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Russian Embassy Says Hacking Accusations Coming From US Have ‘Nothing to Do With Reality’

Sputnik – 20.10.2020

WASHINGTON – The Russian Embassy in Washington has refuted US claims of alleged Russian involvement in a major cyber attack targeting officials and various large-scale events, with an embassy representative telling Sputnik that Russia has no intention to engage in destabilizing operations.

On Monday, the US charged six alleged Russian military intelligence officers with a major cyber attack, claiming that they targeted large-scale events, such as elections in France, Ukraine’s power grid and American medical facilities.

“It is quite obvious that such information has nothing to do with reality and is aimed only at stirring up Russophobic sentiments in the American society, at launching a ‘witch hunt’ and spy mania. All this has been a distinctive feature of Washington’s political life for several years now. The US authorities are consistently destroying the once pragmatic Russian-American relations and artificially imposing a toxic perception of Russia and everything connected with it on their population,” a Russian embassy representative told Sputnik.

The representative of the embassy in Washington added that “Russia does not and has not had any intention of engaging in any kind of destabilizing operations around the world. This is not in line with our foreign policy, national interests, as well as our understanding of how relations between states are built. Russia respects the sovereignty of other countries and does not interfere in their affairs.”

The Russian embassy in Canada has also dismissed all allegations concerning Russia’s alleged cyber activity, calling them “absurd and baseless.”

Global Affairs Canada and the Communications Security Establishment issued a statement on Monday saying that “Canada is concerned over reports of a series of global malicious cyber activities, as detailed in today’s statements by the United States and the United Kingdom.” According to the release, the activities “are examples of the willingness of Russian military intelligence, GRU, to target critical infrastructure and international organizations.”

The Russian embassy in Canada said on Twitter on Monday that Ottawa was damaging its relations with Moscow by issuing such groundless statements.

“Another absurd and baseless Canada allegations on Russian ‘malicious cyber activity’ copycat US-UK intelligence disinformation as part of psychological war against Russia. Ottawa is further damaging Canadian-Russian relations following its Russophobic narrative,” the embassy said.

According to the indictment, unveiled on Monday, six alleged Russian military intelligence officers have used “the world’s most destructive malware to date,” including NotPetya, which wreaked havoc globally and caused nearly $1 billion in losses to victims identified during the probe.

US authorities alleged that in December of 2015 and 2016, the conspirators launched destructive malware attacks against the electric power grid in Ukraine. In the US, hospitals in Pennsylvania were allegedly attacked with malware. US authorities claimed that the suspects also tried to undermine the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and attempted to meddle in elections in France, as well as tried to compromise the Georgian parliament network and a major media company in the post-Soviet Republic. The group also allegedly conducted “spearphishing campaigns” against investigations by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Kingdom’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory into the Novichok nerve agent poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, according to the indictment.

A source at the Russian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik on Monday that the accusations are groundless, aim to create anti-Russian sentiments, and are addressed to the internal audience within the context of the upcoming presidential election in the United States.

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

DNI says ‘No Evidence’ of Russian interference in Hunter Biden scandal, accuses Schiff of ‘politicizing intelligence’

RT | October 19, 2020

US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has refuted claims that alleged emails detailing Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and China when his father was VP are part of a Russian election interference effort.

“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said during a Monday interview on Fox Business. “The intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that,” he added.

The director’s comments were a direct rebuttal of Congressman Adam Schiff, who claimed on Saturday, without any evidence, that the story about the Democratic presidential candidate’s son was coming “from the Kremlin.”

Ratcliffe addressed Schiff’s words directly, saying, “It’s funny that some of the people who complain the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing the intelligence.”

The official went on to say that while he couldn’t reveal any details of the ongoing investigation, he was free to clarify that it “doesn’t center around Russian disinformation.”

The speculation on foreign involvement began last Wednesday just as the New York Post published a series of alleged leaked emails, implying that Biden Jr. might have involved his then-vice president father in personal business dealings abroad.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Twitter, Biden and the New York Post – Social Media Censorship Kicks up a Gear

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 15, 2020

Yesterday, the New York Post published several articles claiming to show evidence of corruption on the part of Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The charges are varied but not really surprising. One article claims Hunter introduced his father to a Ukrainian energy magnate who asked the family to use their influence to shut down an investigation into his company.

Another story suggests Hunter Biden used his family name to secure a high-paid job and stock interests in a Chinese company.

The NYP evidence these claims with emails and documents allegedly retrieved from a laptop left at a computer repair store in Delaware. The owner of the store alerted the FBI to the computer’s existence when no one came forward to pay for the repairs and he could not contact the owner.

According to the NYP, both the hard drive and laptop were then seized by the FBI. They have a copy of the grand jury subpoena, which is certainly solid evidence, if genuine.

The owner of the store claims he, prior to it being seized, made a copy of the hard drive and sent it to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s lawyer.

While this is potentially intriguing, if true, it’s not really “news”. Biden’s corruption in Ukraine has been evident since his son was appointed to the board of the largest energy company in Ukraine within weeks of the US-backed coup in 2014 (a decision so obviously dodgy even the Guardian made a joke out of it). Joe Biden himself has even admitted to applying financial pressure to get a Ukrainian State Prosecutor removed from office.

None of this is really “big news”. Corruption is rampant in the halls of power, that is as certain as death and taxes, and will continue to be so, whether or not these specific allegations are accurate.

The big news, the part of this story that should concern everyone, is that Twitter has completely blocked this material on their platform.

And we’re not talking a “soft block”, we at OffG are more than familiar with twitter’s use of “warnings”, no they literally made it impossible to share the links, even in DMs. If you try, you get his warning:

We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.”

We’ve talked about twitter’s “partners” before, and they are suspect. As for being “potentially harmful”, well isn’t that subjective? Fire is vital at times, but certainly “potentially harmful” at others. Water, in sufficient quantity, is “potentially harmful”.

If you’re a liar, the truth is “potentially harmful”.

Facebook has followed suit, if in less sweeping fashion. The social media giant’s spokesperson Andy Stone announced that they would be:

“… reducing its distribution on our platform. This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.

This decision is pending approval by their “independent fact-checkers”, which we have also covered in detail before.

*

So what are the social media companies’ excuses reasons for blocking this content?

Well, it depends who you ask.

Twitter claims that since the emails are potentially “hacked”, posting them violates their policy regarding illegally gathered material. (Interestingly this policy was never applied to Trump’s leaked tax returns.)

Facebook, on the other hand, claim to have blocked these stories because they might be “misinformation”. A truly ludicrous precedent to set. You can’t block something that might not be true, because that applies to literally almost everything.

You do have to admire the strategy though. The pincer movement is brilliant.

You see, one site is blocking them because they might not be real, the other because if they are real then they’re stolen. It’s a win-win situation.

Essentially, real or not, the tech giants have all the bases covered and there’s no way they are going to let people read those emails, or even stories about the emails. Twitter even blocked the account of the Whitehouse Spokesperson Kayleigh MacEnany for sharing the links.

Of course, moving forward this will not just apply to these emails, but anything they want.

More and more precedents are rolling out that social media companies can stop anyone from saying anything by applying their absurdly vague and subjective rules.

They have essentially given themselves license to block anything they want on a totally ad hoc basis, and because it’s being done in the name of “orange man bad” or combatting “hate speech”, an army of useful idiots are happy to go along with it. Even calling it a win for progressive values.

The mainstream cheered on twitter earlier this year when they started (incorrectly) “fact-checking” Donald Trump’s tweets concerning postal voting. We wrote then that it was a scary and potentially damaging idea. This is why.

We now have mega-corporations, who possess neither democratic mandate nor public accountability, controlling what elected officials can and cannot say in public. The political discourse of our society has become subject to the approval of “independent fact-checkers” created by billionaires and staffed by the Deep State.

Which is exactly what we’ve been warning about, for years.

*

It all makes you wonder – what exactly is the point of this story?

Are we just witnessing surface tremors of the deeper internal conflict in the Deep State, just as we saw in 2016?

Or is it meant to distract everyone with salacious details of a corruption scandal we all already knew about, while ever-more of our online freedoms are taken away?

This story probably isn’t going away any time soon. For one thing, we can expect that someone is going to accuse Russia of somehow being involved in the very near future.

… oh, they already did. I guess we’re in for Russiagate II then. Fun times.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

FBI used MEDIA REPORTS seeded by British spy to ‘corroborate’ Steele Dossier, declassified spreadsheet shows

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | October 13, 2020

The FBI sought to ‘verify’ information in the notorious dossier at the heart of Russiagate by using media articles seeded by the actual dossier author, British spy Christopher Steele, newly released evidence has shown.

The so-called Steele Dossier is the centerpiece of ‘Russiagate,’ the conspiracy theory that Donald Trump “colluded” with Moscow in the 2016 US presidential election. The dossier’s most bombastic claim was that Russia had “kompromat” on him in the form of sex tapes from a Moscow hotel involving urinating prostitutes.

Steele compiled the dossier for Fusion GPS, a DC-based firm paid by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign through the DNC. The FBI then used it to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page in October 2016, and extended it three times well into 2017.

A 94-page spreadsheet made public on Monday, however, shows the FBI relied heavily on media reports to corroborate Steele’s claims – in many cases, the very same reports Steele had planted himself.

According to analyst Stephen McIntyre, footnotes listed in the spreadsheet show that 39 percent of the footnotes lead to Washington, DC media outlets, another 29 percent are redacted, and Steele himself was cited on 18 occasions, somehow self-verifying his own work.

In one instance, McIntyre notes, the FBI triple counted an article from the Daily Beast as three separate sources. Other media outlets named in the document are CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo News and Mother Jones.

The FBI had actually decided to fire Steele as a paid informant in September 2016 – before obtaining the Page warrant – because he leaked to the media, specifically Yahoo and Mother Jones, but that never raised any red flags either with the warrant or the corroboration, apparently.

Moreover, the Bureau knew in December 2016 that the “primary sub-source” (PSS) for the dossier was a Russian national they had investigated as a foreign agent in 2009, but the investigation was abandoned without explanation and this fact was never flagged. Even after interviewing the PSS in January 2017, and establishing that most of the dossier was fabricated outright, the FBI continued to use it at the FISA court to extend the Page warrant.

Another source the FBI used to corroborate Steele was Cody Shearer, a long-time Clinton operative who produced a memo alleging that Russian intelligence had a sex tape of Trump. That amounts to more circular reporting, however, as Steele was reportedly given the Shearer dossier by State Department official Jonathan Winer, and then handed it over to his FBI contacts in October 2016.

The spreadsheet is the first confirmation that the FBI actually used the ‘Shearer Dossier,’ whose existence was first reported by the Guardian in January 2018, as part of a push by Democrats to show that the Steele dossier wasn’t the sole grounds for the FISA warrants.

Just last week, however, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified notes from then-CIA chief John Brennan, who said he warned the Obama administration about a plan by Hillary Clinton to smear Trump with allegations of ‘Russian collusion’ as a means of “distracting the public from her use of a private email server” before the 2016 election.

The two-year probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller came up with zero evidence of “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia, much less Trump himself – and while it argued that Moscow “meddled” in US elections, it offered no evidence beyond its own assertions contained in indictments that were subsequently dropped when challenged in court.

While all these revelations have amounted to an indictment of the entire ‘Russiagate’ affair, the media that gave each other awards for their coverage of ‘collusion’ has never apologized for any of it. To this day, millions of Americans continue to believe their president is a “Russian agent.”

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Colonel Alexander Vindman’s Revenge

Another “expert” with an agenda surfaces

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 13, 2020

During last year’s impeachment process directed against President Donald Trump, Congress obtained testimony from a parade of witnesses to or participants in what was inevitably being referred to as UkraineGate. It centered around an investigation into whether Trump inappropriately sought a political quid pro quo from Ukrainian leaders in exchange for a military assistance package.

The prepared opening statement by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, described as the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council (NSC), provided some insights into how decision making at the NSC actually works. Vindman was born to a Jewish family in Ukraine but emigrated to the United States at age three. He was commissioned as an army infantry officer in 1998 and served in some capacity in Iraq from 2004-5, where he was wounded by a roadside bomb and received a purple heart. Vindman, who speaks both Ukrainian and Russian fluently, has filled a number of diplomatic and military positions in government dealing with Eastern Europe, to include a key role in Pentagon planning on how to deal with Russia.

Vindman, Ukrainian both by birth and culturally, clearly was a major player in articulating and managing U.S. policy towards that country, but at that time it was sometimes noted that he did not really understand what his role on the NSC should have been. As more than likely the U.S. government’s sole genuine Ukrainian expert, he should have become a good source for consideration of viable options that the United States might exercise vis-à-vis its relationship with Ukraine, and, by extension, regarding Moscow’s involvement with Kiev. But that is not how his statement before congress, which advocated for a specific policy, read. Rather than providing expert advice, Vindman was concerned chiefly because arming Ukraine was not proceeding quickly enough to suit him, an extremely risky policy which had already created serious problems with a much more important Russia.

Part of Vindman’s written statement (my emphasis) is revealing: ”When I joined the NSC in July 2018, I began implementing the administration’s policy on Ukraine. In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy. While my interagency colleagues and I were becoming increasingly optimistic on Ukraine’s prospects, this alternative narrative undermined U.S. government efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine.”

Vindman was also interested in promoting a policy that would limit any damage to the Democratic Party. Note the following additional excerpt from Vindman’s prepared statement to Congress: “…. I was worried about the implications for the US government’s support of Ukraine…. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”

So Alexander Vindman clearly was pushing a risky alternative policy that had not been endorsed by either the president of the United States or the secretary of state, who were and still are the responsible authorities for making decisions relating to foreign and national security issues. It is therefore tempting to conclude that Vindman was an integral part of the Washington inside-the-beltway Deep State, which believed the solution to the Ukraine problem was to send arms to Kiev to enable an attack on Russia that would in turn weaken President Vladimir Putin. Along the way, Vindman attempted to make the absurd claim that the political situation in Kiev was somehow important to U.S. national security, asserting that “Ukraine is a frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.” He did not care to ask the inevitable next question, “Aggression against whom?” The combined visions of Russia as an aggressive, expansionistic power coupled with the brave Ukrainians serving as a bastion of freedom is so absurd that it is hardly worth countering.

It is perhaps not surprising to learn that Colonel Vindman is at it again, joining the chorus of former government officials who are seeking to bring about the defeat of Donald Trump in November. And this time around he has the useful bully pulpit provided by the New York Times and The Atlantic, which have featured a Times op-ed co-authored by him followed by a recorded and transcribed interview as well as another article based on yet another interview with The Atlantic. The Times op-ed revealed that Vindman has not learned anything about how the government works since he made the statement to Congress last year. In a piece entitled “Trump Has Sold Off America’s Credibility for His Personal Gain: From China to Ukraine, this president has acted at odds with American foreign policy. Imagine what he could do with four more years” it cites Vindman’s perspective that “… the president and his associates asked officials in Kyiv to deliver on Mr. Trump’s political interests in exchange for American military aid needed to defend Ukraine… This was not a unique instance of Mr. Trump’s personal priorities corrupting American foreign policy. As the 2020 election grew closer, the president increasingly ignored the policies developed by his own government and instead pursued transactions guided by self-interest and instinct.”

Colonel Vindman is wrong in not realizing that when it comes to foreign policy “his own government” is the president whose decisions are binding, whether one likes it or not. And he also fails to understand that bilateral international agreements and understandings are a process of horse trading, with favors being done by both sides. Trump was certainly within his rights to want to know about possible illegal activity carried out by the son of a former Vice President.

The Atlantic piece, written by editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, former Israeli prison guard and now leading anti-Trump malcontent, quotes Vindman and editorializes as follows: “’President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin,’” he says. Useful idiot is a term commonly used to describe dupes of authoritarian regimes; fellow traveler, in Vindman’s description, is a person who shares Putin’s loathing for democratic norms. But do you think Russia is blackmailing Trump? “’They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it,’” he says. “’They have more effective and less risky ways to employ him. He has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is, and so he admires him. He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he’ll try to please Putin.’” Vindman continues, “’In the Army we call this ‘free chicken,’ something you don’t have to work for—it just comes to you. This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken.’”

It is very easy to despise what passes for foreign policy in the Trump White House, but the alternative of rule by agenda-driven bureaucrats like Colonel Alexander Vindman is even more unpalatable from a constitutional point of view. His original testimony before Congress, wrapped in an air of sanctimoniousness and a uniform, should be regarded as little more than the conventional thinking that has produced foreign policy failure after failure in the past twenty years. Russia the perpetual enemy requiring “friends” like Ukraine with little regard for the actual threat level or the potential consequences. The fact that Vindman is how exploiting a bully pulpit on the largely discredited New York Times while also getting into bed with the scoundrel Jeffrey Goldberg should tell one all that is necessary to know. Trump is right about ending America’s love affair with foreign wars, even though it is a subject that neither he nor Joe Biden will be discussing. Vindman is little more than an apologist for why those useless wars are promoted and are continuing.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Why the Dems Can’t Have Nice Things (Like the White House)

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | October 10, 2020

Here’s why the Democrats can’t have nice things. Like the White House.

Though by now the media has awarded Biden all 270 electoral votes and taped a transcript of his debate performance on the national refrigerator door, it is unclear Joe Biden really wants to be president. He barely campaigns and usually ends his working day at noon. Since mid-August Biden logged 22 days where he either didn’t make a public campaign appearance (during the same period Trump visited 19 states.) Biden has slept at home every night of the campaign. He has no signature policy initiative. He often appears overwhelmed. He simply presents his waxy self as the embodiment of the empty and depressing strategy of I’m the Lesser of Two Evils and marks off the days until it will all be over.

The Democratic party itself seems to feel much the same way. After four years of complaining Trump is an old white draft dodging man linked to corruption, the best the Dem process could cough up was an even older white draft dodging man linked to corruption. On a rare Biden visit outside his own yard to Charlotte, North Carolina, local organizers only turned out 16 people to meet the candidate. The chairwoman of the African American caucus only learned of the event from TV. Meanwhile, the party insists on its own demographic illusion. Latinos, key in crucial states like  Arizona and Florida, have shown less support for Biden than for past Democratic nominees, resistant to a campaign defining them as “people of color.” Some 98 percent of Latinos don’t want to be called “Latinx” even as the Democrats continue to do so pandering to the two percent. Ideology over reality, though it may not matter: 38 percent of Hispanic voters Dem imagine they control in battleground states are ambivalent about voting at all. A Telemundo poll shows 68.7 percent believe Trump won the first presidential debate.

The Dems ignore other demographic bad news. In Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin net Democratic registrations are down by 38 percent from 2016. More to the point, registration among whites without college degrees is up 46 percent while registration by people of color is up only four percent. Turnout looks to be in trouble as well; in Wisconsin while 79 percent of black voters participated in the 2012 general election, in 2016 it was down to 47 percent. The risk of low turnout is even greater when one factors in age.  About 78 percent of blacks age 60+ are likely to vote, compared to only 29 percent for blacks age 18-29.

Meanwhile, in this final stretch when they should be clawing for every vote, Dems are sending out scattered messages on in-person voting (“You might die of COVID but it’s so important you guys!!!! LOL”) and planning on relying on a 19th century mail in system run by local yokels that works poorly under the best of circumstances. Plan B is to claim the system they told everyone to use didn’t work and the president needs to be selected by Netflix users.

If Democrats really wanted to win some swing states they should have found a way to fix the water in Flint. They might have persuaded Mike Bloomberg instead of buying felons’ votes in Florida to have created the equivalent in new jobs in Ohio. Dems never talked to the voters they needed the most. In fact, quite the opposite. They stomped their feet and held their breath in a four year tantrum and called them racists and haters when unmasked Midwesterners never got appropriately offended by Trump. These people worked hard for what they have only to hear that dismissed as privilege. Dems attack people as much for who they are as what they believe and still expect a vote for Biden.  The NYT calls them “the worst of us.” Call them the missing whites on election day.

Democrats also believe their own self-illusion. Instead of understanding social media as a winnowed, mob-enforced minority of confirmational people, Dem strategists believe it all makes a difference. They came to think listening to podcasts, wearing cute #Resistance gear, retweeting and liking, holding Pink Hat marches and flash mobs, making $25 donations to GoFundMes, signing online petitions before going on Etsy to buy snarky t-shirts about vaginas, forwarding propaganda videos from the Lincoln Project, all while talking about NPR in line at Trader Joe’s, matter. All the devices don’t add up to a single vote. It isn’t a barometer, it’s a mirror.

Voting Dem may just be too much of an ask for thinking people. Review the near-endless emotional hemophilia, hypocrisy, cognitive dissonance, and fake news kudzu a Dem voter is asked to ignore. For example, a Trump rally, or a wedding, is a deadly super-spreader event but a BLM rally is not. Schools and businesses are open or closed at the discretion of governors and mayors but Trump is to blame. Demonstrations which devolve into riots are acceptable but a couple of rednecks open carrying at a statehouse is a precursor to civil war. BLM when the killer is a cop, a lot less so when the killer is a black gang member. The new Supreme Court will limit our rights, except if they extend our 2A rights and then more rights are bad. Kids in cages means Nazism but Biden bringing back the Obama national security advisors who created millions of refugees flowing out of Syria and Libya is no matter. Choosing a Supreme “too close” to an election is the end of democracy but Dems promising revenge by adding states, deep-sixing the Electoral College, and packing the court to jam through their own one party eternal majority is not. A Muslim woman in Congress is revered for her adherence to sexist Islamic doctrine but a Catholic woman who honors her spouse is Handmaid’s Tale in Biblical proportions. #BelieveWomen applies to accusers of Republicans but not Democrats. We must have more women in government, except if they’re Republicans. Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, claims he will block any FDA-approved COVID vaccine from his state until his own scientists check it out, fearing a dangerous chemical will be released so that Trump can win the election. We must reawaken our democracy but if you vote for a third party you are working for Putin.

More?

When the stock market was soaring it didn’t matter because most people did not own stock yet when it fell during COVID it was the end of the economy but when it recovered it no longer mattered. None of the desperate warnings of war — Iran, China, North Korea, Venezuela, civil war in America — came to be. No one did anything bad after the embassy moved to Jerusalem or the Iranian agreement ended. All the things which were to disappear — the ACA, Roe, LGBT rights, same sex marriage — did not. Martial law was not declared, though the MSM signaled numerous times they would be OK with a military coup to depose Trump. Puerto Rico did not descend into genocide. Trump did not launch nuclear weapons in a fit of psychosis. The Democrats over and over made insta-heroes of miserable people who then had to be disowned like Michael Avenatti, Michael Cohen, Robert Mueller, James Comey, and every former general who was going to flip and tell all but didn’t. I honestly have no idea anymore if Dr. Fauci is seen as a good guy or a bad guy by Dems. The Democratic party claimed insubordination by government officials is to be honored if it is called #Resistance. We needed to see Trump’s taxes bad enough that it was OK someone stole them and even then the NYT won’t let anyone see the actual documents. Pee tape anyone? And in the final months before the election, the principle Democratic strategy is to claim if Trump wins it was all unfair. Update: the Reichstag is still standing.

How can a thinking person look at all that and conclude “these are the people I want running the country.”

Too many readers will see this article as pro-Trump. Where does it praise Trump? And that’s the last point here. Democrats and the MSM (let’s call it MSDNC) have divorced themselves from earth gravity. The rules of their home planet are any criticism of the party means you love Trump, are a hater, racist, Nazi, Russian or a bot. Inquiry is not allowed, so you must accept the Dossier, Russiagate, Ukraine, whatever crazy story is “reported” by “sources” and vote Biden or else.

Maybe if a little introspection had been allowed amid demands for conformity of thought the Democrat party would not be imploring voters to believe the end justifies the means. Maybe they would not have cried wolf again and again until only the true crazies are still listening. Maybe they would have foregone the public humiliation of the Mueller report and the failed impeachment. Maybe they’d be running a candidate that represented, well, something to vote for. Maybe they would not be so worried their voters will stay home on November 3.

If Trump wins again, it will be safe to say Dems lost this election in 2016 when they failed to see the change the nation wanted, pushed Bernie aside, and demanded we coronate Hillary. That gave Trump his first term. But rather than learn anything in the cold morning and seek redemption, the Dems basically did the same thing in 2020, albeit with the more likeable Joe Biden. But Biden carries most of the same old school baggage, inherits the same wounds of the Obama years, and has that lasting taint of corruption after 47 years in government.

Yes, Joe’ll win the popular vote, the Electoral College are racist cheaters, Mrs. Jones’ ballot was lost in Raleigh, PutinPutinPutin, all a rich gumbo but whenever the end of the day comes, Trump will likely have his second term. More because the Democrats lost than because he won.

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

WSJ ‘investigation’ of aggregator that dared include RT scares other members into ditching the network

By Helen Buyniski | RT | October 8, 2020

After social media censorship failed to zero out RT’s web traffic, an establishment US media outlet has revealed it reached out to sites in the same link-exchange network as RT, spooking them into backing out.

The Wall Street Journal has launched an investigation into a link aggregator that includes RT.com, publishing the names of participants and the network itself in an effort to shame them into kicking the site off, in a hit piece on Wednesday. If this thinly-veiled intimidation is the behavior of a democratic country’s media, one shudders to imagine what an authoritarian nation might have done.

RealClearPolitics – a mostly-nonpartisan site that reports poll results and political news – is held up as an example, guilty of wrongthink through its association with Mixi.Media, a web-ring that links to headlines from news sites of various political persuasions (including RT) at the bottom of partners’ webpages. Mixi doesn’t show the source of the headlines right away, no matter where they come from, which –in the eyes of the Journal– proves it’s up to something nefarious.

The pearl-clutching pseudo-exposé made it clear that even unwitting association with RT is beyond the pale in this paranoid day and age. “If [readers] see RT, they are going to freak out,” Mixi founder Alex Baron is quoted as saying. Asked whether he agrees with RT’s “politics,” he answers in the negative, of course. However, the implication is made that he’s a Kremlin agent at heart through his past association with a Russian private equity firm – never mind that he’s suing that firm after being fired in 2018. Merely working for a company owned by a Russian executive initiates an irrevocable cootie-transfer.

The Journal doesn’t illustrate exactly how they approached the web-ring participants for the piece, but at least five sites were sufficiently intimidated –including The Blaze, Newser, and AccuWeather– that they fled Mixi’s network after being asked about the Russian intruder in their midst. Presumably the dialogue went something like “Gee, that’s a nice news outlet you’ve got there, sure would be a shame if it got shut down for Russian collusion.”

If that sounds like an exaggeration, one need only refer to the New York Times’ warning that merely reporting a story RT has covered is actually “sowing discord” and “creating division.” As far back as 2016, the Washington Post was accusing US-based, US-run alt-media websites of being Russian “useful idiots” merely for disdaining to go along with Washington’s neoliberal warmongering agenda, laundering its smears through the anonymous Ukrainian front “PropOrNot.”

The WSJ’s “don’t click that link – there might be Russians in it” scare story is just the latest in a long string of efforts to pressure friendly networks into giving RT the cold shoulder. The same outlet bemoaned RT’s seeming invincibility to TV censorship back in January 2017 as part of a multi-pronged media blitz ginned up by the US intelligence community’s attempt to implicate RT in “meddling” in the 2016 election – an allegation that has never been remotely substantiated yet has become part of the narrative wallpaper for the American establishment, assumed to be true even in the absence of evidence.

The dubious allegations of hacking the Democratic National Committee were followed by a lengthy screed against programs RT no longer even aired – but that was enough for the New York Times and other “papers of record” to pile on a competitor they didn’t know they had, treating the uninspired smear like a smoking gun. Breaking precedent set by other state-owned foreign media, the Justice Department forced RT to register as a “foreign agent.” The designation was subsequently held up, bizarrely, as “proof” it was foreign propaganda, as officials insisted it was voluntary, even though the network was threatened with criminal charges if it refused.

And the UK Sunday Times pulled a similar stunt to the WSJ’s back in 2017, phoning up RT’s British advertisers – many of whom were spooked by the probing questions into pulling their ads – and misrepresenting their vanishing act as motivated by the channel’s “propaganda and fake news.”

Efforts to sideline RT have only increased since then, with first YouTube and more recently Facebook and Twitter labeling it as state-run foreign media and burying its content. WSJ’s report glossed over the obvious follow-on effect from such a move, crowing gleefully that social media traffic to the site dropped 22 percent from 2018 to July and web traffic in general dropped 14 percent.

But until it drops to zero, the US’ propaganda mill will never be satisfied. Having coasted for decades with a virtual monopoly on viewers’ eyeballs, its quality declined accordingly, and the rise of the internet saw Americans hungrily lapping up any alternative source of information. When they’re presented with the sight of rioters burning businesses, bibles, or people and told these are peaceful democratic protesters who must be supported, they recoil not because they are propagandized by RT or some other outlet, but because they’re aware they’re being lied to.

With the 2020 election looming on the horizon, social media platforms and news outlets alike are renewing their fatwa against all things Russian. That reliable “enemy” ensures they will never have to answer for the many holes in their own one-sided coverage, the flagrant falsehoods regularly passed off as gospel, and the unrelenting fear porn that keeps too many Americans glued to their TV set. Heaven forbid they change the channel – they might trip over the truth.

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

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

How NYT’s Trump Tax “Bombshell” Turned Out to be Yet Another Big Nothing Burger

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 06.10.2020

The New York Times’ report on Trump’s tax returns has missed a number of its apparent targets failing to implicate the president or find his alleged ties to Russia, says Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel, adding that those who leaked Trump’s financial data may face criminal charges and civil damages.

The leaker or leakers who handed Donald Trump’s tax returns to The New York Times may have committed a felony, writes Just the News, a US national news agency founded by American investigative journalist John Solomon.

The NYT disclosure came amid the Democratic lawmakers’ longstanding effort to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns which is seen by the president’s proponents as a “fishing expedition” aimed at disrupting his presidency and the 2020 campaign, along with the “Russia collusion” story and an attempt to impeach him.

‘The Leaking is a Crime’

In a note to the NYT’s “bombshell” article in question, the newspaper’s executive editor Dean Baquet insisted that the president’s tax information “was legally obtained by reporters”, adding however, that they are not making the records themselves public because they “do not want to jeopardise our sources, who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public”.

“Under federal and state laws, income tax returns are confidential”, stresses Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel. “The rationale is they normally contain extensive amounts of information that filers would not want shared either with the general public or especially with competitors and political rivals”.

Citing Joseph diGenova, a former US Attorney for the District of Columbia, Just the News noted last Friday that if the documents were obtained by an IRS employee, a lawyer or an accountant, the leaking “definitely” constitutes a crime that could result in both criminal and civil legal actions.

In particular, Internal Revenue Code, Section 6103, protects an individual’s tax return information from disclosure to other parties by the IRS. In addition, 26 US Code § 7213 says that it’s a felony if any officer or employee of the United States discloses unauthorised information, including tax returns.

“It is unlikely that Trump or any family member leaked income tax information to the New York Times“, Ortel suggests. “However, it’s possible that disgruntled staff at a law firm or accounting firm may have done so. If true such actions would likely carry criminal penalties, and civil damages.”

Another possibility, more likely, is that federal or state government officials may have leaked this sensitive information to the paper, according to the investigative journalist.

“If true, this would be deeply concerning not simply to Trump and his supporters but to most sensible Americans”, he warns.

Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, shares similar concerns. On 28 September, he issued a statement regarding the NYT’s story on Trump’s tax return raising the alarm over “the prospect that a felony crime was committed by releasing the private tax return information of an individual” and calling for an investigation into the matter.

‘10,000 Empty Words on Trump’s Taxes’

One might ask as to whether taking these “enormous personal risks” and leaking the president’s tax returns was worth the pain. In other words, did the NYT disclose something really “damning” about the president? According to Ortel, nothing of that kind was reported by the newspaper.

While the media’s story is largely focused on Trump’s alleged tax avoidance, it is not a crime to offset losses incurred against income, the Wall Street analyst underscores.

“Moreover it is common to use options available in relevant jurisdictions to make one claim about the value of a given asset and a different one in a loan application”, he says. “In every case, Trump and his organisation certainly will have worked closely with professionals to make sure that all claims were reasonable and defensible”.

Apart from this, Ortel doubts that a team of New York Times reporters have conducted a thorough and accurate analysis of the president’s documents.

“For a filer like Donald Trump, engaged in so many activities inside the US, tax returns are certainly lengthy and so complicated that professional firms likely are involved in submitting them, including accountants and lawyers”, the Wall Street analyst underscores.

As for left-leaning mainstream media’s claims that “Trump’s tax avoidance is a tax on the rest of us”, they have apparently overlooked the fact that “generations of Trumps employed thousands of New Yorkers directly and indirectly producing incomes and spending that filled tax coffers at federal, state, city and county level”, as Ortel noted in his 29 September opinion piece for The American Thinker.

“So, a fair accounting of all tax revenues created by the Trump Organisation likely will show enormous positive impact overall“, the analyst believes.

What Did NYT Reporters Fail to Find?

Still, it’s more important what the NYT “did not find”, i.e. any proof of Trump’s alleged “collusion” with Moscow which the Dems are continuing to speculate about even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller dug up no evidence to back these assumptions, the analyst notes.

In response to Trump’s unwillingness to release his tax returns after assuming the Oval Office, MSM observers suggested that the documents may show income from Russian sources or debt owed to Russians which potentially could make the president vulnerable to Moscow’s “influence”.

On 10 July 2020, Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution insisted that “once in office, Trump proceeded to do things that raised suspicions about his relationship with Russia”. She claimed that there is no other way to answer whether the president “has been propped up by Russian money” than making his tax returns public.

However, the NYT’s review of the president’s financial documents has apparently hammered the final nail into the Dems’ “Trump-Russia collusion” story, according to Ortel: “Mueller and the New York York Times have failed to produce any evidence of Russian support, state or otherwise, to the Trump political campaign or enterprises”, he stresses.

“The decision to target Trump for theoretical illegal links to Russia clearly seems to be ‘gaslighting’ – bleating these scurrilous charges to distract from actual corruption involving a host of foreign powers going all the way back to Bill Clinton’s days as Arkansas governor forward to the present”, Ortel says referring to the “pay-to-play” scheme allegedly established by the Clinton Foundation.

NYT ‘Disclosure’ Won’t Make Trump Release His Returns

Trump’s tax returns leak bears some resemblance to what happened to Richard Nixon in 1973: nearly two years ago Politico referred to a scenario in which the president could be forced to release his tax returns.

“Disclosing confidential tax information is a felony”, the magazine wrote on 23 December 2018. “If Democrats can’t release Trump’s returns publicly, then they can’t discuss anything they see in them without putting themselves in legal jeopardy”.

The media outlet recollected that in 1973 The Washington Post and The New York Times launched a series of reports raising the question of whether President Nixon “grossly underpaid” what he owed the government.

In October 1973, the Providence Journal-Bulletin obtained Nixon’s tax returns, and released a “blockbuster report” indicating that the president paid just $792.81 in federal income taxes in 1970 and $878.03 in 1971. Nixon submitted to media pressure and agreed to make his tax returns public to restore “the confidence of the American people in the integrity of the president”. However, it did not help Nixon much amid a series of scandals which prompted him to resign on 9 August 1974 in the middle of his second term.

So, will the NYT article about Trump’s tax records affect the president in the same way and force him to publish his returns to clear the air before the election? If this was the trick it did not work, according to Ortel.

“I suspect he will not release any tax return information until, at the earliest, after the election”, the Wall Street analyst presumes. “This decision will further enrage Never Trumpers, but not lessen the enthusiasm that his base has to win re-election for Donald J. Trump”.

October 6, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Russophobia | , | 5 Comments

Censored Russian Filmmaker Speaks Out Against ‘European Magnitsky Act’ as Yet Another Western Hit-Job Against Moscow

By Robert Bridge | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 5, 2020

Award-winning Russian filmmaker and investigative journalist Andrei Nekrasov has petitioned the EU Commission president to consider evidence that challenges the official EU narrative into the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, the tax advisor who worked for Hermitage Fund chief Bill Browder. What has been the EU response thus far to the request? Nothing but a cacophony of crickets.

Last month, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, in the course of her State of the Union Address, urged parliament to “complete our tool box” by passing a so-called ‘European Magnitsky Act’ to punish Russia over the 2009 death of Sergey Magnitsky. Unfortunately, the only tool that appears in the EU “tool box” at this point is a sledgehammer.

Von der Leyen appears to be doing the cheap bidding of Washington at a time when the Trump administration is furious over the prospects of Germany and Russia completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which envisages 55 bln cubic meters moving annually from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Such a project could actually work to dissolve tensions between Brussels and Moscow, and of course Washington would never stand for that. The EU Commission president hinted as much in her speech when she remarked that “no pipeline will change” Brussels’ stance. Incidentally, this makes the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, seem all the more questionable when considered in the full context of events.

In any case, for anyone who has been following the long string of accusations being leveled against Russia over the course of the last several years, an unmistakable pattern has emerged. From the suspicious ‘poisoning’ of the Skripals in the UK, to the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 over Ukraine, Russia is never invited to contribute testimony and evidence that may help to shine a critical light on the proceedings. That seems to be an unforgivable oversight if the pursuit of truth were indeed the goal.

Instead of going out of its way to base its conclusions on all of the available data, the Western capitals are once again picking and choosing its sources. In the Magnitsky case, the bulk of the ‘incriminating evidence’ is being provided by none other than Bill Browder, an individual who has a real conflict of interest in the case, to say the least.

Before continuing, some essential background. As an auditor at the Moscow law firm Firestone Duncan, Sergey Magnitsky worked directly with Hermitage Capital Management, the asset management company headed by Browder. In 2001, Browder was the director of two HSBC subsidiary companies that were eventually accused by the government of underpaying its taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Browder was convicted in Russia in absentia for “aggravated tax evasion” as well as illegally bankrupting a company involved in tax fraud. As for Magnitsky, he met a more tragic fate, dying in 2009 in a Moscow prison awaiting trial for tax fraud, a tragedy that has provided the basis for the so-called Magnitsky Act. In Western capitals, the name Magnitsky has become synonymous with the “murderous brutality” that the Western media endlessly ascribes to the Russian state. For many Russians, however, the case provides yet another stark example of the West acting unilaterally as judge, jury and executioner without considering all of the available evidence and facts at its disposal.

Former Kremlin critic questions Browder story

Andrei Nekrasov, an award-winning Russian filmmaker and investigative journalist, has spent a considerable amount of time and energy getting to the bottom of the Magnitsky case. In 2016, he released a film entitled, ‘The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes’, which was supported by a number of European film funds and the public Franco-German TV network Arte TV. In the words of the New York Times, the film was “generating a furor.” In the film, Nekrasov argues, with no shortage of compelling evidence, that entire governments are being misled by Browder into believing that Magnitsky had been persecuted and killed for exposing political corruption. That is highly questionable, Nekrasov argues, considering that Browder had been an avid supporter of the Russian government before the question of tax fraud hit the headlines.

In his open letter to the EU Commission, Nekrasov goes on to take issue with Browder’s claim that Magnitsky was tortured during his imprisonment, revealing that the auditor “spent a considerable part of his detention in an “elite” – better equipped – section of the Matrosskaya Tishina prison…. where the rich and famous prisoners, such as the oil tycoon [Mikhail] Khodorkovsky…. and the leaders of the 1991 coup against Gorbachev were kept.”

Furthermore, during a Oct, 2013 hearing at the UK High Court of Justice (‘Karpov vs Browder’), Browder claimed that the Russian authorities, purportedly wanting Magnitsky out of the way, imprisoned him because the lethal outcome was a “reasonably foreseeable” consequence of the sentence, “not least” because of the high mortality rate in the Russian prisons. Judge Simon, however, dismissed such a “causal link”, noting that “nothing is said [by Browder – R.B.] about torture and murder ( §128, Page 25 ).

Meanwhile, Magnitsky himself stated that the quality of the medical attention he received in prison was “adequate”.

Here, it is important to note that Nekrasov is no biased journalist with a political ax to grind. As far as reporting the truth goes, he is a rare type of reporter who is guided not by a desire to reach a predetermined conclusion, but by where the facts lead him. In fact, in one of his earlier documentaries, ‘Disbelief,’ he discusses the 1999 Russian apartment bombings in a way that showed the government in a negative light.

In his letter, he admits that he was ready to retell Browder’s emotional story about his “heroic lawyer.”

“I believed Browder,” Nekrasov writes, “partly for political reasons, as my previous work had been highly critical of the Russian government.”

He continues: “Having, however, detected inconsistencies in Mr. Browder’s story I decided not to sweep them under the rug. The result of my investigative work, the film entitled “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes” was at first highly praised by its commissioning editors, at ZDF/ARTE inter alia. The premiere of the film was to be held at the European Parliament in April 2016. Yet, as a result of Browder’s intense pressure on the top management of ZDF, and a decision of a group of Green MEPs, the screening was dramatically cancelled, minutes before the planned starting time.”

It is difficult, as the mild-mannered journalist confessed, to consider that snub as “anything but censorship”.

The question that must be asked is obvious: how can the President of the EU Commission call to punish Russia when the cinematic work of a highly respected investigative journalist, who provides an alternative perspective to the Magnitsky case, is banned from viewing for EU MEPs due to the threat of legal action by Bill Browder? How can the West speak about “democracy” and the “rule of law” when only one side of the Magnitsky saga is allowed to go unchallenged? Why does Mr. Browder feel compelled to suppress this film? If he is telling the truth, why not let Neskrasov’s ‘false’ story see the light of day so that the facts can speak for themselves?

Andrei Neskarov’s letter ends as follows:

“Should you not be concerned that the findings of other European journalistic investigations [here, here and here] … while directly relevant to the Magnitsky question, have apparently failed to reach your high offices and your keen attention?

My film, “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes”, ends with a question: “Will democracy survive if its moral high ground, human rights, is used to protect selfish interests?”

My film was censored, but I pose that question again today.

Yours truly,

Andrei Nekrasov

Nekrasov’s open letter to the President of the EU Commission can be read in its entirety here.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Lavrov: Doctors at Berlin Clinic Where Navalny Was Treated Found No Signs of Military-Grade Poisons

Sputnik – 05.10.2020

Last month, German authorities announced that a Bundeswehr analysis of Russian opposition blogger Alexei Navalny’s samples found traces of a ‘Novichok’ group nerve agent. Moscow called the allegations odd, pointing out that before Navalny’s transfer to Germany, Russian doctors treating him in Siberia found no signs of any poisons in his system.

Doctors at the Charite university hospital where Alexei Navalny was treated found no evidence from his samples that he was poisoned by any military-grade poison, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

“Doctors in Omsk did not find any traces of chemical warfare agents, they honestly said this. But I would like to draw your attention that the fact that  Charite clinic also did not find any toxic substances in its analyses; instead, they were ‘found’ later in the Bundeswehr’s clinic,” Lavrov said, speaking to members of the Association of European Businesses in Russia on Monday.

“We still do not know: did the French and the Swedes carry out the test themselves, or were they simply given them by the Germans. And the fact that our partners are trying to keep everything a secret, to muddy the waters, is something that worries us greatly. We want to find the truth and we will seek to do so,” the diplomat added.

At the same time, Lavrov said, Moscow has no doubts that the European Union will attempt to slap new sanctions on Russia in connection with the Navalny case, based on a recently created cookie-cutter sanctions policy about alleged violations in the use of chemical weapons, which he noted require no factual basis or large-scale discussion by all sides accused of involvement to implement.

According to Lavrov, Russia’s Western colleagues’ policies, whether in cyberspace or the alleged use of chemical weapons, seem to be aimed at the creation of new institutions outside the United Nations or any other international legal framework, allowing for facts to be presented, guilt to be determined and punishment in the form of sanctions to be doled out without listening to the other side.

On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry complained that its German counterparts had refused to provide the Russian Embassy in Berlin with consular access to Alexei Navalny since he was discharged from the Charite clinic. According to Moscow, Russian prosecutors have sent the German side four requests for legal aid for their probe into Navalny’s alleged poisoning, with none of them receiving a response.

Moscow has also slammed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for quietly providing the German side with ‘technical assistance’ on the Navalny case without informing Russia, pointing out that the claims of poisoning being alleged “took place not in Germany, but in Russia,” and that Russia must be party to any objective investigation.

Last week, Navalny accused the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin personally of poisoning him, saying he can’t think of any other explanation for what happened to him. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov shot back, calling the claims “groundless… extremely insulting and unacceptable,” and revealing that Moscow “has information” that Navalny has been cooperating with the Central Intelligence Agency.

On Saturday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that sanctions against Russia would “be impossible to avoid” “if the results of the German, Swedish and French laboratories are confirmed” by the OPCW.

Dr. Leonid Rink, one of the chemists who helped create the so-called Novichok group of military-grade poisons, told Sputnik that if Navalny really had been poisoned by Novichok, he would have been dead in ten minutes flat, and would never have made it to the Tomsk airport or his plane.

Navalny collapsed onboard a domestic flight from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20, with his plane making an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors worked for nearly two days straight to stabilize his condition. On August 22, a charter flight took him to the Charite clinic in Berlin. There he gradually recovered before being discharged late last month.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Russian-Americans Blast Election Billboard Reading ‘Vote Because Russian Lessons are Expensive’

Controversial billboard in Manhattan reading 'Vote Because Russian lessons are expensive.'

© Photo : Facebook / Manhattan Mini Storage
Sputnik – 02.10.2020

In late August, Manhattan Mini Storage, a New York City-based self-storage and moving company, put up a sign outside one of its locations urging New Yorkers to vote in the upcoming presidential election with a tongue-in-cheek message referring to the (long-debunked) ‘Trump Russia collusion’ claims made by Democrats after 2016.

The Congress of Russian Americans (CRA), a San Francisco-based NGO with the mission of preserving and promoting Russian culture, language and spiritual heritage and combatting Russophobia, has asked Manhattan Mini Storage to remove a “provocative” banner that it says discriminates against Russian-speaking Americans.

Natalie Sabelnik, the organisation’s president, told Sputnik that the company’s sign on the Westside Highway in Manhattan reading “Vote Because Russian lessons are expensive” is blatant discrimination.

“I do not expect an answer to the letter [sent by CRA] but if they do, it probably won’t be immediately. I’m certain they will consult with their lawyers first,” Sabelnik said.

Last week, Alexey Tarasov, a lawyer and CRA board member sent Manhattan Mini Storage a letter urging them to remove the banner.

“The meaning of your message is unequivocal: your basic premise is that the Russians will undermine elections in this country and that Americans need to fight against that. The ‘Russian lessons’ is a thinly veiled reference to the election of 2016, which led to an investigation of the Russian Government’s purported collusion with the Trump campaign,” Tarasov wrote.

“The display you put up for the public to see is grossly offensive, in as much as it disparages all people of Russian origin and all people that speak the Russian language,” the attorney continued. “We call on you to remove the banner and never to display such messages in the future.”

Tarasov recalled that as many as 600,000 Russian-Americans live in New York City, with a million more residing in the New York Tri-State area.

“Imagine inserting any other nationality, ethnicity or race into your message. How would the public feel if you wrote ‘Vote because Jewish lessons are expensive’ or ‘because Black lessons are expensive?’” the lawyer asked.

In addition to asking the company to take down the banner and make a commitment not to display any more signs with “ethnically-offensive” messages, Tarasov urged Manhattan Mini Storage to institute written “Anti-Discrimination/Implicit Bias policies” and train staff on the matter of “diversity and anti-discrimination (to include national origin discrimination.”

Wave of Online Anger

Manhattan Mini Storage’s sign sparked a wave of angry comments on its Facebook page, many of them by Russian-speakers.

“Are you seriously suggesting that Russia is about to invade Manhattan? If so, rest assured that 600,000 Russian Speaking New Yorkers can translate for you. By the way, that’s how many people you have offended by this. Did people run out of reasons to vote for Biden and that’s the best you could think of? Remove this xenophobic garbage!” a user named Lyudmila wrote.

“It’s a pure hate speech. You guys vote for equality and bullying people for their Nation. It isn’t funny. It isn’t smart. This campaign should be sued,” Nick added.

“Disgusting xenophobic Cold War message. Let’s discriminate against Russians in a time when there’s already so much division,” a user named Mar said.

“This is offensive and dumb at the same time. Are they implying that Trump is supported by Russia, or that Socialist/Democrats will remake USA into USSR?” Leon asked.

“Why are you spreading hatred?” Margaret Kimberley chimed in.

“I Am Russian-American. U r offending me. Can give some lessons for half a price if you wish,” a user named Elena joked.

“Lovely way to get rid of clients. Please keep going – which language lessons do you think will be cheaper?” Irina added.

“So to follow your logic, Trump is backed up by Russians, then you do not need to vote, Russians will do the magic again,” Julia wrote.

“Russophobia at its stupidest,” a user named Ruth quipped.

Russian Election Meddling Claims Won’t Die

Over the past several months, US officials and media have ramped up claims about ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2020 elections, with the allegations echoing those made before and after the 2016 race. After 2016, Democratic lawmakers and media accused Moscow of systematic hacking, trolling and an interference campaign aimed at getting Donald Trump elected, with some going so far as to suggest that Trump “colluded” with the Kremlin to make it into the White House. The latter claims fell apart in April 2019, when special counsel Robert Mueller released a 448-page report definitively concluding that his team had found no evidence of any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Similarly, investigations by tech giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter about alleged “Russian bot trolling” found these alleged efforts were vastly exaggerated and that their impact on the 2016 race virtually non-existent.

Nevertheless, despite the lack of evidence of wrongdoing, Washington introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russian individuals and the Russian government, including the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats in late 2016, and a package of sanctions and secondary restrictions in 2017 known as the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’. In August 2020, an exasperated Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf, said that Washington had actually “run out of” Russians to sanction over the meddling claims.

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

If you can’t beat them, ban them: Twitter no longer showing search results from well-known Russian state news agency RIA Novosti

By Jonny Tickle | RT | September 28, 2020

Twitter has shadow-banned well-known Russian news agency RIA Novosti. In practice, the move means users will no longer see the agency’s tweets in the website’s search results, unless they follow the media organization’s account.

The removal of RIA Novosti’s tweets from the search function has been called “media censorship,” as the social network continues to restrict news outlets it considers to be “Russian state-affiliated.” Last month, both RT and Sputnik also faced the same suppression.

“We consider such restrictions on the part of Twitter to be an act of media censorship, which is expressly prohibited by the Russian Constitution,” the press service of Rossiya Segodnya, the parent company of RIA Novosti, said on Monday. “The social network does not react to our requests and does not explain its decisions.”

This latest move against Russian media has been criticized by independent Russian Senator Alexander Bashkin, who called the decision “open censorship,” accusing Twitter of “double standards.”

“This is a real information war,” he insisted.

In August, Twitter announced that it would be labeling accounts of key government officials of the five UN Security Council members, as well as state-linked media and their senior staff. This caused controversy when the company opted to label RT and Sputnik as ‘state-affiliated,’ but left the likes of BBC and US state-run Voice of America and RFE/RL alone.

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that Russian correspondents abroad are “openly discriminated against,” highlighting issues in France and the Baltic states.

September 28, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | 1 Comment