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Facebook investigated by German prosecutors for failing to stop ‘hate speech’

RT | November 4, 2016

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives are being investigated in Germany after a lawyer filed a complaint accusing them of allegedly allowing racist and violent posts to remain on the social networking site.

The social media giant was accused of doing little to stop racism, Holocaust denial and violent threats on the site, according to Der Spiegel.

A Bavarian lawyer initiated the case by reporting Facebook to the police, accusing the company’s management of allowing such hateful posts to stay on the site without any consequences.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, European policy director Richard Allan and company head in the Berlin office Maria Kirschsieper, are also under investigation.

German law requires Facebook to delete any content considered to be inciting hatred. Earlier this year, the company was also hit with a criminal complaint, but authorities said at the time they were unable to investigate because the accused, Zuckerberg, was not residing within German borders when it was brought to light.

German politicians have criticized Facebook for reportedly failing to take action against hate speech on the site.

In October, Volker Kauder, a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said Facebook and other social media giants should face penalties for not taking action against hate speech, following the rise of xenophobic comments amid the refugee crisis in Europe.

Kauder said he had “run out of patience” with how social media giants were dealing with abusive content.

Many users of Facebook, Twitter and Google said that despite pledges from the companies to remove hate speech within 24 hours from their sites, users complaints were not adequately dealt with, the Local reports.

Facebook did not comment on the investigation status but said “the allegations lack merit and there has been no violation of German law by Facebook or its employees.”

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in photos 25-31 October 2016

CPT | November 4, 2016
Inaccessible Healthcare 

Pictured here: Israeli soldiers stopped and searched Palestinian cars, IDing and detaining the drivers for over an hour. One father was on his way to take his son to the hospital.
(October 31, 2016)
Olive Occupation 

Pictured here: Palestinian family members went out to harvest their olives. When they arrived at the grove, Israeli soldiers prevented them from harvesting, alleging a “security risk”.
(October 26, 2016)
Rooftop Invasion

Pictured here: Israeli soldiers regularly invade Palestinian homes, using their rooftops to watch over the settler tour.
(October 29, 2016)
A Settler “Hello”

Pictured here: Four armed members of the settler tour climbed the roof of a Palestinian home, making lewd gestures to Palestinians attempting to go about their daily lives in the Old City.
(October 29, 2016)
Avoiding The Line of Fire 

Pictured here: Everyday Palestinians are exposed to countless soldiers in full combat gear, which brings distress and fear especially for children. The mere exposure to weapons is an act of violence in itself. In their lifetime, the only Israelis most Palestinian children see have guns.
(October 29, 2016)
Uninvited, Lifelong Presence 

Pictured here: On the heels of the 50th year of the occupation, Israeli soldiers still patrol through the colorful market of Hebron’s old city.
(October 27, 2016)
New Friends

 (October 25, 2016)

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

ICC: Africa Obsessed and Ineffective

By Khavheni Shope | teleSUR | November 2, 2016

To date, the ICC has investigated about 39 cases and 38 of them are on the African continent.

The International Criminal Court was initially viewed as the world’s haven from atrocities and a tribunal that would protect the rights of those whose freedoms had been taken away and whose voices had been silenced. The court was established by the 1998 Rome Statute with 139 signatories and 123 ratifications.

Fast forward about 14 years from the year the statute entered into effect in 2016, when three ratifying countries—South Africa, Burundi and Gambia—have announced their withdrawal from the entity. Although the decisions have proven to be controversial both within and outside of nations’ borders, the question is why?

One of the biggest criticisms facing the international body is that it is biased against African states. The African Union has long pointed this out and in 2013 it called for immunity for sitting leaders indicted by the court. It was denied in 2015 in the pursuit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir along with the subsequent prosecution against the South African government for failure to detain him.

To see why these accusations persist is to understand the context: to date, the ICC has investigated about 39 cases and 38 of them are on the African continent. This fact undoubtedly places the court’s supposed impartiality under scrutiny when it appears to cast a blind eye on the doings of Western leaders. The court’s legitimacy is further questioned by the fact that super powers such as the U.S., China and Russia have yet to be subjected to its authority.

The legal body shrugged off the claims by reiterating that the ICC is comprised of some African officials and therefore cannot be biased against the continent. The ICC flaunted its double-standards when it announced that it would not investigate former British prime minister Tony Blair for sending U.K. troops into Iraq under false pretenses. However, British soldiers may still face prosecution.

According to an article published by Forbes in 2014, the ICC had only convicted two out of all the people it had indicted with an expenditure of about US$1 billion. Earlier in 2016, the court pursued its third prosecution against former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo who was sentenced to 18 years for rape and pillage committed by his troops in the Central African Republic.

The irony of this conviction lies in the countless incidents of child abuse committed by European troops deployed in peace-keeping missions in that very nation. The U.N. rid itself of responsibility, stating that the onus is on each country to prosecute its own troops.

So another criticism of the legal body is that it has so far been ineffective and expensive, that in all of its 14 years, only perpetrators from two parts of the whole world have been indicted while everyday there are crimes ravaging humanity in all corners of the globe, many at the hands of the same members of the institutions who dominate the world.

It is not to say that such crimes should not be addressed, however if humanitarianism is going to continue to be used as a cloak that serves both as a hero’s cape during the day and a blanket to cover the truth at night, then the court’s mandate is skewed. Justice should not only be a privilege for the 1 percent.

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Hypocrisy’s Face at the UN – Samantha Power

International School in Even Yehuda, Israel, on February 15, 2016. (photo: YouTube)

International School in Even Yehuda, Israel, on February 15, 2016. (photo: YouTube)
By William Boardman | Reader Supported News | October 30, 2016

What is so remarkable and troubling about the presentation we’ve heard today is that what Russia really wants from the U.N. is credit. Congratulations, Russia, you’ve stopped, for a couple days, from using incendiary weapons. Thank you for not using cluster bombs in civilian areas. Thank you for staying the hand of brutality with regard to bunker buster weapons. You don’t get congratulations and get credit for not committing war crimes for a day or a week. – Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, October 26, 2016

Samantha Power is the face of American diplomacy at the UN, where she gives ardent voice to American hypocrisy, deceit, intellectual dishonesty, and mockery of the rest of the world. Appalling as her performance has been, her portrayal is accurate, right down to her denial-laden confidence in American exceptionalism.

Power’s comment above came in the midst of a discussion of the carnage in Syria, a discussion without substance or pity, without a care for ending the killing. Her tone and content were in sharp, ugly contrast to the report of UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien addressing the Security Council about the layered wars in Syria that began with peaceful protests early in 2011:

Each month, I have come before you and presented an ever-worsening record of destruction and atrocity, grimly cataloguing the systematic destruction of a country and its people. While my job is to relay to you the facts, I cannot help but be incandescent with rage. Month after month, worse and worse, and nothing is actually happening to stop the war, stop the suffering.

Stephen O’Brien is “incandescent with rage” at the outrage that is Syria, and the perhaps greater outrage of inaction by the Security Council as a body as well as its individual states. O’Brien bears witness to destruction and atrocity that the council cannot stop and to which its member states contribute. They do not express rage, incandescent or otherwise; they express the snide posturing of politics and tactical advantage.

Vitaly Churkin, the Russian Federation’s ambassador to the UN, said O’Brien had delivered a sermon, not an objective report. Churkin said that the Russian Federation continued to negotiate with armed groups, continued to deliver humanitarian aid by the ton, and continued the eight-day-old bombing pause. Churkin said Aleppo was worse because the Al Nusra Front had not yet fulfilled its promise to separate from more moderate opposition forces. Churkin said that negotiation demands were constantly changing, that fighters used civilians as human shields, that a political solution should remain the first priority, and that New Zealand should be thanked for working to build a consensus among the members to end the fighting.

The American response is as heartbreaking as ever:

What is so remarkable and troubling about the presentation we’ve heard today is that what Russia really wants from the U.N. is credit.

Samantha Power responded to the Russian assertion of facts not with rebuttal, but with sarcasm, mockery, and pettiness. Hers is an essentially ad hominem response that allows no credit for a bombing halt of any duration. And no wonder. Power speaks for a country that bombs others more or less at will for as long as it likes. The US has bombed Afghanistan without serious surcease since 2001, and Iraq almost as long. The US continues to participate in the Saudi Arabian coalition’s relentless bombing of Yemen’s hospitals, schools, and funerals, taking part in war crimes as part of a criminal war.

Congratulations, Russia, you’ve stopped, for a couple days, from using incendiary weapons.

Mockingly, the ambassador from the country of military shock and awe acts as if her hands are clean from decades of devastation visited upon the region. Power acts as if the US aerial destruction brought to bear on defenseless tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan or defenseless urban civilians in Syria, Iraq and Yemen had never happened. Power has nothing to say about American use of depleted uranium weapons that leave their targets – both people and the land – as radioactive threats to human health for generations.

Thank you for not using cluster bombs in civilian areas. Thank you for staying the hand of brutality with regard to bunker buster weapons.

The US/Saudi assault on Yemen uses cluster bombs in civilian areas, but Samantha Power has no sarcastic objection to that. The US manufactures cluster bombs – banned by most of the rest of the world – to sell to the Saudis to use in civilian areas in Yemen. The US had no hesitation using bunker-busting bombs in laying waste to Iraq.

You don’t get congratulations and get credit for not committing war crimes for a day or a week.

Beyond her heavy-handed mockery, Power offered nothing useful. She might have admitted the constant pattern of American war crimes, especially since 2001, whether torture, kidnapping, imprisonment at dark sites, drone strikes, or any of the other horrific acts of American policy throughout the Middle East since World War II. Being the United States means never having to say you’re sorry, no matter how sorry your human rights record, no matter how sorry your fidelity to international law, and worst of all in the world of power politics, no matter how sorry your actual accomplishments are. No matter how monstrous American behavior becomes, Samantha Power is paid to praise it as the necessary actions of the world’s indispensible nation.

In 2008, when Samantha Power was part of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, she famously called Hillary Clinton a “monster.” So does it take one to know one?

 


 

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 5 Comments

Why Haven’t Bill and Hillary Clinton Been Imprisoned?

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By Stephen Lendman | November 4, 2016

They’re not the only members of America’s criminal class. They’re most important because likely electoral-rigging may give them a third co-presidential term – humanity threatened by their empowerment.

They partner in each other’s high crimes – major offenses too serious to ignore, including Nuremberg-level crimes of war of war and against humanity, racketeering, fraud, obstruction of justice, perjury, compromising national security, and influence-selling pay-to-play self-enrichment, among others.

Hillary is legally, ethically, morally and emotionally unfit to serve in any public capacity. Bill is a serial rapist. The Clinton Foundation got millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other rogue states actively supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups – Bill and Hillary largely using the money for self-enrichment, not charitable purposes as claimed.

Veteran Chicago newsman John Kass called for “Democrats (to) ask (Hillary) to step aside,” highlighting “decades of lies and cynicism oozing from Clinton Inc” – saying “(i)t’s obvious the American political system is breaking down… crumbling” in plain sight.

Hillary is under multiple FBI investigations. Volumes of incriminating evidence so far haven’t gotten her indicted – because the system is rigged to prevent it.

The so-called Justice Department is in cahoots with the FBI, the White House and other powerful interests, ones I call dark forces, deciding how the nation is run and by whom.

Abraham Lincoln once said “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Things today are out-of-control. Wars on humanity rage, threatening possible thermonuclear confrontation. Neoliberal harshness enriches the nation’s privileged class at the expense of most others.

Police state injustice targets nonbelievers. Tyranny approaches full-blown. Democracy is pure fantasy, not real.

Another Clinton crime family co-presidency means the best of times for Wall Street, war profiteers and other corporate crooks – a nightmarish scenario for ordinary people everywhere, a doomsday one if Hillary as commander-in-chief of America’s military squeezes the nuclear trigger.

If anointed by fair or foul means, likely the latter, it’s clear what’s coming:

  • greater neoliberal harshness than already – proving Hillary’s people-friendly promises as empty as Obama’s;
  • ending what remains of constitutional governance, freedoms sacrificed for alleged greater security, assuring both are lost; and
  • escalated wars of aggression, possible thermonuclear war on Russia, China and Iran, risking humanity’s survival.

Trump is no peacenik, populist or good guy. He’s not Hillary and that matters. Returning her and husband Bill to power threatens world peace, stability and security more than any other previous time in history – the most important reason to oppose them.


Stephen Lendman can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Hillary Is The Perfection of a Corrupt System

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By Charles Hugh Smith | Of Two Minds | November 2, 2016

Exposing the Clintons’ perfection of a corrupt political system won’t change the conditions and incentives that created the Clintons’ harvester of corruption.

Let’s set aside Hillary Clinton as an individual and consider her as the perfection of a corrupt political system. As I noted yesterday, Politics As Usual Is Dead, and Hillary Clinton is the ultimate product of the political system that is disintegrating before our eyes.

The corruption of pay-to-play and the commingling of public and private influence is not the failing of an individual–it is the logical conclusion of a thoroughly corrupt political system.

Given the incentives built into politics as usual, public/private pay-to-play doesn’t just make sense–it is the only possible maximization of the political system.

Cobble together a multi-million dollar private foundation, millions of dollars in speaking fees from big-money contributors, conflicts of interest, the secrecy of private email servers, pay-to-play schemes and corrupted loyalists planted in the Department of Justice, and the inevitable result is a politics as usual money-harvesting machine that lays waste to the nation, supporters and critics alike.

All the Clintons did is assemble the parts more effectively than anyone else.

Now that the machine has scooped up hundreds of millions of dollars in “contributions” and other loot, vested interests and corrupted loyalists within the federal government will do anything to protect the machine and its vast flow of funds. The nation’s political system needs a thorough cleaning from top to bottom.

Exposing the Clintons’ perfection of politics as usual won’t change the conditions and incentives that created the Clintons’ harvester of corruption. That will require rooting out the incentives that made the Clintons’ perfection of corruption both logical and inevitable.

Charles Hugh Smith’s new book is #8 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition) For more, please visit the book’s website.

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Corruption | , | Leave a comment

‘Openly provocative’: Russia sends complaint to UK over mannequin protest outside its London embassy

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RT | November 4, 2016

Russia’s embassy in London has sent a letter to the UK Foreign Office to complain about demonstrators who dumped around 800 mannequin limbs outside the building in protest of Russia’s actions in Syria.

It is reported that the protesters were members of Syria Campaign and Syria Solidarity, UK groups that say the mannequins are symbolic of Russia’s campaign in Syria.

Russia’s embassy said staff and visitors couldn’t enter the building, while police stood by indifferently.

Moscow says it is deeply concerned about the unwillingness of the British Government to ensure the security of Russia’s diplomatic mission in London.

“The security of the Russian diplomatic mission in the UK was compromised. Police officers remained indifferent in the face of the openly provocative and disorderly conduct of the ‘demonstrators,’” the statement reads.

The embassy added that “nuisance callers blocked the Embassy telephone line, rendering it impossible to contact the mission for genuine callers.”

Russia is not surprised by the protest, however, seeing how UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has encouraged demonstrations outside the embassy.

“It’s worth mentioning that today’s manifestation near the Embassy has been accompanied by an ongoing anti-Russian campaign in the media inspired by some statements of the British officials”.

“We are concerned with the unwillingness of the British authorities to provide proper protection for the embassy,” Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the UK told RT, “The protestors were allowed physically close to the entrance by the British authorities. That was a first.”

According to Yakovenko, the protest had been “planned,” as “a few weeks ago Boris Johnson called for a demonstration here [at the embassy].”

“We are facing an intensive anti-Russian campaign from the media, and there has been a call from the British minister [Johnson] to physically block the embassy, which is totally unacceptable for us.”

According to former British diplomat Craig Murray, the UK’s foreign secretary has been encouraging protests and indulging Cold War rhetoric.

“The UK … has decided to up the rhetoric up to the levels of the Cold War rhetoric. The fact that the Foreign Secretary is indulging in that is extremely sad,” he said.

The UK-based Syria Solidarity group describes itself as “a network of activists committed to solidarity with the Syrian Revolution.” It says that it supports “the popular revolution against the Assad regime.”

“We are critical of the countries who provide material support to the Assad regime,” the group says.

The other group that took part in the protest, Syria Campaign, calls itself “a global advocacy group” whose mission is “to mobilize people around the world to advocate to protect Syrian civilians.”

On its official website, the Syria Campaign voices its support for the White Helmets, a Western-funded volunteer civil defense group that operates in Syria. While officially its mission is to offer first aid to bombing victims, Syrian and Russian authorities have accused the White Helmets of spreading anti-government propaganda and maintaining close ties with Islamist rebels.

In October of this year, the Russian Defense Ministry accused the White Helmets of faking digital images of a bombing of a school in Idlib, Syria. Earlier, the White Helmets’ chief liaison officer acknowledged to RT that his organization, which claims to be “non-governmental” and “neutral,” receives funding and equipment from several Western states, including the US, the UK, and Germany.

READ MORE: 

Boris Johnson calls for Russian Embassy protests during Syria debate

Protest outside Russian Embassy would increase hysteria against Russia – Stop the War leader

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

US to the Rest of the World: “We Can’t Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, Because We Rely on Nuclear Weapons.”

By Kevin Martin | CounterPunch | November 4, 2016

Last week, the United Nations took an historic step towards global elimination of nuclear weapons, in voting to begin negotiations next year on a treaty to ban nukes. The U.S. and other nuclear weapon states, other than North Korea, declined to support the resolution, with the U.S. and its allies lobbying hard to defeat it. The contradictions in the official U.S. statement are myriad, but here are just a few.

“How can a state that relies on nuclear weapons for its security possibly join a negotiation meant to stigmatize and eliminate them?” argued Ambassador Robert Wood, the U.S. special representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, “The ban treaty runs the risk of undermining regional security.”

Taking the first sentence, Ambassador Wood actually has it backwards. With its huge conventional military superiority, the U.S. would be much more secure in a world free of nuclear weapons. Instead, nuclear weapons are increasingly relied on by other countries, particularly Russia, as a counterweight to the U.S. conventional advantage (which is why nuclear disarmament is unlikely to happen in a vacuum; U.S. conventional military superiority is an impediment to global denuclearization).

So, other countries are more likely to hang onto their nukes, making the U.S. and the whole world less secure, not more. As for the second sentence about the risk of undermining regional security, Wood did not say which regions he was referring to, probably because he couldn’t plausibly name one. Regional nuclear-free and weapons of mass destruction-free zones, which cover the entire global South, are wildly successful and have helped increase regional security. And wouldn’t the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, and Korean peninsula be much safer if Israel, India, Pakistan, China and North Korea ditched their nukes?

Similarly, Wood’s statement “…while we respect the views of the proponents, we disagree with the practicality of their approach and are concerned with the negative effects of seeking to ban nuclear weapons without consideration of the over-arching international security environment” is a head scratcher. Nuclear-free and WMD-free zones have been very effective and practical, and moreover, the increasingly unstable, insecure and militarized international security environment is a terrific reason to move toward banning nuclear weapons worldwide. And hasn’t U.S. military intervention, particularly in the greater Middle East and Near East Asian regions over the last decade and a half significantly degraded said international security environment?

The following paragraph uttered by Ambassador Wood packs a lot of unwise “conventional wisdom” into a short statement and deserves some critical deconstruction:

“The current challenge to nuclear disarmament is not a lack of legal instruments. The challenges to disarmament are a result of the political, technical and security realities we presently face.  The United States is ready to take additional steps including bilateral reductions with Russia and a treaty ending the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, some states are currently unwilling to engage in further nuclear reductions, and others are increasing their arsenals.”

“The current challenge to nuclear disarmament is not a lack of legal instruments.” That is true. The problem is the U.S. and other nuclear states blowing off, since 1970, their legal obligation under article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to pursue negotiations toward nuclear disarmament. If they were doing this in good faith, last week’s UN vote would never have happened. The Republic of the Marshall Islands courageously stepped up to sue the nuclear weapons states at the International Court of Justice for the failure to uphold article VI. The court recently threw the cases out on procedural grounds, but the Marshalls and their allies will persist with appeals, including in U.S. District Court.

“The challenges to disarmament are a result of the political, technical and security realities we presently face.” Also true, but with a heavy dose of cynical, feigned naivete, as if those realities fell from the sky one day. As the unipolar super power, the world’s leading country politically, economically and militarily, doesn’t the U.S. bear a disproportionate responsibility for the dangerous state of global affairs? Aren’t our “security realities” mostly of our own making through our overly militarized foreign policy, which has earned us enemies and adversaries in so many corners of the globe?

“The United States is ready to take additional steps including bilateral reductions with Russia and a treaty ending the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, some states are currently unwilling to engage in further nuclear reductions, and others are increasing their arsenals.” There is a lot to dissect here. Yes, the Obama Administration did want to negotiate further nuclear cuts with Russia. Regrettably, Russia refused, but it was understandable. Between astonishingly arrogant U.S. post-Cold War triumphalism, NATO expansion eastward to Russia’s borders (violating a pledge not to do so by the first President Bush), vilification not just of Russian President Vladimir Putin but of Russia itself, and the afore-mentioned U.S. conventional superiority (with foreign bases and military allies surrounding Russia, and also China), U.S. interests in further nuclear cuts were thwarted – by U.S. foreign policy. And in terms of increasing arsenals, the U.S. has initiated a 30 year, $1 trillion program to upgrade and overhaul the entire U.S. nuclear weapons complex, from weapons labs to warheads to missiles, planes and submarines, predictably starting a new nuclear arms race, as every other nuclear state has followed suit in announcing plans to “modernize” their own nuclear arsenals.

The phrase that jumps to mind in all of this is “Physician, heal thyself.” Instead of whining about the majority of the world’s countries (123 of the 177 countries voted for the resolution to commence nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiations) being unrealistic, the U.S. needs to cancel its exorbitant, proliferation-inducing nuclear “modernization” plans and get serious about banishing the scourge of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth. Joining in, and perhaps even leading, the ban treaty negotiations would be fitting for the only country ever to use nuclear weapons in war.

Kevin Martin is President of Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund, the country’s largest grassroots peace and disarmament organization with 200,000 supporters nationwide. www.peace-action.org

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment