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Funerals Have Spiked in Numerous Nations

Across the globe, many more funerals are being held this year than normal

Click to see the full chart at the Financial Times
By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | August 5, 2020

It’s difficult to know what’s happening out there. Much of our coronavirus data is of dubious quality. Different jurisdictions count cases and deaths differently. Even countries with superior health care systems are reporting miscounts, delays, and odd glitches.

Nevertheless, some conclusions are possible. The UK’s Financial Times has compared the number of deaths that particular nations and cities have experienced so far this year to the average number of deaths in recent years.

Its verdict: Iceland, Israel, and Norway appear to have no excess deaths. COVID-19 fatalities are exceptionally low in each of those countries – amounting to only 830 between them so far. These deaths seem to have been counterbalanced by fewer deaths from other causes. During lockdowns, fewer people drown or die in automobile accidents, for example.

But in most of the countries examined, funerals have definitely increased. In Austria (+8%), Denmark (+6%), and Germany (+5%) the increase has been in the single digits.

In the US, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, deaths appear to be up by 25%. That’s a noticeable change. If you have sufficient space, staff, and medicine to treat 100 sick people, but 125 are lined up outside your door it’s going to be one horrendous day.

In some European countries, the increase has been more significant:

France +31%
Belgium +40%
Italy +44%
UK +45%
Spain +56%

The thing about this pandemic is that it isn’t evenly distributed. Many locales have been spared. But if you have the misfortune to reside in an especially hard-hit nation or city, matters have turned nightmarish:

Ecuador +117%
Peru +149%

Santiago, Chile +102%
Madrid, Spain +157%
New York City +208%
Lima, Peru +2

August 5, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Lithuania’s alleged involvement in Maidan contradicts supposed European values

By Paul Antonopoulos |  August 4, 2020

New scandalous information about the 2014 Maidan coup d’état in Ukraine has emerged that implicates Lithuania’s important role in instigating the violent events. David Zhvania, a former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, revealed on his YouTube channel that the seizure of power in Ukraine was financed in “several ways.”

“One of the external sources was the Lithuanian embassy, ​​through which money and weapons were transferred, and the internal channel was Diamantbank. I have documented evidence to support my words,” said the former ally of Petro Poroshenko, the previous president of Ukraine.

Zhvania called on Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova to initiate criminal proceedings and to summon him for questioning. According to the former MP, “Ukrainians should finally find out the truth” on who funded Maidan and who was bribed. He then admitted he was a member of a “criminal group that carried out a coup.”

“To help the conspirators, I used my political influence and my position as head of the State-Building Committee,” he said, adding that he would testify against himself, “but with one condition.”

“Please guarantee my security because I know who the people of Poroshenko are. They can easily order me to be removed,” he stressed.

Mass protests in Kiev began in November 2013 after preparations for the signing of an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union were suspended. This set off mass anti-Russian hysteria and by the end of February 2014, a coup d’état took place in Ukraine, ousting President Viktor Yanukovych from power. This led to Petro Poroshenko becoming president and ultra-nationalists, including neo-Nazis, gained significant power in Ukraine and instigated a war with the Russian-speaking minority of Eastern Ukraine.

Although U.S. and Western European involvement in Maidan are well documented and known, Zhvania’s admissions are the first admittance of how a small Baltic country of under 3 million people played a key role in destabilizing Ukraine. Lithuania’s role was not only with financial support, but also with arms transfers. Although some may be sceptical that Lithuania played such a role, Zhvania is confident enough in his allegations that he announced he is willing to submit “documented evidence” to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.

The question arises whether the Prosecutor’s Office will accept Zhvania’s testimony and evidence. Such a testimony and submission of evidence would further question the legitimacy of the Maidan events as a fight for freedom and democracy in Ukraine. If the legitimacy of Maidan is questioned, ultra-nationalists in Ukraine could become hysterical and instigate political destabilization to maintain and protect the powers they attained when Yanukovych was ousted. This is something the Prosecutor’s Office would be considering.

Lithuania was an active supporter of the 2004-2005 Orange Revolution that brought pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko to power in Ukraine. Although Yushchenko was unconstitutionally brought to power, for Lithuania this was not a problem so long as Kiev had a pro-Western orientation. It is therefore not surprising that in 2014 it again supported reactionary forces in Ukraine. From the beginning of the conflict in Donbass, the eastern region of Ukraine where the majority of the Russian-speaking minority are, Lithuania started to provide official military support to Ukraine with armaments and advisers, and informally by recruiting and sending mercenaries.

As Lithuania has taken a pro-American position since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the country’s leadership has aggressively served Washington’s ambitions of limiting Russian influence and expanding American interests in the post-Soviet space. It is for this reason that Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland created the “Lublin Triangle,” a trilateral platform for these three countries to counter supposed “ongoing Russian aggression” and show their “firm support” for Western institutions. In their joint declaration published online, the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the three countries condemned Russia’s “ongoing aggression” and its “attempted annexation” of Crimea, while welcoming Ukraine’s “European choice.” Effectively the trilateral platform is a pillar for the three countries to enact Washington’s main foreign policy priorities in the region, that they call “Central Europe” instead of Eastern Europe. Claiming that Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine are in Central Europe instead of the geographical reality that they are in Eastern Europe, is an awkward attempt by these countries to disassociate themselves from Western orientalization that the East is primitive and/or backwards.

If Zhvania’s statements that Lithuania’s role in Maidan are confirmed to be true, it would certainly not come as a surprise, but as mentioned, they delegitimize the initial claims that the movement was a struggle for democracy and Western European values in Ukraine. It would also confirm that Lithuania interfered in the internal affairs of another state and participated in an unconstitutional coup. Effectively, if proven true, the supposed values of Western Europe that Maidan struggled for would prove to be a sham as it was not achieved through the will of the people, but rather through foreign funds and weapons, including those from seemingly insignificant states like Lithuania.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Despite the Hype, the US has no Allies against China

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 03.08.2020

Since particularly the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, a sea change in the US policies vis-à-vis China has taken place. Its latest manifestation came on July 23 when the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, delivered what has been called the American “Iron curtain” speech. Pompeo’s “Communist China and the Free World’s Future” speech does provide a significant insight into how the US is trying to establish a ‘new cold war’ global politics whereby it can place itself once again as the leader of the ‘free world’ against China, the so-called epitome of “threat” to America—its unilateral supremacy, its hegemonic domination of the world politics since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and its increasing tilt towards sabotaging multilateral agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal, to extend its own and those of its allies’ supremacy, even if it comes at the expense of peace. Pompeo’s speech does show that the US is projecting China as an ‘evil power’ that needs to be countered. To quote him:

“If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party, whose actions are the primary challenge today in the free world. General Secretary Xi is not destined to tyrannise inside and outside of China forever, unless we allow it. Now, this isn’t about containment. Don’t buy that. It’s about a complex new challenge that we’ve never faced before. The USSR was closed off from the free world. Communist China is already within our borders. So we can’t face this challenge alone. The United Nations, NATO, the G7 countries, the G20, our combined economic, diplomatic, and military power is surely enough to meet this challenge if we direct it clearly and with great courage.”

However, while Pompeo refused to call it “containment”, the ‘new cold war’ strategy is more of a roll back of China from the US and Europe. Simply put, the US is selling the ‘decoupling’ mantra to its allies both in Europe and elsewhere. This is how the US aims to regain the leadership position it has lost in last few years. Accordingly, while ‘decoupling’ from China is important, it is only “America”, which “is perfectly positioned to lead” this endeavour, argued Pompeo.

But the question is: how well is the US’ ‘new cold war’ rhetoric being received? As Pompeo himself said, the US alone cannot achieve this objective. The US allies, however, seem to have an all together different mindset when it comes to defining their relations with China. To the US’ dismay, not many of the allies, even if their relations with China are not typically ‘friendly’, think that following the US in its footsteps is a good idea. Not many of them seem to believe that a ‘new cold war’ is required to first de-couple and then contain China.

This was particularly evident when the Australian foreign minister Marise Payne recently visited the US even as the pandemic is truly raging there. While the minister did say that they have differences with China, Australia, like the US, has a its own position vis-à-vis China. As the minister, standing alongside Pompeo, explained further, their position is far from a potential or even real decoupling. In fact, it is that of engagement. To quote her:

“But most importantly from our perspective, we make our own decisions, our own judgments in the Australian national interest and about upholding our security, our prosperity, and our values. “So we deal with China in the same way. We have a strong economic engagement, other engagement, and it works in the interests of both countries.”

Adding further, the minister said,

“As my prime minister put it recently, the relationship that we have with China is important, and we have no intention of injuring it.”

While the US would have obviously wanted to enlist Australian support to counter China in the Pacific, Europe, too, is not particularly enthusiastic about the US’ ‘new cold war.’ In fact, US-Europe relations are already becoming too fragile to tackle what Pompeo called ‘a new challenge.’

How integral fragility is to the US-Europe relations is evident from the US decision to cut the size of its troops from Germany, a country which is not only no longer on good terms with the US, but also is actively seeking to cultivate China as a reliable economic partner for Europe. Indeed, German and Chinese leadership have established a frequency of contact that even the US does not have with Europe.

Even the UK, despite its on-going tensions with China over Hong Kong and its decision to roll back Chinese 5G, is not in line with US thinking on a grand strategy and a grand alliance versus China. Indeed, when the UK’s foreign secretary recently framed China policy in his July 20 speech to the House of Commons, he emphasised cooperation over confrontation, saying “We want to work with China. There is enormous scope for positive, constructive, engagement. There are wide-ranging opportunities, from increasing trade, to cooperation in tackling climate change.”

The US effort, therefore, to create a new iron curtain is highly unlikely to attract any bidders, ready to jump on the bandwagon, from Europe or elsewhere. Significantly enough, if Europe continues to maintain a calculated distance with the US over its China policies, other US allies, such as Australia, too will feel encouraged to chart an independent course of action.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

PLO: “Israel is Implementing its Annexation Scheme on the Ground Without any Deterrence.”

By Ali Salam | IMEMC | August 3, 2020

European diplomats signed a letter denouncing Israel’s plans to begin construction on the E1 project in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported.

Executive Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) pressured EU officials to act on its words, and force Israel to abandon its plans.

A European Union (EU) representative, with 15 ambassadors, recently submitted a letter in opposition to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, regarding its intention to start building in E1 area, east of occupied Jerusalem.

“We welcome the protest letter… however, we believe that the EU, as well as the governments of these 15 states (including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain) should… deter Israel from persisting on the path of illegality, impunity, and de facto annexation.” Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said.

“While the international community is concerned with the ‘possibility’ of annexation, Israel is implementing its scheme on the ground without any deterrence,” she continued, “This includes the siege and ethnic cleansing of Silwan, Al-‘Isawiya, and Wadi Al-Joz (Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem) by way of home demolitions and systemic violence.”

Dr. Ashrawi pressed that states “must not allow Israel to persist in this cynical ruse. The principle of accountability is undermined and rendered irrelevant when international actors insist on giving Israel a free pass on egregious violations of Palestinian rights and international law.”

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Russia vows to respond ‘reciprocally’ to EU sanctions over ‘politically motivated’ & ‘far fetched’ hacking allegations

RT | July 31, 2020

Russian officials have dismissed as “baseless” restrictions imposed by the European Union on individual Russians and an intelligence unit accused of cybercrimes. Moscow has hinted at a mirrored response to Brussels’ sanctions.

“Obviously, the EU’s hostile action will not be left unanswered. As we know, everything in diplomacy is reciprocal,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On Thursday, the EU blacklisted four Russian individuals and the special technologies unit of Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU, which Brussels accuses of committing cyberattacks. A number of nationals and entities from China and North Korea were hit by sanctions as well.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry rejected the allegations as “baseless” and illegal under international law. Moscow said that the sanctions were enacted “under a far-fetched pretense,” and were strictly politically-motivated.

July 31, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Funding the PA strengthens Israel’s colonial framework

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 29, 2020

Unsurprisingly, Israel’s decision to halt its annexation plans temporarily has been met with a resounding silence from the international community, rather than utilising the interlude to come up with a unified approach that holds Israel accountable for its open colonisation of Palestine.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority persists with its absurd yet dangerous spectacle, professing a purportedly defiant stance while capitulating to international demands regarding the two-state compromise. The EU’s funding of this charade and its willing political actors has simplified the process for two-state diplomacy. Conversely, the Palestinian people will bear the brunt of the consequences of decades-long political failure.

Speaking about the PA’s financial crisis and in turn illustrating its dependence on external financial support, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh insisted that a complete dissolution of ties with Israel was still on the agenda. “We are continuing with a total halt to ties with the occupation,” he declared, “and we will not allow it to blackmail us, and therefore we will not receive the clearance funds from this month.”

With security coordination, once deemed “sacred” by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, regulating every aspect of Palestinian politics and society, the tax revenues collected on the PA’s behalf by Israel are no exception. Israel is insisting on it delivering the funds through such coordination which the PA has halted in retaliation for the forthcoming annexation.

Stepping in to alleviate the PA’s financial deficit, the EU announced a €23 million contribution, allowing Ramallah the ability to pay reduced wages for Palestinian public employees working mostly in the health and education sectors.

If the EU and the PA refrain from misrepresenting the current political crisis as a financial setback, a different picture emerges of a decades-long compromise in which the international community funds the PA to play a role in maintaining the two-state compromise, while protecting Israel in the process. The EU has excelled in this strategy. By distancing Palestinian narratives from politics – the former solely serving the humanitarian enterprise – the EU is under no pressure to alter its stance, even when annexation, or the formalisation of colonial land grab, is imminent. Funding the PA does not create obstacles for Israel’s colonisation process, it actually strengthens Israel’s colonial framework. Furthermore, it creates the illusion of peacebuilding and Palestinian rights within the two-state framework.

The PA, meanwhile, seeks to frame its refusal to accept the tax revenues as an anti-colonial stance, even when its structure is heavily dependent upon the colonial framework. So far, it has not offered a coherent strategy that prioritises Palestinian rights and autonomy; EU funding is precisely about preventing such politics from emerging and the PA is an accommodating puppet. At a time when Palestinians are facing another visible round of internationally-forced displacement, the EU’s priority is to safeguard the PA’s existence. The blind acceptance of the EU’s financial aid for the PA as a pro-Palestinian endeavour needs to be challenged. Any trickle of benefits for Palestinians from EU funding is destroyed swiftly by Israel, while the peacebuilding illusion and the two-state framework provide Israel with the impunity to continue to colonise Palestine. As long as peacebuilding rhetoric exists, Israel remains safe from punitive measures.

July 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Very serious threats’: US reportedly ramps up pressure on Nord Stream 2 contractors

RT | July 26, 2020

The US government has made further attempts to force European firms to ditch the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Welt am Sonntag reported, citing people familiar with talks on the issue.

According to the newspaper, officials from US Department of State, the Treasury Department, as well as the Department of Energy approached European contractors to make sure they fully understand the consequences of staying in the project. Up to a dozen officials reportedly held at least two online conferences with representatives of the firms in recent days.

Speaking in a “friendly” manner, the US side stressed that it wanted to prevent completion of Nord Stream 2, observers of the online talks said. “I believe the threat is very, very serious,” one of them revealed to the German outlet.

Those threats are consistent with comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, in which he warned that companies involved in the project had better “get out now” or risk facing penalties under Section 232 of the notorious Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Apart from Russia’s energy major Gazprom, which is developing the project, five European companies have joined. Those are France’s Engie, Austria’s OMV, the UK-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Wintershall and Germany’s Uniper.

Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, the latter called US attempts to undermine the “important infrastructure project” a clear intervention into European sovereignty.

Earlier this week, the US House of Representatives approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, meant to expand US sanctions on companies involved in installing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. According to one of the sponsors of the bill, the measures can target companies facilitating or providing vessels, insurance, port facilities, or tethering services for those vessels, as well as to those providing certification for Nord Stream 2.

Both European businesses and government officials have repeatedly decried US attempts to meddle in European energy policy by sanctioning Nord Stream 2, with some even calling on Brussels to work on countermeasures.

Moscow has also lambasted Washington’s move, calling it unfair competition. Earlier this week, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will develop a new strategy for completion of the project if Washington proceeds with new punitive measures.

July 26, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 1 Comment

Spanish Politics Jolted by Claims of Government Spying

By Cain Burdeau – Courthouse News – July 14, 2020

Spain was rocked Tuesday by allegations that the government may have hacked a smartphone used by the pro-independence president of the Catalan parliament and spied on him and others during a tense period in the run-up to a politically explosive trial against Catalan leaders.

Allegations that the Spanish state may have used an Israeli company’s hacking spyware to target Roger Torrent, the speaker and president of Catalonia’s regional parliament, were revealed in a joint investigation by the newspapers El País and The Guardian.

The domestic espionage claims open a new chapter in an emotional and epochal fight in Spain over the future of Catalonia and its capital Barcelona. About half of Catalonia’s population wants to secede from Spain. An unauthorized independence referendum in 2017 led to massive protests, police violence, the arrests of Catalan politicians and the criminal conviction of pro-independence leaders last October.

The newspaper reports about the hacking of Torrent’s phone sprang from a wide-ranging probe by digital experts at a Canadian university into allegations that authoritarian governments around the world have abused technology developed by Israeli hacker-for-hire firm NSO Group and taken control of cellphones to spy on dissidents, journalists, lawyers, activists, human rights advocates and opposition politicians. NSO is fighting numerous lawsuits in the United States and elsewhere against it over its spying program called Pegasus.

NSO claims no responsibility for how its Pegasus spyware is used by governments and says it only sells the spyware to governments to help them fight crime and terrorism. The Pegasus program can take control of a phone, its cameras and microphones, and mine the user’s personal data.

Spanish authorities denied any knowledge of the alleged spying on Torrent.

Andrew Dowling, an expert on Spanish politics and history at Cardiff University, said the allegations against Spanish authorities appear solid.

“In one sense it is not that surprising at all,” he said in an email to Courthouse News. It appears, he said, that “sectors of the Spanish security services act autonomously and are not fully subject to democratic control.”

Torrent called on the Spanish state to investigate the claims. He said he was unsure who was behind the hacking but he suspects state actors carried out the surveillance without judicial authority.

“The espionage I have been subjected to violates my right to privacy, the right to secrecy of communications and the right to be able to develop a political project without illegitimate interference,” Torrent said on Tuesday in a statement to media at the Catalan parliament. “It is inappropriate in a democracy that state apparatuses illegally spy on political opponents.”
He charged that the evidence confirms the Spanish state is seeking to use illegal means to squash Catalonia’s drive for independence.

“This is the first time, therefore, that what many of us already knew and have been denouncing for a long time has been conclusively proven: espionage against political opponents is practiced in Spain,” he said.

He said he was told about the alleged hacking by newspaper reporters and that he feared his smartphone’s camera and microphone were remotely turned on to spy on him. He said the Pegasus program allowed hackers to listen to all his conversations on the phone and those that took place while the phone was close at hand. He said conversations he had with politicians, trade union members, economic leaders and international representatives had been put at risk.

“This type of software is intended for use in investigating complex and serious crimes, such as terrorism or drug trafficking,” Torrent said. He said watchdogs, including United Nations Rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye and Amnesty International, have warned that governments in Morocco, Mexico and Saudi Arabia have abused the Pegasus software to spy on opponents.

“Now,” he said, “we know that this practice has also occurred in Spain.”

He said Catalan authorities will “take all political and legal action” to “get to the bottom of the matter.”

The hacking of Torrent’s phone was confirmed by Citizen Lab, a center that researches digital threats, the newspapers reported. Citizen Lab is working with the social media platform WhatsApp to find improper hacking that took place around the world in April and May 2019 by exploiting a previous weakness in WhatsApp. The lab is based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Besides Torrent, a former Catalan parliamentarian, Anna Gabriel, and pro-Catalan activist Jordi Domingo also were hacked, according to the newspapers. Gabriel fled Spain after the Spanish state cracked down on the Catalan independence drive in 2017 and she remains in exile in Switzerland. Other Catalan politicians, most notably former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, also fled Spain to avoid arrest. Puigdemont is a member of the European Parliament and condemned the alleged domestic espionage on Tuesday.

John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, said on Twitter that there is a “troubling sign of a pattern of political hacking in Spain.”

The newspaper reports said WhatsApp believes the hacking took place between April and May 2019 and involved 1,400 of its users around the world. Until now, European governments had not been linked to the hacking attack.

WhatsApp is suing the NSO Group in the U.S. and charges that the Pegasus program was used to hack more than 100 journalists, human rights activists, diplomats and government officials in various countries around the world. The Pegasus program has been linked to surveillance of associates of slain Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Citizen Lab says Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and India have been linked to abusive use of the spyware to target civil society.

Citizen Lab says the software is among the world’s most sophisticated commercial spyware and can be deceptively placed on phones without a user’s knowledge or permission. Once the software infects a phone, hackers can obtain a person’s private data, including passwords, contact lists, calendar events, text messages, and live voice calls, Citizen Lab says. Hackers can also turn on the phone’s camera and microphone to monitor activity in the phone’s vicinity and track someone’s movements through GPS, the group says.

On Monday, NSO won a case in an Israeli court brought by Amnesty International seeking to stop the company from selling its software around the world.

Spanish authorities said they were not behind the hacking of Torrent’s phone.

The newspapers said the National Intelligence Center, Spain’s domestic and foreign intelligence service, issued a statement saying it acts “in full accordance with the legal system” and that its work is overseen by Spain’s Supreme Court.

Socialist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also issued a statement saying his “government has no evidence” that Torrent was hacked, according to the newspapers. The hacking allegations have the potential to sour relations between Sanchez and Catalan politicians upon whose cooperation he depends in the Spanish parliament.

The hacking allegedly took place while Sanchez was prime minister and may erode trust in the Socialist leader’s promises to open dialogue with the Catalan separatists to find a political solution to demands for Catalan independence.

Torrent called on Sanchez to live up to his pledges, he is leading a progressive government in coalition with the far-left Podemos party.

“A government that claims to be the most progressive in history cannot allow such practices to go unpunished,” Torrent said. “We cannot make it normal for there to be prospective wiretaps, to criminalize a peaceful and democratic movement.”

Dowling, the Cardiff University expert, doubted the Spanish state or European Union institutions will investigate the allegations.

“Spain has little tradition of independent investigation into political scandals, however deep,” he said. “The fact that it has had widespread European coverage will be embarrassing but I don’t perceive the EU intervening in what it will consider to be the internal affairs of the Spanish state.”


Courthouse News reporter Cain Burdeau is based in the European Union.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lithuania’s Television Commission Bans Broadcasting of Five RT Channels

Sputnik – 08.07.2020

The Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) has banned the broadcasting of five RT channels in the country, following the example of neighbouring Latvia, commission chairman Mantas Martisius said on Wednesday.

“Yes, we can confirm this. The decision will come into force after being published on the LRTK website,” Martisius said.

The ban is applicable to RT, RT HD, RT Spanish, RT Documentary HD and RT Documentary, and will go into effect on Thursday, LRTK chairman explained.

Last week, Latvia banned the broadcasting of seven RT channels (namely RT, RT HD, RT Arabic, RT Spanish, RT Documentary HD, RT Documentary, RT TV), saying they are all owned by Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency Director-General Dmitry Kiselev, who is under EU sanctions. Notably, Rossiya Segodnya and RT are two different legal entities, RT is not chaired by Kiselev, and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan is not under any EU sanctions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, has slammed Latvia’s decision to ban seven RT channels as a disgraceful and illegal move.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said on Tuesday that the government was mulling the possibility to ban RT broadcasting in the country.

July 8, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

The PA is a willing accomplice in the international subjugation of Palestine

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 7, 2020

From seemingly defiant rhetoric to the expected capitulation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has offered nothing in terms of a unified Palestinian stance against US President Donald Trump’s deal of the century. Going back to a compromised international community, ready to negotiate additional losses for Palestinians which will ultimately fail to prevent Israel’s annexation of their land, is not a counter-proposal, as the PA wishes us to believe. A more honest approach would have been a clear statement that the PA’s role is dependent upon donor funding and hence only capable of delivering upon compromised political agendas.

In a call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, Abbas announced his willingness to restart negotiations based upon UN resolutions and the Middle East Quartet demands. In light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to postpone — not abandon — the annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank, the two-state paradigm will once again be touted as “the only solution”. The reality is that the only solution is to dismantle the Zionist colonial enterprise in its entirety.

While it was expected that Abbas would renege on his rhetorical threats, his approach towards the international community, which also appeases Israel, confirms the political game that pitted the two-state hypothesis against the deal of the century; in other words, the international community against Trump. This was a shallow, despicable manoeuvre that ties Palestinian politics perpetually to international demands, because the PA functions as a security apparatus for Israel and a hierarchy presiding over a symbolically recognised, yet non-existent, state.

With Abbas’s decision, Israel boosts its upper hand. The settler-colonial entity considers itself above international law and, in fact, holds it in contempt. Diplomatic negotiations, therefore, present no obstacle to its annexation plans. It is highly likely that if annexation takes place, the international community will take its time but will, inevitably, normalise the violation of international law, while setting the scene to negotiate a non-existent two-state travesty, this being nothing less than legitimising the deal of the century.

International donors fund the illusion of Palestinian state building; they also fund the PA’s security coordination with Israel because, ultimately, the PA does not relish the possibility of Palestinians rising up against the imposed status quo which elevates its status, albeit only within the parameters decided upon by the international community and Israel. Abbas also knows that stopping security coordination will contribute to a complete collapse of its institutions.

As for international opposition to Israel’s annexation, which is already weak and not intended to seek a confrontation with the Zionist state, a scenario can unfold in which not even the most cosmetic of stances opposing annexation will be followed through. The international community’s diplomacy, after all, is based entirely upon the two-state compromise. Abbas may have no choice indeed, unless he is ready to base his politics upon Palestinian demands, which would trigger a complete change in terms of diplomacy.

However, the PA’s repeated excuse that the Palestinian cause has been marginalised by the international community only tells one part of the story. The PA has supported this marginalisation, but it just prefers not to speak about its role in altering the Palestinian political demands of land and refugees’ legitimate right of return, into a global project supporting Israel’s colonial demands. It is a willing accomplice in the international subjugation of the Palestinians.

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 17 Comments

The Empire Bombed Serbia to Seize Kosovo in 1999

Tales of the American Empire | July 2, 2020

The American Empire faced downsizing in the 1990s after the Warsaw Pact disbanded and Soviets troops withdrew home. American politicians demanded a reduction in military spending and the closure of most military bases in Europe. The solution was to start a war in Europe. Serbia (which was called Yugoslavia before 2006) openly resisted demands to open its economy to western banks and corporations and refused to join the European Union. As a result, Serbia was demonized and targeted for destruction. An ongoing rebellion by some Albanian immigrants in Serbia’s province of Kosovo was chosen as a NATO cause. The American CIA began shipping arms to the Islamic Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and transported hundreds of al Qaeda mercenaries to Kosovo to attack Serbs. This was politically awkward since the KLA was on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist groups. Serbian soldiers were dispatched to their southernmost province to repel these Islamic invaders. This increased the level of violence and Serbia was blamed.

____________________________

“Let Slobbo speak for himself”; (no evidence of serious Serb atrocities); John Laughland; The Spectator ; 2003; http://www.antiwar.com/spectator/spec…

“We Bombed the Wrong Side” in Kosovo; Major General Lewis MacKenzie; The National Post (Canada), Apr. 6, 2004; http://www.ece.ubc.ca/~leonardo/pub/m…

“Destruction of Yugoslavia was an operation planned by the CIA”; Klagemauer TV: Feb. 28, 2016; https://www.kla.tv/7811

“NATO’s Bombing of Yugoslavia Was Textbook State Terrorism”; Marko Marjanovic; Ant-Empire; March 24, 2019; https://www.anti-empire.com/natos-bom…

“Why Does Camp Bondsteel Still Exist”; Carlton Meyer; G2mil; 2011; https://www.g2mil.com/bondsteel.htm

“Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaci, indicted on war crimes charges ahead of planned White House meeting”‘; Michael Birnbaum; Washington Post ; June 24, 2020; https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/…

“Kosovo Indictment Proves Bill Clinton’s Serbian War Atrocities”; Jim Bovard; Libertarian Institute; June 25, 2020; https://libertarianinstitute.org/arti…

July 3, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

American taxpayers’ money funds MKO terrorist group: Iran Foreign Ministry

Press TV – June 28, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has lambasted both Europe and the United States for aiding and abetting the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Iranian ministry said the MKO “is by all means a terror cult,” adding that while European countries are sheltering the terrorist members of this group, the United States is funding their anti-Iran activities.

“Europe is home to this rogue entity & American taxpayers’ money has funded the atrocities of this corrupt grouplet,” it said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry concluded by saying that as a result of their full support for the MKO, Europe and the US “both have [their] hands in the massacre of innocent Iranians” by this terrorist organization.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, had already condemned Western countries for their unbridled support for this terrorist cult, saying the MKO supporters have the blood of thousands of Iranians on their hands.

Mousavi made the remarks in a tweet on Saturday, which marked the 39th anniversary of a deadly attack by the MKO terrorists, which killed scores of Iranian officials, including then head of Supreme Judicial Council Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti.

The MKO has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials since victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks over the past four decades, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.

Washington and the European Union have removed the MKO from their lists of terrorist organizations. The anti-Iran terrorists enjoy freedom of activity in the US and Europe, and even hold meetings with American and EU officials.

June 28, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment