him, and that in a murky operation organized by a convicted fraudster, they were re-registered in the names of others. There is evidence however that Magnitsky and Browder may have been part of this convoluted scheme.

Browder’s main company in Russia was Hermitage Capital Management, and associated with this firm were a large number of shell companies, some in the Russian republic of Kalmykia and some in the British Virgin Islands. A law firm in Moscow, Firestone Duncan, owned by Americans, did the legal work for Browder’s Hermitage. Sergei Magnitsky was one of the accountants for Firestone Duncan and was assigned to work for Hermitage.

An accountant colleague of Magnitsky’s at Firestone Duncan, Konstantin Ponomarev, was interviewed in 2017 by Lucy Komisar, an investigative journalist, who was doing research on Browder’s operations in Russia. In the ensuing report on this, Komisar states:

“According to Ponomarev, the firm – and Magnitsky — set up an offshore structure that Russian investigators would later say was used for tax evasion and illegal share purchases by Hermitage. . .

the structure helped Browder execute tax-evasion and illegal share purchase schemes.

“He said the holdings were layered to conceal ownership: The companies were “owned” by Cyprus shells Glendora and Kone, which, in turn, were “owned” by an HSBC Private Bank Guernsey Ltd trust. Ponomarev said the real owner was Browder’s Hermitage Fund. He said the structure allowed money to move through Cyprus to Guernsey with little or no taxes paid along the way. Profits could get cashed out in Guernsey by investors of the Hermitage Fund and HSBC.

“Ponomarev said that in 1996, the firm developed for Browder ‘a strategy of how to buy Gazprom shares in the local market, which was restricted for foreign investors.’”

In the course of their investigation, on June 2, 2007, Russian tax investigators raided the offices of Hermitage and Firestone Duncan. They seized Hermitage company documents, computers and corporate stamps and seals. They were looking for evidence to support Russian charges of tax evasion and illegal purchase of shares of Gazprom.

In a statement to US senators on July 27, 2017, Browder stated that Russian interior ministry officials “seized all the corporate documents connected to the investment holding companies of the funds that I advised. I didn’t know the purpose of these raids so I hired the smartest Russian lawyer I knew, a 35-year-old named Sergei Magnitsky. I asked Sergei to investigate the purpose of the raids and try to stop whatever illegal plans these officials had.”

Contrary to what Browder claims, Magnitsky had been his accountant for a decade. He had never acted as a lawyer, nor did he have the qualifications to do so. In fact in 2006 when questioned by Russian investigators, Magnitsky said he was an auditor on contract with Firestone Duncan. In Browder’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 he claimed Magnitsky was his lawyer, but in 2015 in his testimony under oath in the US government’s Prevezon case, Browder told a different story, as will now be related.

On Browder’s initiative, in December 2012 he presented documents to the New York District Attorney alleging that a Russian company Prevezon had “benefitted from part of the $230 million dollar theft uncovered by Magnitsky and used those funds to buy a number of luxury apartments in Manhattan.” In September 2013, the New York District Attorney’s office filed money-laundering charges against Prevezon. The company hired high-profile New York-based lawyers to defend themselves against the accusations.

As reported by Der Spiegel, Browder would not voluntarily agree to testify in court so Prevezon’s lawyers sent process servers to present him with a subpoena, which he refused to accept and was caught on video literally running away. In March 2015, the judge in the Prevezon case ruled that Browder would have to give testimony as part of pre-trial discovery. Later while in court and under oath and confronted with numerous documents, Browder was totally evasive. Lawyer Mark Cymrot spent six hours examining him, beginning with the following exchange:

Cymrot asked: Was Magnitsky a lawyer or a tax expert?

He was “acting in court representing me,” Browder replied.

And he had a law degree in Russia?

“I’m not aware he did.”

Did he go to law school?

“No.”

How many times have you said Mr. Magnitsky is a lawyer? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred?

“I don’t know.”

Have you ever told anybody that he didn’t go to law school and didn’t have a law degree?

“No.”

Critically important, during the court case, the responsible U.S. investigator admitted during questioning that his findings were based exclusively on statements and documents from Browder and his team. Under oath, Browder was unable to explain how he and his people managed to track the flow of money and make the accusation against Prevezon. In his 2012 letter that launched the court case, Browder referred to “corrupt schemes” used by Prevezon, but when questioned under oath he admitted he didn’t know of any. In fact, to almost every question put forth by Mark Cymrot, Browder replied that he didn’t know or didn’t remember.

The case finally ended in May 2017 when the two sides reached a settlement. Denis Katsyv, the company’s sole shareholder, on a related matter agreed to pay nearly six million dollars to the US government, but would not have to admit any wrongdoing. Also the settlement contained an explicit mention that neither Katsyv nor his company Prevezon had anything to do with the Magnitsky case. Afterwards, one of Katsyv’s, lawyers, Natalia Veselnitskaya, exclaimed: “For the first time, the U.S. recognized that the Russians were in the right!”

A major exposé of the Browder-Russia story is presented in a film that came out in June 2016 The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes by the well-known independent filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. Reference to this film will be made later but to provide a summary of the Browder tax evasion case some critical information can be obtained from a report by Eric Zuesse, an investigative historian, who managed to get a private viewing of the film by the film’s Production Manager.

In the film Nekrasov proceeds to unravel Browder’s story, which was designed to conceal his own corporate responsibility for the criminal theft of the money. As Browder’s widely accepted story collapses, Magnitsky is revealed not to be a whistleblower but a likely abettor to the fraud who died in prison not from an official assassination but from banal neglect of his medical condition. The film cleverly allows William Browder to self-destruct under the weight of his own lies and the contradictions in his story-telling at various times.

Following the raid by tax officials on the Moscow Hermitage office on June 2, 2007, nothing further on these matters was reported until April 9, 2008 when Ms Rimma Starlova, the figurehead director of the three supposedly stolen Browder shell companies, filed a criminal complaint with the Russian Interior Ministry in Kazan accusing representatives of Browder companies of the theft of state funds, i.e., $232 million in a tax-rebate fraud. Although Hermitage was aware of this report they kept quiet about it because they claimed it as a false accusation against themselves.

On September 23, 2008, there was a news report about a theft of USD 232 million from the Russian state treasury, and the police probe into it. On October 7, 2008, Magnitsky was questioned by tax investigators about the $232 million fraud because he was the accountant for Browder’s companies.

The central issue was that during September of 2007 three of Browder’s shell companies had changed owners and that afterwards fraud against Russian treasury had been conducted by the new owners of these companies.

According to Magnitsky the way that ownership changed was through powers of attorney. This is a matter that Browder never mentioned. The Nekrasov film shows a document: “Purchase agreement … based on this power of attorney, Gasanov represents Glendora Holdings Ltd.” Glendora Holdings is another shell company owned by Browder. This shows that Gasanov, the middleman, had the power of attorney connecting the new nominees to the real beneficiaries. However, Gasanov could not be questioned on whose orders he was doing this because shortly afterwards, he mysteriously died. No one proved that it was murder, but if that death was a coincidence, it wasn’t the only one.

During September 2007 the three Hermitage shell companies, Rilend, Parfenion and Mahaon, were re-registered by Gasanov to a company called Pluton that was registered in Kazan, and owned by Viktor Markelov, a Russian citizen with a criminal record. Markelov through a series of sham arbitration judgments conducted fake lawsuits that demanded damages for alleged contract violations. Once the damages were paid, in December 2007 the companies filed for tax refunds that came to $232 million. These were taxes that had been paid by these companies in 2006.

On February 5, 2008 the Investigative Committee of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal case to investigate the fraud committed by Markelov and other individuals.

Markelov had hired a Moscow lawyer, Andrey Pavlov, to conduct these complex operations. Afterwards Pavlov was questioned by Russian authorities and revealed what had happened. Markelov was convicted and sentenced to five years for the scam. At his trial Markelov testified that he was not in possession of the $232 million tax refund and that he did not know the identity of the client who would benefit from the refund scheme. And till this day no one knows! However, Russian tax authorities suspect it is William Browder.

At his trial, Markelov testified that one of the people he worked with to secure the fraudulent tax refund was Sergei Leonidovich. Magnitsky’s full name was Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky. Also when questioned by the police, Markelov named Browder’s associates Khairetdinov and Kleiner as people involved in the company’s re-registration.

So this provides evidence that Magnitsky and Browder’s other officials were involved in the re-registration scheme – which Browder later called theft. In his film Nekrasov states that Browder’s team had set things up to look as if outsiders — not Browder’s team — had transferred the assets.

According to Nekrasov’s film documentation, Russian courts have established that it was the representatives of the Hermitage investment fund who had themselves voluntarily re-registered the Makhaon, Parfenion and Rilend companies in the name of other individuals, a fact that Mr Browder is seeking to conceal by shifting the blame, without any foundation, onto the law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation.

Indeed there is cause to be skeptical of the Browder narrative, and that the fraud was in fact concocted by Browder and his accountant Magnitsky. A Russian court has supported that alternative narrative, ruling in late December 2013 that Browder had deliberately bankrupted his company and engaged in tax evasion. On the basis of this he was sentenced to nine years prison in absentia.

In the meantime, over all these years, Browder has maintained and convinced the public at large that the $232 million fraud against the Russian treasury had been perpetrated by Magnitsky’s interrogators and Russian police. With respect to the “theft” of his three companies (or “vehicles as he refers to them) on September 16, 2008 he stated on his Hermitage website: “The theft of the vehicles was only possible using the vehicles’ original corporate documents seized by the Moscow Interior Ministry in its raid on Hermitage’s law firm in Moscow on 4 June 2007.”

As such, Browder is accusing Russian tax authorities and police for conducting this entire fraudulent operation.

In his film Nekrasov says that the Browder version is: “Yes, the crime took place [$232 million fraud against the public treasury but, according to Browder, actually against Browder’s firm], but somebody else did it — the police did it.”

In this convoluted tale, it should be recalled that the fraud against the Russian treasury had first been reported to the police by Rimma Starlova on April 9, 2008. This had been recorded on the Hermitage website. In preparing the material for his film, Nekrasov noted that

“In March 2009, Starlova’s report disappeared from Hermitage’s website. . . . This is the same time that Magnitsky started to be treated as an analyst . . . who discovered the $232 million fraud. Thus the Magnitsky-the-whistleblower story was born, almost a year after the matter had been reported to the police.”

Nekrasov’s film also undermines the basis of Browder’s case that Magnitsky had been killed by the police because he had accused two police officials, Karpov and Kuznetsov, but this is questionable since documents show Magnitsky had not accused anyone. As Nekrasov states in the film: “The problem is, he [Magnitsky] made no accusations. In that testimony, its record contains no accusations. … Mr. Magnitsky did not actually testify against the two officers [Karpov and Kuznetsov].” So this factual evidence should destroy Browder’s accusations.

It should be noted Magnitsky’s original interview with authorities was as a suspect, not a whistleblower. Also contradicting Browder’s claims, Nekrasov notes that Magnitsky does not even mention the names of the police officers in a key statement to authorities.

In his film Nekrasov includes an interview that he had with Browder regarding the issues about Magnitsky. Nekrasov confronts Browder with the core contradictions of his story. Incensed, Browder rises up and threatens the filmmaker:

Anybody who says that Sergei Magnitsky didn’t expose the crime before he was arrested is just trying to whitewash the Russian Government. … Are you trying to say that Pavel Karpov is innocent? I’d really be careful about your going out and saying that Magnitsky wasn’t a whistleblower. That’s not going to do well for your credibility.” Browder then walks off in a huff.

Nekrasov claims to be especially struck that the basis of Browder’s case — that Magnitsky had been killed by the police because he had accused two police officials, Karpov and Kuznetsov — is a lie because there is documentary evidence that Magnitsky had not accused anyone.

Because of Browder’s accusations, Nekrasov interviewed Pavel Karpov, the police officer who Browder accused of being involved in Magnitsky’s alleged murder, despite the fact that Karpov was not on duty the day Magnitsky died.

Karpov presents Nekrasov with documents that Browder’s case was built on. These original documents are actually fundamentally different from the way Browder had described them. This documentary evidence further exposes Browder’s story for what it is.

Nekrasov asks Karpov why Browder wants to demonize him. Karpov explains that he had pursued Browder in 2004 for tax evasion, so that seems to be the reason why Browder smears him. And then Karpov says, “Having made billions here, Browder forgot to tell how he did it. So it suits him to pose as a victim. He is wanted here, but Interpol is not looking for him.”

Afterwards in 2013, Karpov had tried to sue Browder for libel in a London court, but was not able to on the basis of procedural grounds since he was a resident of Russia and not the UK. However at the conclusion of the case, set out in his Judgment the presiding judge, Justice Simon, made some interesting comments.

“The causal link which one would expect from such a serious charge is wholly lacking; and nothing is said about torture or murder. In my view these are inadequate particulars to justify the charge that the Claimant was a primary or secondary party to Sergei Magnitsky’s torture and murder, and that he would continue to commit or ’cause’ murder, as pleaded in §60 of the Defence.

The Defendants have not come close to pleading facts which, if proved, would justify the sting of the libel.”

In other words – in plain English – in the judge’s view, Karpov was not in any sense party to Magnitsky’s death, and Browder’s claim that he was is not valid.

On the basis of the evidence that has been presented, it is undeniable that Browder’s case appears to be a total misrepresentation, not only of Magnitsky’s statements, but of just about everything else that’s important in the case .

On a separate matter, on April 15, 2015 in a New York court case involving the US government and a Russian company, Previzon Holdings, Bill Browder had been ordered by a judge to give a deposition to Prevezon’s lawyers.

Throughout this deposition, Browder (now under oath) contradicted virtually every aspect of his Magnitsky narrative and stated “I don’t recall” when pressed about key portions of his narrative that he had previously repeated unabashedly in his testimonies to Congress and interviews with Western media. Browder “remembered nothing” and could not even deny asking Magnitsky to take responsibility for his (Browder’s) crimes.

As a further example of Browder’s dishonesty, in one of his publications, he shows a photo of an alleged employee of Browder’s law firm, Firestone Duncan, named “Victor Poryugin” with vicious facial wounds from allegedly being tortured and beaten by police. However, the person shown was never with Browder’s firm. Instead, this is a photo of “an American human rights campaigner beaten up during a street protest in 1961.” It was Jim Zwerg, civil-rights demonstrator, during the 1960s, in the American South. Nekrasov was appalled and found it almost unimaginable that Browder would switch photos like that to demonize Russia and its police.

Browder was arrested by the Spanish police in June 2018. Even though Russia has on six occasions requested Browder’s arrest through Interpol for tax fraud, the Spanish national police determined that Browder had been detained in error because the international warrant was no longer valid and released him.

A further matter that reflects on his character, William Browder, the American-born co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management is now a British citizen. The US taxes offshore earnings, but the UK does not. Highly likely because of this, in 1998 he gave up his American citizenship and became a British citizen and thereby has avoided paying US taxes on foreign investments. Nevertheless, he still has his family home in Princeton, NJ and also owns a $11 million dollar vacation home in Aspen, Colorado.

To put this in political context, Browder’s narrative served a strong geopolitical purpose to demonize Russia at the dawn of the New Cold War. As such, Browder played a major role in this. In fact, the late celebrated American journalist Robert Parry thought that Browder single-handedly deserves much of the credit for the new Cold War.

Browder’s campaign was so effective that in December 2012 he exploited Congressional willingness to demonize Russia, and as a result the US Congress passed a bipartisan bill, the Magnitsky Act, which was then signed by President Obama. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and John McCain were instrumental in pushing through the Magnitsky Act, based on Browder’s presentations.

However, key parts of the argument that passed into law in this act have been shown to be based on fraud and fabrication of ‘evidence.’ This bill blacklisted Russian officials who were accused of being involved in human-rights abuses.

In her analysis of the Magnitsky Act, Lucy Komisar, an investigative journalist, reveals a little known fact:

“A problem with the Magnitsky Act is that there is no due process. The targets are not told the evidence against them, they cannot challenge accusations or evidence in a court of law in order to get off the list. This “human rights law” violates the rule of law. There is an International Court with judges and lawyers to deal with human rights violators, but the US has not ratified its jurisdiction. Because it does not want to be subject to the rules it applies to others.”

In 2017, Congress passed the Global Magnitsky Act, which enables the U.S. to impose sanctions against Russia for human rights violations worldwide.

In a move that history will show to be ill-advised, on October 18, 2017 Canada’s Parliament and Senate unanimously approved Bill 226, a ‘Magnitsky Act.’ It mimics the US counterpart and targets Russia for further economic sanctions. Russia immediately denounced Canada’s actions as being counter-productive, pointless and reprehensible. Actually an act of this type had been opposed by Stéphane Dion while he was Canada’s minister of foreign affairs because he viewed it as a needless provocation against Russia. Dion also stated that adoption of a ‘Magnitsky Act’ would hurt the interests of Canadian businesses dealing with Russia and would thwart Canada’s attempt’s to normalize relations with Russia. However, Dion was replaced by Chrystia Freeland who immediately pushed this through. This is not surprising considering her well-documented Nazi family background and who is persona non grata in Russia.

A version of the Magnitsky Act was enacted in the UK and the Baltic republics in 1917.

In early 2020 a proposal to enact a version of the Magnitsky Act was presented to the Australian parliament and it is still under consideration. There has been considerable opposition to it including a detailed report by their Citizens Party, which exposes the full extent of Browder’s fraud and chicanery.

The investigation into Browder’s business activities in Russia is still an ongoing endeavour. On October 24, 2017 the

Russian Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika, requested the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch a probe into alleged tax evasion by Bill Browder, who in 2013 had already been sentenced in absentia to 9 years in prison in Russia for a similar crime.

Browder at that time was still being tried in Russia for suspected large-scale money laundering, also in absentia. Chaika added that Russian law enforcement possesses information that over $1 billion was illegally transferred from the country into structures connected with Bill Browder.

The Prosecutor General also asked Sessions to reconsider the Magnitsky Act. As he put it,

“… from our standpoint, the act was adopted for no actual reason, while it was lobbied by people who had committed crimes in Russia. In our view, there are grounds to claim that this law lacks real foundation and that its passing was prompted by criminals’ actions.”

It’s not known if Sessions ever responded to the Russian Prosecutor General. In any event, President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on November 7, 2018. As such it’s evident that Russia’s concerns about Browder’s dishonest activities are stymied.

Extensive reference has already been made to the film that came out in June 2016 The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes by the independent filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. When Nekrasov started the film he had fully believed Browder’s story but as he delved into what really happened, to his surprise, he discovered that the case documents and other incontrovertible facts revealed Browder to be a fraud and a liar. The ensuing film presents a powerful deconstruction of the Magnitsky myth, but because of Browder’s political connections and threats of lawsuits, the film has been blacklisted in the entire “free world.” So much for the “free world’s” freedom of the press and media. This film is not available on YouTube or anywhere else.

The documentary was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016, but at the last moment – faced with Browder’s legal threats – the parliamentarians cancelled the showing.

There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Despite the frantic attempts by Browder’s lawyers to block this documentary film from being shown anywhere, Washington’s Newseum, to its credit, had a one-time showing on June 13, 2016, including a question-and-answer session with Andrei Nekrasov, moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. Except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary’s discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.

Nekrasov’s powerful deconstruction of the Magnitsky myth – and the film’s subsequent blacklisting throughout the “free world” – recall other instances in which the West’s propaganda lines don’t stand up to scrutiny, so censorship and ad hominem attacks become the weapons of choice to defend “perception management.”

Other than the New York Times that had a lukewarm review, the mainstream media condemned the film and its showing. As such, with the exception of that one audience, the public in the USA, Canada and Europe has been shielded from the documentary’s discoveries. The censorship of this film has made it a good example of how political and legal pressure can effectively black out what we used to call “the other side of the story.”

Andrei Nekrasov is still prepared to go to court to defend the findings of his film, but Bill Browder has refused to do this and simply keeps maligning the film and Mr. Nekrasov.

Recent Developments

Although for almost the past ten years Browder’s self-serving story had been accepted almost worldwide and served to help vilify Russia, in the past few months there has been an awakening to the true state of affairs about Browder.

The first such article “The Case of Sergei Magnitsky: Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions” written by Benjamin Bidder, a German journalist, appeared on November 26, 2019 in Der Spiegel. At the outset Bidder states:

“Ten years after his death, inconsistencies in Magnitsky’s story suggest he may not have been the hero many people — and Western governments — believed him to be. Did the perfidious conspiracy to murder Magnitsky ever really take place? Or is Browder a charlatan whose story the West was too eager to believe? The certainty surrounding the Magnitsky affair becomes muddled in the documents, particularly the clear division between good and evil. The Russian authorities’ take is questionable, but so is everyone else’s — including Bill Browder’s.

But with the Magnitsky sanctions, it could be that the activist Browder used a noble cause to manipulate Western governments.”

In summation, the article raises serious questions about many aspects of Browder’s account. It concluded that his narrative was riddled with lies and said Western nations have fallen for a “convenient” story made up by a “fraudster.

The report provoked Browder’s fury, and he swiftly filed a complaint against Der Spiegel with the German Press Council as well as a complaint to the editor of Der Spiegel.

On December 17, 2019 Der Spiegel responded: “Why DER SPIEGEL Stands Behind Its Magnitsky Reporting.” In a lengthy detailed response the journal rejects all aspects of Browder’s complaint. They point out the inconsistencies in Browder’s version of events and demonstrate that he is unable to present sufficient proof for his claims. They state: We believe his complaint has no basis and would like to review why we have considerable doubts about Browder’s story and why we felt it necessary to present those doubts publicly.”

Their report is highly enlightening and will have long-term consequences. It is one of the best refutations of Browder’s falsified accounts that led to the Magnitsky Act. It exposes Browder as a fraud and his Magnitsky story as a fake. Despite all this, this exposé was ignored in the mainstream media so most people are unaware of these revelations. A good review of it is presented by Lucy Komisar in her article The Der Spiegel exposé of Bill Browder, December 6, 2019.

The German Press Council rejected Browder’s complaint against Der Spiegel in January 2020 but Browder did not disclose this so it became known only in early May. Lucy Komisar reported this on May 12 and the main points of the Council’s rejection are presented in her account. Browder had complained that the article had serious factual errors. The Press Council stated that Browder’s position lacks proof and there could be no objection to Der Spiegel’s examination of events leading to Magnitsky’s death. All other Browder objections were rejected as well. In summation the Council stated: “Overall, we could not find a violation of journalistic principles.”

But the action of the press council has not been reported in the Canadian, U.S. or UK media. Nor was the November Der Spiegel report.

The German Press Council ruling follows a December 2019 Danish Press Board ruling against another Browder complaint over an article by a Danish financial news outlet, Finans.dk, on his tax evasion and invented Magnitsky story. Significantly, both the Danish and German cases involve mainstream media, which usually toe the US-UK-NATO strategic line against Russia, which Browder’s story serves. And these press complaint rulings follow a September 2019 European Court of Human Rights ruling that there was credible evidence that Magnitsky and Browder were engaged in a conspiracy to commit tax fraud and that Magnitsky was rightfully charged.

In summation, for ten years or more, no one in the West ever seriously challenged Bill Browder’s account of what happened to his “lawyer” Sergei Magnitsky and his stories of corruption and malfeasance in Russia. This is what allowed him to get such influence that the Magnitsky Act was passed, despite Russia’s attempts to clarify matters.

But when pressure was exerted on Germany to install a Magnitsky Act, one of their most influential journals Der Spiegel published an investigative bombshell picking apart Browder’s story about his auditor Sergei Magnitsky’s death. Browder immediately lashed out at Der Spiegel, accusing it of “misrepresenting the facts.” However, his outraged objections backfired and resulted in a further even more damaging Der Spiegel article and a rebuke from the German Press Council.

At long last, thanks to Der Spiegel, its investigative reports have effectively rejected and discredited Browder’s claim that Magnitsky was a courageous whistleblower who exposed corruption in Russia and was mercilessly killed by authorities out of revenge.

Despite this important and significant course of events, because of its imbedded Russophobia, the mainstream media have completely ignored the Der Spiegel exposé and almost nowhere has this been reported. To some extent this is because Browder has used his fortune to threaten lawsuits for anyone who challenges his version of events, effectively silencing many critics. Hence aside from people in Germany, this has been a non-event and the Browder hoax still prevails. Given this, it is important for us to publicize this revelation as best we can.

John Ryan, Ph.D. is a Retired Professor of Geography and Senior Scholar, University of Winnipeg

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Ten Battles Americans Lost in Vietnam

Tales of the American Empire | June 16, 2019

Supporters of the American empire think the U.S. military is invincible. They insist that the U.S. military never lost a battle during the entire Vietnam war. The U.S. military had every advantage, yet mistakes were made and some battles lost.

___________________________________

“Lost Battles of the Vietnam War” 112 losses listed at: http://www.g2mil.com/lost_vietnam.htm

and has links to sources. Many lost battles are hidden in historical accounts by blending them with larger operations. One can read the sanitized details in official histories made after the war to confirm these battles as losses. For example, The Marine Corps’ official history of “Operation Utah.” https://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Pu…

Battle of Ong Thanh Documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1cig…

Related Tale: “The Illusion of South Vietnam” explains why all Vietnamese viewed the Americans as colonial occupiers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B9BM…

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 10 Comments

CHOP’s choreographed ‘revolution’ has ended in failure, but success was never the plan

By Helen Buyniski | RT | July 1, 2020

The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest has finally collapsed, having served its purpose as a cautionary tale of a police-free society. But it was arguably doomed from the start, a trap for both “defund police” backers and their foes.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan gave the order earlier this week to shut down CHOP – formerly known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ – sending in police on Wednesday morning to arrest the stragglers. The unusual social experiment – it’s not every day a city’s government lets a group of anarchists, some heavily armed, take over a six-block area that includes a police precinct – had been marred by escalating violence in recent weeks, though it seemed designed to exacerbate societal fault lines from the start.

CHOP widened the political divide from both “sides,” providing endless fodder for conservative commentators’ “woke” jokes (who can forget the long-haired man haranguing his “fellow white people” to fork over $10 to the next black person they saw?), fearmongering over alleged threats to “take over” larger sections of Seattle (to say nothing of the beheadings implied in renaming the zone to CHOP), and gleeful I-told-you-so’s over everything from reported food shortages to outbreaks of violence.

Meanwhile, the Zone’s inhabitants were openly dangled by liberal media as “bait” in front of President Donald Trump, taunting him in the hope he’d send in the National Guard and serve up the footage of American soldiers stomping “peaceful” protesters that they desperately wanted for the next installment of the ‘Orange Man Bad’ reality show.

Ironically, it was Durkan who ultimately ordered the recapture of the six blocks she’d turned over to the protesters in the first place nearly a month ago. Durkan soured on the encampment she’d initially called a “summer of love” after socialist city councilwoman Kshama Sawant led protesters literally to her doorstep over the weekend, where they apparently left their mark in the form of obscene graffiti. But it was on Durkan’s orders that the cops had abandoned the East Precinct, whose “conquest” was framed as the crowning achievement of the CHOP occupiers. CHOP, it seemed, had fulfilled its goals.

The mix of Antifa and Black Lives Matter demonstrators hadn’t even spent a week in their downtown utopia before they released a list of mostly laudable demands, fatally spiked with unworkable and downright offensive “solutions” that promoted a return to racial segregation under the guise of progressivism. For most of CHOP’s inhabitants, the zone seemed to be an exercise in live-action role-playing, with no danger of actually having to follow through with their demands or run a sustainable society outside the capitalist system.

When reality finally intruded in the form of multiple shootings that left two young black men dead, CHOP became an ideal bedtime story to warn on-the-fence liberals thinking of backing the “defund the police” movement away from the notion that a society without law enforcement was possible. Predators do not become good citizens just because the threat of incarceration is removed. If anything, abolishing the police emboldens those warped human beings who delight in preying on the weak. While one can argue that much low-level crime – burglary, drug-dealing, fraud, and so on – has its roots in economic desperation, serious offenses like murder and rape cannot be engineered out of society by dissolving police forces and reallocating the money to social programs.

Focusing the energy of the protest movement spawned by George Floyd’s killing on dismantling the police all but guarantees that desperately needed reforms will never come. While only seven percent of Americans surveyed last month thought the country’s policing system needed no changes, the notion of defunding the police was also profoundly unpopular, supported by just 27 percent of respondents. Accountability measures – assigning independent prosecutors to cases in which civilians are killed by police, or ending the “qualified immunity” protection that shields bad cops against misconduct lawsuits – enjoyed broad support, however.

CHOP will no doubt be held up in the coming months as “proof” that alternative social structures don’t work – or a dramatic tale of a collapsed dream of a new society – as if its leaders had really intended to make a permanent community or lead a real revolution. Sincere revolutionaries should recognize it for what it was – a Hollywood-grade production – and get back to work transforming society.

Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | | Leave a comment

Senate kills bipartisan bill to end war in Afghanistan & repeal 2001 Terror War authorization

RT | July 1, 2020

The US Senate has voted to table a bill that would have ended the war in Afghanistan and repealed the 2001 law authorizing the War on Terror, shooting down a rare attempt to wind down the longest conflict in American history.

Lawmakers voted 60-33 on Wednesday to kill legislation introduced by Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) as an amendment for a broader defense spending bill. Dubbed the AFGHAN Act, the measure would have directed the Pentagon to begin an “orderly withdrawal” from Afghanistan and pay a $2,500 bonus to American soldiers.

Ahead of the vote, Senator Paul castigated the nearly 20-year-old conflict as wasteful of American lives and tax dollars, urging lawmakers to send the troops home.

“It is not sustainable to keep fighting in Afghanistan generation after generation,” Paul said on the Senate floor, noting that some of the soldiers taking part in the conflict were not even born when it was launched in 2001. “Many people have said we should end the war. Today you get to vote.”

First introduced last year, the amendment also would have repealed the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) enacted in response to the September 11 attacks, which has been invoked to justify military action around the globe. Since the US invasion of Afghanistan, the AUMF has been cited dozens of times to authorize deployments, bombings or other armed operations in at least 14 countries.

Though a deal struck between Washington and the Taliban earlier this year initiated a phased withdrawal of the roughly 12,000 US soldiers stationed in the country, some 8,600 troops still remain there. The administration has reportedly mulled removing another 4,000 by the fall, but has yet to announce a decision. While US officials, including CENTCOM commander Frank McKenzie, say the Taliban has avoided attacks on coalition forces in recent months, ongoing disputes between the militant group and the Afghan government still threaten to derail the withdrawal deal.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Ayotzinapa Case: Attorney General Orders Capture of 46 Public Officials

teleSUR | July 1, 2020

Mexico’s Attorney General Alejandro Gertz issued 46 arrest warrants against municipal officials for their participation in the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, the State of Guerrero, on September 26, 2014.

“The Attorney General’s Office imputes to 46 officials from various Guerrero municipalities the crimes of forced disappearance and organized crime,” local outlet La Jornada reported and explained that the Office of the Attorney General had neither investigated nor prosecuted certain events when this case’s proceedings were carried out between 2014 and 2018.

Gertz also ordered the capture of the former director of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC), Tomas Zeron, who was in charge of this case during President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration (2012-2018).

According to local outlets, however, he reportedly fled to Canada in March, escaping accusations of torture, disappearance of people, and obstruction of justice against him.

Zeron “already has an arrest warrant and an Interpol red card, for his international location and his extradition,” Gertz said.

Federal authorities are also seeking Carlos Arrieta, Michoacan’s former Security undersecretary, and Julio Contreras, a former member of the Ministerial Police.

During the Peña Nieto administration, Mexican authorities claimed that the criminal group Guerreros Unidos murdered the 43 missing students and cremated them in a garbage dump.

This version of events was known as “the historical truth”, a phrase that the former Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam used to describe the investigations’ conclusion.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Black Voices also Matter

By Gilad Atzmon | July 1, 2020

That we are proceeding rapidly into an authoritarian reality is hardly a news item: it is impossible not to identify the institutions at the centre of this unfortunate transition. Every day one Jewish organization or another brags about its success in defeating our most precious Western values: political freedom and intellectual tolerance.

At the moment it seems as if silencing authentic Black voices is the Zionists’ prime objective. This morning we learned that Black Voices do not matter at all: in a total capitulation to the French Zionist Lobby group CRIF, the great Black French comedian Dieudonné’s YouTube channel was deleted by Google. CRIF tweeted:

 “A month ago, the CRIF filed a complaint against Dieudonné after the broadcasting of anti-Semitic videos. Yesterday, his chain @YouTube has been deleted. CRIF welcomes this decision and encourages other platforms to take responsibility and close all of its accounts.”

In the late 18th century the Anglo Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke realised that “all that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” I guess that in 2020 for evil to prevail all that is needed is for an internet company to become an extension of Zion.

Neither Dieudonne nor anyone else needs my ‘kosher’ certificate, although I have no doubt that the French artist is an exemplary anti racist. What I will say is that if Zion doesn’t want you to listen to someone, there is nothing better you could do for yourself  than defy their wishes. Dieudonne, France’s most popular comedian, is a brilliant Black man. He was brave enough to stand up and declare that he had enough of the holocaust indoctrination, what he wants to discuss is the holocaust of his people, an ongoing century of discrimination and racist abuse. Within only a matter of hours, Dieudonne was targeted by French Jewish organizations and was portrayed as a racist and an anti Semite .

I am looking forward to see what Black Lives Matter is going to do for one of Europe’s most authentic and profound Black voices. Just an idea, maybe instead of pulling down bronze statues, BLM should consider calling for every Black artist to close their Youtube channels until Google comes to its senses. This would be a nice proper attempt at a Black power exercise, but as you can imagine, I do not hold my breath.

Unfortunately, Zionist destruction of the little that is left out of the Western spirit has become a daily spectacle. Yesterday we saw the Jewish press bragging that Fox Soul — a new Fox channel geared toward African Americans scheduled live broadcast of a speech by Louis Farrakhan. The Jewish Algemeiner was kind enough to reveal that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had called for the broadcast to be scrapped.

 Zionist organisations never march alone. They are effective in identifying the odd Sabbos Goy who stands ready to lend his or her ‘credibility’ to the ‘cause.’ This time it was CNN anchor Jake Tapper who tweeted, “Farrakhan is a vile anti-LGBTQ anti-Semitic misogynist. Why is a Fox channel airing his propaganda?”

 As we all know, Jews often claim to be there for Blacks. Jewish outlets often brag about the significant Jewish contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. According to some Jewish historians, a large amount of the funds for the NAACP came from Jewish sources – some experts estimate as much as 80%. Howard Sachar begins his article Jews in the Civil Rights Movement, by claiming that “nowhere did Jews identify themselves more forth­rightly with the liberal avant-garde than in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.” This would seem a positive moment in Jewish history until we remember that Judaism has, throughout its entire history as we know it, sustained uncompromised ‘segregation bills’. What are kosher dietary rules if not a ‘segregation bill?’ What is the rationale behind the Zionist attitude toward mixed marriage other than a segregation bill? Even within the Palestinian solidarity movement, many Jews choose to march within racially segregated political cells (JVP, IJAN, JVL etc.) rather than voluntarily strip themselves of their Jewish privilege.

It is true that some of the greatest voices of the Civil Rights Movement were Jews. But I am afraid that this is where the good part of the story ends. Historically the Jewish attitude towards Blacks has been nothing short of a disaster. It is difficult to decide how to enter this colossal minefield without getting oneself into serious trouble.

In European Jewish culture the word shvartze (Black, Yiddish) is an offensive term referring to a low being, specifically a Black person (“She’s dating a shvartze. Her grandmother is probably rolling over in her grave”). Zein Shver, a Jewish Black American, points out that “Shvartze isn’t Yiddish for Black. Shvartze is Yiddish for Nigger!”

The reference to ‘shvartze chaya’ is a direct  reference to ‘black beast,’ meaning the lowest of the low. Shvartze chaya is also how Ashkenazi Jews often refer to Arabs, Sephardi Arab and  Falasha Jews. I guess that, at least culturally, some Ashkenazi Jews find it hard to deal with the colour black, especially when it comes on people. It is therefore slightly peculiar to witness white Ashkenazi Jews complain endlessly about ‘white supremacy.’ It is, in fact,  hard to imagine any contemporary cultural code more racially oriented than the Ashkenazi ethos. I would suggest that if Jews are genuinely interested in combating white exceptionalism, that maybe they should first uproot those symptoms from their own culture.

This is an anomaly — the same people who played a fundamental role in the civil rights movement, are themselves instrumental in an historic racist segregation project. In my work on Jewish Identity politics I have noticed that Jewish organisations dictating the boundaries of Black liberation discourse is hardly a new symptom. This political exercise is a fundamental feature and symptomatic of the entire Jewish solidarity project. It is the ‘pro’ Palestinian Jews who make sure that the discourse of the oppressed (Palestinians) will fit nicely with the sensitivities of the oppressor (The Jewish State for that matter). It seems as if it is down to Jews to decide whether or not the civil rights activist and scholar Angela Davis is worthy of an award for her lifetime of activity for her community.

A review of the ADL’s attitude to the Nation of Islam (NOI) in general and its leader, Louis Farrakhan, provides a spectacular glimpse into this attempt to police the dissent.

NOI according to the ADL, has “maintained a consistent record of anti-Semitism and racism since its founding in the 1930s.” The ADL’s site states that “under Louis Farrakhan, who has espoused and promoted anti-Semitism and racism throughout his 30-year tenure as NOI leader, the organization has used its programs, institutions, and media to disseminate its message of hate.”

“He (Farakhan) has repeatedly alleged that the Jewish people were responsible for the slave trade as well as the 9/11 attacks, and that they continue to conspire to control the government, the media, Hollywood, and various Black individuals and organizations.”

The real question we need to ask is whether Farakhan’s criticism is ‘racist.’ Does he target ‘The Jews’ as a people, as a race or as an ethnicity or does he actually target specific elements, segments or sectors within the Jewish universe? A quick study of Farakhan’s cherry picked quotes provided by the ADL reveals that Farakhan doesn’t really refer to ‘the Jews’ as a people, a race, a nation or even as a religious community. In most cases he refers specifically and precisely to segments within the Jewish elite that are indeed politically dominant and deserve our scrutiny.

Let us examine some of Farakhan’s most problematic quotes as selected by the ADL: “During a speech at Washington, D.C.’s Watergate Hotel in November 2017, Farrakhan told his audience that the Jews who ‘owned a lot of plantations’ were responsible for undermining black emancipation after the Civil War. He also endorsed the second volume of the anti-Semitic book, ‘The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,’ which blames Jews for promoting a myth of black racial inferiority and makes conspiratorial accusations about Jewish involvement in slave trade and the cotton, textiles, and banking industries. Farrakhan believes this book should be taught in schools.”

It is obvious in the quote above that Farakhan refers to a segment within the Jewish elite. Those who “owned plantations,” those who were specifically involved in the Atlantic slave trade, those who were and still are involved in banking and so on. And the next question is; does the ADL suggest that Jewish slave owners are beyond criticism? Is the Jewish State axiomatically on the right side of history so neither Farakhan nor the rest of us is entitled to criticise it? And what about Jewish bankers, do they also enjoy a unique immunity? I am sorry to point out, such views only confirm the supremacist and privileged attitude that Farahkan, amongst very few others, is brave enough to point at.

The question goes further. If Jews do empathise with Blacks and their suffering as we often hear from Jewish leaders, can’t they take a bit of criticism from the likes of Farakhan, Angela Davis or Dieudonne? If Jews care so much about the Other, as many well meaning Jews insist upon telling us, how come all this caring disappears once Farakhan, Davis or Dieudonne appear on the scene?

Jewish solidarity is a peculiar concept. It is a self-centred project. Jewish New Yorker Philip Weiss expressed this sentiment brilliantly in an interview with me a few years back. “I believe all people act out of self-interest. And Jews who define themselves at some level as Jews — like myself for instance — are concerned with a Jewish self-interest. Which in my case is: an end to Zionism.” Weiss supports Palestine because he believes it is good for the Jews. For him the Palestinians are natural allies. I believe that if Blacks and Palestinians or anyone else wants to liberate themselves and to obtain the equality they deserve, they can actually learn from Zionism. Rather than counting on solidarity, they have to shape their own fate by defining their priorities. In fact this is exactly what is so unique about Farakhan and Dieudonne. This is probably why Jewish organisations see them as prime enemies and invest so highly in their destruction.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Iran resumes gas exports to Turkey after pipeline fixed

Press TV – July 1, 2020

The Iranian Oil Ministry says it has resumed exports of natural gas to Turkey despite reports in the media suggesting that exports could stop for good because of price disputes.

A spokesman of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Wednesday that Turkey had finished repair work on a pipeline that came out of service after an explosion on March 31, allowing Iran to resume exports.

“Exports have resumed now that repairs on gas export pipeline in the Turkish territory have finished,” said Mohammad Asgari, adding, “Iran’s gas exports to Turkey is going on as before.”

The announcement puts an end to weeks of speculations about a potential decision by Turkey to halt imports of natural gas from Iran.

Reports in April had suggested that Turkey was unwilling to repair the damaged pipeline because it was unhappy with the price of gas supplied from Iran.

Those reports said a sudden fall in international oil prices, which are used as a benchmark to determine gas prices, had caused Turkey to press Iran for a fresh negotiation on gas prices.

Authorities in Turkey had denied there was a major issue with the price, insisting that repair work on the pipeline had been delayed because of the spread of the new coronavirus in the region.

That comes as oil prices have rebounded in recent weeks mainly because of an international agreement to cut the output.

Turkey is entitled to receive around 8.5 billion cubic meters of gas from Iran each year under a 25-year contract which began in 2001.

Based on the agreement, any change in oil prices would take at least six months to have an effect on the price of gas delivered by Iran to Turkey.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 2 Comments

If Suez Canal Blocks Iran’s Aid Ships to Lebanon & Syria, Strait of Hormuz Will Be Closed: Al-Akhbar Report

Al-Manar | July 1, 2020

Amid the squeezing US economic blockade on Lebanon and Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran seeks to aid allies and provide them with the basic consumption items by all means.

The Lebanese daily newspaper, Al-Akhbar, reported Wednesday that Iran has offered to sell oil to Lebanon which would pay in the national currency in return, adding that the Iranian ships are ready to sail without any political or geographical barrier.

In this context, the paper pointed out that the Iranians have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in case the Suez Canal is blocked to the aid ships heading to Lebanon and Syria, citing a positive Egyptian stance in this regard.

The Iranian offer, expected to leave Tehran losing hundreds of millions of dollars, is inexactly viewed in Lebanon, according to the Al-Akhbar report Hezbollah has informed the Lebanese authorities it will help finalize the deal when they approve it.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s latest speech tackled the Iranian offer on the basis of a promise his eminence received from the Supreme Leader Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, Al-Akhbar mentioned.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Russian ‘bounty killing’ forces Trump’s hands on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 1, 2020

As expected, the controversy over Russia’s alleged bounties for killing American and NATO troops in Afghanistan is steadily snowballing. The New York Times has come out with more leaks such as bank transfers from accounts identified with the Russian military intelligence to the Taliban, “hawala” transactions as well as the Afghan government’s assistance to the US intelligence to zero in on the Russian-Taliban nexus.

Meanwhile, the US Congress is seized of the matter, possibly triggering another “Russiagate”. The Democrats are on the warpath. Top White House aides are briefing the Senate Intelligence Committee later today.

The Times also featured today an Op-Ed on this topic by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who is widely mentioned as a possible vice-presidential running mate on the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s ticket in the November elections. Rice tore into President Trump and his key aides.

To be sure, the controversy will seriously impact the endgame in Afghanistan. The first sign of it appeared on Tuesday when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a video conference with the Taliban’s deputy head and chief negotiator at Doha, Mullah Baradar. The White House readout said Pompeo discussed with the Taliban leader the implementation of the Doha pact of February on the Afghan peace process and “made clear the (US) expectation for the Taliban to live up to their commitments, which include not attacking Americans.”

Evidently, the White House is directly warning the Taliban against any attacks on the US troops. An AP report cited the Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen as tweeting that Pompeo and Baradar also “discussed ways of moving … forward” the implementation of the Doha pact.    

The White House is anxious that the intra-Afghan peace talks should take place without further delay so that the US troop withdrawal can be announced. There were reports recently that a decision to withdraw another 4,000 American troops out of the 8,600-strong contingent is under consideration.

In the light of the present controversy over alleged Russian bounty killings and given the likelihood of Congressional hearings, Trump will be keen to summarily withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. The US special representative for reconciliation with the Taliban Zalmay Khalilzad has also reached Doha for discussions with Mullah Baradar.

All in all, the series of Times reports since June 26 has compelled the White House to kickstart the intra-Afghan peace talks somehow, where a complete ceasefire tops the agenda of discussion. The Times reports significantly weaken the US’ capacity to influence the outcome of the intra-Afghan peace talks.

The US stands badly isolated in the region. The controversy over bounty killings has upset Moscow and in turn makes it impossible to carry forward any US-Russian cooperation and coordination over the intra-Afghan peace talks, as was envisaged earlier.

At the same time, the US-China tensions are spinning out of control and Washington is no longer in a position to leverage Beijing’s cooperation in the Afghan peace process. Similarly, Washington is on a collision course with Tehran following Pompeo’s appearance at the UN Security Council on Tuesday to formally table the US proposal seeking an extension of the UN embargo on arms supplies to Iran.

Russia and China have made it clear that they will veto any such US resolution, which, in turn, may lead to Pompeo pressing a claim to invoke the snapback clause of the Iran nuclear deal to kill the 2015 agreement. Heightened tensions can be expected between Washington and Tehran in the weeks and months ahead.

With Russia, China and Iran on a path of confrontation with the US, the burden falls entirely on the Trump administration to carry froward the Afghan peace process. The US’ reliance on Pakistan becomes more critical than ever before. (Khalilzad is set to travel to Islamabad this week.)

Clearly, the initiative is slipping out of the American hands to script its exit strategy in Afghanistan. To be sure, Taliban will negotiate from a position of strength. Mullah Baradar reportedly made humiliating demands to Pompeo during the videoconference yesterday.

Given the unfriendly mood in the three key regional capitals — Moscow, Tehran and Beijing — Washington may be left with no choice now but to cut loose and make its way for the exit door as quickly as possible. Trump will not risk a prolonged stay for the troops in Afghanistan.

Curiously, there is an eerie similarity to the Afghan situation around the Geneva Accords of April 1988 between Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the US and the Soviet Union serving as guarantors.

The Geneva Accords had envisaged a matrix of several elements — principally, a bilateral agreement between Islamabad and Kabul on the principles of mutual good neighbourly relations; a declaration on international guarantees, signed by the Soviet Union and the US; and a Pak-Afghan agreement on the interrelationships for the settlement of the Afghan situation as such, which was witnessed by the Soviet Union and the US.

It was an impressive peace agreement but it was still-born and its only positive outcome was that Moscow faithfully (and eagerly) observed the agreement’s provisions for the timetable of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. (The Soviet contingent completed the withdrawal on 15th February 1989.)

The intra-Afghan peace talks will also be taking place in a dismal setting involving two intransigent protagonists (Afghan government and Taliban), and two “guarantors” (the US and Pakistan) pursuing different priorities. Again, the only positive outcome of the intra-Afghan peace talks might be that it will have put an end to the 2-decade old American occupation of Afghanistan.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

WHO’s Conflict of Interest?

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, in Bern, Switzerland, on June 3, 2019.  (State Dept. Photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain)
By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | June 30, 2020

Last week the French National Assembly convened an inquiry into the “genealogy and chronology” of the Coronavirus crisis to examine the evident failures in its handling and will interview government ministers, experts and health advisors over the next six months. While we in the English-speaking world may have heard endless arguments over the failures of the UK or US governments to properly prepare for and cope with the health-care emergency, the crisis and problems in the French health system and bureaucracy have been similar and equally serious. Given the global cooperation and collaboration of health authorities and industry, the inquiry has global significance.

Judging by the attention paid by French media to the inquiry, which comes just as France is loosening the lock-downs and restarting normal government activities, it is set to be controversial and upsetting, exposing both incompetence and corruption.

Leading the criticism of the Macron government’s handling of the crisis are the most serious accusations that its prohibition of an effective drug treatment has cost many lives, a criticism put directly to the inquiry by Professor Didier Raoult, the most vocal proponent of the drug – Hydroxychloroquine. At his institute in Marseilles, early treatment with the drug of people infected with Sars-CoV-2 has been conclusively demonstrated to reduce hospitalization rates and shorten recovery times when given along with the antibiotic Azithromycin, and consequently to cut death rates by at least half.

Raoult has pointed to the low death rate in the Marseilles region of 140 per million inhabitants compared with that in Paris of 759 per million as at least partly due to the very different treatment of the epidemic in Marseilles under his instruction. The policies pursued by local health services there included early widespread testing for the virus and isolation and quarantining of cases, aimed both at protecting those in aged care and in keeping people from needing hospitalization with the help of drug treatments.

It incidentally seems quite bizarre that some countries – notably the US, UK and Australia, are only now embarking on large testing programs – and claiming a “second wave” in cases – which Raoult calls a “fantasme journalistique”. The consequent reimposition of severe lock-downs in some suburbs of Melbourne, and in Leicester in the UK is a very worrying development.

The efficacy of HCQ and Azithromycin is well illustrated – one should say proven – by this most recent review of its use on 3120 out of a total of 3700 patients treated at the Marseilles hospitals during March, April and the first half of May. Unlike the fraudulent study published and then retracted by the Lancet in May, the analysis in this review is exemplary, along with the battery of tests performed on patients to determine the exact nature of their infection and estimate the effectiveness of the drug treatment. The overall final mortality rate of 1.1% obscures the huge discrepancy in numbers between treated and untreated patients. Hospitalization, ICU, and death rates averaged five times greater in those receiving the “other” treatment – being normal care without HCQ-AZM treatment – equivalent to a placebo.

The IHU Marseilles study and its discussion points deserve close scrutiny, because they cannot be dismissed as unsubstantiated or biased, or somehow political, just because Professor Raoult is a “controversial figure”. There is a controversy, and it was well expressed by Raoult in his three hour presentation to the inquiry. His criticisms of health advisors to government include conflicts of interest and policy driven by politics rather than science. Raoult has been vindicated in his success, and can now say to those health authorities “if you had accepted my advice and approved this drug treatment, thousands of lives would have been saved.”

This is quite unlike similar statements in the UK and elsewhere, where claims an earlier imposition of lock-down would have cut the death toll in half are entirely hypothetical. As Prof. Raoult has also observed, the progress of this epidemic of a new and unknown virus was quite speculative, and its handling by authorities has failed to reflect that. In fact, one feels more and more that the “response” of governments all around the world has followed a strangely similar and inappropriately rigid scheme, of which certain aspects were de rigueur, particularly “social distancing”.

There seems little evidence that would justify this most damaging and extreme of measures to control an epidemic whose seriousness could be ameliorated by other measures – such as those advocated by Raoult’s Institute – which would have avoided the devastating “collateral damage” inflicted on the economy and society in the name of “staying safe”.

Prof. Raoult’s vocal and consistent criticism of the political manipulation of the Coronavirus crisis is hardly trivial however, to be finally excused as a “failure”- to impose lockdowns sooner, to have sufficient supplies of masks or ventilators, or to use more testing and effective contact tracing. What lies beneath appears to be, for want of a better word, a conspiracy.

As previously and famously noted by Pepe Escobar, French officials seemed to have foresight on the potential use of Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 infection, with its cheapness and availability being a likely hindrance to pharmaceutical companies looking to make big profits from new drug treatments or vaccines. Of even greater significance perhaps, was the possibility – or danger – that the vast bulk of the population might become infected with the virus and recover quickly with the help of this cheap drug treatment, while bypassing the need, and possibly interminable wait for a vaccine.

Now it can be seen that in Western countries the demand for a vaccine is acute, and the market cut-throat, despite assurances from many quarters that “vaccines must be available to all” and that “manufacturers won’t seek to profit” from their winning product. (the profit will naturally be included in what their governments choose to pay them) The clear conflicts of interest between health officials, public and private interests make such brave pronouncements particularly hollow. Just one case is sufficient to illustrate this, as despite its unconvincing performance in combatting the novel Coronavirus, the drug developed and promoted by Dr Anthony Fauci and company Gilead, Remdesevir, was rapidly approved for use following a research trial sponsored by the White House.

More concerning however is what appears to be a conflict of interest in the WHO itself, possibly related to the WHO’s largest source of funding in the Gates organization. While the WHO has not actively opposed the use of Hydroxychloroquine against the virus infection for most of the pandemic, neither has it voiced any support for its use, such as might be suggested by its obvious benefits, and particularly in countries with poor health facilities and resources.

Had the WHO taken at least a mildly supportive role, acknowledging that the drug was already in widespread use and there was little to lose from trying it against COVID-19, then it is hard to imagine that those behind the recent fabricated Lancet paper would have pursued such a project. Without claiming that the WHO had some hand in the alleged study that set out to debunk HCQ treatment, it should be noted that the WHO was very quick to jump on the non-peer-reviewed “results” and to declare a world-wide cancellation of its research projects on the drug. And while it had to rescind this direction shortly afterward when the fraud was exposed, the dog now has a bad name – as apparently intended.

This stands in sharp contrast to the WHO’s sudden enthusiasm for the steroidal drug Dexamethasone, recently discovered by a UK research team to have had a mildly positive benefit on seriously ill COVID19 patients:

“The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to update its guidelines on treating people stricken with coronavirus to reflect results of a clinical trial that showed a cheap, common steroid could help save critically ill patients.

The benefit was only seen in patients seriously ill with COVID-19 and was not observed in patients with milder disease, the WHO said in a statement late Tuesday.

British researchers estimated 5,000 lives could have been saved had the drug been used to treat patients in the United Kingdom at the start of the pandemic.

“This is great news and I congratulate the government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in the press release.”

There is something more than ironic in the WHO’s interest in a different cheap and available drug that has also been widely used for decades, but which is no use in protecting those people in the target market for the vaccine. To me, and surely to Professor Raoult and his colleagues, this looks more like protecting ones business interests and investor profits, at the expense of public health and lives.

Postscript:

It has just been announced that GILEAD will start charging for its drug Remdesevir from next week at $US 2340 for a five-day course, or $US 4860 for private patients. Generic equivalents manufactured in poorer countries will sell for $US 934 per treatment course. Announcing the prices, chief executive Dan O’Day noted that the drug was priced “to ensure wide access rather than based solely on the value to patients”.

It seems hardly worth pointing out that six days treatment with Hydroxychloroquine costs around $US 7, so for the same cost as treating one patient with Remdesevir, roughly four hundred could be given Hydroxychloroquine. If this is compounded by the effective cure rate, Remdesevir treatment costs closer to one thousand times that of HCQ. The addition of Azithromycin and Zinc doubles the cost of HCQ treatment, but also increases its efficacy considerably.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment