Facebook, Google Outline Unprecedented Mass Censorship at US Senate Hearing – by Andre Damon and World Socialist Web Site

 In this Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, file photo, from left, Facebook's General Counsel Colin Stretch, Twitter's Acting General Counsel Sean Edgett, and Google's Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker, are sworn in for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian election activity and technology, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

The hearing was called to review what technology companies are doing to shut down the communications of oppositional political organizations.

World Bank predicts Russia able to reach global economic growth average rates – By TASS

January 19, 13:44 UTC+3

It is necessary to enhance the efficiency of capital and labor in order to achieve high growth rates

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© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. Russia is able to reach average global economic growth rates of around 2.9%, Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva said in an interview with TASS.

“The World Bank projects a 2.9% global economic growth rate through 2020. I assume this is an attainable goal for Russia,” she said.

According to Georgieva, it is necessary to enhance the efficiency of capital and labor in order to achieve high growth rates.

“Specifically for Russia it means a serious approach to investing in people, in human capital, particularly in the quality of education and labor,” she explained.

 

Digitalization can totally change the structure of the Russian economy, which is already happening, Georgieva added.

Asked how seriously digitalization can change the structure of the Russian economy, she said: “It [digitalization – TASS] can turn it around, and it is already turning it around to be precise.”

More:
http://tass.com/economy/985842

Fake identities, phoney reporting, and the ‘Inside Syria Media Center’ – Alexander Mercouris

Counterpunch exposes what looks like a fake reporting project

 

Two weeks ago, on 5th January 2018, Counterpunch published its follow up investigation to the previous investigation it had carried out into the mysterious personality of “Alice Donovan”, a writer whose pieces both Counterpunch and The Duran had published, and who the Washington Post had  exposed following a tip-off from the FBI to be a fictitious personality, with the FBI alleging that she was a Russian intelligence concoction.

Over the course of its previous investigation of “Alice Donovan” Counterpunch did indeed provide strong grounds for doubting that she is a real person.  Counterpunch also discovered that her “writings” depended heavily on plagiarism of other writers’ work.

In the aftermath of Counterpunch’s article we deleted the “Alice Donovan’s” articles which we had published and I wrote an article for The Duran in which I discussed the affair and Counterpunch’s role in exposing it.

Counterpunch’s original investigation of “Alice Donovan” however also raised questions about a writer who The Duran has also published called Sophie (or Sophia) Mangal, as well as the Inside Syria Media Center, which Sophie Mangal has claimed to work for.

Sophie Mangal is the writer whom “Alice Donovan” has most heavily plagiarised, and the seemingly close connection between Sophie Mangal and “Alice Donovan” led Counterpunch to make further enquiries about her.

At this point I should say that The Duran is very familiar with Sophie Mangal.  Over the two years of our existence she has flooded us with literally scores of submissions, the overwhelming majority of which were about the Syrian war.  All of these submissions took a strongly pro-Syrian government position.

Sophie Mangal’s submissions however tended to be very brief and one dimensional, lacking much in the way of analysis and context.  Accordingly, though we are always willing to consider submissions, in Sophie Mangal’s case we only felt able to publish a few of them.

This however did not seem to deter her in the slightest.  We still continued to receive submissions from her at a prodigious rate.

Unlike “Alice Donovan” Sophie Mangal did however appear to have a genuine personality.

I actually corresponded with her on the subject of the draft constitution the Russian government proposed for Syria, which was discussed some months ago at the Astana talks, and of which the Inside Syria Media Center sent us a copy.  The replies I got were definitely written by a real person.  In the article I subsequently wrote about this draft constitution I acknowledged Sophie Mangal’s help and that of the Inside Syria Media Center’s in writing it.

Counterpunch’s latest investigation has however exposed how threadbare the background of Sophie Mangal’s personality actually is.

It turns out that apart from a mountain of articles, a single photograph (see caption) and a few emails there is no independent trace of her.  Attempts to check facts she has provided about her background have led nowhere.

Moreover it has turned out that just as “Alice Donovan” has been plagiarising articles by Sophie Mangal, so Sophie Mangal has been plagiarising articles by other writers.

Moreover Counterpunch’s enquiries about Sophie Mangal raised serious questions about the reality of yet another writer who also seemed to have some connection to the Inside Syria Media Centre.  This was Anna Jaunger, some of whose articles The Duran has also published.

It turns out that not only was there not much evidence for the actual existence of Anna Jaunger, but plagiarism appeared to be involved in her work as well, and – even more seriously – there was also clear evidence of identity theft, with the photograph “Anna Jaunger” has provided of herself being the stolen photograph of another woman.

Overall Counterpunch’s investigation exposes what looks like a veritable labyrinth of invisible or non-existent writers hiding behind concocted identities and fabricated life stories, with all of this somehow connected to the Inside Syria Media Center, and with the entire project depending heavily on plagiarism to give its mathematically prodigious output at least some appearance of substance.

Counterpunch’s discoveries raise serious questions which require full answers.

I accordingly took down Sophie Mangal’s and Anna Jaunger’s articles which The Duran had published and immediately emailed both Sophie Mangal and Mariam Al-Hijab, the editor in chief of the Inside Syria Media Center, saying that there were serious questions about their work which urgently required answers, and asking them to contact me to explain themselves.

To my astonishment instead of receiving a reply what I got from Sophie Mangal was two new submissions, both on the topic of the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme and both sent via the same email server – mail.com – which Counterpunch had flagged in its investigation.  The second of these submissions came with a brief introductory email which reads as follows

Dear colleague, this is the special investigative correspondent, Sophie Mangal.
I submit here my new article in English and kindly request that you look into the possibility of publishing it on your website.

The first submission did not come with any message.

Further requests sent to Sophie Mangal since we received these submissions have gone unanswered.  I now believe that Sophie Mangal’s emails attaching her two latest submissions were machine generated, and were triggered automatically by the emails I had sent her.  Presumably following the exposure the device which generated these emails has been turned off.

 

In other words I now think that there is no longer any actual person at the other end of the email address which we have used in the past to correspond with Sophie Mangal.

If I am wrong about this, then I invite Sophie Mangal and Mariam Al-Hijab to contact me in order to explain themselves and to put me right.  However I now inform them in advance that should they do so I will consider myself duty bound to share whatever explanation and information they give me with other concerned websites, including of course Counterpunch.

Assuming that I don’t hear from Sophie Mangal and Mariam Al-Hijab – as I expect – what conclusions can be drawn from this strange affair?

Firstly, it is clear that some sort of organisation is involved, and that someone has gone to some trouble to set up what increasingly looks like a media centre with dummy reporters to spread stories about the Syrian war.

I say this because based on Counterpunch’s investigation the “Inside Syria Media Center” despite having a live website has something of the appearance of a phantom, much as Sophie Mangal now does.

At this point it is important to say that a distinction must be made between a concocted and completely fictitious identity and a genuine writer who writes under a pseudonym.  “Alice Donovan” and probably “Anna Jaunger” look to be the former not the latter, and one should not confuse the two.

Secondly, though this project has generated a massive amount of raw output in the two or so years of its existence, it has remarkably little to show for the resources which have been put into it.

Some articles have been published on some sites – including unfortunately ours – but they have added precisely nothing to the overall debate, and there is not a scintilla of evidence that they have swayed anyone.  All that they have done is badly duplicate the work of actual writers, some of whom they have plagiarised.

I am not going to venture a guess as to who is behind this project, save to say (1) that if it is an intelligence agency then its crudeness argues strongly against it being the intelligence agency of any of the major powers; and (2) all the indications are this project has its origins in the Middle East.

As to the FBI’s theory that Russian intelligence is behind “Alice Donovan”, not only have I seen no evidence for this, but the sheer crudeness of this project to my mind all but rules that idea out.

Putting aside that there is no obvious motive for Russian intelligence to set up a project of this kind, its botched implementation makes it inconceivable to me that the Russians could have been involved in it.

I appreciate when I say this that I may be attributing to Russian intelligence more sophistication and intelligence than it actually has.

However everything that I have heard about Russian intelligence suggests that it is very sophisticated and intelligent indeed, which makes it impossible for me to believe that it could have been involved in a crude and amateurish project like this.

That is all that I feel that it is possible to say about this strange affair.  Moreover despite Counterpunch’s painstaking and thorough efforts I doubt that we will now ever learn the full truth.  Whoever is behind this project now knows they have been exposed and will take whatever precautions they can in order to conceal themselves.

In the meantime Counterpunch deserves everyone’s thanks for exposing this troubling and frankly ugly sham.

In the present heated atmosphere distinguishing fact from fiction in today’s news is becoming difficult enough.  If this affair shows anything it is that we now also need to be on our guard about some of the purported messengers of that news.

Cynics will no doubt rightly say that it was ever thus.  Still it is good to be reminded of it from time to time, and we at The Duran certainly will try to learn this lesson.  In the meantime we can only apologise to our readers for letting ourselves be gulled in the way that we were.

We also express our thanks to Counterpunch for putting us right, and for all the hard work they have done in exposing this ugly sham.

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Russian Evening News Exposes Monsanto’s Evil Methods (Video) – By Leo Standish ( Russia Insider )

Russian Evening News Exposes Monsanto’s Evil Methods (Video)

“The Kiev government also plans to sell 10.5 million hectares of land to foreign companies, which is 1/9 of Europe’s arable land. It is possible that a lion’s share will go to Monsanto.”

MORE: Business

The EU has just extended a contract with Monsanto for five more years despite the history of problems caused by their pesticides. This decision was carried out against the will of the people . 

In the following clip (with text below) Russia’s top news anchor tears into both Monsanto and the corrupt politicians who collaboratively awarded them major agricultural contracts impacting the majority of Europe. The correspondent then shows us the tragic human cost of Monsanto’s deadly products.


Transcript:

Anchor:

It’s a colossal corruption scandal, which the European Union prefers be hushed up. Probably, for corruption reasons as well.

On Monday, an EU ad hoc appeal committee voted to extend the license allowing farmers to use a fertilizer called glyphosate. The current license expires on December 15.

Glyphosate is a common defoliant to eliminate weeds. It’s produced by the giant transnational corporation Monsanto. Monsanto has a bad reputation. It was this company that produced the military defoliant chemical Agent Orange, used by the Americans during the Vietnam War to find Vietcong guerrillas hiding in the jungle.

It was this company that produced the currently prohibited agricultural poison DDT. Some want glyphosate to be banned, too, since it is practically not excreted from the human body, but is accumulated, and, according to a timid assessment by the World Health Organization, is “a possible carcinogen,” that is, causes cancer.

The forces of glyphosate’s supporters and opponents, however, are not equal. In Europe alone, Monsanto spends about 1.5 billion euros a year on its lobbying projects. This is an open figure. Certainly, there is also a classified one.

In the US, the list of official lobbyists of the powerful company includes prominent senators and statespeople. Even Hillary Clinton doesn’t hide that she is connected with Monsanto and promotes the corporation’s interests.

Bill Gates invested tens of millions of dollars in Monsanto. He’s notorious for his obsession with reducing the world’s population. Take, for instance, his project to use ultrasound to stop the production of sperm in male testicles.

However, let’s return to the vote in the European Commission to extend the license for glyphosate on the continent. According to the rules, a decision is passed if at least 16 EU countries with a total population of 65% of the entire EU population – the so-called demographic majority- votes for it.

Let’s count. 18 countries voted “for”. Here everything is okay. Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the UK. Portugal abstained. But, according to the rules, abstainers are coupled with those who are “for”.

So, the total population of these 19 countries is just slightly more than 65% of the total population of the European Union. To be more precise, it’s 65.71%. Everything seems transparent. But there’s one little thing. No demographic majority would have been achieved without Germany. Germany was represented by a man with a very honest face, the Minister of Agriculture, Christian Schmidt.

But until recently Germany has always been against glyphosate. And this is how Schmidt should vote. But Schmidt voted for glyphosate. Has Germany changed its stance at the last second? No. It’s simply because Schmidt personally decided so.

Chancellor Merkel was quietly enraged by this. The vote was not in accordance with the instructions of the federal government, and such behavior on the part of Minister Schmidt does not comply with the norms.

Chancellor Merkel:

“That’s all, she scolded him. Now journalists in Berlin are talking about Schmidt’s dismissal, but they are journalists. No one is really going to dismiss Schmidt.”

Resignation is impossible now, as all ministers are currently acting, and there is no new government coalition in Germany so far. A scandal has already broken out, and then there’s some Schmidt on top of it. But this is how things are done in Europe.

OK, he did so, and Europe will be etched for another five years. OK, they hushed it up for clarity. Anastasia Popova is reporting from Europe about how things are done over there.

Correspondent:

Theo, 10, is fond of reading books about knights, where good conquers evil.

For him, the same battle was a two-year debate to ban glyphosate in Europe, a poison for plants, which made him disabled while he was still in the womb.

Sabine Grattalou, Theo’s mother:

“When I used this product in the stables, I was 3 weeks pregnant. It was the very beginning of pregnancy, I did not know about it yet. But embryos’ organs are being formed during this period, esophagus and trachea.”

Correspondent:

They were told that glyphosate is safe and fully dissolves in the soil. These commercials were broadcast on all French TV channels. It predetermined the choice of the parents. When the boy was born, he could not speak at all before the age of 3. To date, he has undergone 52 operations. But the doctors could restore neither his health nor his voice.

Theo Grattalou:

“Do not believe the commercials because Monsanto has made a false video claiming that it is a bio-product, that it decomposes, that it is safe for human health. At first, I was surprised at the vote, and then I became angry. Especially, because of Germany. The Minister of Agriculture made a personal decision which concerns the entire country.”

Correspondent:

Christian Schmidt surprised everyone when he broke ranks with Angela Merkel and the federal government, saying “yes” to the license. His vote allowed it to clear the threshold of 65%.

He faces early retirement at home for his actions. The chancellor herself criticizes him publicly, but there is an interesting nuance. Last year, the German enterprise Bayer decided to buy Monsanto for $66 billion.

Marie-Monique Robin, journalist:

“Their goal is to control the world’s entire food chain from the farmer’s field to the consumer’s table. Should this deal be approved by the EU, we’ll get an industrial monster, they will control everything: seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, but also all medicines that will treat people, sick from these chemicals.”

Correspondent:

The journalist says that the US is experiencing a surge in intestinal diseases, autism, diabetes, and cancer. The molecules of glyphosate are the reason for it.

A similar situation exists in Argentina and Sri Lanka.

Film frames:

“In Denmark, pigs that ate soy with the weedkiller became infertile or they had miscarriages. Piglets were born with deformities. This piglet was born yesterday, with deformities. He has exencephaly. There’s no upper part. There’s no skull, the brain is exposed. Fortunately, he was born dead. With the increased level of glyphosate, there have been more piglets like this.”

Correspondent:

Two French farmers filed a lawsuit against Monsanto. One of them has already won the trial. Both have cancer, caused by glyphosate fumes.

It’s a rather minor trouble for a company whose profits last year amounted to $ 13.5 billion. A suspended license in the EU would be far more painful. However, Monsanto not only invests in paid research, but also lashes out on the lobby.

In Brussels alone, they spend about half a million euros per year on this. Despite the petition and the appeals of the European Parliament, 8 countries voted to allow glyphosate, one country abstained, only 9 voted against it, including France.

Macron promises to find alternatives to Roundup within 3 years, but, economically, the French farmers are not ready yet to give it up right away.

Henri Jasse, farmer:

“We mainly use this product after harvesting to cleanse the land. Sometimes before sowing, when we prepare the ground and burn the weeds. We spray it, and in 5-6 days we can sow.”

Correspondent:

It’s cheap and quick, which is often the determining factor for farmers. Not everybody can afford another way of farming by alternating crops and growing bio.

Henri Jasse, farmer:

“If you use a lot of Roundup and glyphosate, it’ll affect the plants. It won’t remain in the soil, but it will backfire on us through the food we eat. But people still keep using it. It’s just practical. It’s like McDonald’s, we know that it’s harmful, but we still go there.”

Correspondent:

Founded more than a hundred years ago in the USA, Monsanto produced Agent Orange which Americans used in the Vietnam War to burn all the plants, which resulted in 3 million people affected by dioxin and crippled children. Monsanto developed DDT, dubbed chemical AIDS. It’s genetically modified seeds that change the biochemistry of the body. They are still banned in the EU, but it is already possible to buy GMOs for animal feed. It is produced in North, South America, Asia, and Africa. There are Monsanto offices in 66 countries around the world.

A whole plant for the production of GMO seeds has been built in Pochuyki, Ukraine.

A Ukrainian farmer:

“It’s not very good for me, soon I’ll have to sell my house and flee. The youth voted for this plant to produce seeds and poisons, maybe they were bribed?”

Correspondent:

The Kiev government also plans to sell 10.5 million hectares of land to foreign companies, which is 1/9 of Europe’s arable land. It is possible that a lion’s share will go to Monsanto. It already chose 10 fields for genetic testing on plants. It’s planning to seize control of the whole market. Ukraine ranks third in the world for the export of corn, and fifth for the export of wheat. The association agreement with the EU will allow it to eventually introduce these products to the European market.

   


Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons.


Hold Your Applause for Trump Selling Snake Oil – By Phil Butler

Author: Phil Butler

 

 

T453564121

When Donald J. Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the race for the U.S. presidency in 2016, about a billion-people pegged their hopes on the billionaire developer’s promises. Now, a little more than a year into his presidency, and those vested hopes have evaporated. The only “genuine” good news where Trump is concerned, comes with the relief Hillary Clinton is not madam president. But the question now arises; “Did Clinton and the globalists really lose?”

As one of the analysts and journalists who’s attempted to moderate the so-called “fake news” aimed at all opponents of the liberal world order, I somehow figured Donald Trump would do what he said he would – and maybe even make America great again to boot. My first doubts came when the new president almost immediately stepped on Native Americans with his final approval of the Dakota pipeline. This easement for the energy industry angered both Native Americans protesters and climate change activists, but Trump and “his” America seemed to care less. An update from last month on Trump’s brilliant move reveals a preliminary report on suggesting the Keystone pipeline had the earmarks of an environmental disaster early on. In December of 2017 news reports came out suggesting construction goofs from 10 years ago may have led to the leak of 210,000 gallons of crude oil in a prairie grass field near the South Dakota-North Dakota border in November.

Since I’d supported Trump on the weight of his “Drain the Swamp” campaign promises, the sacrifices of a few indigenous people’s of America seemed to me a small price to pay for a rejuvenation of the American Way, and all. Then Trump pressed the cruise-missile button from his golf cart to send fifty-nine Tomahawks to strike an airbase in Syria. “Opps! Neocon/Liberal World Order against Russia back on,” I thought to myself. But it took Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, wild eyed Vietnam revisionist and National Security Adviser HR McMaster, and United Nations token US political bimbo Nikki Haley all defended the move in chorus. It was at this moment I really started to worry.

The months rolled on. Hillary Clinton and the swamp things that helped ruin the United States of America in the first place – they went nowhere! Instead of cleaning up like he said he would, Trump became the ring leader of a dog and pony show America gobbled up every day. CNN took the role of evil news channel, the vagina hat wearing Hillary fanatics mutated into Oprah for President campaign workers. And the “swamp” got bigger and a lot more murky, instead of the little Golden Pond MAGA fans envisioned. Trump became, for all intents and purposes, the buffoon to distract the audience in the three-ring-circus that is our leadership. The old “good-cop, bad, cop” routine wafted first under, then far above the big top. I got the nagging feeling we’d all been had, and that those pictures of the Clintons being chummy with Trump were more significant than we’d thought. Russia became more of an enemy than during the Obama administration. I now thing to myself; “How is that even possible?”

Next came the moronic Tweets concerning climate change. Even before Trump ditched the Paris Summit, Trump sidled up with the energy lobby in proclaiming invalid the whole of global warming science. His next moves were clearly designed to free up US corporations for reverting to 1970s misdeeds. Trump even resorted to citing Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal in his Tweeting rampages about indestructible Earth. This Tweet convinced me our new president is either a dumbass or just crazy:

“In the 1920’s people were worried about global cooling–it never happened. Now it’s global warming. Give me a break!”

I’ll not launch into a tirade here over “unlimited Earth theorists”, but predators like Donald Trump are the reason the oceans are heating up. Like Barack Obama before him (for those who remember) this president betrayed humanity just like Barack did in Copenhagen. Obama’s late fake out to side with environmentalists was for his legacy and his role in “good-cop, bad-cop”, but now it’s Trump’s turn. With a hundred Washington investigations supposedly going on – what do you want to bet nobody ever goes to jail over RussiaGate, the Podesta mess, the DNC, or any of the revelations we’ve seen?

Now the first straw that broke this hopeful American’s belief in ANYBODY EVER doing right from Washington, it fell the day Trump proclaimed Jerusalem capital of Isreal! Then UN Bimbolina Haley chimed in threatening the world, and Bibi Netanyahu smiled like a well-fed hog. Then I read Veterans Today Senior Editor, Gordon Duff’s scathing piece on Trump. In his most recent “Intel Drop”, Duff reminded me of Trump’s mob connections, and of the lunatic wannabe playboy we knew about decades ago. On reading this I thought; “How could you have forgotten what an asshole this guy always was?” Indeed, how could any of us forget narcissist, arrogant, loose cannot billionaire idiots? But then my childlike vision of new white picket fences for all Americans got even more glum when I read the news the bloodsuckers at BlackRock hit a record $6 trillion assets, helped by the spanking new Trump tax law. How could we be so stupid? Can’t anybody put 2+2 together anymore? The winner in these tax cuts is not middle America folks, it’s the bankers that loan money to the Federal Reserve! Get it? Sure, the middle class family gets a short break, but then when Uncle Trump needs more cash to help Israel kill more Arabs, where does it come from? I’ll let you do the math there, but Blackrock’s boss Larry Fink was the odds-on favorite to be Hillary’s treasury secretary, and now he cleans up… I leave you with a shorter definition for what we are witnessing in Washington, a definition of a Dog and pony show (see also: medicine show):

“A colloquial term that has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway or convince opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends.”

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
https://journal-neo.org/2018/01/17/hold-your-applause-for-trump-selling-snake-oil/

‘Made in America’: El Salvador’s mass graves are the worst “shitholes” – By Roberto Lovato (Latino Rebels)

Victims of the El Mozote Massacre

© Magnum Photos/CC
Victims of the El Mozote Massacre

My journalist’s hiking boots still have leftover feces and dirt from the ultimate shitholes of El Salvador: its mass graves. Many of the thousands of graves that my sources there have mapped were dug by U.S.-trained and funded security forces in the 80s. Most of the rest were dug more recently by L.A.based-gangs steadily deported to El Salvador by U.S. immigration authorities since the 90s.

President Trump’s characterization of Africa, Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes” disturbed me, but I wasn’t sure why. The comments were made during a discussion about the temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran, Haitian and other immigrants Trump had just rescinded. In search for an answer, I went home and pulled out and studied my boots , which were tattered after too many visits to mass graves, mass graves with the remains of Salvadorans-in El Salvador, in Mexico and in the deserts of south Texas. Wearing my hiking boots during visits to numerous sites along this chain of devalued life led me to the conclusion that mass graves were the ultimate shitholes.

What made me most uncomfortable was less about Mr. Trump’s choice of word than how he used it: he mistook the shithole part for the whole country. Trump’s rhetorical fallacy feels like a cover-up, a distraction from the fact that El Salvador’s mass graves contain fingerprints and other evidence that point to the United States as an accomplice to the mass murder and violence that created them. Viewed from this perspective, Trump’s “shithole” comment said in words what all US presidents have said with their policies towards countries like Haiti and El Salvador.

Consider, for example, the Salvadoran case of El Mozote, the site of the massacre of almost a thousand peasants, a crime whose irresolution still haunts many. Some 37 years after the mass massacre, forensic evidence from mass graves proved that 553 of those victims were children, many of them under six years old.

Protest against US involvement in the Salvadoran Civil War in Chicago, Illinois, in March 1989

© Linda Hess Miller/ Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Protest against US involvement in the Salvadoran Civil War in Chicago, Illinois, in March 1989

El Mozote is the best documented of El Salvador’s thousands of mass graves, many of which remain unexcavated. Forensic experts with El Salvador’s Institute for Legal Medicine and the world renown Argentine forensic team told me that their evidence -bones, shoe marks, hair samples, bullet shells- of the mass killing at El Mozote pointed to elite Salvadoran soldiers trained in places like Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, Georgia, formerly known as the notorious “School of the Americas.” Evidence from recent Salvadoran and international court cases corroborates this. The boots, bullets, weapons, helicopters and uniforms used during the massacre were all Made in the U.S.A. And the evidence trail isn’t limited to El Mozote.

A United Nations Truth Commission established by agreement between the Salvadoran government and the FMLN guerrillas at the end of the civil war in 1992 concluded that U.S. trained security forces had perpetrated 85% of the killings of innocents during the war that left over 75,000 dead. Most of the perpetrators remain free. The forensic evidence left by El Salvador’s US-trained and funded military is undeniable at El Mozote, in the murder of El Salvador’s only saint, Monseñor Romero, in the case of the 4 Maryknoll nuns raped and killed in 1980, just as it is in the cases of the tens of thousands of other, lesser-known slaughtered innocents.

The war-era mass graves I visited around an area called Panchimalco are located right next to the more recent mass graves dug by gangs in the area. Like the weapons and training used by the Salvadoran military, the gangs themselves were also born in the United States, specifically Los Angeles’ Pico Union neighborhood. I remember because I was there in the early 90s, when police of the Rampart police division -the site of the worst police scandal in U.S. history- started pushing the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs to escalate the warfare between them. The Rampart division’s well-documented tactics -planting guns for false arrests, taking a young man in gang from one neighborhood into the hostile territory of rival gangs, shooting and even killing gang members and make it seem like rival gangs did it- did much to foment violence among the gangs.

Most damaging for El Salvador and its shitholes was the way LAPD then broke sanctuary laws designed to protect people fleeing extreme violence and other disasters from deportation. In the early 90s, the LAPD and INS began the fatal practice of handing the young gang members over to the then Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for deportation. In the process, these agents of US policy helped create a gang culture in a country with no history of U.S.-style gangs and gang warfare. These gangs have since gone on to fill the mass graves that mark El Salvador as one of the most violent countries on earth.

In immigration terms, the shithole is a distraction. Calling the countries shitholes, but also designating them as counties ready to both receive hundreds of thousands of deportees and lose billions of dollars sent home by them is also a logical -and tragic- fallacy, another policy failure. But if the President is going to use such language, he should back up his words with policy that recognizes U.S. responsibility for the foreign war and immigration policies that create catastrophes. In other words, I would prefer Trump walk the shithole talk-and can give him the hiking boots to do it with.

Comment: See: Senators Cotton and Perdue: “Trump didn’t say shithole”For more on the supposed Trump comment and it’s relevance to the state of world affairs, check out SOTT radio’s: The Truth Perspective: Left by the Wayside on a Right-hand Turn: What Happened to SOTT.net?

See Also:

 

How Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Google silence and crush dissent – By Joanne Nova

Stomped

© Police State USA

Insidious is the word

Even if you don’t use Twitter or Facebook, you need to know this. If you disagree with big-government intrusion and rampant corruption, these dirty tricks are working against you, though you may never have sent one tweet or opened a facebook account. They’re stopping the thousands who agree with you from meeting, organising, helping each other, and generally clawing back power from the deep state. We’ve known about Google bias for years, but there are so many other ways to suppress a good idea. Twitter employee admits they target conservatives, and shadowban them:

Daniel Greenfield:

How do you know you’ve been shadowbanned? You may be tweeting, but you’re no longer being heard. You wonder if maybe people just aren’t interested in what you have to say.

But they might be interested. Twitter just isn’t interested in letting them read your messages.

Shadowbanning is the censorship that social media companies do in the shadows. It’s cowardly and dishonest. And it’s how the big firms get away with covertly censoring conservatives.

“The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting and no one sees their content,” Abhinav Vadrevu, a former Twitter employee, explains in Project Veritas’ undercover investigation of the company.

“They just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.”

Twitter employees are so closeted (and selected) they have no idea that real people may even be patriots who talk about guns, flags, or the cross. Algorithms pick up these words, and “delete accounts that twitter employees think are bots. ” Some Social Justice Warriors (SJW’s) may never have met an outspoken patriot.

Conservatives Are Being Destroyed by Facebook, Twitter and Google Without Even Realizing It,

By John Hawkins:

Today, as you read this, my website Right Wing News is shutting down operations. It has been around since 2001, but became massive a few years ago because of Facebook. …

In July of 2015, in just a week, the Right Wing News Facebook page reached 133 million people. Because conservatives were sharing content they were interested in, little ol’ Right Wing News … was driving the same amount of web traffic as some of the biggest newspapers in America.

Facebook bleeds groups dry slowly:

..what Facebook giveth, Facebook can take away.

…Facebook systematically, methodically reduced the reach of all its pages with each algorithm change. By then, most of us understood where it was going long-term. If Facebook killed every conservative page overnight, there would be a huge outcry. On the other hand, if Facebook slowly strangled us to death, we’d fade away and would people even notice? …

As someone who has been working for a living in this business since 2005, let me drop a little truth bomb on you. We are now in a very oversaturated, corporation-dominated media environment. If you don’t already have a legacy website that captured traffic years ago and held onto it, huge traffic you can bring in from elsewhere, or millions of dollars to spend, your chances of getting a political website off the ground today are infinitesimal. …

Except Facebook has for all intents and purposes announced that it’s killing off pages. So much for having a conservative voice there.

Youtube is demonetizing conservatives and libertarians:

Dennis Prager’s PragerU is suing YouTube for exactly that reason. Just to give you an example of the sort of content YouTube thinks is over-the-line, here are some of the videos it demonetized: Why America Must Lead, The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder, Why Did America Fight the Korean War, and The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.

Of course, YouTube would claim that it’s not censoring the videos because it didn’t take them down. However, people are not going to spend large amounts of time and money putting together high-production-value videos if they’re not going to be allowed to make money on those videos because of their political beliefs. …

These giant monopolies are staffed and owned by people who really do despise you:

Many of these companies effectively became monopolies because they worked hard to serve ALL of their users. Now that they completely dominate their spaces in the marketplace, their liberal political views are impacting their services. As Robert Conquest once said, “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing” and that is a much bigger threat than most conservatives realize. …

We’ve already lost the schools, Hollywood and the mainstream media. What happens when you can’t get out conservative opinion via social media because they block, shadow ban and demonetize everyone who gets any traction? What happens if they put rules in place that essentially make expressing conservative opinions something that gets you kicked off their service? You’re pro-gun? Sorry, not allowed. You don’t like gay marriage? Get out of here. Criticizing Black Lives Matter? Out of bounds! We can hope for the best, but that seems like the future we’re headed toward and it’s one that will leave conservatism weaker than ever.

Fight back, spread the word. First we make sure everyone knows. Then we find alternatives and take back the schools, the movies, and grow the alt-media. Despite all this concerted, organised, dirty-work, Trump still won, over half the population in western nations are skeptical, and the extreme left have parked themselves far out on bizarre, indefensible ideas. Windmills won’t hold back the tide, and almost no one believes they will. The bubble will pop, it’s fragile, which is why the deluded and rent-seeking are working so hard to stop the sensible masses from even talking to each other.

They are ripe for the mocking, and we still have free speech.

h/t David E

Shadowbanned through their own home P.C.,
In ways that the user can’t see,
With communication denied,
To sympathizers worldwide,
On the whim of the Left or Leftie.

-Ruairi

* * *

PS: I’m a slack slack tweeter (four months between messages). I don’t think my tweets are being blocked. If you “follow me” @JoanneNova, can you check now, and find a way to let me know if you can’t see the tweet today in your account? Thanks.

INTO THE BLAST FURNACE: THE WAR AGAINST IDLIB’S TERRORISTS AND THE KURDISH DILEMMA – By Ziad Fadel

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All eyes are on Idlib today and the American fall-back position in the northeast.  The Syrian government’s strategy of making truces with terrorists and offering them safe passage to Idlib where they were heaped up has paid dividends.  What is amazing is that so many of the terrorist commanders could not see this coming.  Today, even with Turkish collusion, terrorist jihadists are bracing for their apocalypse.  As terrorist propagandists describe it, “it’s the most violent air campaign we have ever seen in Syria!”  Gee.  Surprise!  That they could not imagine this happening is a good sign of the enemy’s naivete.  It was obvious to all my readers that this was going to happen.

Turkey is conflicted about this largely Syrian-Russian-Iranian stratagem.  While valuing their relationship with Russia and Iran, the Turks are unwilling to break away from their Assado-phobia.  It might be that they feel a sense of shame for promoting the war so openly, but, now seeing no path out but to cling to the tired mantras that have justified their own involvement in the dissemination of terror throughout the Fertile Crescent, they persist in prolonging the war against Damascus  The Turks and their foreign policy are adrift in a sea of contradictions.

Erdoghan is reportedly enraged by the Zionist moves on Jerusalem inspired by Trump’s lunacy.

Erdoghan is reportedly enraged by the U.S.A.’s unwillingness to extradite Fethullah Gulen to Turkey to face charges of seditiion and treason – not to mention his involvement in an attempt to overthrow the government in Ankara.

Erdoghan is enraged by the U.S.A.’s support for the Kurdish SDF, a group the Turks equate with the PKK with whom they have fought an endless insurgency which aims to establish a Kurdish state in Turkey.  He has punished the U.S. and NATO by purchasing an S-400 anti-aircraft system from Russia.

Erdoghan is enraged by Saudi Arabia’s efforts to chastise Qatar for its cuddling up to Iran.  He has sent troops to Qatar to help defend that nation if KSA decides to repeat another blunder on its own borders.

Erdoghan is enraged by KSA’s and Egypt’s hostility to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group it is said to which Erdoghan either belongs or is supporting wholeheartedly.  He is even more enraged by Egypt’s mistreatment of Hamas officials and troops – Cairo’s efforts to blunt Hamas’s military capabilities – destroying tunnels, seizing weapons and killing fishermen.  Hamas is, of course, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Erdoghan is miffed at everybody.  He’s even enraged by Dr. Assad’s durability.

Erdoghan has also expressed rage at the massive military operation aimed at exterminating the entire structure of Alqaeda in Idlib.  He has railed against the Syrian Air Force’s bombardment of Alqaeda bases, labeling the air attacks as “murder of civilians”.  It has been reported that the Turkish military gave aid to Alqaeda terrorists in their counter-offensive to halt the Syrian Army’s advance on the Abu Dhuhoor Air Base.  That advance has recommenced and the SAA has recaptured all villages lost to the terrorist/Turk counter-attack.

Well, that’s just too bad.  And it makes no sense for him to involve his country in a losing effort to keep the terrorist groups in Idlib on life support while cutting his ties to the Americans and Europeans.  I don’t know what Macron is thinking now, but it must be something along the lines of cursing the world for imposing crackpot Trump and even loonier Erdoghan upon what should have been a more rational world. Erdoghan doesn’t sense it, but, his options lessen with each gambit he makes.  He has now threatened to invade northeastern Syria to tamp down the moves toward solidifying the American plan to establish a state for the Kurds (remember my post on that subject). If he does do that, he will be ordering his forces to fire on a fellow NATO member, the United States, which has over 10,000 troops on the ground helping the Kurds to set up the requirements of statehood.  A mess is in the making.  Whenever the United States develops  very clever plans, you can already figure its going to get mired in a new overseas war.

I have received information that the plan to establish a Kurdish rump state in the northeast was initially suggested by the Zionist entity.  According to my source, Mossad developed the plan on orders from Mileikowski (a/k/a Netanyahu) to give the Americans a fighting chance at blunting the rapid proliferation of Iranian influence in the region.  We now know, that the new Kurdistan in the north and the endless training in the south at Al-Tanf are meant to squeeze any efforts by Iran to project its economic power by extending a natural gas pipeline across Syria to the Mediterranean and its military power by roadways across Iraq and Syria to South Lebanon, Hizbollah’s home territory.

There can be no more screw-brained a plan than this one.  And if the U.S. is counting on Turkey to keep up its end by continually aiding and abetting the terrorists of Hay’`at Ahraar Al-Shaam (read: Alqaeda), it appears that kind of expectation is the stuff of delusion. The Turks are increasingly moving away from NATO and have little respect for the United States, as I wrote earlier.  They have, since 2015, closed their borders to Syrians coming from Idlib.  They have tightened controls over supplies to the Alqaeda terrorists.  The one thing they have not done completely is block smugglers from delivering much-needed material to the thugs who populate Idlib.  This is how the terrorists were able to manufacture the drones that attacked the Russian base at Humaymeem.  The state which gave them the basic design is clearly the Zionist Settler State.

Russia quickly retaliated against the terrorists by striking their factory and killing most of those who were responsible for the manufacture and design of the drones.  The intelligence they received identifying the location of the factory was, reportedly, from Turkey.  And Russian vengeance was most sweet.

Syrian Air Force bombing of Idlib is intensifying exponentially, as the terrorist propagandists admit.  The Syrian Air Force has been 100% revamped and modernized.  The army is much stronger.  Even with the American-made TOW anti-tank system, the terrorists have no chance because Syrian engineers developed the Saraab 1 and 2 which have effectively neutralized the efficacity of the TOWs.  With no new technology to help them, the terrorists are simply flipping their hour glasses until the final moments.

Saudi Arabia has ceased all funding to the Alqaeda led by Muhaysini.  There are no smugglers with briefcases full of money to pay salaries to the terrorists whose families have now become sorrowful characters in a Greek tragedy eerily unfolding every day.  With a Europe unwilling to accept them, the smuggling business is seeing a brisk upturn as families spend every item of jewelry on a passage to Greece and, hopefully, to Europe. I cannot envision a scenario more deprived of hope than what these wretches are facing.  It is only a matter of time.

The Americans have given the PKK MANPADs.  That’s going to make Erdoghan real happy.  There is already talk that the Turkish offensive at Afrin will begin today, Wednesday, January 17, 2018.  I hope the Kurds and the Turks blow each other up.  I pray for a bloody encounter that will teach the Turks about supporting terrorism and the Kurds about overreaching and treason.

In the meantime, another drama is taking place in the Eastern Ghouta.  The Army of Islam is still receiving its salaries from KSA.  But, as I understand it, the Saudis have given the ‘Alloosh brothers a limit.  They have been told to negotiate at Geneva or Sochi or get left out.  Don’t believe the nonsense spewed out by fake-news organizations about how popular the terrorists are in the Ghouta.  They are not popular.  They are only tolerated by a population of drudges. The decision has been made to beat the terrorists into the ground with air power.  Watch carefully the position taken by ‘Alloosh at Sochi – we predict a sudden abandonment of entrenched positions and an acceptance of Dr. Assad’s leadership.  They have no other choice.  And so little time.  ZAF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

___________________________________________
NEWS AND COMMENT:
Petri Krohn shares this with us. The premise is simple, FSA = Alqaeda. Share with friends:

https://www.libertarianinstitute.org/foreign-policy/no-fsa-al-qaeda/https://www.libertarianinstitute.org/foreign-policy/no-fsa-al-qaeda/

Chris sends this article explaining why imbecile Trump reneged on his promise to leave Afghanistan when in office.  This article pushes the thesis that the U.S. is terrified of the Chinese-led Belt Road project.  Just as afraid of Iran’s natural gas pipeline.  And you wonder why North Korea will not give up its nuclear arsenal!

https://journal-neo.org/2018/01/12/is-trump-afghan-policy-aimed-at-taliban-or-at-china/

Praise the Lord! Freedom House Says Trump “Abdicating” US Role as Worldwide Democracy Promoter – By Harrison Koehli (Sott.net )

Trump thumbup

© CNN

The orange-faced duck-haired God-Emperor of the United States doesn’t get much good press. In fact, even his good press tends to be bad press, except when it’s coming from places like Breitbart and Fox. But sometimes even the most ’eminent’ and ‘respectable’ sources can’t help but pay Trump an unintentional compliment. The neocon-infested, U.S.-government-backed NGO Freedom House released a report today with attention-grabbing conclusions that would make Chicken Little die in a fit of acrobatic hysterics.

According to Freedom House, democracy is “under assault and retreating” around the world. The U.S. is “abdicating” its “traditional role” of acting as galactic champion of “democratic ideals”. The Demon-Spawn Nations of Russia and China are “increasing repression” and exporting their “malign influence” abroad. Indeed, this is democracy’s “most serious crisis in decades”; basic democratic tenets are “under siege” across the world, according to Freedom House President, Michael Abramowitz. The gates of hell have been opened, Satan has appeared, and he looks a lot like Xi, Putin and Trump.

The great bastion of CIA-sourced freedom and democracy, RFE/RL, reports:

“A major development of 2017 was the retreat of the United States as both a champion and an exemplar of democracy,” the report says. Freedom House … says it has “tracked a slow decline in political rights and civil liberties in the United States for the past seven years.” But it says that “the decline accelerated in 2017, owing to evidence of Russian interferences in the 2016 elections, violations of basic ethical standards” by President Donald Trump’s administration, and “a reduction in government transparency.”

The report says that “the press and the judiciary have remained resilient in the face of unprecedented attacks from President Trump.” But it warns that those institutions ultimately could be weakened by Trump’s attacks, “with serious implications for the health of U.S. democracy and America’s place in the world.”

Abramowitz said, “the core institutions of American democracy are being battered by an administration that has treated the country’s traditional checks and balances with disdain.”

I can’t say they’re entirely wrong. But I harbor a strong suspicion that if Hillary Clinton were president, they would’ve gone lightly on their criticism of U.S. democracy. The fact is, the U.S. abandoned its so-called democratic ideals many years ago, more than the “7 years” cited in the report at least. Judge Napolitano, on his last episode of “Freedom Watch” on Fox Business, wasn’t far off the mark:

That was back at the beginning of 2012, six years ago, presumably only one year after American political and civil liberties started to decline. Does anyone else find it fairly remarkable how a nation can go from “champion and exemplar of democracy” to total shit-show in just one year…? But Freedom House doesn’t want you to focus on Obama (or Bush and Clinton, for that matter). No, the decline took a marked turn only last year, apparently. Considering the things Napolitano said in 2012, which only scratched the surface of how far America has fallen, you’d think things must have gotten pretty bad, like Gestapo-death-camp-babies-in-incubators bad. What horrors has Trump wrought on the American body politic? His administration is unethical, lacks transparency, and… Russia!

Give me a break! Two of those items are standard operating procedure, and have been for generations. And the third is a delusional fantasy dreamed up by mentally-deranged losers. Actually, the very fact that that third item made the list makes me question the first two. Given that there is absolutely no freaking evidence of Russian meddling, the bar can’t have been too high for ethics and transparency violations. But coming back to the report, let’s take a look at what else Russia and its evil Commie neighbor have been up to:

Meanwhile, Freedom House says, “autocratic regimes” in Russia and China have “taken advantage of the retreat of leading democracies” and are “acting beyond their borders to squelch open debate, pursue dissidents, and compromise rules-based institutions.”

Abramowitz says the Trump administration’s “sharp break from the political consensus of the last 70 years” has cast aside democracy as the “animating force behind American foreign policy.”

He said Trump’s “hastening withdrawal” from the historical U.S. commitment to supporting democracies abroad has made “the challenge posed by authoritarian regimes all the more powerful and threatening.”

The report says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has “demonstrated the increasing sophistication and reach of modern authoritarian regimes” by “organizing disinformation campaigns during elections in European democracies” and cultivating ties with “xenophobic political parties across the continent,” threatening its closest neighbors, and serving as “an alternative source of military aid for Middle Eastern dictatorships.”

“The central goal of these efforts was to disrupt democratic states and fracture the institutions that bind them together.”

So much stupid, it hurts. Russia and China are only “autocratic” because they’re not American-backed autocracies. The U.S. loves them some dictators, as long as they’re “our” dictators. And compared to some of American’s finest democratic exports, Russia and China are veritable democratic utopias. The U.S. has the longest and most successful record of “squelching open debate”, “pursuing dissidents” and “compromising rules-based institutions” in countries all over the world. Russia and China haven’t taken advantage of “democratic retreat”; they’ve taken advantage of the fact that the U.S. is in the process of losing pretty much every vestige of international credibility. Every country with the privilege of having been gifted with American freedom and democracy over the past 17 years is a shithole, bombed out, sucked dry, drenched in blood, and overrun with sadistic death squads.

It can be frustrating to read such Freedom House drivel, until you realize that what they mean by democracy isn’t what people like you and me think of as democracy. The “political consensus” of the last 70 years is simply this: “The U.S. on top, and f*** the rest of you.” Democratically-elected leader the U.S. doesn’t like? Kill him. The threat of some resource-rich country going Commie? Arm some death squads and kill them. Some country standing up for its own sovereignty and rejecting U.S. demands? Say they’ve got WMDs, load up the bombers, and kill them. Or just sanction them and (hopefully) watch them die a slow death.

Russia and China’s stand for national sovereignty (which is what Freedom House et al are really moaning about) has been promoting open debate and empowering dissidents globally by providing an outlet for those alternative voices that Western media ignores and censors. All the while, Russia and China have been desperately lobbying for a real rules-based system, otherwise known as international law. The only reason Russia is charged with “election-meddling” is because ordinary people are sick and tired of the “political consensus” status quo. Because that status quo will not give airtime to their opinions – and Russian media does to some degree – it must be Russia’s fault that they feel the way they do. But it’s not. It’s the fault of the Western establishment for screwing things up so badly that their own people are sick of it.

For 70 years, the U.S. has exported its own brand of “malign influence” throughout the world. Its “animating force” has been the barrel of a gun, or a sharp blade held to the throat. But nations like Russia and China, who know a thing or two about the reality of this kind of freedom and democracy (just look at Russia during the 90s), have gotten smart. They are indeed demonstrating “increasing sophistication and reach”, simply by telling the truth. Russia hasn’t meddled in European elections. They have not “cultivated ties with xenophobes” or threatened their neighbors. That’s the U.S.’s M.O., as well as their allies’. Just look at Ukraine, a country overrun with neo-Nazis who torture and kill people for “sympathizing” with Russia.

Against the threat of real Soviet-like totalitarianism (which threatens the U.S. itself more so than it does Russia), the best solution is not traditional U.S. meddling and military invasion; it is what Trump proposed in his presidential inauguration speech:

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

And if the U.S. can’t live up to its own example, it certainly has no business messing with other countries’ business. Full stop. If Russia and China want to expand their influence by making win-win deals with other nations, that is infinitely better than zero-sum American democracy. Meanwhile, even though Trump has the right idea, the “freedom bombers” still refuse to give up their claim to world democracy-domination. See Joe Quinn’s Obnoxious, Arrogant, Imperial America in Syria. These people are really determined to watch the world burn.

Still, according to Freedom House, Trump’s administration had made a “sharp break” from this “political consensus” of cluster-bombing nations into a state of terminal freedom and democracy, preventing said nations’ own democratic will from taking shape, and ensuring any so-called democracy takes the form of U.S. vassalage. And that is the highest of compliments. Freedom House can feel free to cry itself to sleep. If Trump were actually able to put an end to the U.S.’s self-defined role as democracy-promoter world wide, the world could breathe a sigh of relief.

Harrison Koehli

Harrison Koehli co-hosts SOTT Radio Network’s Truth Perspective and Behind the Headlines, and is an editor for Red Pill Press. He has been interviewed on several North American radio shows about his writings on the study of ponerology. In addition to music and books, Harrison enjoys tobacco and bacon (often at the same time) and dislikes cell phones, vegetables, and fascists.

See Also:

The Netanyahu Family’s Corruption – by Uri Avnery

“This entire atmosphere of public and private corruption at the top of the state is very much removed from our past. It is something new, reflecting the Netanyahu era.”

Opinion — No, I don’t want to write about the affair of Ya’ir Netanyahu. I refuse adamantly. No force in the world will compel me to do so.

Yet here I am, writing about Ya’ir, damn it. Can’t resist.

And perhaps it is really more than a matter of gossip. Perhaps it is something that we cannot ignore.

 

It is all about a conversation between three young men in a car, some two years ago.

One of the young men was Ya’ir, the eldest of the two sons of the Prime Minister.

Ya’ir is named after the leader of the “Stern Gang”, whose real name was Abraham Stern. The original Ya’ir split from the Irgun underground in 1940, when Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany. While the Irgun stopped its actions against the British government for the time being, Stern demanded the very opposite: exploit the moment in order to get the British out of Palestine. He was shot by the British police.

The modern Ya’ir and his two friends were on a drunken tour of Tel Aviv striptease joints, an appellation which often seems to be a polite way of describing a brothel.

Somebody took the trouble to record the conversation of the young men – the sons of the Prime Minister and two of the richest “tycoons” in the country.

This recording has now surfaced. Since the publication, hardly anyone in Israel is talking about anything else.

According to the recording, Ya’ir demanded from of his friend, Nir Maimon, 400 shekels (about 100 dollars), in order to visit a prostitute. When the friend refused, Ya’ir exclaimed: “My father gave your father a concession worth a billion dollars, and you refuse to give me 400 shekels?”

The concession in question concerns the rich gas fields out in the sea near Israel’s shores.


Related


In an especially disgusting display of his utter contempt for the female sex, Ya’ir also offered to provide all his friends with the sexual services of his ex-girlfriend.

This recording raises a whole pile of questions, each more unpleasant than the next.

First of all: who made it? Apart from Ya’ir and his two pals, there were only two persons present; the driver of the car and a bodyguard.

This raises some more questions. First, why is the 26-year old man provided with bodyguards at all, and for a tour of striptease joints in particular?

Ya’ir has no official function. No son or daughter of any former prime minister has ever been provided with bodyguards. No known danger threatens this particular son. So why must I pay for one?

Second, what about the driver? Ya’ir was riding in a government car, driven by a government driver. Why? What right has he to a government car and to a government driver, in general – and in particular for such an escapade?

The episode has drawn the attention of the public to this son of privilege.

Who is Ya’ir Netanyahu? What does he do for a living? The simple answer: Nothing.

He has no profession. He has no job. He lives in the state-owned official residence in Jerusalem and eats at the state’s expense.

What about his record? The only service he ever performed was as a soldier at the office of the army spokesman – not much risk of meeting flying bullets there. You need a lot of pull to land such a cozy job in the army.

Every reader can ask himself or herself: where was he or she when they were 26 years old?

Speaking for myself, at that age I had behind me several years of service in the Irgun underground, a year of continual fighting in a renowned army commando unit, a battle wound, and the beginning of my career as the editor-in-chief of a belligerent news magazine. I have earned my living since the age of 15. That is not something special to be proud of – many young people of my generation have the same past (except the journalistic part, of course.)

Still, this part of the story can be explained by the character of this particular young man. Can a parent be held responsible for the character of his offspring?

Like many politicians, Netanyahu had no time for his children. It’s the mother who bears most of the responsibility.

Sarah Netanyahu, known as “Sarah’le”, is generally disliked. A former airplane stewardess, who “caught” Binyamin at an airport duty-free shop and became his third wife, is a haughty and quarrelsome person, who is in perpetual conflict with her government-paid household personnel. Some of these quarrels reach the courts.

So this is all a family affair, except that it raises some profound political questions.

What is the social setting of the Prime Minister, himself the son of a poor university professor and a government employee for almost all his life?

His offspring consorts with the sons of the country’s richest peoples, who are enriching themselves with the active help of the Prime Minister, – Netanyahu influences the government funding of big projects. At the moment, the police are conducting at least four separate investigations into Netanyahu’s personal economic affairs.

Practically all of Netanyahu’s personal associates and friends are under police investigation. His closest friend, lawyer, and relative is under investigation concerning the acquisition of immensely expensive German-made submarines. The Navy claims that it does not need all of them.

In his private life, Netanyahu is being investigated for receiving cases of the most expensive Cuban cigars from superrich”friends”, for whom he provided some services. Sarah’le is investigated for receiving, on demand, a regular supply of very expensive pink champagne from another billionaire, whom she also asked to buy her jewelry.

This entire atmosphere of public and private corruption at the top of the state is very much removed from our past. It is something new, reflecting the Netanyahu era.

One could not even imagine anything like this in the times of David Ben-Gurion. His son, Amos, was implicated in some affairs which my magazine exposed, but nothing even remotely resembling this.

Menachem Begin lived for many years as an MK in the same two-room apartment where he had hidden as the most wanted terrorist in British Palestine. Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres all lived in modest circumstances.

Public humor calls Netanyahu “king” and even “emperor” and speaks of the “royal family”. Why?

One reason is certainly the time factor. Netanyahu is now in his fourth term of office. That is much too much.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton remarked. One can replace “absolute” with “long-term”.

A person in power is surrounded by temptations, flatterers, corrupters, and as time goes by, his resistance wanes. That, alas, is human.

After the endless presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a relatively honest and effective chief executive, the American people did something extremely wise: it limited a president to two terms. I also have come to the conclusion that eight years is exactly right.

(That applies to myself, too. I was a Member of Parliament for ten years. In retrospect, I have drawn the conclusion that eight years should have been enough. During my last two years I was less enthusiastic, less combative)

I don’t hate Binyamin Netanyahu, as many Israelis do. He does not really interest me as a person. But I believe that he is a danger to the future of Israel. His obsession with clinging to power makes him sell out our national interests to interest groups, not just to billionaires but also to the corrupt religious establishment and many others.

Such a man is unable to make peace, even if he wanted to. Making peace demands strength of character, like taking the risk of being overthrown. Such audacity does not even enter Netanyahu’s mind.

Tell me who your son is, and I’ll tell you who you are.

Top photo | An Israeli settler sleeps under a banner of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the Jewish settlement of Beit El after a night stand off with police, near the West Bank town of Ramallah, July 29, 2015. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

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