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Rumble wins injunction against New York’s online censorship law

The law was deemed to be a violation of the First Amendment

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | February 14, 2023

A judge has blocked a New York law that attempted to regulate “hateful conduct” online.

The legislative package, signed into law last summer, was Gov. Kathy Hochul’s attempt to force the moderation of content under nebulous terms such as “hate.”

The bill required, “social media networks to provide and maintain mechanisms for reporting hateful conduct on their platform.” It defined hateful conduct broadly as, “the use of a social media network to vilify, humiliate, or incite violence against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

The law also said that platforms must have a “clear and concise policy readily available and accessible on their website and application which includes how such social media network[s] will respond and address the reports of incidents of hateful conduct on their platform[s].”

The law was challenged by the free speech video platform Rumble, alongside FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, and  legal scholar Eugene Volokh, primarily on First Amendment grounds.

On Tuesday, Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. (S.D.N.Y.) blocked the law. “Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate,’” the court wrote.

We obtained a copy of the order for you here.

In an unsurprising fashion, Judge Carter ruled that the law was a violation of the First Amendment. “The First Amendment protects from state regulation speech that may be deemed ‘hateful,’” the court wrote, “and generally disfavors regulation of speech based on its content unless it is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.”

The court added that the law, “chills the constitutionally protected speech of social media users,” adding “social media websites are publishers and curators of speech, and their users are engaged in speech by writing, posting, and creating content. Although the law ostensibly is aimed at social media networks, it fundamentally implicates the speech of the networks’ users by mandating a policy and mechanism by which users can complain about other users’ protected speech.”

The court highlighted the ways in which the law violated the First Amendment, saying, “the law also requires that a social media network must make a ‘policy’ available on its website which details how the network will respond to a complaint of hateful content. In other words, the law requires that social media networks devise and implement a written policy—i.e., speech.”

The other factor considered by the court was that the law “requires a social media network to endorse the state’s message about ‘hateful conduct’” – another First Amendment violation.

“Implicit in this language is that each social media network’s definition of ‘hateful conduct’ must be at least as inclusive as the definition set forth in the law itself. In other words, the social media network’s policy must define ‘hateful conduct’ as conduct which tends to ‘vilify, humiliate, or incite violence’ ‘on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.’”

The court singled out how the law would have forced free speech platforms such as  “whose websites have dedicated ‘pro-free speech purpose[s],’ which likely attract users who are ‘opposed to censorship’” to “speak about hateful conduct.” This would be a form of compelled speech.

The court ruled that Rumble has, “an editorial right to keep certain information off their websites and to make decisions as to the sort of community they would like to foster on their platforms. It is well-established that a private entity has an ability to make ‘choices about whether, to what extent, and in what manner it will disseminate speech…’”

“The founding fathers would be proud today,” Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski tweeted. “Rumble’s legal team is next level amazing.”

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Wartime Parallels: Iraq and Covid

By Ramesh Thakur | Brownstone Institute | February 15, 2023

At the time of the Iraq war, I was a senior UN official yet publicly critical of the drive to war before and during the war, including in the pages of the esteemed International Herald Tribune. (The demise of that paper was a sad loss to the world of high quality international journalism.)

The resort to emotional blackmail by the warmongers, where critics of the impending war were tarred for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Butcher of Baghdad, was instructive. Of course, very soon “We, the critics” were amply vindicated.

The whole episode left me with two conclusions. First, the resort to emotional arguments and moral blackmail generally implies that they have little reasoned argument and evidence to support their case and are deflecting to bluster instead. Second, whenever we are presented with excitable exclamation marks (Saddam Hussein already has weapons of mass destruction (WMD)! He can hit us with WMD in just 45 minutes! Coronavirus could be more cataclysmic than the Spanish flu! The sky is falling!), it is a very good idea to substitute sceptical question marks instead:

  • Why would Saddam do that?
  • Where is your evidence?
  • What is your end goal?
  • Are the proposed means proportionate to that goal?
  • What will be the human and economic cost?
  • How long will this take?
  • Will you recognize success?
  • What is your exit strategy?
  • What are the checks against mission creep?

Instead of such healthy scepticism to force a dose of reality and calm down the agitated excitement, the coronavirus panic has also shown a remarkable triumph of the Henny Penny (or Chicken Little) tunnel vision. Thinking back to that as the coronavirus madness took hold of the world in 2020, I was surprised at how close the fit was to the Iraq war analogy once I thought the whole thing through. The lockdown, mask and vaccine mandates in particular revealed seven disturbing echoes of the 2003 Iraq War syndrome.

The first parallel is with respect to threat inflation. In the “Foreword” to the “dodgy dossier” of September 2002, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote: Saddam Hussein’s “military planning allows for some of the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.” This turned out to be disinformation that was vital to rally the party, Parliament and the nation behind the decision to go to war.

British intelligence services had informed Blair in April 2002 (a year before the war) that Saddam Hussein had no nuclear weapons and any other WMD would be “very, very small.” The Chilcot Inquiry was told a decade later that Blair accepted this but converted to George W. Bush’s way of thinking after a subsequent visit to the US president’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Similarly, to gain public backing for the degree of state intrusion into peoples’ private lives and control over nations’ economic activities without precedent even in wartime, the immediacy, gravity and magnitude of the coronavirus threat had to be made apocalyptic.

SARS-CoV-2 is not remotely as lethal as the Spanish flu of 1918–19 that killed the fit and young as virulently as the elderly and infirm. It infected 500 million people (one third of the world’s population) and killed 50 million, equivalent to around 250 million dead today. Our health systems are infinitely better than a century ago. Yet authorities did not close down whole societies and economies in 1918. In other deadly pandemic episodes also we suffered but endured.

To overcome these hesitations of history and experience, the threat from SARS-CoV-2 had to be inflated beyond all previous calamities in order to panic countries into drastic action. This was successfully done by Neil Ferguson’s catastrophist Imperial College London model of 16 March 2020 that is by now widely discredited. It deserves to acquire a notoriety equivalent to Iraq’s dodgy dossier and Ferguson’s mortality estimates should be judged to be the equivalent of Blair’s 45 minutes to Saddam’s WMD.

The second echo comes from the thinness of evidence. The infamous Downing Street Memorandum of 23 July 2002 made it clear that the US administration was determined to go to war and military action was inevitable. For their part, however, British officials did not believe there was sufficient legal justification: there was no recent evidence of Iraqi complicity with international terrorism, Saddam’s WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran, and he was not a threat to his neighbours. It was necessary to create the conditions that would make an invasion legal, hence “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” and the US “had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime.”

With Covid-19, similarly, instead of evidence-based policy, many governments resorted to policy-based evidence to justify lockdowns, masks and vaccines.

The third similarity is in the denigration of critics who had the temerity to query the evidence. Those who questioned the lack of evidence to invade Iraq were demonized as apologists for the Butcher of Baghdad. Those who asked for evidence to justify the biggest expansion of state power in Western political history were shamed as wanting to kill granny. Most recently we learnt of how a unit of British intelligence kept tabs on the writings of journalists like Toby Young and Peter Hitchens because of their critical stance on government policies.

The fourth parallel is in the dismissal of collateral harm as exaggerated, speculative, without evidence, motivated, etc. Yet evidence continues to mount on the many different pathways through which the Grim Reaper claims his growing mass of victims from the panicked responses to Covid.

The fifth echo is in the lack of a clear exit strategy. Instead of a quick victory in Iraq followed by consolidated democratic regimes in a stable region and an orderly withdrawal, the US found itself stuck in a quagmire and eventually went back home an exhausted and vanquished conqueror. Almost all lockdown governments are now struggling with public justifications to declare victory and lift the lockdown. Modellers still want none of it and the apocalyptic warnings keep coming back, despite mounting evidence of a policy-invariant gradual decline in the spike in cases and deaths around the world. Covid is now endemic. The cognitive dissonance in Covid policy has been starkly evident in the continuation of the travel ban on unvaccinated visitors to the US well after authorities had been compelled to concede vaccines had no appreciable impact on infection and transmission.

Another resemblance is mission creep. One big reason for the self-created exit trap is that the original mission of flattening the curve so the health system could cope with a slowed spread of the virus, steadily morphed into the more ambitious but impossible mission of eliminating the virus. Or, to change metaphors, the goalposts didn’t just keep shifting. They were dug out and replanted in an entirely new paddock in an altogether different location.

Seventh and finally, like the US media in 2003, most mainstream media commentators across the democratic West abandoned critical inquisitiveness in 2020 to become cheerleaders for the “war on corona.” Except the censorship and suppression of dissenting voices seems to have been far, far worse in the last three years than was the case in 2003, with possibly illegal collusion between governments and Big Tech.

Ramesh Thakur, a Brownstone Institute Senior Scholar, is a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, and emeritus professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Germany was not just humiliated, but was put in its place: Lavrov

Moscow Slams Nordics for Sweeping Nord Stream Blast Under Carpet as Hersh Warns of Dire Costs for US

Sputnik – 15.02.2023

Last week, bombshell reporting by veteran US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that the Biden administration was directly responsible for September’s attacks against the Nord Stream network, which cut off a major Russian route for energy deliveries to Germany, and undermined Europe’s energy security.

Denmark and Sweden have failed to respond to Russian overtures to discuss the Nord Stream blasts for nearly six months now, with their behavior constituting nothing short of a “boorish” attempt to hide Washington’s responsibility for the sabotage attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

“For half a year now they’ve been as silent as a fish on ice, and since September neither the Swedes nor the Danish have responded to official letters of our prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, who very politely offered to appoint some kind of contact person with whom it would be possible to hold talks, since [the attack] took place in the territorial waters of their exclusive zones, and the pipelines are the property of a Russian company,” Lavrov said, speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

“If since September the head of the Russian government is waiting for a reply from the absolutely independent sovereign states in question, if our ambassadors remind the prime ministers of these countries about once a month that they’ve been contacted, at least tell him ‘yes mister prime minister, we have received your appeal but we’re busy at the moment’. But we haven’t got even that. I think this is boorishness. But this boorishness masks the total failure of attempts to obscure the responsibility of the collective West, led by the United States, for this sabotage, for organizing this terrorist act,” the Russian top diplomat added.

Lavrov characterized the sabotage of Nord Stream a “final solution to the German gas issue” by its overseas partners. “Just as they are now trying to resolve the ‘Russian question,’ so did they want to resolve the ‘German question,’ so that Berlin would never try to play any kind of independent role in the foreseeable historical perspective,” Lavrov said, recalling how competitively-priced and dependable Russian energy had enabled Germany to become Europe’s leading economy.

“Germany was not just humiliated, but was put in its place – the place of a satellite of the United States, with Washington deciding whether the country can ensure its economic development, meet the social needs of its citizens through the use of gas coming through a pipeline which Berlin partially paid for itself.” The Biden administration doesn’t seem to “give a damn about what hardship will befall many countries, including their close allies,” Lavrov emphasized.

Lavrov suggested that the modern history of Europe has shown that whenever Russia and Germany enjoy good relations and are able to cooperate economically, in logistics and even militarily, Europe enjoys calmer, more peaceful times, to the irritation of forces across the ocean or across the English Channel, who seek to command Europe’s destiny.

1984-Style Blackout on Hersh Revelations

Commenting on Hersh’s bombshell reporting on the Nord Stream blasts, and the media blackout in coverage of the story except to attack or smear the veteran investigative reporter, Lavrov compared Western governments’ behavior to a “trend” straight out of a George Orwell novel in which the state keeps media firmly under control.

“Look at the reaction in the West to Hersh’s precise, fact-based revelations in connection with the explosions of Nord Stream 1 and 2,” Lavrov said. The Russian diplomat pointed out that if Moscow was to be blamed, for instance, for the disruption of an oil pipeline between Canada and the US, the media would be forced to write about it non-stop. But with Hersh’s story – grounded in facts, the reaction has been zilch.

Lavrov urged the foreign press to conduct fact-based investigations into the costs being borne by European economies after the rejection of Russian energy, and to dig more closely into the details of the revelations uncovered by Hersh.

Consequences

As the potential implications of his reporting for international politics continue to reverberate, Hersh said Wednesday that he expects the “enormous” political consequences of the US attack on Nord Stream to last for many years, “looking even at the potential of countries walking out of NATO.”

The investigative journalist, who has an unimpeachable reputation for accuracy and over 60 years of journalistic experience under his belt, has also blasted his detractors for their cowardice, pointing out that despite his long careers with both the New York Times and the Washington Post, “neither paper has run a word this point about the pipeline story, not even to quote the White House’s denial of my reporting.”

The Russian mission to the United Nations plans to organize a Security Council meeting on the attack on Nord Stream on February 22, citing “new information” about the attack unveiled in Hersh’s reporting.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lula Sealed His Deal With The Devil By Condemning Russia During His Meeting With Biden

By Andrew Korybko | February 11, 2023

Lula did indeed make a deal with the devil, in this case his US nemeses who were responsible for his imprisonment, in order to be sprung from jail and subsequently given a fighting chance to return to office. Upon doing so, this geopolitically repentant leader whose multipolar worldview was noticeably recalibrated behind bars did exactly as the US expected him to do, namely condemn Russia like all Sanders-style leftists have done and then rush to Biden to “kiss the ring”.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was just re-elected to a third non-consecutive term in office and is popularly known as Lula, did what had previously been unthinkable for the same man who used to be regarded as a titan of the global multipolar movement. After meeting with Biden, who was Vice President when the US orchestrated “Operation Car Wash” against him and his successor Dilma Rousseff, Lula released a joint statement in which he fiercely condemned Russia.

According to the official White House website, “They deplored the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russia and the annexation of parts of its territory as flagrant violations of international law and called for a just and durable peace.” No leader of Russia’s other fellow BRICS partners had ever expressed such sentiments, not even former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, which proves that Lula has indeed recalibrated his worldview since his imprisonment in a more pro-US direction.

This development wasn’t surprising since Lula had earlier condemned Russia by comparing its special operation in Ukraine to the US’ Hybrid War on Venezuela. At the same time, he put forth a G20-like peace proposal that wasn’t just ignored by Russia, but even indirectly criticized by it an insincere publicity stunt that actually goes against Moscow’s interests. Intrepid readers can learn more about the first incident here and the second one here since they’re beyond the scope of the present piece.

Nevertheless, by fiercely condemning Russia while meeting with Biden in DC, it should be obvious to all that Lula made a proverbial deal with the devil. In hindsight, it compellingly appears as though the information that was leaked about his case proving the courts’ political bias against him and which ultimately annulled their prior ruling (which thus let him run for re-election last year) was probably the result of a US intelligence operation aimed at once again manipulating Brazil’s political process.

Throughout the course of his first two terms and the unfinished one of his successor, the US regarded Lula as a titan of the global multipolar movement whose foreign policies posed a threat to its hemispheric hegemony. For that reason, they leaked the detailed materials implicating Lula, Rousseff, and other Workers’ Party members in a massive corruption scandal that would serve to discredit their rule, jail that aforementioned titan, and pave the way for installing a much more pliable leader.

The US’ Hybrid War on Brazil achieved all three of its initial goals but the last of them proved to be unsustainable after Bolsonaro refused to sanction Huawei in exchange for an official NATO partnership and later defied similar demands against Russia in a surprising flex of his independence. Not only that, but his conservative-sovereigntist worldview that’s inaccurately been smeared as solely being a so-called “far right-wing” one is the polar opposite of the ruling US Democrats’ liberal-globalist one.

While the sequence of events that reversed the primary outcome of “Operation Car Wash” began under the Trump Administration, objective observers already know that his military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) were working against him and his worldview this entire time. This was proven by their complicity in the Russiagate conspiracy theory, among many other examples, with their preemptive efforts to manipulate Brazil’s 2022 elections being another case in point.

The US’ “deep state” believed that their country’s interests would be best served by replacing increasingly independent Bolsonaro with a geopolitically repentant Lula, ergo why they worked so hard to reverse the same outcome that imprisoned the latter. They concluded that he’s no longer the multipolar titan that they previously thought he was, but is more akin to a Bernie Sanders-style leftist, which thus makes him amenable to manipulation in pursuit of their foreign policy goals.

Just like Sanders and his ilk fiercely condemned Russia, so too did Lula, which was entirely predictable once one realizes that this Brazilian leader has turned into a “fellow traveler” of the US left. The Workers’ Party has gradually been infiltrated by pro-US liberal-globalists who prioritize the promotion of so-called “woke” identity-centric politics at home over tangible improvements in poverty alleviation, workers’ rights, and accelerating the global systemic transition to complex multipolarity (“multiplexity”).

This observation explains why one of the three largest paragraphs of Lula’s joint statement with Biden included a pledge to fight racism and support LGBTQI+ persons. That’s not to deny the existence of racism in either of their countries, but just to point out that the Brazilian leader apparently believes that he can’t effectively counteract it with US assistance, which is a tacit deferral to the US’ de facto seniority in their revived partnership and thus by default confirms his country’s position as its “junior partner”.

Further evidence of the US’ successfully reasserted hegemony over Brazil in the aftermath of last year’s elections, which were manipulated by its intelligence services as was previously explained, can be seen by Lula agreeing to “strengthen democratic institutions” with Biden. This represents one of the most cringeworthy self-inflicted humiliations that any world leader has ever committed since it was during Biden’s term as Vice President that “Operation Car Wash” was orchestrated against Lula and his party.

He obviously knows that, yet he decided to “kiss the ring” and radically revise history as a quid pro quo for the US’ intelligence services once again manipulating Brazil’s domestic processes, albeit this time to release him from his unfair imprisonment. Lula went even further with his self-inflicted humiliation ritual by also agreeing in their statement to “build societal resilience to disinformation” together with the US despite the latter being the world’s largest fake news factory, which it earlier weaponized against him.

Another aspect of historical revisionism is evidenced by the remarks that preceded their meeting. The White House reported that Lula claimed that Brazil “isolated itself for four years” under Bolsonaro, who he claimed “didn’t enjoy to keep international relations with any country.” That’s factually false though since trade with China surged despite that former leader’s Sinophobic rhetoric on the campaign trail and he even visited President Putin in Moscow just before the special operation began despite US pressure.

These objectively existing and easily verifiable facts prove that Lula is lying through his teeth, which he believes he can do with impunity since he has the US’ support nowadays, unlike during his first two terms. He’s fully confident that nobody in the US-led West’s Mainstream Media (MSM) will fact-check him since they also share his ideological opposition to the conservative-sovereigntist worldview that Bolsonaro imperfectly embodied. It’s therefore in all their interests to so radically revise history.

The newly declared Brazilian-US joint crusade against “extremism and violence in politics” that was also unveiled in their statement strongly implies that Washington will help Lula crack down on the opposition in the aftermath of his country’s January 8th event. About that, the US arguably had a role in orchestrating everything as well in order to create the pretext for Lula to consolidate his rule, which is especially important for them since he shares their liberal-globalist worldview in the domestic sense.

More about that incident and the US’ role within it can be read about in detail here and here since it goes beyond the scope of the present analysis just like Lula’s prior condemnation of Russia and his doomed-to-fail G20-like peace plan that were earlier touched upon in this piece too. They’re relevant for intrepid readers to review, however, if they hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the ways in which Brazil and the US are now closely cooperating behind the scenes during Lula’s third term in office.

What all of this goes to show is that Lula did indeed make a deal with the devil, in this case his US nemeses who were responsible for his imprisonment, in order to be sprung from jail and subsequently given a fighting chance to return to office. Upon doing so, this geopolitically repentant leader whose multipolar worldview was noticeably recalibrated behind bars did exactly as the US expected him to do, namely condemn Russia like all Sanders-style leftists have done and then rush to Biden to “kiss the ring”.

Lula then radically revised history alongside his counterpart in order to publicly patch up their well-known differences brought about by the US’ Hybrid War on his country that was partially overseen by none other than Biden himself and ultimately resulted in the Brazilian leader’s imprisonment. This self-inflicted humiliation ritual was the cost that Lula had to pay, which included condemning Russia and thus discrediting himself among the multipolar community, but he looked happier than ever as he did it.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Here’s why Ukraine’s Zelensky wants a long war with Russia

By Andrey Sushentsov | RT | February 15, 2023

It is unlikely that President Vladimir Zelensky expects to win militarily. But it seems that he genuinely believes that he will succeed in turning Ukraine into something like Israel – a paramilitary state living with a sense of constant military threat.

Ukraine doesn’t have the military or economic resources of its own to achieve victory, and the resources provided by the West will never be enough to inflict a final defeat on Russia. Zelensky’s calculation is likely based on the belief that by offering Ukraine as a tool for NATO to use against Russia, he will constantly mobilize Western support and thereby ensure his own survival, and that of his associates.

In the worst-case scenario, as he sees it, Zelensky is probably counting on emigrating to the West with his closest associates, where they will advocate a continued policy of Russian containment. But does he care about the interests of ordinary people in Ukraine?

The unprecedented hardships of war that the country now faces could have been significantly reduced if Zelensky had been willing to settle the crisis diplomatically. Russia has repeatedly taken diplomatic initiatives to resolve this conflict. In the first phase, for example, negotiations took place in Belarus and Turkey. However, under the influence of the US and the UK, Kiev has set a course to prolong the conflict, banking on Western military assistance to achieve its goals.

As Ukraine’s own military and economic resources have dried up, the country has become increasingly dependent on Western supplies, and has ultimately become a tool to fight Russia. Nevertheless, Kiev still has the opportunity to begin talks with Moscow.

Zelensky could take the initiative to negotiate a status quo that is still comfortable for Ukraine. Of course, as the Russian military campaign progresses, the situation will change in ways that are far from favorable to Kiev. And the solutions put forward by the Russian delegation at the beginning of the crisis will no longer be on the table. However, there is still the possibility of a sustainable peace, with reduced risks of escalation into Europe’s biggest military conflict since the Second World War and a nuclear catastrophe.

Zelensky could still claim the laurels of a peacemaker who sacrificed some of his personal ambition in the name of saving Ukrainian lives and ensuring a peaceful future for his country.

A truce would alleviate the economic difficulties of Kiev’s supporters in the West, and thus generate some gratitude. Ukraine would also save a considerable amount of its military resources. Peace would obviously limit them, as deliveries would dry up, but those resources in situ would still be at the disposal of the Ukrainian government.

Yet, Zelensky’s government acts as if it sees no value in preserving Ukrainian statehood. The administration is squandering citizens’ lives and the economic fabric of the country in the belief that this sacrifice is necessary to gain some possible, rather indefinite, advantage in the future. Instead of acting as a peacemaker, as someone who is prepared to make sacrifices to save the lives of his people, Zelensky acts like a gambler, while feeding the population military propaganda.

The unprecedented military, political and economic support Ukraine is receiving from abroad essentially covers up all of the mistakes by Zelensky’s government. A strategy which is based on the axiom “war will pay for everything”. At home, the militarist line has allowed the president to establish a political dictatorship and persecute his opponents in all spheres of state life, including religion. As a result, he has secured an unprecedented concentration of power in his hands and, for the first time in Ukrainian history, silenced all centers of opposition.

Zelensky need not worry about Ukraine’s economic well-being in the short term: the foreign economic aid being handed to the Ukrainian government will suffice. Meanwhile, Kiev is still actively betting that Russia’s $300 billion in foreign currency reserves, frozen in the West, will fall into its hands. What would amount to state-piracy would also allow it use the money as it sees fit.

As a result, Zelensky expects that even if he is defeated and loses part of his territory, he will remain in power as the military leader the West needs for the new Ukraine, which will be the main anti-Russian outpost on NATO’s eastern borders. One that will be armed to the teeth, saturated with Western economic aid and that will provide its citizens with an acceptable standard of living.

I believe that Zelensky is genuinely convinced he will succeed in turning Ukraine into something like Israel, a paramilitary state in a hostile environment, and living with a sense of constant military threat. I do not exclude the possibility that even in the worst-case scenario, where there is a complete collapse of his government, Zelensky expects to find himself and a group of his closest associates in exile in the West. Once there, they will actively advocate a continued policy of containment and defeat of Russia. History shows that this prospect has every chance of materializing.

Andrey Sushentsov is the Valdai Club program director.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Militarism | , | 2 Comments

GOP Hawks to Exploit Child Victims of War, In Bid to Boost Spending on Kiev’s Military Aid

By Kyle Anzalone | The Libertarian Institute | February 14, 2023

Representative Michael McCaul plans to hold a series of hearings showing alleged atrocities committed by Russia. The Texas Republican hopes the testimony will push some of his GOP colleagues to commit to sending Kiev more military aid.

In an interview with the AP, the high-ranking Republican discussed how the images of atrocities committed against children is a powerful political tool. “I find that moves the dial, when they see these horrific killings of children,” McCaul said. He controls the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Democrats in Congress have fully committed to providing military aid to Kiev. However, a growing number of Republicans have called for curtailing security assistance to Ukraine. McCaul said the hearings will be used to get his GOP colleagues on board with sending additional aid.

“I’m very much focused on the dissension within my own party on this,” the Congressman added.

Last week, Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced The Ukraine Fatigue Resolution. If passed, it would express that it is the sense of the House that “the US must end its military and financial aid to Ukraine” and urges “all combatants to reach a peace agreement.” The legislation has ten cosponsors, all Republicans.

Congress has already authorized over $100 billion in spending to aid Ukraine’s war effort. In December, President Joe Biden signed the Omnibus bill, which included $45 billion in aid to Kiev.

After Republicans captured control of the House in November, McCaul said he would push more aid for Ukraine through. At the time, he criticized Biden for not sending more advanced weapons to Kiev.

Gaetz says he introduced the resolution because America cannot send so much tax money to Kiev and escalating the military support for Ukraine risks starting WWIII. “President Joe Biden must have forgotten his prediction from March 2022, suggesting that arming Ukraine with military equipment will escalate the conflict to ‘World War III,’” He continued, “America is in a state of managed decline, and it will exacerbate if we continue to hemorrhage taxpayer dollars toward a foreign war.”

McCaul also favors providing Ukrainian forces with Army Tactical Missile System artillery munitions, which have a range of nearly 200 miles. He has expressed that he wants these weapons to be used in future assaults on Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Such an escalation could swiftly lead to a nuclear exchange.

Using alleged atrocities against children to fuel hatred is not a new political stunt. In 1990, Nayirah al-Ṣabaḥ, the daughter of then-Kuwaiti Ambassador Saud Al-Sabah, claimed to have witnessed Iraqi soldiers killing babies. However, the testimony was fake but was used to rally Americans to support the Gulf War.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russia makes claim over West’s ‘hybrid war’

RT | February 15, 2023

The West is attempting to use the Ukraine conflict to portray Russia as a “rogue state” in the eyes of the world, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday. He stressed that the strategy has not been successful.

“The US and its satellite states are waging an all-encompassing hybrid war that they have long been preparing for, and are using Ukrainian radical nationalists as a battering ram against us,” Lavrov said in a speech in the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma.

“They are not even trying to hide the goal of this war: it is not only to defeat our country on the battlefield and destroy our economy, but also to surround us with a ‘sanitary cordon’ and turn us into a type of a rogue state.”

The statement came the same day that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled proposals for a new sanctions package against Russia, including additional export bans and measures to prevent the bypassing of restrictions.

Lavrov said that the West’s efforts to isolate Russia have failed because Moscow continues to develop relations with partners in other areas of the globe. He added that nations that have refused to back the “unprecedented” sanctions make up the majority of the world’s population.

The countries of the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and South America “don’t want to live in accordance with the West-centric order,” the Russian minister stated. “So it makes perfect sense why three-quarters of the world’s countries have not joined the anti-Russian sanctions and have a reasonable view regarding the situation in Ukraine.”

China and India are among the major economies that have refused to impose restrictions on Moscow. Denis Alipov, Russia’s ambassador to New Delhi, said on Tuesday that sanctions “had an opposite effect” and facilitated more trade and closer cooperation between Russia and India.

Beijing, meanwhile, has accused the US of fueling the Ukraine conflict and trying to weaponize the world economy for its own benefit.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Media Ignores Evidence That West Opposed Ukraine Peace Deal

BY NOAH CARL | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | FEBRUARY 14, 2023

As I noted in a previous article, the former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed in a recent interview that in March of last year Western leaders blocked a draft peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.

There seems to be some disagreement over exactly what he said, as the interview was in Hebrew. Based on the English subtitles on YouTube, I quoted him as saying, “They blocked it.” But others insist he said, “They broke off negotiations.” Either way, he clearly implied that the West stymied negotiations that might have led to a peace deal.

What’s more telling is the reason he gave as to why the West did so, namely “to keep smashing Putin”. This tallies closely with Roman Romanyuk’s account of why Western leaders opposed negotiations in April:

Behind this visit and Johnson’s words lies much more than a simple reluctance to engage in agreements with Russia. The collective West, which back in February suggested that Zelenskyi surrender and run away, now felt that Putin is actually not as all-powerful as they imagined him to be. Moreover, right now there was a chance to “press him”. And the West wants to use it.

As Caitlin Johnstone points out, it also lines up with what the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on April 20th last year:

Following the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting, it was the impression that … there are those within the NATO member states that want the war to continue, let the war continue and Russia gets weaker. They don’t care much about the situation in Ukraine.

So we now have a NATO Foreign Minister, a journalist with sources “close to Zelensky” and a former Israeli PM all saying that Western leaders opposed a peace deal because they wanted to “weaken”, “press” or “smash” Putin.

These seem like newsworthy revelations, don’t they? Not according to the mainstream media.

I checked whether the revelations have been mentioned by any of the following outlets: the BBC, CNN, the Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal. With the exception of one op-ed in the New York Times which quoted Cavusoglu’s statement, they’ve been completely ignored.

The point here isn’t that there definitely would have been a peace deal if not for the actions of Western leaders. We can’t know that. The point is: there’s credible evidence that Western leaders stymied negotiations which might have led to a peace deal because they wanted to weaken Russia.

With the exception of Tucker Carlson and a few lesser-known outlets, why hasn’t the media covered this? One of the current headlines on the BBC News homepage is ‘Rihanna reveals pregnancy at Super Bowl show’. Which is more newsworthy: Rihanna’s personal life, or the revelation that Western leaders may have sabotaged peace? I’m reminded of this meme:

A few days ago, in fact, a BBC Ukraine journalist got up and hugged Zelensky at a press conference. However much you support a particular cause, as a journalist you’re supposed to show a modicum of impartiality. Based on this incident, I wouldn’t expect any dramatic shifts in coverage.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is America world’s No. 1 terrorist state?

By Drago Bosnic | February 15, 2023

The United States legislature is one of the few in the world using the controversial designation of “state sponsor of terrorism”, colloquially often used in its shortened form, the terrorist state. At present, the State Department lists four countries as “state sponsors of terrorism”: Syria (1979), Iran (1984), North Korea (2017) and Cuba (2021). Countries that have been removed from the list are Iraq, Libya, former South Yemen and Sudan. The evidence that the US government usually gives to support claims that a country has indeed “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism” is quite scant, to say the least. And yet, Washington DC has (ab)used the designation as a basis to attack all of the aforementioned countries, in addition to dozens of other states around the globe.

Unfortunately, the belligerent thalassocracy usually doesn’t suffer the consequences of its extremely aggressive foreign policy. After the brutal invasion of Iraq, the US claim that the unfortunate Middle Eastern country allegedly had WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) proved to be an unadulterated lie. Still, nobody in the political West suffered any consequences for this, despite their own admission that the accusations against Baghdad were based on “flawed intelligence”. The same people also claimed that the evidence was “rock solid” prior to the truly unprovoked NATO aggression on Iraq. The war didn’t just destroy the Middle Eastern country, directly causing at least one million deaths, but has also resulted in over two decades of (still ongoing) instability.

This also includes the rise of monstrosities such as ISIS/ISIL and numerous other terrorist groups that have killed hundreds of thousands of people across the Middle East and beyond, particularly affecting not just the neighboring Syria, but also Libya and a number of African countries, many of which have already confirmed that US-made weapons have ended up in the hands of terrorist groups attacking their security forces. Needless to say, the vast majority (if not virtually all) of such terrorist groups have been financed, trained and even directly supported by the US. Rather ironic, given the aforementioned US legislation designating other countries as so-called “state sponsors of terrorism”.

Still, perhaps the most dangerous consequence of this US foreign policy framework is that the belligerent thalassocracy has already tried using the designation for Russia, which is even more ironic, as the Eurasian giant has been fighting actual (as previously mentioned mostly US-backed) international terrorism, including in Syria, another country the US considers a “terrorist state”. Despite all of this, Washington DC is constantly escalating the magnitude of its hypocrisy, especially in recent months. The best example of this is the terrorist attack that destroyed portions of the Nord Stream pipelines. As several senior Biden administration officials effectively admitted that Washington DC was behind this, including the infamous Victoria Nuland, the US is openly engaging in what can only be called state terrorism.

This is yet another term describing terrorist activities directly supported or even carried out by an intentionally recognized state actor. And it is precisely this that the latest report by a prizewinning US journalist Seymour Hersh confirms. The detailed account of how exactly the US sabotaged the strategically important natural gas pipelines is a clear indicator that the belligerent thalassocracy has upped the ante and is now ready to do virtually anything to prevent normal economic activities of its geopolitical rivals (and not just rivals, as this terrorist act essentially destroyed Europe’s energy security). Hersh’s report also reveals that US vassals (in this case Norway) also took part in the terrorist attack on Russia-built pipelines. Oslo also had a vested interest in seeing the Nord Stream fail, as it has a competing pipeline connecting it to northwestern areas of Europe.

Brazilian journalist Pepe Escobar, a giant in global geopolitical analytics, thinks that the report is effectively a leak from Hersh’s Deep State insider, but that it essentially boils down to a futile attempt to hide (or at least trivialize) the decisive role of the CIA and other US intelligence services. He adds that the overfocus on Norway’s role is used as a scapegoat to divert attention from other participants in this terrorist act. Escobar also blasts the European Union, particularly “cowardly Berlin”, for not reacting to what is, in essence, economic warfare against the bloc. However, as he correctly notes, the Norwegian Navy doesn’t have any operational P-8 “Poseidon” (unlike the US) and this maritime patrol aircraft was key in conducting the attack.

While Moscow is still exercising remarkable restraint despite all this, it’s certainly making it clear that it now sees the US as waging a total hybrid war against Russia. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already excluded the idea of negotiations on strategic nuclear weapons with the US, stating that any proposed gestures of goodwill are “unjustified, untimely and uncalled for.” The world is also following suit, as China has also called for Washington DC to “explain itself” regarding the terrorist attack on the pipelines.

Naturally, countries around the globe are aware that the belligerent thalassocracy has essentially opened the Pandora’s Box by directly attacking Russian infrastructure and are certainly worried this could become yet another illegal mainstay of US foreign policy. And indeed, if Washington DC is unconcerned with direct attacks on a country with the most powerful thermonuclear arsenal on the planet, who else can feel safe when having to deal with what Escobar described as the “Rogue Superpower”?

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 7 Comments

Hersh Blasts US Mainstream Media for Ignoring Nord Stream Blasts Report

Sputnik – 15.02.2023

WASHINGTON – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh on Wednesday criticized US mainstream media for not running a word about his investigative piece on the Biden administration’s alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.

Last week, Hersh on his Substack account published an investigative report describing in detail how US deep-water divers had allegedly planted explosives under Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines. Hersh wrote, based on insider information from a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning, that the explosives were detonated remotely on September 26, 2022, on the order of President Joe Biden.

Known for exposing the mass murder of unarmed civilians by US troops during the Vietnam War and reporting on the US military’s torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Hersh in an article on Wednesday observed that over the years US administrations from both parties repeatedly tried to obstruct or denigrate what he was writing, labeling him “a known fabricator” and dismissing his stories as “crap.”

Still, the pieces he wrote eventually found their way to mainstream media in the US and around the world, the journalist noted. Hersh worked as a long-time reporter for The New York Times, and The Washington Post ran a long magazine profile of him more than two decades ago.

“Neither paper has run a word at this point about the pipeline story, not even to quote the White House’s denial of my reporting. Similarly, public calls by officials in Russia and China for a full investigation of the pipeline story have been ignored by the US media,” Hersh said.

The White House, Pentagon and State Department deny any US involvement in sabotaging the pipelines.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | | 5 Comments

In lengthy interview with the Berliner Zeitung, Seymour Hersh offers more intriguing details about Nordstream attack

eugyppius: a plague chronicle | February 15, 2023

It’s been a week since Seymour Hersh released his Substack exclusive about How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline. The mainstream German press have responded with uniform scepticism. Most reports followed the example of the wire services, in leading with the blanket denials of American officials and noting that the story was well-received in Moscow. A few operations, like the state media outlet Tagesschau, attempted a more comprehensive debunking, in this case by asking experts to pick holes in the details of Hersh’s story – with less than impressive results. The other major tactic has been to attack Hersh’s credibility, along similar lines as the American press. The latest headline here is that Bob Woodward thinks Hersh’s story is bunk, and because Woodward is also a famous American journalist, that means checkmate for Hersh, or something.

The biggest development is an interview that Hersh gave to the Berliner ZeitungIt was published yesterday and contains many new details. For example, Hersh tells his interviewer that the plan was to detonate “eight bombs … near the island of Bornholm in the Baltic sea,” of which only “six…went off.” This is the first confirmation we’ve had anywhere of an obvious point, namely that the operation wasn’t fully successful, and that this is the only reason that Pipe B of Nord Stream 2 escaped intact. He’s also more explicit on the involvement of Denmark and Sweden, saying “I was told that they did what they did [to facilitate the planting of explosives] and they knew what they were doing and they understood what was going on, but maybe nobody ever said ‘yes.’”

Hersh also provides more operational detail:

[T]there was a decompression chamber, and we used a Norwegian submarine hunter. Only two divers were used for the four pipelines. One problem was how to deal with Baltic Sea surveillance. The Baltic is monitored very thoroughly, there’s a lot of freely available data, so we took care of that, there were three or four different people for that. And what was done then is very simple. For 21 years, our Sixth Fleet … has been conducting [BALTOPS] … [F]or the first time in history, the NATO exercise in the Baltic had a new programme. It was to be a twelve-day exercise to drop and detect mines. A number of nations sent out mine teams, one group dropped a mine and another mine team went out to find it and blow it up.

So there was this period of time when things were exploding, and during that time the deep-sea divers could operate and attach the mines to the pipelines. The two pipelines run about a mile apart, they’re a little buried under the silt on the seabed, but they’re not difficult to get to, and the divers had practised it. It only took a couple of hours to place the bombs …

[T]hey did it towards the end of the exercise. But at the last minute, the White House got nervous. The president said he was afraid to go ahead. He changed his mind and gave new orders, so they had the ability to detonate the bombs remotely at any time. You do it with normal sonar, a Raytheon product by the way, you fly over the spot and drop a cylinder. It sends a low-frequency signal, you could say it sounds like a flute, you can set different frequencies.

The fear, however, was that the bombs wouldn’t work if they stayed in the water too long. This is actually what happened with two of the bombs. So there was concern within the group about finding the right way, and we actually had to turn to other intelligence agencies, which I’ve deliberately not written about.

There were still active explosives on the sea bed as the pipes were leaking their gas, which explains why partially complicit Denmark and Sweden closed the whole area and denied all access, until they themselves had removed everything.

Hersh also clarifies further the chronology of Biden’s order, and appears to suggest that at least some of those involved believed they were planting explosives only as part of a negotiating tactic, and that they’d never be used. (How this is to be harmonised with Hersh’s insistence that the sonar trigger was a last-minute plan, I can’t imagine):

Joe Biden decided not to blow them up back in June, it was five months into the war. But in September he ordered it done. The operational staff, the people who do “kinetic” things for the United States, they do what the president says, and they initially thought this was a useful weapon he could use in negotiations. But at some point, after the Russians invaded and then when the operation was completed, the whole thing became increasingly repugnant to the people who were doing it. These were people who worked in top positions in the intelligence services and were well trained. They turned against the project, they thought it was crazy.

Shortly after the attack, after they had done what they were ordered to do, there was a lot of anger about the operation and repudiation among those involved. That’s one of the reasons I learned so much. And I’ll tell you something else. The people in America and Europe who build pipelines know what happened. I’ll tell you something important. The people who own companies that build pipelines all know the story. I didn’t get the story from them, but I quickly learned that they know.

Elsewhere, Hersh says that the discontent with Biden’s attack is specifically within the CIA, where participants in the operation are “appalled that Biden decided to expose Europe to the cold in order to further a war he will not win.”


As I said before, it seems obvious that what happened to Nord Stream is an open secret in security and government circles, and that the truth simply can’t be acknowledged, because nobody in the German government wants to live with the political consequences. The only really interesting detail that all the debunkings have in common, is their refusal to address what I see as the central problem with Hersh’s story. As I said before, he says divers planted explosives at a point where the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines run just one mile apart from each other. This only describes the location of the second cluster of explosions on 26 September. The first explosion hit Pipe A of Nord Stream 2 well to the south, at a point where the two pipelines are perhaps 15 km apart.

This detail appears particularly important, in light of flight data which seems to confirm Hersh’s account that a Norwegian P8 dropped a sonar buoy into the Baltic northeast of Bornholm sometime around 4am on the morning of 26 September. Crucially, this data has the P8 arriving too late to trigger the first Nord Stream 2 explosion, which happened at 2:03 am local time. It looks for all the world like somebody organised two totally separate operations, involving two separately triggered pipeline attacks, and that Hersh’s source only knows about one of them.

February 15, 2023 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment