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Kill Them Over There, Not Here, Please.

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | March 20, 2019

All of us must stand against hatred in all of its forms. – Barrack Obama

Israel mourns the wanton murder of innocent worshippers – Benjamin Netanyahu

White supremacist terrorism must be condemned by leaders everywhere – Hillary Clinton

People of all faiths must condemn these attacks and call out those who encourage Islamophobia. – Madeleine Albright

These are excerpts from some of the messages of condolence sent to New Zealand by ‘world leaders’ after the Christchurch massacre. There is no point in giving more names because all politicians and public figures would say the same, as they should, given the monstrosity of the crime.

Obama, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Albright have been chosen because they have been responsible for acts of murder infinitely greater than the slaughter of 50 Muslims in New Zealand.

The victims of their crimes and the crimes of their political predecessors in the past three decades run into the millions. Brenton Tarrant terrorized Muslims in two mosques in one country. They have terrorized Muslim populations in a number of countries. He has violated New Zealand law. They have violated international law. He will be punished but they never are.

Obama, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Albright have never uttered a word of remorse for the crimes they have committed. Not once has the head of any western government expressed regret for the millions of people killed in Muslim countries over the past three decades, not with Brenton Tarrant’s semi-automatic firearms, but bombs, missiles, and tank fire or, in the case of Syria, with the armed gangs set loose like attack dogs.

When asked whether she thought the ‘price’ paid for the first Gulf War (1991) and the decade of sanctions that followed, which took the lives of 500,000 children, was worth it, Madeleine Albright replied: ‘We think the price is worth it.’

For these governments and politicians, the price is always worth it as long as someone else pays. Even now there is nothing but estimates of how many Iraqis were killed or died as a result of the two wars launched against their country but the figure hovers around three million since 1991.

On top of this are the millions of wounded, many disabled for life, and the children born with deformities because of the use of uranium-depleted weapons.

Senior UN officials described the war and decade of sanctions against Iraq as genocide. No horror was expressed in the media for the enormous crimes that had been committed almost wholly against Muslims, men, women, and children as innocent as Brenton Tarrant’s victims.  Except on the margins, no demands were ever made for those responsible to face justice.

Every Tuesday Obama sat in his office and signed the death warrant for Yemenis or Somalis targeted in drone missile strikes that were totally illegal under international law. Thousands have been killed in these attacks, many if not most of them civilians, men, women and a lot of children. They are all Muslims. Did any of the politicians sending condolences to New Zealand and condemning terrorism ever bend their heads in shame at the killings in Yemen or Somalia and demand moral accountability and legal responsibility?

Has even one of them condemned Benjamin Netanyahu for the crimes committed against Muslims in Palestine, for the massacres of the innocent by sniper fire, missile strike, and artillery fire? Is the killing of Muslim children somehow different in New Zealand and Palestine?

After the destruction of Libya, Hillary Clinton laughed when told Muammar al Qadhafi had been killed, most brutally. This was her war, Obama’s war, a war of deceit that was carried on for seven months, destroying the most developed country in Africa and killing thousands. They were all Muslims. What else did Libya represent but Clinton’s ‘white supremacist terror,’ the same terror that has been delivered across the Muslim world by western governments for the past 200 years.

In Syria an estimated half a million people have been killed in a war orchestrated by western governments and their regional ‘allies.’ Their weapons of choice, the terrorist groups they have armed and financed, have assassinated, massacred and slaughtered in every way possible, thinkable and unthinkable.

Nearly all of their victims have been Muslims. In the face of this slaughter their paymasters, procurers, and enablers have remained morally mute, save for trying to blame the Syrian government for the war they initiated.

Over decades these enormous crimes have forced millions of people out of their wrecked countries. They have fled in all directions. Many have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach the presumed safety of Europe. Boats headed in the direction of Australia, only to be turned back at sea or for the desperate people they were carrying to be locked up in ‘detention centers’ if they managed to slip through. Many sank and many men, women, and children drowned.

Australia was a willing participant in the wars that destroyed their homes yet refused them entry, abusing them as ‘queue jumpers.’ They were locked up behind razor wire in the middle of the desert so the Australian people could not see them and feel sorry for them. All were Muslims and many were children, treated as cruelly as the adults.

No matter how many millions of innocent people are killed in the Middle East, the designation of terrorist is reserved for Brenton Tarrant or the Islamic State, not for the western governments and the gangs they and their regional allies have employed in Syria to do their dirty work.

The same media that has covered up the monstrous crimes committed against Muslims in the Middle East can now talk of nothing else but the danger of white supremacists, not the far greater danger that Muslims around the world have always faced from western governments.

Brenton Tarrant, the Islamic state, Israel, the US and its ‘allies’ and the armed groups they are sponsoring in Syria are all joined at the hip. Terror is terror whether state or individual. Brenton Tarrant now has to face the consequences of what he has done. The politicians who have destroyed Middle Eastern countries don’t.

There is a law for Brenton Tarrant. There is no law for the politicians. Tarrant will be jailed for life for the murder of 50 Muslims. Politicians responsible for the deaths of millions of Muslims never seen the inside of a jail.  We have a system of international law but only in theory. In practice, when the massive crimes of the powerful are involved, it does not work. It is broken.

Claud Cockburn (father of Patrick) called the 1930s the ‘devil’s decade.’ The devils were human, of course: nationalist socialists and fascists destroying Spain, Italian fascists poison- gassing Ethiopians and Japanese fascists slaughtering Chinese. Now, since the 1990s, we have had nearly three devil’s decades.

Today’s western liberal democracies – as they are called – are doing exactly what the fascists did in the 1930s. Instead of Spain, we have Syria. Instead of Guernica, we have hadFallujah. Country after country has been destroyed by these liberal democrats in their grey suits and pastel ties. Do they really need to wear black or brown uniforms for people to recognize them for the killers that they are?

In their pursuit of power, they have no more respect for international law than the fascists and national socialists did in the 1930s. They have no respect for human life over there.

Yet when it comes to the killing of Muslims over here, they, and their outliers in the media are shocked, appalled and outraged at this senseless act of terror. Brenton Tarrant is a sick, depraved and twisted individual but so is Benjamin Netanyahu and so are the politicians responsible for the deaths of millions of Muslims in distant countries. Over there, not here, and that is what counts.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Islamophobia, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Trudeau’s position on Honduras reveals hypocrisy about Venezuela

By Yves Engler · March 14, 2019

The hypocrisy is head spinning. As Justin Trudeau lectures audiences on the need to uphold Venezuela’s constitution the Liberals have recognized a completely illegitimate president in Honduras. What’s more, they’ve formally allied with that government in demanding Venezuela’s president follow their  (incorrect) reading of that country’s constitution.

In November 2017 Ottawa’s anti-Venezuela “Lima Group” ally Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) defied  the Honduran constitution to run for a second term. At Hernandez’ request the four Supreme Court members appointed by his National Party overruled an article in the constitution explicitly prohibiting re-election.

JOH then ‘won’ a highly questionable  poll. With 60 per cent of votes counted opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla lead by five-points. The electoral council then went silent for 36 hours and when reporting resumed JOH had a small lead.

In the three weeks between the election and JOH’s official proclamation as president, government forces killed at least 30  pro-democracy demonstrators in the Central American country of nine million. More than a thousand were detained under a post-election state of emergency. Many of those jailed for protesting the electoral fraud, including prominent activist Edwin Espinal,  who is married to Canadian human rights campaigner Karen Spring, remain in jail.

Ottawa immediately endorsed the electoral farce in Honduras. Following Washington, Global Affairs tweeted that Canada “acknowledges confirmation of Juan Orlando Hernandez as President of Honduras.” Tyler Shipley, author of Ottawa and Empire: Canada and the Military Coup in Honduras, responded: “Wow, Canada sinks to new lows with this. The entire world knows that the Honduran dictatorship has stolen an election, even the OAS (an organization which skews right) has demanded that new elections be held because of the level of sketchiness here. And — as it has for over eight years — Canada is at the forefront of protecting and legitimizing this regime built on fraud and violence. Even after all my years of research on this, I’m stunned that [foreign minister Chrystia] Freeland would go this far; I expected Canada to stay quiet until JOH had fully consolidated his power. Instead Canada is doing the heavy lifting of that consolidation.”

In 2009 Ottawa backed the Honduran military’s removal of elected president Manuel Zelaya, which was justified on the grounds he was seeking to defy the constitution by running for a second term. (In fact, Zelaya simply put forward a plan to hold a non-binding public poll on whether to hold consultations to reopen the constitution.) After the coup Ottawa failed to suspend aid to the military government or exclude the Honduran military from its Military Training Assistance Programme.

A number of major Canadian corporations, notably Gildan and Goldcorp, were unhappy with some modest social democratic reforms implemented by Zelaya. Additionally, a year before the coup Honduras joined the Hugo Chavez led Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our Americas (ALBA), which was a response to North American capitalist domination of the region.

JOH’s National Party won the presidency and he took charge of the national assembly in the post-coup elections, which were boycotted by the UN, Organization of American States and most Hondurans.

Since JOH stole an election that he shouldn’t have been able to participate in the Trudeau government has continued to work with his government. I found no indication that Canadian aid has been reduced and Canadian diplomats in central America have repeatedly met  Honduran representatives. JOH’s Foreign Minister, Maria Dolores Aguero, attended  a Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Canada organized in Montreal four months ago. Recently Canadian diplomats have lauded the “bonds of friendship  between the governments of Canada and Honduras” and “excellent relations  that exist between both countries.” Canada’s ambassador James K. Hill retweeted a US Embassy statement noting, “we congratulate  the President Juan Orlando Hernandez for taking the initiative to reaffirm the commitment of his administration to fight against corruption and impunity” through an OAS initiative.

While they praise JOH’s fight against impunity, Canadian officials have refused repeated requests by Canadian activists and relatives to help secure Edwin Espinal’s release from prison. In response to their indifference to Espinal’s plight, Rights Action director Grahame Russell recently wrote, “have the Canadian and U.S. governments simply agreed not to criticize the Honduran regime’s appalling human rights record … in exchange for Honduras agreeing to be a ‘democratic ally’ in the U.S. and Canadian-led efforts at forced government change in Venezuela?”

Honduras is a member of the “Lima Group” of countries pushing to oust Nicolas Maduro’s government in Venezuela. Last month Trudeau was photographed  with the Honduran foreign minister at the “Lima Group” meeting in Ottawa.

To justify recognizing the head of Venezuela’s national assembly, Juan Guaidó, as president the “Lima Group” and Trudeau personally have cited “the need to respect the Venezuelan Constitution.” The Prime Minister even responded to someone who yelled “hands off Venezuela” at a town hall by lecturing the audience on article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution, which he (incorrectly) claims grants Guaidó the presidency.

Why the great concern for Venezuela’s constitution and indifference to Honduras’? Why didn’t Trudeau recognize Salvador Nasralla as president of Honduras? Nasralla’s claim to his country’s presidency is far more legitimate than Guaidó’s.

The hypocrisy in Trudeau allying with the illegitimate president of Honduras to demand Venezuela succumb to their interpretation of that country’s constitution would be absurdly funny if it didn’t put so many lives at risk.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Germany’s Über Hypocrisy over Venezuela

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 12.03.2019

Germany has taken the lead among European Union member states to back Washington’s regime-change agenda for Venezuela. Berlin’s hypocrisy and double-think is quite astounding.

Only a few weeks ago, German politicians and media were up in arms protesting to the Trump administration for interfering in Berlin’s internal affairs. There were even outraged complaints that Washington was seeking “regime change” against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

Those protests were sparked when Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, warned German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia that they could be hit with American economic sanctions if they go ahead with the Baltic seabed project.

Earlier, Grenell provoked fury among Berlin’s political establishment when he openly gave his backing to opposition party Alternative for Germany. That led to consternation and denunciations of Washington’s perceived backing for regime change in Berlin. They were public calls for Grenell to be expelled over his apparent breach of diplomatic protocols.

Now, however, Germany is shamelessly kowtowing to an even more outrageous American regime-change plot against Venezuela.

Last week, the government of President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of German ambassador Daniel Kriener after he greeted the US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido on a high-profile occasion. Guaido had just returned from a tour of Latin American countries during which he had openly called for the overthrow of the Maduro government. Arguably a legal case could be made for the arrest of Guaido by the Venezuelan authorities on charges of sedition.

When Guaido returned to Venezuela on March 4 he was greeted at the airport by several foreign diplomats. Among the receiving dignitaries was Germany’s envoy Daniel Kriener.

The opposition figure had declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela on January 23 and was immediately recognized by Washington and several European Union states. The EU has so far not issued an official endorsement of Guaido over incumbent President Maduro. Italy’s objection blocked the EU from adopting a unanimous position.

Nevertheless, as the strongest economy in the 28-member bloc, Germany can be seen as de facto leader of the EU. Its position on Venezuela therefore gives virtual EU gravitas to the geopolitical maneuvering led by Washington towards the South American country.

What’s more, the explicit backing of Juan Guaido by Germany’s envoy was carried out on the “express order” of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, according to Deutsche Welle.

“It was my express wish and request that Ambassador Kriener turn out with representatives of other European nations and Latin American ones to meet acting President Guaido at the airport,” said Maas. “We had information that he was supposed to be arrested there. I believe that the presence of various ambassadors helped prevent such an arrest.”

It’s staggering to comprehend the double-think involved here.

Guaido was hardly known among the vast majority of Venezuelans until he catapulted on to the global stage by declaring himself “interim president”. That move was clearly executed in a concerted plan with the Trump White House. European governments and Western media have complacently adopted the White House line that Guaido is the legitimate leader while socialist President Maduro is a “usurper”.

That is in spite of the fact that Maduro was re-elected last year in free and fair elections by a huge majority of votes. Guaido’s rightwing, pro-business party boycotted the elections. Yet he is anointed by Washington, Berlin and some 50 other states as the legitimate leader.

Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and most other members of the United Nations have refused to adopt Washington’s decree of recognizing Guaido. Those nations (comprising 75 per cent of the UN assembly) continue to recognize President Maduro as the sovereign authority. Indeed, Russia has been highly critical of Washington’s blatant interference for regime change in oil-rich Venezuela. Moscow has warned it will not tolerate US military intervention.

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzia, at a Security Council session last month, excoriated the US for its gross violation of international law with regard to Venezuela. Moscow’s diplomat also directed a sharp rebuke at other nations “complicit” in Washington’s aggression, saying that one day “you will be next” for similar American subversion in their own affairs.

Germany’s hypocrisy and double-think is, to paraphrase that country’s national anthem, “über alles” (above all else).

German politicians, diplomats and media were apoplectic in their anger at perceived interference by the US ambassador in Berlin’s internal affairs. Yet the German political establishment has no qualms whatsoever about ganging up – only weeks later – with Washington to subvert the politics and constitution of Venezuela.

How can Germany be so utterly über servile to Washington and the latter’s brazen criminal aggression towards Venezuela?

It seems obvious that Berlin is trying to ingratiate itself with the Trump administration. But what for?

Trump has been pillorying Germany with allegations of “unfair trade” practices. In particular, Washington is recently stepping up its threats to slap punitive tariffs on German auto exports. Given that this is a key sector in the German export-driven economy, it may be gleaned that Berlin is keen to appease Trump. By backing his aggression towards Venezuela?

Perhaps this policy of appeasement is also motivated by Berlin’s concern to spare the Nord Stream 2 project from American sanctions. When NS2 is completed later this year, it is reckoned to double the capacity of natural gas consumption by Germany from Russia. That will be crucial for Germany’s economic growth.

Another factor is possible blackmail of Berlin by Washington. Recall the earth-shattering revelations made by American whistleblower Edward Snowden a few years back when he disclosed that US intelligence agencies were tapping the personal phone communications of Chancellor Merkel and other senior Berlin politicians. Recall, too, how the German state remarkably acquiesced over what should have been seen as a devastating infringement by Washington.

The weird lack of action by Berlin over that huge violation of its sovereignty by the Americans makes one wonder if the US spies uncovered a treasure trove of blackmail material on German politicians.

Berlin’s pathetic kowtowing to Washington’s interference in Venezuela begs an ulterior explanation. No self-respecting government could be so hypocritical and duplicitous.

Whatever Berlin may calculate to gain from its unscrupulous bending over for Washington, one thing seems clear, as Russian envoy Nebenzia warned: “One day you are next” for American hegemonic shafting.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 2 Comments

SNC Lavalin the corporate face of Ugly Canadian

By Yves Engler · March 11, 2019

While the Justin Trudeau government’s interference in the prosecution of SNC Lavalin highlights corporate influence over politics, it is also a story about a firm at the centre of Canadian foreign policy.

In a recent story titled “Canada’s Corrupt Foreign Policy Comes Home to Roost” I detailed some of SNC’s controversial international undertakings, corruption and government support. But, there’s a great deal more to say about the global behemoth.

With offices and operations in over 160 countries”, the company has long been the corporate face of this country’s foreign policy. In fact, it is not much of an exaggeration to describe some Canadian diplomatic posts as PR arms for the Montréal-based firm. What’s good for SNC has been defined as good for Canada.

Even as evidence of its extensive bribery began seeping out six years ago, SNC continued to receive diplomatic support and rich government contracts. Since then the Crown Corporation Export Development Canada issued SNC or its international customers at least $800-million  in loans; SNC and a partner were awarded part of a contract worth  up to $400 million to manage Canadian Forces bases abroad; Canada’s aid agency profiled  a venture SNC co-led to curb pollution in Vietnam; Canada’s High  Commissioner Gérard Latulippe and Canadian Commercial Corporation vice president Mariette Fyfe-Fortin sought “to arrange  an untendered, closed-door” contract for SNC to build a $163-million hospital complex in Trinidad and Tobago.

Ottawa’s support for SNC despite corruption allegations in 15 countries is not altogether surprising since the company has proven to be a loyal foot soldier fighting for controversial foreign policy decisions under both Liberal and Conservative governments.

SNC’s nuclear division participated  in a delegation to India led by International Trade Minister Stockwell Day a few months after Ottawa signed a 2008 agreement to export nuclear reactors to India, even though New Delhi refused to sign the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (India developed atomic weapons with Canadian technology). Describing it as the “biggest  private contractor to [the] Canadian mission” in Afghanistan, the Ottawa Citizen referred to SNC in 2007 as “an indispensable part of Canada’s war effort.” In Haiti SNC participated  in a Francophonie Business Forum trip seven months after the US, Canada and France overthrew the country’s elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Amidst the coup government’s vast political repression, the Montreal firm met foreign installed prime minister Gérard Latortue and thecompany received a series of Canadian government funded contracts in Haiti.

SNC certainly does not shy away from ethically dubious business. For years it manufactured grenades for the Canadian military and others at its plant in Le Gardeur, Quebec. According to its website, SNC opened an office  in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1982 amidst the international campaign to boycott the apartheid regime. Later that decade SNC worked on the Canadian government funded Manantali Dam, which led to “economic ruin, malnutrition and disease to hundreds of thousands of West African farmers.”

More recently, SNC has been part of numerous controversial mining projects in Africa. It had a major stake in a Sherritt-led consortium that initiated one of the world’s largest nickel and cobalt mines in Ambatovy Madagascar. Backed by Canadian diplomats  and Export Development  Canada, the gigantic open pit mine tore up more than 1,300 acres of biologically rich  rain forest home to a thousand species of flowering plants, fourteen species of lemurs and a hundred types of frogs.

According to West Africa Leaks, SNC dodged its tax obligations  in Senegal. With no construction equipment or office of its own, SNC created a shell company in Mauritius to avoid paying tax. Senegal missed out on $8.9 million  the Montréal firm should have paid the country because its ‘office’ was listed in tax free Mauritius. SNC has subsidiaries in low tax jurisdictions Jersey and Panama and the company was cited  in the “Panama Papers” leak of offshore accounts for making a $22 million payment to a British Virgin Islands-based firm to secure contracts in Algeria. (In a case of the tax-avoiding fox protecting the public’s hen house, former SNC president and chairman of the board, Guy Saint-Pierre, was appointed to Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 2007 advisory panel  on Canada’s System of International Taxation.)

SNC has benefited from Ottawa’s international push for neoliberal reforms and Canada’s power within the World Bank. A strong proponent of neoliberalism, the Montréal firm has worked  on and promoted  privatizing water services in a number of countries. Alongside Global Affairs Canada, SNC promotes the idea that the public cannot build, operate or manage services and that the way forward is through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), which often go beyond a standard design-and-build-construction contract to include private sector participation in service operation, financing and decision making. SNC is represented on the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships, which promotes PPPs globally. The Montréal firm has also sponsored many pro-privatization forums.With Rio Tinto, Alcan, Teck Resources and the Canadian International Development Agency, SNC funded  and presented at a 2012 conference at McGill University on Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Towards a Framework for Resource Extraction Industries.

In an embarrassing comment on the PPP lobby, the year before SNC was charged with paying $22.5 million  in bribes to gain the contract to build the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) the Canadian Council  for Public-Private Partnerships and Thomson Reuters  both awarded the MUHC project a prize for best PPP.

Further proof that in the corporate world what is good for SNC is seen as good for Canada, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants gave SNC its award for excellence in corporate governance in seven of the ten  years before the company’s corruption received widespread attention.

In an indication of the impunity that reigns in the corporate world, the directors that oversaw SNC’s global corruption have faced little sanction. After the corruption scandal was revealed board chairman Gwyn Morgan, founder of EnCana, continued to write a regular column for the Globe and Mail Report on Business (currently Financial Post) and continues his membership in the Order of Canada. Ditto for another long serving SNC director who is also a member of the Order of Canada. In fact, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal was subsequently made a member of the Order of Ontario. Another Order of Canada and Order of Ontario member on SNC’s board, Lorna Marsden, also maintained her awards. Other long serving board members — Claude Mongeau, Pierre Lessard, Dee Marcoux, Lawrence Stevenson and David Goldman – received corporate positions and awards after overseeing SNC’s corruption.

The corporate face of this country’s foreign policy is not pretty. While Trudeau’s SNC scandal highlights corporate influence over politics, it’s also the story of the Ugly Canadian abroad.

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | | Leave a comment

Once Again, the UN has failed to Name Firms that Profit from Israel’s Illegal Settlements

By Jonathan Cook – The National – March 11, 2019

The United Nations postponed last week for the third time the publication of a blacklist of Israeli and international firms that profit directly from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

The international body had come under enormous pressure to keep the database under wraps after lobbying behind the scenes from Israel, the United States and many of the 200-plus companies that were about to be named.

UN officials have suggested they may go public with the list in a few months.

But with no progress since the UN’s Human Rights Council requested the database back in early 2016, Palestinian leaders are increasingly fearful that it has been permanently shelved.

That was exactly what Israel hoped for. When efforts were first made to publish the list in 2017, Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, warned: “We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.”

He added that penalising the settlements was “an expression of modern antisemitism”.

Both Israel and the US pulled out of the Human Rights Council last year, claiming that Israel was being singled out.

Israel has good reason to fear greater transparency. Bad publicity would most likely drive many of these firms, a few of them household names, out of the settlements under threat of a consumer backlash and a withdrawal of investments by religious organisations and pension funds.

The UN has reportedly already warned Coca-Cola, Teva Pharmaceuticals, the defence electronics company Elbit Systems and Africa Israel Investments of their likely inclusion. Israeli telecoms and utility companies are particularly exposed because grids serving the settlements are integrated with those in Israel.

There is an added danger that the firms might be vulnerable to prosecutions, should the International Criminal Court at The Hague eventually open an investigation into whether the settlements constitute a war crime, as the Palestinian leadership has demanded.

The exodus of these firms from the West Bank would, in turn, make it much harder for Israel to sustain its colonies on stolen Palestinian land. As a result, efforts to advance a Palestinian state would be strengthened.

Many of the settlements – contrary to widely held impressions of them – have grown into large towns. Their inhabitants expect all the comforts of modern life, from local bank branches to fast-food restaurants and high-street clothing chains.

Nowadays, a significant proportion of Israel’s 750,000 settlers barely understand that their communities violate international law.

The settlements are also gradually being integrated into the global economy, as was highlighted by a row late last year when Airbnb, an accommodation-bookings website, announced a plan to de-list properties in West Bank settlements.

The company was possibly seeking to avoid inclusion on the database, but instead it faced a severe backlash from Israel’s supporters.

This month the US state of Texas approved a ban on all contracts with Airbnb, arguing that the online company’s action was “antisemitic”.

As both sides understand, a lot hangs on the blacklist being made public.

If Israel and the US succeed, and western corporations are left free to ignore the Palestinians’ dispossession and suffering, the settlements will sink their roots even deeper into the West Bank. Israel’s occupation will become ever more irreversible, and the prospect of a Palestinian state ever more distant.

A 2013 report on the ties between big business and the settlements noted the impact on the rights of Palestinians was “pervasive and devastating”.

Sadly, the UN leadership’s cowardice on what should be a straightforward matter – the settlements violate international law, and firms should not assist in such criminal enterprises – is part of a pattern.

Repeatedly, Israel has exerted great pressure on the UN to keep its army off a “shame list” of serious violators of children’s rights. Israel even avoided a listing in 2015 following its 50-day attack on Gaza the previous year, which left more than 500 Palestinian children dead. Dozens of armies and militias are named each year.

The Hague court has also been dragging its feet for years over whether to open a proper war crimes investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, as well as the settlements.

The battle to hold Israel to account is likely to rage again this year, after the publication last month of a damning report by UN legal experts into the killing of Palestinian protesters at Gaza’s perimeter fence by Israeli snipers.

Conditions for Gaza’s two million Palestinians have grown dire since Israel imposed a blockade, preventing movement of goods and people, more than a decade ago.

The UN report found that nearly all of those killed by the snipers – 154 out of 183 – were unarmed. Some 35 Palestinian children were among the dead, and of the 6,000 wounded more than 900 were minors. Other casualties included journalists, medical personnel and people with disabilities.

The legal experts concluded that there was evidence of war crimes. Any identifiable commanders and snipers, it added, should face arrest if they visited UN member states.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, dismissed the report as “lies” born out of “an obsessive hatred of Israel”.

Certainly, it has caused few ripples in western capitals. Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn was a lone voice in calling for an arms embargo on Israel in response.

It is this Israeli exceptionalism that is so striking. The more violent Israel becomes towards the Palestinians and the more intransigent in rejecting peace, the less pressure is exerted upon it.

Not only does Israel continue to enjoy generous financial, military and diplomatic support from the US and Europe, both are working ever harder to silence criticisms of its actions by their own citizens.

As the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement grows larger, western capitals have casually thrown aside commitments to free speech in a bid to crush it.

France has already criminalised support for a boycott of Israel, and its president Emmanuel Macron recently proposed making it illegal to criticise Zionism, the ideology that underpins Israel’s rule over Palestinians.

More than two dozen US states have passed anti-BDS legislation, denying companies and individual contractors dealing with the government of that particular state the right to boycott Israel. In every case, Israel is the only country protected by these laws. Last month, the US Senate passed a bill that adds federal weight to this state-level campaign of intimidation.

The hypocrisy of these states – urging peace in the region while doing their best to subvert it – is clear. Now the danger is that UN leaders will join them.

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Canadian apologist for Israeli war crimes nominated for Peace Prize

By Yves Engler · March 9, 2019

Hypocrisy, lying, disdain for the victims of ‘our’ policies and other forms of rot run deep in Canadian political culture.

The latest example is former prime minister Paul Martin nominating Irwin Cotler for the Nobel Peace Prize, which has been applauded by the likes of Bernie Farber, Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather.

This supposed promoter of peace and former Liberal justice minister has devoted much of his life to defending Israeli violence and has recently promoted war on Iran and regime change in Venezuela.

In a story titled “Irwin Cotler’s  daughter running with Ya’alon, Gantz” the Jerusalem Post recently reported that Michal Cotler-Wunsh was part of the Israel Resilience and Telem joint election list. The story revealed that Irwin Cotler has been an unofficial adviser to Moshe Ya’alon for years. Former Chief of Staff of the Israeli military and defence minister between 2013 and 2016, Ya’alon recently boasted about his role in setting up the West Bank colony of Leshem and said Israel “has a right to every part of the Land of Israel.” In 2002 Ya’alon told Haaretz, “the Palestinian  threat harbors cancer-like attributes that have to be severed. There are all kinds of solutions to cancer. Some say it’s necessary to amputate organs but at the moment I am applying chemotherapy.”

Ya’alon’s Telem party is in a formal electoral alliance with Israel Resilience, which is led by Benny Gantz, a former Israeli army chief. To launch his party’s campaign, Gantz released a video boasting about his role in the killing of 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza in the summer of 2014It actually notes that “parts of Gaza were sent back to the Stone Age.” Gantz faces a war crimes case in the Netherlands for his role in the deaths of civilians in Gaza.

Cotler has described illegal Israeli colonies in the West Bank as “disputed territories” and the Canadian lawyer justified Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon that left 1,200 dead. He savagely attacked  Richard Goldstone after the South African judge led a UN investigation of Israeli war crimes during operation Cast Lead, which left 1,400 dead in Gaza in 2008–09. Cotler called for the removal of Richard Falk as UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories and William Schabas from his position on the UN Human Rights Council’s International Commission of Inquiry into the killings in Gaza in 2014. Alongside attacking these three (Jewish) lawyers tasked with investigating human rights violations, Cotler promotes the notion of the “new anti-Semitism” to attack critics of Israeli policy.

In an indication of the unquestioning depths of his support for Israeli crimes, Cotler has repeatedly criticized his own party and government’s (mild) expressions of support for Palestinian rights. In May Cotler tweeted his “regret [of a] Canadian Government statement” criticizing Israeli snipers for shooting thousands of peaceful protesters, including Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani, in Gaza. In 2000 Cotler complained when the government he was a part of voted for a UN Security Council resolution calling on Israel to respect the rights of Palestinian protesters. “This kind of resolution, which singled out Israel for discriminatory and differential treatment and appeared to exonerate the Palestinians for their violence,” Cotler said, “would tend to encourage those who violently oppose the peace process as well as those who still seek the destruction of Israel.”

In 2002 a half dozen activists in Montréal occupied Cotler’s office to protest the self-described ‘human rights lawyer’s’ hostility to Palestinians. Cotler’s wife, Ariela Zeevi, was a“close confidant” of Likud founder Menachem Begin when the arch anti-Palestinian party was established to counter Labour’s dominance of Israeli politics.

‘Canada’s Alan Dershowitz’ has also attacked Iran incessantly. He supported the Stephen Harper government’s move to break off diplomatic relations with Tehran in 2012 and pushed to remove the MEK, which is responsible for thousands of Iranian deaths, from Canada’s terrorist list. As a member of the advisory board of “United Against Nuclear Iran”, Cotler opposed the P5+1Iran Nuclear Agreement. Recently, he called for Canada to invoke the Magnitsky Act to “impose sanctions in the form of travel bans and asset freezes” on Iranian officials.

As well as promoting US/Israel propaganda about Iran, Cotler criticized Hugo Chavez’s government since at least 2009 when Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in response to killings in Gaza. In recent weeks Cotler has disparaged Venezuela’s government in a number of articles, including a National Post story headlined “Canadian unions helped fund delegation that gave glowing review of Venezuela election widely seen as illegitimate.” Cotler was quoted saying, “the notion that free and fair elections could possibly be taking place when you not only criminalize those who are on the opposition … but when you don’t have any allowance for expressions of freedom of speech, assembly, association and the like, simply is a non-sequitur.” But, as Dave Parnas wrote in response, “for two weeks we have been seeing pictures of streets filled with people who assembled, associated and spoke freely against President Nicolás Maduro.”

Cotler pushed for Canada to request the International Criminal Court investigate Venezuela’s government. Cotler was one of three “international experts” responsible for a 400-page Canadian-backed Organization of American States (OAS) report on rights violations in Venezuela that recommended referring Venezuela to the ICC. At a press conference in May to release the report, Cotler said Venezuela’s “government itself was responsible for the worst ever humanitarian crisis in the region.” As this author wrote at the time: “Worse than the extermination of the Taíno and Arawak by the Spanish? Or the enslavement of five million Africans in Brazil? Or the 200,000 Mayans killed in Guatemala? Or the thousands of state-murdered ‘subversives’ in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil?”

For four years Cotler has been working with Juan Guaidó’s “ultra right wing” Voluntad Popular party to oust Nicolas Maduro’s government. In May 2017 Cotler helped bring Lilian Tintori, wife of Voluntad Popular leader Leopoldo López, to meet the Prime Minister and opposition leaders. The Guardian recently reported on Tintori’s role in building international support for the slow-motion coup attempt currently underway in Venezuela. Tintori acted as an emissary for Lopez who couldn’t travel to Ottawa because he was convicted of inciting violence during the deadly “guarimbas” protests  in 2014. A series of news outlets have reported that Lopez is the key Venezuelan organizer in the plan to anoint Guaidó interim president.

Cotler joined Lopez’s legal team in early 2015. At that time the Venezuelan and international media repeated the widely promulgated description of Cotler as Nelson Mandela’s former lawyer (a Reuters headline noted, “Former Mandela lawyer to join defence of Venezuela’s jailed activist”). In response, South Africa’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Pandit Thaninga Shope-Linney, said, “Irwin Cotler was not Nelson Mandela’s lawyer.” For his part, Nelson Mandela mentions a number of lawyers (he was one) in his biography but Cotler’s name seems absent.

Cotler’s human rights credentials are a sham. He is a vicious anti-Palestinian who aggressively criticizes enemy states such as Venezuela, China, Russia and Iran while largely ignoring rights violations committed by Canada and the US.

For those appalled by the idea of Cotler receiving the Nobel Peace Prize Iranian-Canadian activist Mehdi Samadian has created a petition titled “Irwin Cotler does not deserve nomination for Nobel Peace Prize”.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Dual Loyalty as Racism

By Eve Mykytyn | March 8, 2019

The US House of Representatives just passed a resolution that declared, “whether from the political right, center, or left, bigotry, discrimination, oppression, racism, and imputations of dual loyalty threaten American democracy and have no place in American political discourse.” The key words in this resolution are “dual loyalty” which make clear that this otherwise banal condemnation of racism was made in direct response to Representative Ilhan Omar’s controversial statement: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says that it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Apparently, the House resolution was a disappointment to some. The New York Times reports that this ‘all-inclusive’ approach was criticized for not “solely condemn[ing] anti-Semitism.” Representative Ted Deutch asked “Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism? Why can’t we call it anti-Semitism and show we’ve learned the lessons of history?”

It is bizarre that Mr. Deutch seemingly objects to condemning racism per se. Would Mr. Deutch prefer that the House pass separate resolutions condemning prejudice against each of the ever growing list of identity groups? The House would be so busy debating these resolutions that they would accomplish nothing else, although admittedly, that might be a positive outcome.

Omar has not retracted her statements. In response to criticism from representative Nita Lowy, Omar tweeted, “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

Omar’s point has been substantiated by the reaction it has provoked. Omar claimed that accusations of anti-Semitism tend to be used to silence critics of Israel. In response, she was called a “Jew hater.”

Representative Juan Vargas tweeted, “It is disturbing that Rep. Omar continues to perpetuate hurtful anti-Semitic stereotypes that misrepresent our Jewish community. Additionally, questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable.”

Omar is condemned for criticizing dual loyalty by those who insist upon loyalty to Israel. As journalist Jordan Weisman noted, “If Israel’s most devoted U.S. backers are really so concerned over dual loyalty smears, maybe they should think more carefully about how they’re encouraging them. “

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 3 Comments

How Amnesty International is reinforcing Trump’s regime-change propaganda against Venezuela

By Joe Emersberger | The Canary | February 26, 2019

Amnesty International‘s reports, by their nature, require readers to trust their honesty and impartiality. But there is ample reason not to trust them. Because Amnesty has ignored grave human rights abuses in plain sight in Venezuela while demonizing supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Shortly after meeting with Juan Guaidó (whom Donald Trump and a new Iraq-style Coalition of the Willing have anointed as Venezuela’s interim president), Amnesty put out a report that reads like a barely disguised attempt to reinforce, from a ‘human rights’ angle, the military threats against Venezuela from Trump and his henchmen.

Team Trump as Venezuela’s “Only hope”?

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty’s Americas director, said:

International justice is the only hope for victims of human rights violations in Venezuela. It is time to activate all available mechanisms to prevent further atrocities.

And the report stated that:

[C]ountries genuinely concerned about the human rights situation in Venezuela should explore the application of universal jurisdiction.

Amnesty’s allegations about Venezuela are serious and, if true, deserve condemnation. But there are numerous reasons to question the group’s honesty, impartiality, and public statements.

Somebody should ask Amnesty, for example, to list the countries which are “genuinely concerned”. How many Saudiarming countries like the US, UK, Canada, and France are on that list?

As Amnesty released this report, the threat of a US military attack on Venezuela disguised a “humanitarian aid delivery” could not be more obvious. Never mind that Venezuela is, in fact, receiving foreign aid with authorization from the Maduro government. US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Senator Marco Rubio have repeatedly made Mafioso-like threats against Venezuela’s military and Maduro. Trump himself has been repeatedly threatening a military “option” since 2017 (the year he reportedly asked “Why are we not at war with Venezuela?”).

Amnesty ignorning Trump’s attack on right to health and food

At the same time, Amnesty has refused to denounce Trump’s financial sanctions which have been in place since August 2017 and whose impact on the entire economy has been crippling. By now, the sanctions have cost Venezuela’s government well over $6bn in revenues in an economy that imported $11.7bn in goods in 2018. Before the deep and sustained collapse in oil prices (and oil production, which nose-dived as the sanctions began), Venezuela’s economy had been importing about $2bn a year in medicines.

It is important to remember that, in Venezuela’s case, Amnesty has been very explicit in pointing to economic problems as human rights abuses. Last year, when they wrote to me refusing to denounce Trump’s sanctions, Amnesty said:

Amnesty International does not take a position on the current application of these sanctions but rather emphasizes the urgent need to address the serious crisis of the right to health and food which Venezuela is facing. In terms of human rights, it is the Venezuelan state’s responsibility to resolve this.

As I’ve noted at The Canary, Amnesty has now updated its position on Trump’s sanctions. It absurdly asks Trump to please be careful and “monitor” the impact of new sanctions that he imposed in January. The new sanctions directly cut off revenues that the Venezuelan government obtained from sales to the US. Amnesty’s continued refusal to acknowledge that a devastating attack on the Venezuelan “right to health and food” has been ongoing since August 2017 is appalling. And that alone is an excellent reason to doubt the honesty and impartiality of their work on Venezuela. Because any credible human rights group would demand an immediate end to all the economic sanctions Trump has imposed.

Violent crime in Venezuela

Amnesty also stated in its latest report that:

The more impoverished areas of Caracas and other parts of the country were particularly affected and stigmatized, registering the highest numbers of victims, who were later presented as ‘criminals’ killed in clashes with the authorities.

There’s no doubt that Venezuela’s security forces have committed crimes. The Maduro government has conceded as much. And Venezuelan police officers were arrested for crimes perpetrated during the violent protests of 2017. In June 2017, Defense Minster Vladimir Padrino López publicly warned security forces in remarks broadcast on state TV that he didn’t “want to see one more national guard perpetrate an atrocity”. Those protests were the fifth US-backed effort to oust the government by force since 2002. Trump is now leading the sixth.

It’s also important to remember that Venezuelan security forces have confronted a very high homicide rate (since long before the current government came to power) and police officer death rate. At the same time, the country has been plagued by violent US-backed protesters for years, who have done things like burn Afro-Venezuelans alive in the streets and murder police officers. And today, it faces the very grave threat of US invasion that would install the most violent opposition groups into power.

We can only imagine how security forces in a country like the UK would behave under the above conditions. Young men have been sent to prison in Britain, for example, simply for writing Facebook posts that advocate riots. I made some of these points last year in response to a similar UN report that was hyped by Reuters.

Venezuela’s very real homicide problem (and violent US-backed opposition problem) could indeed allow security forces to pass off extrajudicial executions as “fighting crime” or as self-defense. But it can also allow apparently partisan groups like Amnesty to distort the situation in support of Trump’s regime-change agenda.

Propaganda groundwork for dirty war on Maduro supporters?

Amnesty said in its report that:

There is a strong presence of pro-Nicolás Maduro armed groups (commonly known as “colectivos”) in these areas, where residents depend to a large extent on the currently limited state programs to distribute staple foods.

Again, the “limited state programs” would be the ones Trump has been viciously attacking through sanctions since 2017. Also notice how Amnesty casts as thugs the organized poor people distributing food to millions of people – up to 60% of households according to an opposition-aligned pollster (Datanálisis).

As George Ciccariello-Maher explained in We Created Chavez, the history of poor people organizing and arming themselves (quite understandably) for self-defense in Venezuela’s poorest neighborhoods goes back decades. It’s not new.

It is Maduro’s supporters in poor neighborhoods and in the countryside, however, who – armed or not – will be violently targeted if the US-backed opposition takes power; especially if they do so in a coup or through a US invasion. Amnesty appears to have little concern about “stigmatizing” them, though, and negligible concern about Trump’s attack on their “right to health and food”.

All of the reasons above make a powerful case for questioning the integrity and objectivity of Amnesty when it comes to Venezuela. And for the sake of peace and justice, we should hold Amnesty to much higher standards.

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Democratic Opposition Endorses His Coup Attempt in Venezuela

Illustrating that the exception only proves the rule, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard stood virtually alone, tweeting: “The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela. Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders — so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.”

By Alexander Rubinstein | MintPress News | February 26, 2019

Nothing unites the D.C. blob like a good old coup d’état. The only other times, it seems, that Donald Trump is given a break by “the resistance” is when he acts “presidential” — i.e., orders military aggression, as we saw with Syria.

As veteran journalist Dan Rather put it at the time:

The number of members of the press who have lauded the actions last night as ‘presidential’ is concerning. War must never be considered a public relations operation. It is not a way for an Administration to gain a narrative. It is a step into a dangerous unknown and its full impact is impossible to predict, especially in the immediate wake of the first strike.”

Now, it has been more than a month since the Trump administration worked with Juan Guaido to orchestrate a declaration of his presidency in Venezuela, and the coup attempt has received the endorsement of a likely backer: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While Clinton’s warmongering surprises no one, it is worth examining the statements of others in her political orbit.

MintPress News previously covered the remarks of the “socialists” in Congress — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — about Venezuela, in which the former called on Venezuela to accept alleged humanitarian aid from the United States and the latter called out the “failure of democracy” in the country.

On Saturday, Clinton tweeted “I urge Nicolás Maduro to allow humanitarian aid inside Venezuela’s borders peacefully.” Hours later, Sen. Sanders tweeted that the “Maduro government must … allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.”

As Lawrence Korb put it: “We all think the dictator must go; the question is what’s the best way to do it.” Korb is a senior fellow at the pro-Clinton, UAE-funded comms shop Center for American Progress (CAP). Kelly Magsamen, CAP’s Vice President, National Security and International Policy, recently deleted a tweet in which she defended Elliott Abrams as a civil servant who is a “fierce advocate for human rights and democracy.”

Abrams, as MintPress News continues to note, was recently appointed as United States Special Representative for Venezuela and was previously involved in a $27 million plot to arm right-wing South American contras.

Magsamen claimed Abrams made “professional mistakes.” She added that “we all have a lot of work to do together in Venezuela. We share goals.”

While Clinton’s camp is firmly Never-Trump-Except-in-Cases-of-Regime-Change, she — God help us — is not running for president, currently. The Democrats who have declared their candidacies, however, do not differ much in their rhetoric on Venezuela, with rare exception.

Since there is only one Democratic candidate who has made a forceful statement against the coup, let’s start with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who was among the first to respond, tweeting “The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela. Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders — so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who has thrown her hat in the ring for 2020, condemned Maduro’s “corrupt reign” and repeated the bald-faced lie that Juan Guaido “was legitimately elected,” via a statement through her spokeswoman, Meredith Kelly, to the Huffington Post.

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), who is running for president in 2020, condemned Venezuela’s “corrupt and failed authoritarian regimes.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said, “The Venezuelan people deserve free and fair elections, an economy that works, and the ability to live without fear of violence from their own government.”

Pete Buttigieg — a little-known contender who is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana — also called for “free and fair elections.”

Bernie Sanders has done the same and, as MintPress News recently reported, thrown his weight behind demands that Maduro bend to U.S. demands that he accept “humanitarian aid,” which the government of Venezuela believes to be a trojan horse.

In response to a request for comment from the Huffington Post, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who is yet another 2020 Democrat contender, merely said: “Maduro is alarming to me on many levels.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) told the outlet “I support the people of Venezuela standing up against Maduro, installing a new leader, and restoring democracy in Venezuela.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and former Obama official and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, both of whom are running, did not respond to the Huffington Post’s request for comment, though clues exist as to their positions.

Harris condemned “Maduro’s dictatorial regime” in a tweet on Saturday. While Castro has remained seemingly silent on the U.S.-backed coup attempt in Venezuela, his brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) last year said “We’ve seen Nicolás Maduro undermine Venezuelan democracy and create a regional economic and humanitarian catastrophe.”

“President Maduro consistently violates the basic human rights of the people he governs and must be held accountable,” he added.

Alexander Rubinstein is a staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He reports on police, prisons and protests in the United States and the United States’ policing of the world. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , | 2 Comments

‘Soft child-porn’ or honest political debate? Take a guess which one YouTube failed to censor

By Robert Bridge | RT | February 25, 2019

Despite employing a small army of ‘anti-extremist’ flaggers, YouTube somehow overlooked an entire prison block of pedophiles on its platform. Is the video-sharing site wasting too many resources censoring political content?

Last week, a regular guy named Matt Watson, working at his home computer, shook the wired world to its very foundations by providing convincing evidence that YouTube supports – either wittingly or unwittingly – a pedophile ring that openly preys on the most vulnerable members of society, children.

As Watson demonstrated, not only are these bottom feeders free to comment on videos that feature minors, but they also provide time stamps, presumably for the benefit of the wider pedophile community, indicating exactly when the children can be seen in their most compromising positions. They also actively promote links to porn sites that cater for these twisted minds.

The discovery prompted some of the most popular corporate brands, including Disney and Nestle, to bolt for the emergency exits after it was discovered their ads were running alongside the work of sexually depraved deviants. Needless to say, not the best business model.

Aside from the lewd comments accompanying the videos, which is not overly surprising considering the planet’s high creep factor, one of the most disturbing revelations is how ‘user friendly’ YouTube has become for pedophiles. Watson showed how Google-owned YouTube, through no more than a couple mouse clicks, navigates users to a frolicking playground where the sidebar is loaded with nothing but children-themed videos, a virtual pedophile paradise. But it gets more disturbing.

Once a user has entered this “wormhole,” as Watson calls it, there are no alternative video options available for escaping from it. A user will not even find ‘awareness’ videos, for example, that discuss the threat of child predators. In other words, once the user makes it to YouTube’s children video section it is game over, so to speak, unless he or she physically activates a new search.

The reason that this scandal makes no sense is that YouTube has known about its pedophile problem for years. Back in 2017, advertisers were fleeing the platform for the very same reason they are today – their ads were being featured next to scantily clad girls, as well as the predictable depraved comments. Today, algorithm technology is so advanced that Google Maps, for example, is able to blur out the faces of every single person’s image that is captured by its Google Street View. Yet somehow YouTube appears to be technologically handicapped when it comes to finding ways to combat online pedophiles. Why is that?

One possible explanation is that Google and YouTube, as well as the majority of other IT companies, have become overly attentive to politics at the expense of everything else – and more so ever since Donald Trump ‘stole’ the White House from the Democratic darling Hillary Clinton.

First, it is important to state the obvious: Silicon Valley is to Liberals what Yankee Stadium is to the New York Yankees. In other words, the holy of the holies. To quote Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, Silicon Valley, the home to hundreds of IT companies, is an “extremely left-leaning place.” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, meanwhile, admitted that his company is so liberal that conservative employees “don’t feel safe to express their opinions” in the workplace.

Given this blatant liberal predilection within the industry, who do you think Google and YouTube teamed up with to police its content from ‘extremist’ (i.e. conservative) content? Certainly not far-right groups.

In 2017, YouTube doubled the size of its so-called ‘Trusted Flaggers’ program, which now partners with over 100 organizations, the full member list of the program remains confidential. Among the few members that have been made public, however, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), No Hate Speech and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), they could best be described as ‘extremist’ in their liberal ideology. Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal reported, “less than 10 of the slots are filled by government agencies.”

Ironically, given the nature of this discussion, several of those agencies deal with “child-safety” issues.

Conservatives argue that the glaring lack of transparency with regard to the secretive ‘Trusted Flaggers’ program, combined with the IT industry’s well-known liberal affections, explains why so many right-wing and alternative news sites are being either demonetized, downgraded, or outright banned. And since we are talking about private businesses, these organizations have no legal obligation to uphold the Constitution’s Second Amendment that guarantees ‘freedom of speech.’ They just casually shrug their shoulders and blame everything on the almighty algorithms. Yet, as even the most technologically handicapped person knows, algorithms were not magically conjured up out of thin air. Human beings, not robots (at least not yet), work tediously to develop them.

As just one example of the Orwellian atmosphere now pervading Planet Google, Jordan Peterson, a professor with a reputation for opposing political correctness, had one of his YouTube videos blocked in over two dozen countries last year. YouTube duly informed him that it had “received a legal complaint” about the video and decided to block it. Just like that!

Only after a major outcry on multiple social media platforms, which included Twitter user Ethan Klein and his one million followers, did YouTube finally back down, while portraying the event as some sort of fluke that was “fixed.”

This isn’t the first time YouTube users have experienced “glitches” with the platform. Last year, it was forced to explain the mass removal of right-wing video channels, calling it a “mistake.” What is so strange about these technological breakdowns is that they always seem to affect conservative users. This snafu happened shortly after YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced she was bringing on board – in addition to the so-called ‘Trusted Flaggers’ – some 10,000 moderators to crack down on rising occurrences of hate speech and – wait for it – “child safety.”

Meanwhile, Google can take draconian measures to downgrade RT and Sputnik, for example, over totally unfounded charges related to ‘Russiagate’ hysteria, yet they seem incapable of micromanaging the comments section in kiddie videos.

What this is intended to show is that YouTube does not hesitate to take deliberate steps to intervene in issues that matter most to them, which overwhelmingly seem to be of a political nature. Yet, when the welfare of children is at stake, the mini-surveillance state that the platform has built always goes missing in action, as it has now for many years.

How is it possible that one young man, working alone and without pay, is able to weed out a viper’s den of pedophiles from YouTube’s dungeon? Yet YouTube, with its army of ‘flaggers’ and moderators and government agencies, has failed to filter these miscreants for several years?

The sad reality is that the world of IT is totally consumed with politics, and politics is totally consumed with the world of IT, to the point where society’s most vulnerable are left at risk.

Unfortunately, parents must assume a great deal of vigilance against pedophiles when their children use the video sharing platform because YouTube has obviously dropped the ball on the issue and simply cannot be trusted. Like the rest of the IT kingdom, their heart is in politics, and that is it.

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Rid of Omar: Neoconservatives Dig Deep to Remove a Critic of Israel

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | February 24, 2019

It has been observed that the neoconservatives are a lot like the legendary bird the Phoenix, which burns to death and then, miraculously, rises from the ashes in new plumage. The neocons first rose to prominence under President Ronald Reagan, when they took over key offices in the Pentagon. They were subsequently somewhat ostracized under George H.W. Bush who did not like them, but they got their revenge by joining in the chorus that brought the incumbent elder Bush down and replaced him with Bill Clinton, who, in fact, pursued an interventionist foreign policy much more to their taste. Again dominant in the Pentagon and White House under George W. Bush, the neocons went into exile under President Barack Obama, though they were at the same time infiltrating the foreign policy establishment of the Democratic Party. This transformation produced Hillary the Hawk and the Democrats have now become the party of war just as enthusiastically as the Republicans, with both favoring what might be described as a neocon foreign policy.

The emergence of Donald Trump was a shock to the neocon ascendancy. Most neoconservatives condemned his candidacy because of his critique of useless Middle Eastern wars and his stated intention to mend relations with Russia. While some neocons have crept back into the White House, most notably John Bolton and Elliot Abrams, some have continued to rail against Trump. Under the banner of the “Never Trump Resistance” neocon leaders like Bill Kristol have continued the struggle to replace Trump with a more to their taste Mitt Romney or Lindsay Graham, leaders who are fully prepared to crush the Mullahs in Iran and to wage perpetual war against Godless communism.

Kristol nevertheless paid a personal price for his obstinacy. The neocon flagship publication The Weekly Standard, long Kristol’s mouthpiece, ceased publication in December, partly over its waning popularity due to its hostile attitude towards Trump. But in today’s America, mendacity is nearly always rewarded and, in early January, a new webzine publication headed by Kristol emerged under the banner of The Bulwark, which was at least somewhat intended to take the place of the old Weekly Standard. The publication’s launch promoted the enterprise as the center of the “Never Trump Resistance.”

Given that pedigree, one might well have expected a barrage of articles condemning Donald Trump and all his works, which, indeed, are part of its still miniscule archive, but the first article on The Bulwark that has popped up somewhat into the mainstream is, predictably, all about Israel. It is entitled “How the Democrats Can Get Rid of Ilhan Omar: It’s going to take a primary opponent, but not just any primary opponent.”

Yes, the freshman congresswoman from Minnesota who dared to suggest that Jewish money just might be influencing congressional subservience to the state of Israel has now been elevated to public enemy number one in the eyes of the neoconservatives. “Never Trump” has been replaced by “Get Rid of Omar.” The Bulwark article refers to Ilhan Omar’s thinly veiled anti-Semitism and observes how she had resisted being properly schooled in the Israeli viewpoint on what is occurring in the Middle East so as to avoid inappropriate references to the Jewish state and its legion of diaspora supporters.

Ilhan Omar’s education in the realities of Jewish power has apparently been ongoing for the past year, since before she was elected to Congress. Minnesota media reports describe how “fellow Minnesotan U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, a Jew representing a neighboring district, engaged her in a type of educational discussion following what he called an “impassioned face-to-face conversation with Omar.” And last year, leaders of the Minneapolis Jewish community came together for what might be described as an “anti-Semitic intervention of Omar.” It was organized by state Senator Ron Latz, who invited Omar to his house, where a number of Jewish leaders had gathered. “We wanted to reach out to her. We were a bit troubled about several things she had said.” Among their concerns was a 2012 tweet in which Omar wrote: “Israel has hypnotized the world…” Subsequently, Latz would not describe in any detail what was discussed but he personally commented that the problem wasn’t in the policy dispute over Israel, but the “diction and tone.”

It should be noted that Omar has spoken and tweeted about Israel but has never denigrated American Jews either as a religion or ethnicity. Nevertheless, at the same time, it is clear that some American Jews have determined that nearly any criticism of Israel equals criticism of Jews which is equal to anti-Semitism, so one has to wonder about the standard that is being applied to the congresswoman even given Latz’s denial that it is a question of foreign policy.

The Bulwark article, which pointedly seeks to get rid of the freshman congresswoman for her anti-Israeli views, goes on to lament that “Omar’s district is solidly Democratic. No Republican will ever win it. So is America just stuck with a prominent, very vocal, publicity-seeking anti-Semite in Congress for an indefinite period? Is there anything Omar’s critics can do? They need to beat her in a primary. But that must be done carefully… with the right primary opponent, she could be vulnerable in 2020.”

The Bulwark advises that beating Omar requires a perfect candidate and they have just such a person in mind: Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins is a progressive dream candidate. She is the first transgender African-American woman elected to office in America. Enabling a generously funded and media-friendly campaign are child’s play for the Israel Lobby and the article notes that it would be impossible for Omar to depict herself as the victim of anti-Muslim bigotry in a race against Jenkins.

The Bulwark’s website features the subheading “Conservatism conserved.” Its article concludes that “Omar and her boosters had better hope that she stops alienating so many people so fast that her opponents could recruit, run, and vote for literally a tree trunk to replace her…” but the interesting point of the story is that while Bill Kristol and company paint themselves as principled America-first conservatives, they are anything but. They are prepared to do what it takes to get rid of a virtually powerless freshman congresswoman who suggested in a tweet that money fuels the congressional bias in favor of Israel, the protection of which is, of course, ever the neocons’ first priority. It is particularly ironic that Omar’s comment is something that everyone in politics and the media knows to be true about Jewish power in America but is afraid to talk about because of the intimidation coming from people like Kristol. And Kristol and his friends are proposing to get rid of the relatively minor nuisance represented by Omar by running a black transgender “woman” against her to undercut her support on the political left. Politics make for strange bedfellows, but perhaps it is time for the neoconservatives to cut the conservative part out of their own defining label while also removing it from top of the website of The Bulwark.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Democrats are the McCarthyites

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | February 6, 2019

The unceasing torrent of Russiagate lies turns Democrats into war hawks and causes liberals to spout nonsense that was once consigned to the fringe right wing. It’s worse than the old McCarthyism.

A recent poll indicated that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to hold pro-war views. That revelation is hardly surprising considering the degree to which their party has promoted the trope of Donald Trump as a Russian government asset. This strategy is a focal point for them and a weapon to be used against the Republicans instead of the political opposition their voters need.

The ongoing investigation popularly known as Russiagate is a cynical hoax perpetrated by the Democratic Party leadership and their friends in corporate media. Russiagate distracts the public from taking a hard look at the Democratic Party corruption and resulting missteps that put Donald Trump in the White House. It also serves the interests of the bi-partisan surveillance state, which feared that Trump pronouncements indicated fundamental changes in foreign policy which they could not abide.

These allegations have Trump on the ropes, but mostly because of the relentless repetition of lies about the investigation. The litany of indictments paraded by the media involve crimes like tax fraud and payments to porn stars. None of the indictments point to collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Because no such connections have been made the media continue whipping up hysteria in an effort to keep the tale alive. The campaign is more shrill than ever because the hollowness of the case is clear to anyone who is really paying attention.

Comparisons have been made with McCarthyite “Red Scare” of the 1950s. But it can be argued that Russiagate is even worse. Bizarre assertions that were once consigned to the fringe right wing are now repeated on a daily basis by influential corporate media personalities and nearly all Democratic Party politicians.

The most prolific Russiagate practitioner is Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. She has ridden that horse so successfully that she now has the highest rated program on cable news. But she may have reached a moment which prompted the famous question asked at the army/McCarthy hearings. “At long last have you no sense of decency?”

Her assertion that Russia might be able to hack into the power grid and freeze Americans to death is quite dangerous . “What would you do if you lost heat indefinitely as the act of a foreign power on the same day that the temperature in your front yard matched the temperature in Antarctica? I mean, what would you and your family do?” It doesn’t matter that experts declared that the claim was highly improbable if not impossible. There is now no depth that cannot be reached in the effort to bamboozle Democrats and keep them stupid and needlessly fearful.

Prestigious newspapers like the New York Times are equally guilty of passing off lies as the truth. The Times reported that Trump and his associates had more than 100 interactions with Russians before inauguration day in 2017. But the story falls apart on even cursory inspection. The Times includes unproven claims of contacts with Wikileaks when it isn’t even a Russian organization. Roger Stone is the latest to be indicted because of his own stupidity, having claimed contacts with Wikileaks that never even took place.

But even as the case for collusion falls apart, the McCarthyite media find new ways to keep the narrative running. Russian press coverage of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign is called a “campaign of support” for her candidacy. NBC called Russian reporting the “propaganda machine.” The real issue is that Gabbard dares to question U.S. foreign policy dictates. She met with Syrian president Assad and opposes the coup attempt against Venezuela. But stopping such heretical acts from taking place is a central feature of the Russiagate scare.

So insane is the conspiracy mongering that clear damage to Russian government aspirations are called “wins for Putin.” The Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the 30-year old INF missile treaty is not something that Vladimir Putin would ever want. The decades long effort to limit nuclear proliferation gives both countries security knowing that the other is restricted in the number and placements of nuclear weapons. Yet this very obvious reality is now turned on its head, and truth is twisted and disappeared.

The worst possible outcome of Russiagate is that it increases the likelihood of armed conflict between the United States and Russia. The same people who see MSNBC, CNN and national newspapers as divine oracles can be led to support any government act, no matter how dangerous it may be. Liberals who might once have opposed a hot war would now be the first to support it.

The Russiagate pimps are stoking fear and hatred. They spread outright lies and ignorance and they are doing so because of base motives. The Democratic Party rank and file ought to be demanding answers about the 2016 defeat and the previous loss of 900 legislative seats around the country. But they have been so badly misled that they don’t know that they should be asking anything at all. Even people who call themselves progressives are worshipping prosecutorial excess from the Robert Mueller investigation team and applauding surveillance state killers bloviating on cable news programs.

McCarthyism is back and it is being led by liberals. The entire world is endangered because of their leaders’ lies and cover ups and their determination to follow blindly. The outcome will be continued political defeat at home and an increased likelihood of what was once unimaginable, war between two nuclear powers.

Margaret Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment