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Twitter labels RT & Sputnik but NOT BBC, NPR & VOA as it launches blitz on state media staff & govt officials

RT | August 6, 2020

Twitter has declared war on certain state-affiliated media entities, announcing accounts belonging to senior staff will be labeled and their tweets won’t be amplified or recommended. The BBC and US state-funded media are exempt.

The microblogging platform announced it will label accounts belonging to key government officials in countries on the UN Security Council, as well as accounts belonging to state-linked media outlets, their editors-in-chief and senior staff.

In a Thursday blog post, it warned it will no longer show tweets from state-linked media accounts on the home screen, notifications, or search.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Twitter left a sizable loophole for the US and friendly nations, explaining that “state-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US for example, will not be labeled.”

“We believe this is an important step so that when people see an account discussing geopolitical issues from another country, they have context on its national affiliation and are better informed about who they represent,” Twitter explained in the post, adding that it would not be labeling government officials’ personal accounts – just those associated with their offices.

Betraying a shockingly dim understanding of American media, Twitter explained that “unlike independent media, state-affiliated media frequently use their news coverage as a means to advance a political agenda.”

Perhaps attempting to fend off discrimination lawsuits, they added that the move had come after consultation with “a number of expert groups, including members of the Digital and Human Rights Advisory Group in Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council.”

That group includes notoriously censor-happy entities like the Anti-Defamation League, the Dangerous Speech Project, and Feminist Frequency.

Clicking on the new labels takes the viewer to a page explaining the policy, which hints it “will be expanded to include additional countries in the future.” The page refers to them as “election labels,” suggesting the policy is a response to ongoing baseless claims that Russian social media manipulation was responsible for President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory. With the November election less than 100 days away, social media platforms are scrambling to censor non-approved views, especially those they can link to un-American activities.

A Twitter spokesman declined to provide a full list of entities to be censored to Reuters, but mentioned RT, Sputnik, and Xinhua News by name. Facebook recently adopted a similar policy, complete with double standard for US and friendly state-controlled media organizations.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Newspapers: Fusion Centers Have Secretly Created A National Citizen Spying Program

MassPrivateI | August 6, 2020

What has the public learned about Fusion Centers since the recent BlueLeaks hack was released over a month ago? Not a lot.

The Feds have done a great job of keeping the public from finding out what DHS Fusion/Intelligence Centers are really doing. In a country founded on freedom, we find federal and local law enforcement scrambling to keep the true function of Fusion Centers hidden from the public.

By piecing together news articles from Maine and Texas papers, a disturbing picture begins to unfold of warrantless surveillance of Americans.

The first proof that Fusion Centers were being used to spy on everyday citizens and activists can be found in a Maine Press Herald article from mid-July.

“A cache of internal police documents stolen from a secretive Maine State Police intelligence unit has provided the first substantial glimpse into how it collects and shares information about crime suspects and political activists and, in rare cases, keep tabs on domestic extremists, gang members and anti-government groups.”

The article goes into greater detail describing how local police use Fusion Centers to track down low-level offenders and ID people from social media or video footage.

“Police agencies commonly contact the Maine center with requests for help identifying a person depicted in a photo, sometimes captured from a surveillance camera. Other pictures are taken directly by law enforcement, or appear to be pulled from Facebook or other social media sites.”

Maine police even went so far as to ask the Fusion Center to identify a passenger in a car who refused to identify himself, and did not consent to having his photograph taken or his fingerprints scanned.

Another article in the Maine Press Herald which predated BlueLeaks, revealed that Fusion Centers refuse to acknowledge that they are secretly scanning everyone’s faces and spying on their cellphones.

“Despite evidence that the Maine State Police has worked for years with federal agencies to develop its use of digital surveillance technology, the agency now uses that law to refuse to answer any questions about such efforts, or even acknowledge that they exist.”

A third Maine Press Herald article revealed that Fusion Centers are secretly collecting a massive database of license plate numbers, the names and addresses of legal gun owners, and monitoring political activist groups and collecting members names and addresses.

Fusion Centers created a national citizen spy program

The Austin Chronicle revealed that Fusion Centers have used secret informants to create a national “Suspicious Activity” network.

“In early June, an intelligence center operated by the Austin Police Department was hacked, along with many others like it across the country. Known as BlueLeaks, the collection of leaked documents from the hack contains over 10 gigs of material taken from the Austin center. They reveal a secret citizen spying program that’s active in the Austin area and across the country.”

The article reveals how Fusion Centers have created a vast network of secret “Threat Liaison Officers” (TLOs).

“Documents examined by the Chronicle show that each TLO must sign a nondisclosure agreement with ARIC, including those not working in law enforcement, essentially creating secret citizen officers.”

Secret citizen spies or TLOs could be someone you least expect. TLOs could be anyone: “private security officers with local hotels, malls, large venues, and local semiconductor companies. Government employees in “education,” “code enforcement,” and “public works” also contribute to ARIC as FOUO TLOs.

According to the article, TLOs could be teachers, trash collectors, ministers, priests, rabbi’s or even counselors.

Basically DHS has succeeded in creating a network of secret government spies masquerading as everyday people.

A TLOs job is to report people for doing mundane things like asking questions, taking pictures or being observant of one’s surroundings. TLOs are also reporting people for “suspicious” social media posts, whatever that means.

“According to one FOUO TLO’s report, an individual was seen taking photos of Zach Scott’s Topfer Theatre on Sept. 22, 2016. The report includes five different pictures of a young person using a camera on a tripod to photograph the theatre from across the street.”

To make it easier to report Americans for doing mundane things, Fusion Centers have provided TLOs with a checklist.

The leaked documents include submission forms TLOs use to make their reports. At the top of the forms are boxes to check indicating the type of activity being reported. These include the aforementioned “School Threat,” but also Eliciting Infor­ma­tion, Observation/Surveillance, and Suspicious/Odd Facebook Post. The TLO report spreadsheet contains 128 reports of school threats. But the category most reported by far was Expressed or Implied Threat, with more than a thousand entries.”

To say that this is reminiscent of China, the USSR or East Germany is an understatement. As the Chronicle warned, ‘worrisome examples of suspicious activity have led to increased scrutiny’ which means the Feds and local police could be secretly monitoring innocent Americans without out any public scrutiny.

If you thought DHS’s “If You See Something, Say Something” was a failure guess again. DHS has managed to justify creating 78 Fusion Centers whose sole purpose, it seems, is to spy on innocent Americans and track their daily movements.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

US Senators Reportedly Threaten German Port Operator With ‘Financial Destruction’ Over Nord Stream 2

Sputnik – 06.08.2020

The Nord Stream 2 project is set to carry up to 55 billion cubic meters (1.942 trillion cubic feet) of gas per year from Russia to Germany, passing through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden.

US Senator Ted Cruz together with Senators Tom Cotton and Ron Johnson have threatened the management of Mukran Port in Germany, involved in the Nord Stream 2 project with “financial destruction”, if they continue their work on the venture.

In a three-page letter, obtained by Handelsblatt newspaper, the lawmakers called on Sassnitz GmbH, which operates the port, to discontinue logistical support for the project.

“If you continue to provide goods, services, and support for the Nord Stream 2 project, you will destroy the future financial survival of your company”, the letter read.

Sassnitz is where a ship called Rossini is docked for several weeks now which reportedly serves as a base to some 140 workers who work on the pipeline, including nationals of Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. According to reports, these workers are shipped daily to the Mukran port, the logistical headquarters of the construction of Nord Stream 2’s segment in the Baltic Sea.

The €9.5 billion, 1,230-kilometre (or 715-mile) long pipeline was hit with sanctions by the United States back in December 2019 under the US’ 2020 National Defence Authorisation Act, which caused the Swiss pipelay company Allseas to quit the project with just 100 miles of the pipeline left to put down. Russia is now completing the pipeline on its own.

While Washington cited security concerns for its sanctions, both Russia and Germany, which are involved in the project, stressed that it is an example of unfair competition that runs counter to international law.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Israeli Forces Destroy Irrigation Ponds in Jordan Valley

Palestine Chronicle | August 6, 2020

Israeli occupation forces today destroyed irrigation ponds in the al-Jiftlik village, located near Jericho in the Jordan Valley, said a local municipal source.

Mayor of al-Jiftlik, Ahmad Abu Ghanem, said the Israeli occupation destroyed three ponds that were used to irrigate 70 dunums of village land, filling them with debris to discontinue their use.

Yesterday, Israeli forces uprooted and seized some 100 palm trees in the village.

Israel has severely restricted Palestinian access to water in the area, particularly the 23 underground wells used for agriculture. Local water springs are susceptible to dryness and depletion as a result of Israel’s control over water.

The Israeli water company, Mekorot, has depleted the wells and has been granted a monopoly on the drilling, restoration, distribution and selling of Palestinian water. In contrast, Palestinians have been forbidden from constructing new wells or restoring existing ones.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 4 Comments

Failing upward? After botched Venezuelan regime-change, Elliott Abrams picked as Iran rep

RT | August 6, 2020

The US is putting Iran on regime-change notice, appointing Iran-Contra convict Elliott Abrams as Special Representative for Iran in addition to his duties as Special Representative for Venezuela, a State Department release shows.

Abrams, who oversaw a series of failed coups in Venezuela both in the past year and during the botched 2002 coup against then-President Hugo Chavez, will take over from Brian Hook, who has “decided to step down,” according to a press release from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo lauded Hook’s efforts in the statement, declaring he had “achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime.” The outgoing official oversaw the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, leveling sanction upon sanction against the Islamic Republic after withdrawing the US from the JCPOA nuclear deal in 2018. Hook praised his own record to the New York Times on Thursday, declaring that “by almost every metric, the regime and its terrorist proxies are weaker than three and a half years ago.”

“We have been very successful,” he said.

Tensions between the two countries nearly spiraled into war in January after a US airstrike killed Quds Force leader Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, provoking a barrage of missiles from Iran targeting two coalition bases in Iraq. The US has also flooded the Persian Gulf with military assets and placed bounties on Iranian ships and other military assets.

Abrams has been a ubiquitous presence in the US’ regime-change efforts in Latin America, helping to replace left-leaning governments with right-wing dictatorships in El Salvador and Guatemala and attempting similar makeovers in Nicaragua and Venezuela. In 1991, he pleaded guilty to two minor criminal counts regarding the Iran-Contra scandal, in which the CIA illegally funneled weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras. However, he was subsequently pardoned by then-President George HW Bush and went on to continue undermining democratically-elected governments under George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

The promotion comes ahead of a hotly-anticipated UN Security Council vote on extending the arms embargo on Iran. If the measure does not pass, the US has threatened to trigger “snapback” sanctions agreed upon as part of the 2015 nuclear deal – despite having pulled out of the deal years ago and therefore lacking an ability to enforce its provisions as a “participating nation.”

August 6, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Something Rotten at The Heart of UK Government

The smell of pro-Israel bias in the Foreign Office is overpowering

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | August 6, 2020

As George Washington put it,“a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils”. He warned that sympathy for the favourite nation encourages the illusion of common interest where none really exists, risks participation in its quarrels and wars, and involves“concessions to the favourite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained… And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favourite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country.”

So a month ago I asked my MP Alister Jack: “If Netanyahu proceeds with his sickening annexation what will you say in Cabinet, please, about the need for real consequences such as sanctions? And will you speak up to ensure UK trade deals with Israel do not facilitate its territorial expansionism?”

It was a reasonable question which he has chosen to ignore. Jack is Secretary of State for Scotland in the UK Government and would be wise to have no ‘passionate attachments’ to foreign powers.  Netanyahu didn’t carry out his threatened land grab on 1 July but might yet do so. Jack’s silence is therefore unacceptable and I’d like to know whether the person who represents me in Parliament aligns himself with the Israeli regime’s evil intent.

Meanwhile, a pro-Palestinian activist, exasperated by the UK Foreign Office constantly repeating the same old mantra excusing its inaction over Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine, has received the same old half-baked reply but with a warning that they will not be corresponding with her again. The FO’s letter followed the familiar let’s-duck-the-issue formula.

  • In line with international law, and relevant Security Council resolutions, notably Resolutions 242 and 497, we do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the Golan Heights, and we do not consider them part of the territory of the State of Israel.

Okay. But when is Britain, a key player in the founding of the United Nations and with a permanent seat on the Security Council, going to do something about it?

  • The two-state solution is the only viable long-term solution. It is the only way to permanently end the Arab-Israeli conflict, preserve Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity and realise Palestinian national aspirations.

The “only way”? Israel’s “democratic identity”, when it’s a deeply unpleasant ethnocracy? Why does Britain persist with these fantasies?

  • We are firmly opposed to sanctions. We believe that imposing sanctions or boycotts on Israel or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts would not support our efforts to progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution.

But you’ll cheerfully slap Iran, for example, with sanctions for no good reason…. except to please Israel and its bitch, the US, which is what all this is really about. Civil society has resorted to BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) in the absence of any real diplomatic pressure from the so-called ‘great powers’. It’s the only non-violent language Israel understands. And it’s beginning to work. Get behind it.

We’re told that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab spent the summer of 1998 working for one of the PLO’s chief negotiators on the Oslo peace accords, a doomed initiative begun in 1993 to create a form of interim governance and framework for a final treaty by the end of 1998. So Mr. Raab was there at a time when the two sides had been faffing about in the name of peace for 5 years and getting nowhere.

In October of 1998 the US, desperate to keep the charade going, held a summit at Maryland’s Wye River Plantation at which Clinton with Yasser Arafat, Benjamin Netanyahu, and senior negotiators produced the Wye River Memorandum. Not that this did much good either. But Raab must have learned a lot about Israeli perversity, not to mention America’s shortcomings as an honest broker.

Before entering Parliament Raab joined the Foreign Office and worked at The Hague bringing war criminals to justice, then became an adviser on the Arab-Israeli conflict. As reported in Jewish News:

he welcomed Trump’s so-called peace plan saying: “Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent. We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.” But it’s debatable whether the leaders on either side represent anyone but themselves and their own warped interests.

Raab’s boss Boris Johnson said of it: “It is a two-state solution. It would ensure that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people….”  But the Trump Plan relegates the Palestinian capital to the outskirts of East Jerusalem keeping the rest of Jerusalem, including the sublime and ancient walled city (which is officially Palestinian territory), under Israeli control. That is perhaps the cruellest part of the Trump/Netanyahu swindle.

Because Jerusalem/Al-Quds is immensely holy to all three Abrahamic faiths, the UN proposed that it should be a corpus separatum – an internationally-governed open access city free from Israeli or Palestinian control. What could be more sensible than that?

In the Global Britain debate on 3 February Raab boasted that Britain will be an even stronger force for good in the world. “Our guiding lights will remain the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law”. Whereupon Alistair Carmichael (LibDem) asked: “If the concept of a global Britain is to have any meaning and value, surely it must have respect for human rights and international rules-based order at its heart. With that in mind, will the Foreign Secretary reconsider the unqualified support he gave to President Trump last week in respect of the so-called peace plan for Palestine? Will the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the proposed annexation of the West Bank and at long last support the recognition of a Palestinian state?”

Raab replied:

“The one thing that the plan put forward by the US included was a recognition of and commitment to a two-state solution. We have been absolutely clear that that is the only way in which the conflict can be resolved…. Rather than just rejecting the plan, it is important that we try to bring the parties together around the negotiating table. That is the only path to peace and to a two-state solution.”

Then Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad, in a debate on the Israel-Palestine conflict in March, said: “The UK Government have made it clear that, before taking part in any peaceful negotiations on the two-state solution, any party at the negotiating table needs to agree the right of Israel to exist.” But what about Palestine’s right to exist? Lord Ahmad must know that he’s talking about the fate of his Muslim brothers and sisters, not to mention the Christian communities there. On the basis of what he says, wouldn’t the UK Government’s continuing refusal to recognise a Palestinian state bar us from the peace process?

Evil Intent

Raab, by now, ought to be extremely skeptical of any two-state solution given the many irreversible facts on the ground that Israel has been allowed to create with impunity. And he would know better than most how many times the sides have come to the table for lopsided ‘negotiations’ and how the Israelis never honour the agreements they make.

And what would a two state solution look like? Yeah, too messy to describe. So why keep pushing it as the only answer? Netanyahu has said repeatedly that there will be no Palestinian state during his tenure as Israel’s prime minister. Furthermore there’s no prospect of Israel willingly giving up the Palestinian territory it illegally occupied and effectively annexed in 1967 and which must be returned if Palestinians are ever to enjoy their universal right to freedom and independence. Netanyahu has declared: “We will not withdraw from one inch…. There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel…. This is the inheritance of our ancestors. This is our land…. We are here to stay forever.” Read his lips.

The question is: what ancestral links do he and his partners-in-crime have to the biblical land of Israel? Zionist leaders before Netanyahu broadcast their fraudulent claims to the land and bragged about their evil plan to seize it. It has been well advertised and, to a large extent, already implemented. Even if Netanyahu wanted a two-state solution he would be opposed by his own party and the others making up his ruling coalition, virtually all of which stand against Palestinians having a state of their own.

Those paying attention have known that the idea of a two-state solution by negotiation has been dead for 20 years and the only purpose in still talking about it is to perpetuate the status quo and buy time for Israel to complete its creeping annexation.

The British Government’s pledge to Lord Rothschild and the Zionist Federation on 2 November 1917, signed by Lord Balfour, was simply this:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

A national home, not a state. And no harm to the rights of non-Jews. Britain’s failure to uphold that bit leaves a disgusting stain of cowardice and corruption on the UK.

The fate of Israel/Palestine is not a matter for meddlesome nations with vested interests seeking to override UN resolutions and re-shape the Middle East to suit themselves.  It is for the International Court of Justice to decide on the basis of international law. But we never hear about law and justice from the UK Government, or the US administration, in relation to the Holy Land. Why is that, Mr Raab? Don’t we believe in it any more? Or are we too stupid to respect it, too morally bankrupt to pursue it, too yellow to enforce it? When will the penny finally drop that you can’t have lasting peace without justice?

Talk is cheap when you have no intention of following up with action. It has become a sacred tradition to post pro-Israel stooges to key positions in the UK administration, especially the Foreign Office, to prevent any rocking of the boat. Raab’s predecessors suffered the same paralysis. Alistair Burt, a product of the Israel lobby, was not about to transform himself into a man of action for peace. He’d been an officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel. The then prime minister, David “I’m-a-Zionist” Cameron, proclaimed: “In me you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible.” What a disgraceful pledge for the prime minister of a mainly Christian country to make to a lawless, racist entity that respects nobody’s human rights Christian or Muslim, continually defies international law and shoots children for amusement (see ‘The methodical shooting of boys at work in Gaza by snipers of the Israeli Occupation Force’ by surgeon David Halpin and reports on the use of dum-dum and other soft-nose or ‘exploding’ rounds by Israeli snipers). But Cameron is not the only one to have done so. It has become a regular appeasement ritual.

Should we recognise Palestine or un-recognise Israel?

The Conservatives, then as now, chose to spew their infatuation with the Israeli regime all over the British nation and the Arab world. In a speech to the Board of Jewish Deputies, Burt recalled how he had worked from the age of fifteen for an MP who was a president of the Board and a founder of the Conservative Friends of Israel, and how this “had a lasting effect upon me, and on my interests in Parliament…. Israel is an important strategic partner and friend for the UK and we share a number of important shared objectives across a broad range of policy areas.”

Can anyone think of a single objective they’d wish to share with those people? Many of us are tired of being told by the Government and senior politicians that “the UK is a close friend of Israel”.We don’t believe Israel has a friend in the world outside the Westminster and Washington bubbles and the US Bible Belt.

And Burt’s stance on Palestinian independence was always puzzling. I remember him saying that we would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London “could not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders.” He’d been talking earlier about a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, which is understood to be the legal position. Even Hamas agrees to that. So why had Burt suddenly lost the plot? And where did he suppose Israel’s borders are? Where the UN drew them in the 1947 Partition Plan? Has Israel ever declared its borders? Is Israel ever within them? Is Israel where Israel ought to be? If not, how could he or Mr Raab or anyone else in the Government possibly recognise Israel let alone align themselves with it? And where did Burt suppose the offshore borders of Palestine, Lebanon and Israel ran in relation to the huge reserves of marine gas and oil in the Levantine Basin? Israel is intent on stealing the lot. The question for many years has been: will Gaza ever get a whiff of its own gas?

“We are looking forward to recognising a Palestinian state at the end of the negotiations on settlements….” But Israel’s illegal squats, or ‘settlements’, are classed as war crimes. Since when did Her Majesty’s Government approve of negotiating with the perpetrators of such crimes? Besides, the Holy Land’s status was ruled upon long ago. International law has spoken. But instead of enforcing the law and upholding justice Mr Burt and his Government still pushed for more lopsided talks. Like Raab is doing today.

The “passionate attachment” that’s utterly inappropriate

The danger of inappropriate ‘friendships’ with foreign regimes became blazingly obvious in December 2009 when three of Israel’s vilest – Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and retired general Doron Almog – cancelled engagements in London for fear of ‘having their collar felt’.

They complained bitterly to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary at the time, who promised that UK laws on ‘universal jurisdiction’ would be changed and asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice Minister Jack Straw for urgent action. A general election intervened and ousted Miliband from the Foreign Office, but the grovelling promise was eagerly taken up by his replacement, William Hague, another fanatical ‘friend of Israel’. Hague declared that a situation where foreign politicians like Mrs Livni could be threatened with arrest in the UK was “completely unacceptable…. We will put it right through legislation…. and I phoned Mrs Livni amongst others to tell her about that and received a very warm welcome for our proposals.”

Oh bravo, Mr Hague! Never mind that the arrest warrants in question were issued to answer well-founded criminal charges. Never mind that all States that are party to the Geneva Conventions are under a binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them, regardless of nationality, to justice. And never mind that there must be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The UK Government didn’t give a toss about such piffling principles. And still doesn’t.

Private arrest warrants were necessary because the Government itself was in the habit of shirking its duty under the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention and deliberately dithering until the birds had flown. Bringing a private prosecution for a criminal offence, said Lord Wilberforce, is “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of the authority”. Lord Diplock, another respected Lord of Appeal, called it “a useful safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law”. And the beauty of the private warrant was that it could be issued speedily.

The Foreign Office’s move to scupper this was even more deplorable when you consider that Tzipi Livni was largely responsible for the terror that brought death and destruction to Gaza’s civilians during the blitzkrieg known as Operation Cast Lead. Showing no remorse, and with the blood of 1,400 dead Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women) on her hands and thousands more horribly maimed, Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of it. Speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”

Nevertheless the British government of the day was happy to undermine our justice system in order to make the UK a safe haven for the likes of her.

By 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu felt untouchable enough to say that if he was returned to power, a Palestinian state would not be established because handing back territory would threaten Israel’s security.

And in August 2017 he announced that Israel would keep the West Bank permanently and there would be no more uprooting of squatter ‘settlements’: “We are here to stay forever…. This is the inheritance of our ancestors. This is our land.”

Saying it again and again doesn’t make it so. The true inheritors are the Palestinian peoples who have been there since the days when Jerusalem was a Canaanite city.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Voting Fraud Is Real: The Electoral System Is Vulnerable

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 6, 2020

The United States national election is now only three months away and it should be expected that the out-and-out lies emanating from both parties will increase geometrically as the polling date nears. One of the more interesting claims regarding the election itself is the White House assertion that large scale voting by mail will permit fraud, so much so that the result of the voting will be unreliable or challenged. To be sure, it is not as if voter fraud is unknown in the United States. The victory of John F. Kennedy 1960 presidential election has often been credited to all the graveyards in Mayor Richard Daley’s Chicago voting to swing Illinois into the Democratic camp.

The Democrats are insisting that voting by mail is perfectly safe and reliable, witness the use of absentee ballots for many years. The assertions by Democratic Party-affiliated voting officials in several states and also from friends on the federal level have been played in the media to confirm that fraud in elections has been insignificant recently. That may be true, up until now.

The Democrats, of course, have an agenda. For reasons that are not altogether clear, they believe that voting by mail would benefit them primarily, so they are pushing hard for their supporters to register in their respective states and cast their ballots at the local mail box. Nevertheless, there should be some skepticism whenever a major American political party wants something. In this case, the Democrats are likely assuming that people at lower income levels who will most likely vote for them cannot be bothered to register and vote if it requires actually going somewhere to do it. They have spoken of “expansion of voting,” presumably to their benefit. The mail is a much easier option.

A Fox News host has rejected the impelling logic behind the mail option, saying “Can’t we just have this one moment to vote for one candidate every four years, and show up and put a ballot in without licking an envelope or pressing on a stamp? If you can shop for food, if you can buy liquor, you can vote once every four years.”

The fundamental problem with the arguments coming from both sides is that there is no national system in the United States for registering and voting. Elections are run at state level and the individual states have their own procedures. The actual ballots also differ from voting district to voting district. To determine what safeguards are actually built into the system is difficult as how electoral offices actually function is considered sensitive information by many, precisely because it might reveal vulnerabilities in the process.

To determine how one might actually vote illegally, I reviewed the process required for registering and voting by mail in my own state of Virginia. In Virginia one can both register and vote without any human contact at all. The registration process can be accomplished by filling out an online form, which is linked here. Note particularly the following: the form requires one to check the box indicating U.S. citizenship. It then asks for name and address as well as social security number, date of birth and whether one has a criminal record or is otherwise disqualified to vote. You then have to sign and date the document and mail it off. Within ten days, you should receive a voter’s registration card for Virginia which you can present if you vote in person, though even that is not required.

But also note the following: no documents have to be presented to support the application, which means that all the information can be false. You can even opt out of providing a social security number by indicating that you have never been issued one, even though the form indicates that you must have one to be registered, and you can also submit a temporary address by claiming you are “homeless.” Even date of birth information is useless as the form does not ask where you were born, which is how birth records are filed by state and local governments. Ultimately, it is only the social security number that validates the document and that is what also appears on the Voter’s ID Card, but even that can be false or completely fabricated, as many illegal immigrant workers in the U.S. have discovered.

In a state like Virginia, the actual mail-in ballot requires your signature and that of a witness, who can be anyone. That is also true in six other states. Thirty-one states only require your own signature while only three states require that the document be notarized, a good safeguard since it requires the voter to actually produce some documentation. Seven states require your additional signature on the ballot envelope and two states require that a photocopy of the voter ID accompany the ballot. In other words, the safeguards in the system vary from state to state but in most cases, fraud would be relatively easy.

And then there is the issue of how the election commissions in the states will be overwhelmed by tens of thousands of mail-in ballots that they might be receiving in November. That overload would minimize whatever manual checking of names, addresses and social security numbers might otherwise take place. Jim Bovard has speculated how “The American political system may be on the eve of its worst legitimacy crisis since the Civil War. Early warning signals indicate that many states could suffer catastrophic failures in counting votes in November… Because of the pandemic, many states are switching primarily to mail-in voting even though experiences with recent primaries were a disaster. In New York City, officials are still struggling to count mail-in ballots from the June primary. Up to 20% of ballots ‘were declared invalid before even being opened, based on mistakes with their exterior envelopes,’ the Washington Post noted, thanks largely to missing postmarks or signatures. In Wisconsin, more than 20,000 ‘primary ballots were thrown out because voters missed at least one line on the form, rendering them invalid.’ Some states are mailing ballots to all the names on the voting lists, providing thousands of dead people the chance to vote from the grave.”

Add into the witch’s cauldron the continued use of easily hacked antiquated voting machines as well as confusing ballots in many districts, and the question of whether an election can even be run with expectations of a credible result becomes paramount. President Trump has several times claimed that the expected surge in mail-in voting could result in “the most corrupt vote in our nation’s history.” Trump is often wrong when he speaks or tweets spontaneously, but this time he just might be right.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | | 2 Comments

In the midst of the pandemic, the fortune of billionaires in Latin America grows exponentially

By Lucas Leiroz | August 6, 2020

Even with COVID-19 spreading and the economic crisis growing, a new billionaire appears every two weeks in Latin America (new global epicenter of the pandemic) and the net worth of already existing billionaires increases exponentially. Interestingly, the phenomenon occurs as the pandemic strikes the region, with an evident relationship between the two cases, which, in fact, represents no novelty in the history of the economic development of nations.

In recent decades, the simultaneity of these phenomena has made their causal relationship explicit: the more billionaires, the more miserable. From 2008 to 2014, during the great financial crisis that hit the globe, the number of billionaires almost doubled worldwide. In contrast, the number of people who have entered extreme poverty has also increased exponentially over the same period, with millions of people living under miserable conditions. It seems that we are about to see history repeating itself.

According to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in 2020, there will be a drop of more than 9% in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Latin America, which represents almost double the global average and the biggest drop in a century. As a result, ECLAC estimates that, by the end of 2020, there will be more than 44 million unemployed – 18 million more than in 2019 – in the region and a number of 52 million people will enter extreme poverty (16 million more compared to last year), totaling 83.4 million people in conditions of poverty.

There are currently 73 billionaires in Latin America, according to the Billionaires List and Real-Time Billionaires rankings presented by Forbes magazine. Eight new names appeared among the wealthiest Latin Americans from March to July 2020, notes the international organization Oxfam. Similarly, in Brazil, whose GDP decline is expected to be between 9.1% and 9.2%, according to the IMF and ECLAC, respectively. The 42 billionaires that exist in the country increased their net worth by $123 billion in March to $ 157 billion in July, according to Oxfam.

Still, Chile has seven billionaires whose assets grew by about 27% in the same period and reached a total of US $ 26.7 billion. In contrast, Chilean GDP will fall 7.9% according to ECLAC projections, which means an increase in poverty of 15.5% in 2020, 5.7% more than 2019.

In total, Oxfam estimates that $113.4 billion in tax revenue will be lost in Latin America in 2020, equivalent to 59% of public health spending in the region. In practice, Latin American billionaires are experiencing a daily profit of about $413 million, according to Oxfam data. The organization emphasized the case of Peru, where the COVID-19 pandemic has left 2.3 million people out of work in Lima since March. While more than 70% of the population works informally, without social protection or job security, the two richest people in the country have seen their fortunes grow by 6% (US $ 5.5 billion), in addition to the other two Peruvians who have reached the status of billionaires.

In fact, the pandemic is profoundly worsening the situation of social inequality in Latin America and increasing the economic gap on the continent. The wave of neoliberal governments that hit the region tends to worsen the scenario, remaining silent as entire nations are divided between billionaires and miserable. The simplest solution to this problem would be to increase taxation on large assets, so that the money of the billionaires, reaching public coffers, would be reverted to income distribution and social inclusion policies, aiming at progressively extinguishing poverty and balancing society with the insertion of the population in the middle classes. This, however, is not in the interest of most Latin American governments today.

A “positive” point of the crisis is perhaps to make clear the inability of the neoliberal model to face the main problems of the contemporary world. By the very logic in which this model operates, it becomes impossible to reverse the wealth of billionaires in social improvements to alleviate the suffering of the poorest. It is a model in which the rich only get richer and the poor only get poorer. Billionaires maintain passive wealth, participating in speculative and unproductive bets, increasing their assets in activities without any social function. In these times of crisis, when the population is the first affected by the decrease in available jobs, the social abyss only tends to widen: the longer the period of social isolation, the fewer jobs available, the more people in poverty, the more small and medium-sized companies failing and increasing the monopoly of large corporations and, consequently, more money accumulated by billionaires.

The only solution is to tax the wealth of billionaires, reversing their fortunes in social works. Otherwise, Latin America will live in chaotic times.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Economics | | Leave a comment

US State Department ‘Russian disinformation’ report aims to stop normalisation of relations, discredit alternative media – embassy

RT | August 6, 2020

Russia’s embassy in Washington believes apparatchiks at the State Department have put together a hysterical report on “Russian propaganda” to prevent politicians improving relations.

The Russian diplomats say the dispatch on the “Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem.” is an attempt to obstruct Moscow’s proposals to resume cooperation in key areas. They also claim the communique is obviously geared to discredit alternatives to the mainstream press, which generally toes the US establishment line. It’s also notable that the publication coincides with a request for $138 million in 2021 to spend on “countering” Russian media.

“(The) report is an attempt to silence Russian official proposals to resume cooperation in key areas on which the security of the entire world depends,” the embassy wrote on its Facebook account. “The US State Department is not very fond of the existence of alternative sources of information. Serious resources are employed to discredit them. Any voice that contradicts Washington is dubbed ‘disinformation’ in the service of the ‘Kremlin’ and Russian intelligence.”

Parts of the document are absurd, the Russian diplomats noted. For example, the authors classified far-right opposition LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the private radio station Govorit Moskva as “Official Government Communications.” The officials also cite Russian media with state funding, with headlines from Sputnik, RIA Novosti, RT and others presented as examples of ‘disinformation.’

“If this serves as the pinnacle of the entire structure, so carefully built by our American colleagues, then it seemingly looks like a house of cards,” the commentary reads. “Russian and foreign media outlets that dare to criticize the United States should bear in mind that they can and almost certainly will become the subject of thorough scrutiny. Their accounts in American social media are at risk of being suspended with no explanation.”

In its Special Report Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem, the GEC claims that Russia is a key threat in terms of disinformation and propaganda. According to the document, this “ecosystem” involves official government channels, state-run mass media, proxy-resources, and social network. The Russian authorities, as follows from the report, are responsible for the development of such tactics and platforms as part of their approach to the use of information as a weapon.

Russia repeatedly denied Western media allegations that it indulges in misinformation. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the recent allegations that Russia and China were propagating misinformation about the coronavirus infection were yet another manifestation of the West’s Russophobia and Sinophobia. The US State Department has requested $138 million in 2021 to “counter disinformation and propaganda from Russia.”

The US already has a government-controlled foreign broadcasting arm, the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which operates the Voice of America and Radio Liberty/Free Europe, and their various branches. The operation is entirely funded from the US budget, with its current expenses amounting to around $800 million annually, according to Voice of America. This is more than two and a half times what Russia spends on RT.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment