Facebook is gearing up to battle the problem of “fake news” on social media with a new name-and-shame system involving independent fact checkers being trialed in Germany.
The social media giant has employed the services of Correctiv, a nonprofit group involved in investigative journalism and news auditing, as an independent fact checker.
According to Facebook, new updates to the social site for German users can be expected in the coming weeks. It could see content shared by outlets deemed to be purveyors of false information sent to the back of the Facebook algorithm queue.
The changes include tabs that allow users to report suspected fake news, as well as labels that name-and-shame organizations believed to be peddling fraudulent information.
Facebook insists the system will work through third-party fact auditors associated with Poytner’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles.
“If the fact-finding organizations identify contributions as fraudulent, they are provided with a warning label that identifies them as untrustworthy. The warning contains a link to the corresponding article as well as a justification for this decision,” Facebook says.
“Messages classified as untrustworthy may also appear later in the newsfeed,” they added.
Correctiv announced the partnership via their official Facebook page and the fake news phenomenon as a major threat to politics in Germany.
“Fake news – especially on Facebook – is already one of the major threats [to] our society. That is clear. We fear these threats will become even more massive in the comings months. Whether it be in the NWR election [North Rhine-Westphalia state election] or the election of the Bundestag next autumn,” the company said.
A Facebook statement read: “It is important to us that posts and news posted on Facebook are reliable.”
“We are pleased with this progress, but we know there is still a lot to be done. We continue to work on this challenge and will introduce these innovations in other countries in the near future.”
It comes after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg asserted he is taking the issue of misinformation seriously, but admitted the social nature of the business meant the company erred on the side of “letting people share what they want whenever possible.”
“We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or to mistakenly restrict accurate content. We do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties,” he said last November.
Last year, German Social Democratic Party politician Thomas Oppermann suggested social media sites like Facebook should face individual fines of up to €500,000 for the spread of fake news.
Danish Journalist Iben Thranholm, who was branded as a Russian propagandist and included on an EU blacklist for comments she made on migrant policy, tells RT that such character assassinations have become the new go-to tactic of Western governments.
Thranholm is a Danish current events columnist who penned an opinion piece for Russia Insider in 2016, in which she explained her reservations about the EU’s current migrant policy and its inability to properly integrate Muslim migrants into European society.
She had also written a piece for RT earlier in which she explained how the “spiritual vacuum” created by Western cultural nihilism is the core factor behind growing Muslim radicalization within the EU.
She also criticized the EU’s unwillingness to recognize religion as a factor at all as just one indicator of this trend.
These and other comments earned the Danish journalist a spot on the EU’s East StratCom Task Force black list – a body set up in 2015 with the purpose of “collecting examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation articles” – not unlike American Senator McCarthy’s communist witch-hunt of the 1950s.
“Today, it is me who is on the list,” Thranholm says. “Tomorrow it could be a different journalist who has similar views. They claim that I’m damaging – doing harm – to the EU just for criticizing them. I criticized them for their immigration policy,” she says, adding that many people in Europe agree with her.
The Danish journalist argues that the EU’s mechanism for dealing with such dissenters “is to link the person with Russia, or claim that there are close ties between this person and Russia. And then, this person is just not trustworthy anymore – it’s a kind of character assassination.”
“It’s hard to believe that modern democratic Europe has ended up in some kind of totalitarian or semi-totalitarian democracy where our leaders have a special definition of what is democracy – and if you don’t agree with it, you will be put on the list. I think it’s very, very alarming and very disturbing,” she said.
Thronhalm has gone to great pains to explain that her views are not anti-Islamic. As she wrote for RT in 2015, “Secularism, relativism of values, materialism and democracy as a new religion (idolatry devoid of a deity) constantly prove their feeble inadequacy when facing Islamism.”
Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen has recently defended her inclusion on the EU task force’s blacklist, saying she was promoting a “Kremlin narrative,” when prodded by Marie Krarup, who heads Denmark’s People’s Party and shares views similar to Thranholm’s. Thranholm later wrote that she was “appalled” at the minister’s conclusion that her inclusion on the list was justified, comparing the decision to one that would be taken by a “totalitarian Soviet state.”
The joke about asset forfeiture is that it’s actually not a joke. Advisors to law enforcement have actually said it’s a great way for cops to go shopping for things they want. It’s not just cash being taken, although it’s primarily that. It’s vehicles, too. And when that just doesn’t seem to be enough, it’s houses. And everything in them.
So, the “going shopping” joke is one very dark punchline. Here’s another one: “take everything that isn’t nailed down.” Except that this actually happens. And it includes things that are nailed down. Reason’s C.J. Ciaramella has more details.
In 2012, Rehfeldt says the Hind County Sheriff’s Office raided his client’s apartment on suspicion her boyfriend was a drug dealer. Anything purchased with drug proceeds is fair game to be seized by police under civil asset forfeiture laws, and they determined the boyfriend had furnished the apartment, so off went her TV, her table and chairs, her couch, her lamps, and even the pictures on the wall.
“Her case is the first in my 38 years of practicing law where they took the furniture,” Rehfeldt says.
What’s the proper response? Shock that this sort of thing actually happens? Or relief that law enforcement doesn’t clean out a person’s home every time they have a hunch something may have been purchased with the proceeds of criminal activity?
In this case, most of what was taken by the sheriff’s office was eventually returned. Rehfeldt’s clients is one of the lucky ones, able to navigate a legal pathway that’s a greased downhill slope for law enforcement, but an expensive, uphill battle for those whose property has been seized.
His client got everything back. Well, not everything.
“It is, therefore, ordered and adjudged that one Visio television, one dining room table and chairs, pictures and lamps are to be returned to the plaintiff upon execution of this Order by this Court,” the Feb. 10, 2015 order in the Hinds County Court reads. “Additionally, one white couch is hereby forfeited to the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office.”
For reasons unexplained, the sheriff’s office was allowed to keep the couch. Perhaps deputies had grown attached to it after it was placed in the breakroom. Or maybe it was “disposed” prior to the forfeiture being finalized and there was simply no way to retrieve it. Or maybe it was just the state’s skim — the percentage taken off the top of every forfeiture, whether or not the seizure was legally-justified.
The skim is part of the problem. Mississippi’s legislature is looking at overhauling the state’s forfeiture laws and a Senate committee letter obtained by Reason confirms that law enforcement’s tendency to charge fees or withhold some percentage of the property seized gives the program the appearance of impropriety.
Upon a cursory analysis of these orders, PEER staff notes that Agreed Orders tend to have the most potential for indicating possible abuse. This is because most Agreed Orders are entered into upon a settlement agreement in which the arresting authority receives some or all of the forfeited property as a condition subsequent to some sort of agreement made between the arresting party and the defendant.
As the arresting party often seizes a large amount of property or cash and many of these Agreed Orders stipulate that some or most of the said property or cash will be returned while some will be forfeited, a reasonable person might assume that the arresting party is using its authority to gain assets from an arrest by settling with the defendant.
If this is how it’s routinely handled, it encourages law enforcement to take everything it can get its hands on, if for no other reason than it increase its chances of being able to retain some of it if the forfeiture is challenged. This settlement system perverts incentives, changing it from serving the general public through the targeted crippling of criminal organizations (however loosely-defined) to serving law enforcement agencies by allowing them to directly profit from the taking of citizens’ property.
16 or 17 and want to be a soldier? Watch this first.
Army training is ‘traumatic’ for young recruits and damages the adolescent mind, according to British infantry veteran Wayne Sharrocks, who features in a series of short films released today by Child Soldiers International (child-soldiers.org/dontenlistat16). The films offer young people and their parents a frank alternative to army recruitment materials which, say many veterans, present a sanitised and unrealistic impression of military life. In particular, Wayne wants young people to know that the psychological effects of training can be harmful and permanent.
The films describe Wayne’s journey through the army, from training to deployment and his struggle to adjust to civilian life afterwards. They present a picture of army life that is unrecognisable from recruitment brochures: of routine bullying; ‘traumatic’ training that indoctrinated him as ‘a mindless, robotic killer’; and the often ‘really, really, dull and boring’ life on operations. He recalls seeing his colleagues maimed and killed right in front of him, and talks about his own injury from an IED explosion.
Other British armed forces veterans share Wayne’s concern. Today, Veterans for Peace[i] will deliver a letter to the Ministry of Defence appealing for an end to recruiting from age 16. The letter argues that adolescents should not be put through training whose central goal is to make them capable of killing on demand and without hesitation. In Wayne’s experience, this psychological conditioning produces ‘an insane amount of aggression’ and is ‘massively psychologically damaging’ after leaving the army as it cannot simply be ‘switched off’.
In the films, Wayne describes the lead-up to bayonet drill, which begins with sleep deprivation:
‘So they keep you up all night and make you really angry, then you’ll [have to] run and be put through physical punishments. You’re crawling through mud and [are] screamed at, kicked, punched while you’re on the floor, anything to get you angry… enough to stab another man on the flick of a switch. For a young person at 16 that’s pretty traumatic.’
The army makes use of a gang mentality to force recruits to conform, he says:
‘You either conform, or you don’t and you’re separated from the pack and you’re going to be preyed on. So you can either be the person that’s preying on people or the person that’s preyed on, it’s like survival of the fittest, basically. So these people that aren’t the fittest or mentally the fittest, they’re going to get preyed on and people are going to take advantage of that.’
Wayne’s testimony echoes statistics which show younger recruits are at higher risk of bullying and harassment in the army. In 2015, recruits at the Army training centre for minors (AFC Harrogate) filed 20 formal complaints of inappropriate conduct by army staff, up from ten cases in 2014, ten in 2013, and five in 2012. 15 cases remain unresolved to date.[ii]
‘Before deciding to enlist, young people and their parents deserve the full picture, but the army’s brochures only tell one side of the story. These films give another side, including the frightening and the mundane,’ said Rachel Taylor, Programme Manager at Child Soldiers International. ‘People need to know that basic training involves intense psychological conditioning which doesn’t switch off when you leave the army. Adolescents, whose brains are still developing, are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of this.’
Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now Coordinator for Veterans for Peace UK, agrees. ‘The purpose of infantry training is to fundamentally alter the way your mind works, leaving the army in control of what you value and how you react. These values and reactions are very difficult to switch off and cause all sorts of problems in civilian life. No other country in Europe subjects 16 year olds to this process, it’s time this country caught up.’
The four Children’s Commissioners for the UK also believe that raising the enlistment age would be in the best interests of young people,[iii] as do the major child rights groups,[iv] health professionals,[v] teachers,[vi] faith groups,[vii] parliamentarians,[viii] the Equality and Human Rights Commission,[ix] and three-quarters of the British public, according to a 2014 poll.[x] The British army’s arrangements for gaining the informed consent of recruits and their parents are ‘insufficient’, the UN has said.[xi]
An article in last month’s RUSI Journal argues that the army could enlist only adults and still fill the ranks, since 16 year olds are more expensive than adults to train and one-third are discharged before they finish the course (child-soldiers.org/shop/is-it-counterproductive-to). Despite the growing controversy around the British army’s recruitment age, last year it increased its intake of minors, who account for a quarter of new recruits, recent figures reveal.[xii]
- Wayne Sharrocks enlisted into the British infantry in 2006, aged 17, and left seven years later. He was deployed to Afghanistan twice. The second time he was deployed he was injured by an IED. The same explosion blew the legs off a colleague in front of him. He is now making a full length film about the difficulties veterans face in returning to civilian life: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1236839879/life-after-war.
- Child Soldiers International is an international human rights research and advocacy organisation seeking to end the military recruitment of any person under the age of 18. Our research on child recruits in the British armed forces is available at https://www.child-soldiers.org/uk.
- The large majority of countries worldwide now recruit only from age 18 or above. The UK is the only permanent member of the UN Security Council or EU member state still recruiting 16-year-olds. In the United States the minimum recruitment age is 17 years, but minors only account for around 6 per cent of annual intake; in the UK, they account for one-quarter of the British army’s intake. (Full figures available on request).
- The Defence Select Committee (2005, 2013, 2014), the Joint Committee on Human Rights (2009, 2010) and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (2002, 2008, 2016) have all called on the MoD to review the minimum recruitment age with a view to raising it to 18 years.
- Supporters of the campaign to raise the UK enlistment age to 18 include: the Children’s Commissioners for the four jurisdictions of the UK, Child Soldiers International, Veterans for Peace, National Union of Teachers (NUT), Medact, Liberty, ForcesWatch, Amnesty International UK, British Institute of Human Rights, The Who Cares? Trust, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, Plaid Youth, SNP Youth, Children in Scotland, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), Children in Wales, Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group, Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People, Children England, Children’s Rights Alliance England (CRAE), Northern Ireland Children’s Law Centre, the Church of Scotland, the Church in Wales, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, Methodist Peace Fellowship, Baptist Peace Fellowship, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, and Pax Christi.
- Army policy ensures that 16 and 17 year olds who enlist are drawn into the infantry in particular, as Wayne was.[xiii] [xiv] The infantry carries the highest risks once recruits turn 18 and can be sent to war. In 2015/16, 41 per cent of minors joining the army were enlisted for the infantry, versus 32 per cent of their adult counterparts.[xv]. The British infantry’s fatality rate in Afghanistan was six times that in the rest of the army.[xvi]
- In November the health professionals charity Medact argued that underage enlistment is a public health problem carrying a range of risks to young people.[xvii]
- Films produced by Global Stories,https://globalstoriesalsomakefilms.wordpress.com, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] For details of today’s letter hand-in, see http://vfpuk.org/2017/end-the-brutalisation-of-children/ or contact email@example.com.
[ii] 2015 is the most recent full year for which figures are available. House of Commons, Written answers to questions: Army Foundation College (no. 56008), 13 December 2016, http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-12-02/56008.
[iii] For references, see Child Soldiers International, Press release: Stop recruiting children, rights groups tell MoD, 2016, http://www.child-soldiers.org/News/press-release-stop-recruiting-children-rights-groups-tell-ministry-of-defence.
[iv] For example, see UNICEF, Ending the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, 2016, p. 10, http://www.unicef.org.uk/Documents/UnicefChildSoldiersbriefing_UKweb.pdf. See also Children’s Rights Alliance for England, www.crae.org.uk, and Together: Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights, http://www.togetherscotland.org.uk.
[v] Medact, The recruitment of children by the UK armed forces: A critique from health professionals, 2016, http://s234523623453.medact.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/medact_childrecruitment_17-oct_WEB.pdf.
[vi] The National Union Teachers has communicated its support for raising the enlistment age to 18 directly to Child Soldiers International.
[vii] Refer to Child Soldiers International, Bishops attack army on recruitment of minors; teen enlistment figures plummet, 2013, https://www.child-soldiers.org/Shop/bishops-attach-army-on-recruitment-of-minor-while-teen-enlistment-figures-plummet-1.
[viii] Joint Committee on Human Rights, Children’s Rights (Twenty-fifth Report of Session 2008-09), 2009.
[ix] Equality and Human Rights Commission, UK Government UPR Mid-term Report: Report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010, p. 5, http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/documents/humanrights/hrc13_midterm_report.pdf
[x] Ipsos MORI, Nationwide poll conducted in July 2014 by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd, http://forceswatch.net//sites/default/files/IPSOSsurvey2014-Forces_age.pdf. Poll question: ‘In your opinion, what should be the minimum age to join the British army? Please answer regardless of whatever you believe the minimum age is at the moment.’
[xi] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (CRC/C/GBR/CO/5), 2016, pp. 23-24, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/149/88/PDF/G1614988.pdf.
[xii] For sources and detail, see Child Soldiers International, Press Release: Army defies child rights campaigners, intensifies intake of 16-year-olds for riskiest roles, November 2016, https://www.child-soldiers.org/news/army-defies-child-rights-campaigners-intensifies-intake-of-16-year-olds-for-riskiest-roles.
[xiii] According to the MoD, Junior Entry recruitment (aged 16-17.5 years) ‘presents an opportunity to mitigate Standard Entry (SE) shortfalls, particularly for the Infantry’. ‘SE’ refers to recruits aged 17.5 years and above. MoD, Policy on recruiting Under-18s (U18), 2013, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Ref. FOI2015/00618, 12 February 2015, p. 2, https://www.child-soldiers.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=5328771a-5ff2-4b15-89ab-ff454339c782.
[xiv] Recruiters’ instructions state that recruits aged between 16 and 16½ must be given jobs in combat roles (or join as drivers in the logistics corps) and that those under 16¼ must only be given combat roles. British army (Recruiting Group), Eligibility Quick Reference Guide, 2015, p. 8, http://www.child-soldiers.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=5e0a7b26-2af3-4d29-b26d-f21aefeede97.
[xv] In 2015-16, 41 per cent (730) of army recruits aged under 18 were enlisted for the infantry, versus 32 per cent (1,960) of adult recruits. House of Commons, Written questions: Armed Forces: Young People, 25 May 2016, no. 38550; MoD, UK armed forces biannual diversity statistics, 1 April 2016 (Table 8a), 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-armed-forces-biannual-diversity-statistics-2016.
[xvi] Refer to D Gee, The Last Ambush: Aspects of mental health in the British armed forces, 2013 (London: ForcesWatch), p. 57-58, http://www.forceswatch.net/sites/default/files/The_Last_Ambush_web.pdf.
[xvii] Medact, The recruitment of children by the UK armed forces: A critique from health professionals, 2016, http://s234523623453.medact.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/medact_childrecruitment_17-oct_WEB.pdf.
12 dead, about 40 injured, is the result of the latest terror attack in Berlin, when on 19 December, a truck plouged into a Christmas market at Berlin’s Bretscheideplatz, near the lush Kurfuerstendamm.
Is it not a ‘déjà-vu’ of not even half a year ago, when in Nice, France, on 14th July a truck mowed down hordes of people celebrating Bastille Day?
In Berlin, the first ‘culprit’ was a Pakistani who apparently ‘escaped’. When later he turned up and explained with proof his innocence, they had to let him go. In the cabin of the truck they also found a dead man of Polish origin. He couldn’t be accused, since he was dead.
Then the chase was stalled, until miraculously, about a day later, they found in the truck identity papers of a Mr. Anis Amri (24) of Tunisian citizenship beneath the driver’s seat. As is usual with these terrorists, they like to leave their ID cards behind. It seems to be part of their strategy to be caught and killed.
Then, once more there was a ‘suspect’, who could be chased, throughout Europe.
At three in the morning of December 23, again miraculously, Anis Amri turned up on a plaza in Milan, got allegedly into a confrontation with two policemen, who claimed he pulled a gun, when one of them shot and killed him. No witness, no proof.
Two Italian policemen killed a young man, whom – they say – they didn’t even have a clue who he might be. They became heroes, literally overnight. Italy’s new PM, Paolo Gentiloni, thanked and congratulated them; and so did Mme. Merkel and her Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière.
The same pattern all over again.
DEAD MAN CAN’T TALK. It’s Paris (Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan); Nice; Brussels; Munich; Orlando, Florida; San Bernardino, California …… all over again- and again – and again.
The ‘plowing-through-a-celebrating-crowd’ is in many regards “a carbon copy” of the 14th July massacre in Nice (see image below). At the end, the designated ‘Muslim’ terrorist was killed. No witness. No testimony.
Don’t believe one minute that your respective governments didn’t and don’t know what’s going on.
Who are the real perpetrators?
The real perpetrators are not Muslims. They are your own spineless puppet governments, all of which (covertly) support the ISIS and al Qaeda. They obey orders to demonize the Muslim faith and society.
That’s what the west knows best – denigrating and discriminating, accusing the innocent, to serve their purpose, sanctions for those who do not submit.
In reality, no change for the last 800-some years, colonizing, exploiting, murdering the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Today’s ‘leaders’ are the descendants of the colonial era killers of times past. They form the core of our “western killer civilization”.
These western ‘leaders’ are mere puppets, because they have been put in ‘power’ by the the elusive elite, also called the “Deep State” – the Deep State gone global.
Democracy is dead. It’s become a useless defunct slogan. No so-called election over the past decade or so, in the western world has been democratic. They were all scams and manipulations of peoples’ minds and wills.
And if they didn’t conform to what the Washington masters and their supreme masters needed, Plan B of ‘regime change’ kicked in.
They have become experts of semi-clandestine ‘regime change’ through parliamentary coups – i.e. Paraguay, Ukraine, Brazil, Greece, Portugal, Spain and many others.
If these eventually ‘elected’ western leaders (sic-sic), from Obama, to Merkel, Hollande, May, Gentiloni – and the entire EU / OECD clan, don’t behave, they are ‘cooked’, the target of political destabilizaion. That’s the extent of impunity which drives this hegemonic and criminal process towards the New World Order, or the One World Order, led by the global finance and war industry.
The finance clan, the lords of money, the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Morgans, et al, the FED, BIS (Bank for International Settlements, the secretive central bank of all central banks) and Goldman Sachs, have to act fast; otherwise they might lose the key instrument of their power – the sham dollar pyramid economy – may fall apart, before they have actually reached their goal – a world under constant chaos, never-ending conflicts and wars.
A world under which a small elite, enslaves the 99.99% of ‘Us, the People’ — under ever worsening life conditions, unemployment, misery, disease, privatized social services, all contributing to a steady decline in life expectancy.
Among their instruments is permanent chaos. Economic dislocation and social crises.
Open borders forced by trade lobbies and WTO (World Trade Organization) will wipe out small farmers and manufacturers in developing countries, thus eventually handing monopolies to large, mostly US corporations, to the detriment of already impoverished nations, whose vulnerability will be further abused to extract their natural resources for a pittance, so they may repay their IMF / World Bank imposed and leveraged debt.
Floods of refugees from war zones to industrialized wealthy countries, currently happening from the war-torn Middle East to Europe, will disrupt the labor market, push down wages, create massive unemployment. These are all tools towards enslavement of populations. People who have to fend and fight for daily food and often for sheer survival, have no energy or time to take to the streets and protest. That’s the plan; already being enacted. Just look at Greece.
What does all that have to do with the Berlin massacre? – Everything. Berlin, like Paris, Brussels, Munich, Orlando… is just a cog in the wheel of the monster’s drive towards full world hegemony.
Unexpected, haphazard carnage and terror acts are spreading misery, poverty and fear.
People who are afraid will call for more police and military protection.
They will voluntarily give up their human and civil rights for what they hope will be more ‘protection’, being totally oblivious to the fact that the very governments from whom they are seeking more protection are those that commit these acts of treason and terror, those who are behind the killings. The Anglo-american controlled presstitute mainstream media is in permanent brainwashing mode. Unless you search the news and information for yourself on alternative media, they will never tell you the truth, but their lies, after lies, after more of the same lies will fabricate the public truth.
Peoples’ fear and absence of civil rights are easy steps towards increased militarization of the west, already happening – look at France – President (sic) Hollande was just able to extend the State of Emergency through July 2017. [The Paris November 2015 terror attacks played a key role in justifying the State of Emergency.]
The goal is to include it into the French Constitution, basically putting the French people under permanent actual or threat of Martial Law. Others might follow – Germany, Italy – all those whose constituents are ever warier of the EU and their ‘monopoly money’, the euro, and who may seek EUREXIT. This would break the camel’s back, so to speak, or at least put a wrench in the boundless onslaught of the hegemon.
Peoples’ fear may also re-strengthen the faltering justification of NATO. The fall of NATO must be halted. NATO is the Deep State’s warrior flagship, the military fear- and war monger vis-à-vis Russia and eventually China – the last vestiges to be conquered by the self-styled almighty empire, the invisible elite that pretends to rule the globe. Fortunately, they cannot stand up to the Russia-China chess duo which is gradually outsmarting the west’s ostentatious killer exploits.
Imagine, your own spineless governments, following orders of the globalized Deep State – in Berlin, Munich, Nice, Paris, Brussels, Orlando, and an almost endless list of false flags.
How can we respect our so-called leaders? They have zero esteem for us, who are their bread-earners. They kill us, no hesitation, if it pleases them and serves their purpose – and their greed.
In the case of Berlin, is the German government complicit? Blaming Muslims, finding a pre-identified victim, Mr. Anis Amri, who most likely had no clue that he was framed.
In Italy, the police catch him (or somebody who has been given the pre-identified Tunisian victim’s name), they kill him – and, bingo – case closed. Another fear-inflicting false flag was born and concluded, advancing the bulldozer of empire’s destruction a notch closer to Full Spectrum Dominance.
The MSM will do the rest – until the next fake exploit. Be prepared. But this can happen only if we let our governments get away with it, if we close our eyes to reality; if we keep believing the presstitute media.
People wake up! – Boycott the MSM. Take the time to seek the truth elsewhere, for example, on RT, TeleSur, Global Research, ICH, New Eastern Outlook (NEO), CounterPunch, The Saker, Voltairenet — and many more. The Deep State cannot win without your participation.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media, TeleSUR, TruePublica, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
Copyright © Peter Koenig, Global Research, 2016
“We’re an empire now,” Karl Rove nefariously asserted in 2004, “and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
Rove might have said that 12 years ago, but the words hauntingly describe our situation in 2016 — Oxford Dictionaries, incidentally, named “post-truth” the international word of the year — with facts seemingly relative, truth debatable, and a falsely-premised war on fake news, Orwell must be rolling in his grave.
In fact, given these telling circumstances, perhaps Oxford Dictionaries didn’t go far enough — this year epitomizes a new era of post-coherence. Rove and his ilk — the dynasties Bush and Clinton, reigning powers for nearly 30 years — must chuckle behind closed doors as Americans quarrel savagely over the authenticity of falsehoods and facts, alike.
With ostensibly everything now up in the air, the U.S. power apparatus has inarguably ‘created a new reality’ — one in which doubt has been so instilled as to obstruct and thwart the dissemination of accurate, factual information.
This purposeful manipulation of perception, in other words, does exactly what Rove and the aptly-termed “history’s actors” intend — it keeps the rest of us confused — and bitterly arguing over what’s actually going on.
Online communication facilitated this madness exponentially — it’s doubtful such disorientation would have occurred decades ago, when social media didn’t have critical influence.
Of course, this tumult and turbulence isn’t manufactured without reason — it allows the surreptitious and sometimes flagrant distribution of propaganda favorable to the American political establishment to circulate largely unhindered.
But those aspects of post-coherence unintentionally also gave rise to a furious backlash — the Internet might facilitate confusion and propaganda, but it is, after all, a global library of information — and wary independent and alternative media outlets immediately tear apart false information published by collusive corporate media presstitutes.
With all of this in mind, the following are just a smattering of many outrageous examples of how the Fake News narrative brought us post-truth, intentionally shaping the events of 2016 — and promises to continue the inanity far into the future.
Perhaps the most laughable Fake News came to us courtesy of CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who warned the planet amid ongoing publication by Wikileaks of documents deleterious to the credibility of the Democratic establishment to “remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media. So everything you learn about this, you’re learning from us.”
Cuomo’s conspicuous ploy to limit the spread of the actual documents — and win CNN additional reader- and viewership — constituted a reckless foray into censorship of information.
Of course, CNN didn’t proclaim the leaked emails verboten for nothing — the outlet bears the snarky moniker, Clinton News Network, as its parent company, Time Warner, donated over $400,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and was exposed by alternative media countless times for cutting off reporters who dared criticize its darling candidate or report on revealed corruption.
Further, CNN’s pernicious claim came as the documents revealed the outlet and others colluding with the Clinton campaign to report news portraying Democrats in a favorable manner — of course, those who took Cuomo’s warning to heart and relied solely on the Clinton News Network would never know that pertinent detail.
Other mainstream media outlets who coordinated with the Clinton camp struggled to accurately report the contents of the Wikileaks documents — when they bothered covering the revelations. Corporate propaganda’s spin machine seemed to be on overdrive for the duration of the election cycle — and has reached the level of absurdity following Donald Trump’s win.
Because, according to corporate media — who ignored the depth of corruption exposed by Wikileaks — the election of Trump was so anomalous, there had to be an explanation beyond the fact the American people didn’t find Hillary qualified for the job.
Enter The Russians.
Taking cues from the era of McCarthyism and leading the new Red Scare with a bullhorn is the once-illustrious Washington Post, who first posited, without any evidence sans statements from unnamed CIA officials, that the Intelligence Community had reached a consensus — Russian hackers had interfered in the election to install Trump.
Famously in lockstep, the New York Times quickly parroted the same assertion as if it were steel truth — neither outlet, however, bothered consulting officials from the 16 other agencies comprising the U.S. Intelligence Community.
In actuality, no such consensus had been reached — not even inside the CIA. Shortly after the Post’s shameful scare piece was published, the FBI came forward to denounce the Russian hacking theory as “fuzzy” and “ambiguous” — showing the lack of cohesion amongst intelligence officials, as well as the rush to shirk blame for the lost election.
Wikileaks, itself — the one organization with insider information — has vociferously and repeatedly denied their source hacked anything, is not Russian, and that the documents were leaked by an insider.
Nonetheless, news of the report went viral and furthered current administration’s agenda to both paint Russia as a villain and Trump as having somehow stolen the election.
Indeed, the utterly unproven Russian Hackers theory provided the impetus for President Obama to an embarrassing diplomatic meltdown this week, announcing the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, sanctions, and the shuttering of two compounds owned by Russia.
While that move could have easily brought the two superpower nations yet closer to military conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin allowed cooler heads to prevail, went against the fury of other officials, and announced there would be no diplomatic tit-for-tat — no United States diplomats would be expelled from Russia.
Incidentally, the mainstream press jumped the gun again, publishing the statements of Russian officials claiming the country would be mirroring moves by the U.S. — before Putin announced Russia would not be stooping to such diplomatic pettiness. … continue
An Argentine court slapped a new sentence against jailed Indigenous leader Milagro Sala Thursday, just a day after she was handed down a three-year suspended prison sentence for being guilty of “aggravated damages” linked to a protest she led against the conservative government in her home province in Jujuy.
The Jujuy court issued Sala the maximum fine of 3,870 Argentina pesos — nearly half the monthly minimum wage of 8,060 pesos — and prohibited her from participating in any civic and political organizations for three years, the same term as her suspended prison sentence.
Sala was charged with a misdemeanor of “occupying public space, disorderly conduct and the obstruction of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.” The court also ordered the Tupac Amaru organization that Sala leads to shut down its location in Jujuy.
Sala, who has been dubbed the first political prisoner of President Mauricio Macri’s administration, was jailed last January after leading a 52-day sit-in against Jujuy governor and Macri ally Gerardo Morales.
She was initially detained on accusations of inciting mob violence with the occupation — a protest that was reportedly carried out in a peaceful manner — but was soon hit with a barrage of other charges of alleged corruption and illicit enrichment that kept her behind bars for months as investigations continued.
The new three year prohibition of Sala’s participation in social and political organizations extends until the end of Morales’ term as the governor of Jujuy.
After being jailed for nearly a year, on Wednesday a court handed her three years probation with a suspended prison sentence.
Sala is the leader and founder of Tupac Amaru, a 70,000 member-strong organization inspired by the ideals of South American Indigenous liberator Tupac Amaru, revolutionary leader Che Guevara, and former Argentine First Lady Eva Peron, that works with Indigenous and poor communities on a number of political issues.
She is also a lawmaker with the parliament of the sub-regional South American trade bloc Mercosur, known as Parlasur, though her detention has blocked her from being able to fulfill her parliamentary duties.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has slammed Sala’s arrest as arbitrary, calling for her immediate release. President Macri ignored the ruling.
Social movements have also rallied behind Milagro Sala, demanding her release as well as freedom for other political prisoners.
When one is critical of the human-rights violations of the state of Israel, there follows a vehement charge of “antisemitism”. When one supports institutional measures to counter systemic racism, there follows a charge of “reverse racism”. And when a white person is critical of a black person’s apparent support for systemic racism, there again follows a charge of “racism”.
In all these examples, a charge of racism is levied in response to words used to criticize actual physical racism occurring on a spectrum from outright violations of personal safety to exclusion from status and resources.
The reason that such fallacious responses have sting is because there is a strong cultural taboo that racist language is as nefarious as violent physical racism itself. In present middle-class Western society, there is a pathological extreme intolerance against any expression that has cognitive similarity to racist expression.
The said taboo is not as present in the working-class because the economically stressed classes live a high degree of physical and status discrimination themselves. This discrimination is a higher priority to them than identity-tied system-ideology maintenance via personal investments in language policing.
The said taboo is poison because it precludes needed frank discussions and arguments about actual physical racism and hierarchical dominance. It also contributes to creating a class divide between those manipulated to adopt the identity politics of language purity and those who have less to gain from self-censorship and who “fucking need to speak”.
Thus, the taboo against racist and racist-sounding language is of great utility in enforcing an excessively totalitarian social hierarchy. Therefore, the said taboo is systemically promoted and enforced by major institutional instruments, including universities and the legal system.
In a healthy democratic society, free discussion between individuals and classes reigns and shapes a sustainable distribution of power and status. In a defective society, totalitarian encroachment is enabled by class divisions and by suppression of free expression. And there can be runaway encroachment when there are feedback pathologies such as when criticism of racism itself is reflexively tainted with the stigma of racism, or when social-media comments lead to terminations of employment, and so on. Excessive and widespread correctness policing is a recipe for disaster.
In that limited sense, the Trump and Brexit phenomena may well be expressions of natural societal repair mechanisms against runaway totalitarianism, rather than causal factors towards “fascism”. The said phenomena may be “indicators” of totalitarian encroachment by being indicators of responses against totalitarian encroachment (loss of democracy, globalization).
If so, the more the establishment bosses attempt to impose and leverage class-based containment against free expression and free political participation, the greater the danger of large future negative consequences for society as a whole.
Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is a researcher for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. He has published more than 100 articles in leading scientific journals, on physics and environmental science. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism.
© AFP 2016/ MENAHEM KAHANA
After decades of silence, Israel has moved to bring some closure to the hundreds of parents whose children went missing under mysterious circumstances. Some argue the database on the so-called “Yemenite Children Affair” has only been partially declassified.
The 210,000 pages of declassified documents come as a result of three probes into the mysterious disappearances, which date back to the 1950s.
More than 1,000 families – mostly from the Middle East and North Africa, but also from Balkan countries – had since reported their infants being systematically taken from Israeli hospitals, and put up for adoption. The claims never stood up, and the latest effort to investigate the Yemenite Children Affair in 2001 concluded that the children had either died or been buried with the hospital authorities failing to notify the parents.
“The government is now taking action for the first time. [This step] erases the feeling of an opaque and disconnected establishment,” Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi told Army Radio. Hanegbi was also the one appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead the latest effort, which gave the green light for the release of 70 years of testimony and other evidence collected for the Israel State Archives.
“Today we right a historic wrong,” Netanyahu said, according to the Times of Israel. “For close to 60 years, people did not know the fate of their children, in a few minutes any person can access the pages containing all the information that the government of Israel has.”
The bodies of the children were never released to their parents. No other information, including place of burial, was made available, and multiple administrative mistakes have contributed to an atmosphere of all-out confusion in which the conspiracy had thrived.
Some of the parents received army draft notices for their child 18 years after their presumed death.
On Wednesday, a ceremony was held at Netanyahu’s office to mark the release.
Some critics, however, believe there is still more data that could be released on the matter. Nurit Koren, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, who chaired a task force on the Affair, told Army Radio today there were not 200,000 but 400,000 documents gathered over the years by the three probes.
She also pointed out that the documents only cover the period 1948-1954. Evidence, however, shows the disappearances continued way into the 1960s.
“We are obliged to give these families answers,” Koren said, urging the government to release the rest of the documents.
According to official information, the document database will only contain information for those families who had requested to be included in the initiative. Any others who had failed to do so can call the State Archives directly.
Meanwhile, Israeli news website Ynetnews ran a story with the reactions of relatives whose siblings went missing in hospitals, with many of them saying the information in the protocols released was neither complete, nor accurate. Some have accused the Israeli government of a deliberate “cover-up” and even of “mockery.”
“There is nothing new here,” said Yaakov Ben Aba from Rehovot, who lost five siblings between 1944 and 1953, and who believes they were kidnapped. “Opening the protocols to the public is mockery. It’s in order to keep covering up the affair. Instead of opening the adoption files, they are throwing a bone at us in the form of protocols that will not really get us closer to the truth.”
Several people interviewed pointed to inaccurate dates or details of their relatives’ illnesses and presumed deaths, even contradicting the state-released death certificates, while some suggested the “unreadable handwriting” of protocols was re-interpreted and even “beautified” for the release. Speaking of their deep mistrust for the state, several relatives vowed to continue trying to find out if their siblings were actually alive, in hopes of meeting them.
Post-9/11, an array of police state laws, executive orders, memoranda, various national security and homeland security presidential directives, along with other repressive measures eliminated constitutional protections.
Indefinite detention without charges or trial became the law of the land. Torture-obtained evidence may be used against detainees in trial proceedings, despite earlier Supreme Court decisions ruling it impermissible.
Amending longstanding Insurrection Act and Posse Comitatus protections allows federal troops to be deployed on US streets.
Big Brother watches everyone. Whistleblowers exposing government wrongdoing risk longterm imprisonment under harsh conditions.
Obama’s war on freedom risks eliminating it altogether, America under his tenure a hair’s breadth from full-blown tyranny.
First Amendment rights are threatened like never before. Truth-telling on vital domestic and geopolitical issues is now considered fake news or Russian propaganda.
Targeting it is the hallmark of fascist dictatorship. Washington wants views contrary to its own suppressed, writers like myself and many others silenced.
When truth-tellers become enemies of the state, freedom no longer exists.
In early December, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act – an unconstitutional measure against First Amendment freedoms.
On December 23, ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend, Obama signed it into law practically unnoticed. Along with approving bloated military spending, it establishes a Center for Information Analysis and Response – a de facto Ministry of Truth.
It aims to ferret out truth-telling on vital issues, suppress what everyone has a right to know, countering it with state-sponsored propaganda – along with perhaps targeting reliable independent sources of news, information and analysis for elimination.
Orwell once said in times of universal deceit, truth-telling is a revolutionary act. In America, it’s an endangered species, heading toward becoming criminalized, its disseminators risking prosecution, imprisonment or elimination by other means.
Obama governs under a police state apparatus, hardened throughout his tenure. When truth-telling becomes fake news or Russian propaganda, criminalizing it is a step closer to reality.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
British councils were given permission to gather surveillance using covert methods over the course of five years for crimes ranging from dog fouling to pigeon feeding. Spying was conducted with secret listening devices, cameras and private detectives.
A huge freedom of information request from the Liberal Democrats cited by the Guardian showed that 186 of the 283 councils that responded to the request had used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to gather evidence in covert ways over the course of five years.
A total of 2,800 separate surveillance operations took place during that time, lasting up to 90 days each.
The reasons for conducting the surveillance ranged from Midlothian council monitoring dog barking, to Allerdale borough investigating who was guilty of feeding pigeons.
In Wolverhampton, authorities used secret surveillance to check on the sale of dangerous toys and ‘car clocking’ – adjusting the mileage on a car’s odometer.
Westminster council used Ripa to monitor the sales of fireworks to children, while Slough used it during an investigation into an illegal puppy farm.
Lancaster city council monitored its residents for “targeted dog fouling enforcement” in 2012.
Ripa was also used to monitor people receiving benefits, including those claiming to be single parents.
Critics say that Ripa was purportedly intended only to be used when absolutely necessary to protect British citizens from extreme threats such as terrorism – not dog fouling or other petty crimes.
“It is absurd that local authorities are using measures primarily intended for combating terrorism for issues as trivial as a dog barking or the sale of theatre tickets. Spying on the public should be a last resort not an everyday tool,” said Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrats peer who represents the party on home affairs, as quoted by the Guardian.
However, a Home Office spokesman said Ripa was an “important tool that local authorities can use to address the issues that affect many people’s lives, like consumer protection, environmental crime, and benefit fraud,” while noting that local authorities should only use it when it is “both necessary and proportionate to do so.”
“Any local authority use of these powers must be independently authorized by a magistrate, who is an independent judicial figure,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, a British government spokeswoman told the Guardian that the law has since changed, and Ripa can now only be used if criminal activity is suspected.
Nevertheless, Paddick isn’t certain that anything will change with the new Investigatory Powers Act, which is supposed to ensure that such powers will be overseen by an Investigatory Powers Commissioner in the future. He said that, although it will restrict local authorities from monitoring people’s communications, it will also give “mass surveillance powers to a huge number of government bodies.”
“As with any legislation, there is a significant risk that authorities will use powers in a way that parliament never intended,” Paddick said, calling for oversight of any future surveillance.
Paddick isn’t the only one to criticize the UK’s new Investigatory Powers Act, which will authorize the sweeping collection and storage of people’s emails, text messages, and internet data. The European Court of Justice ruled last week that only targeted interception of traffic and location data is justified, and only to combat serious crime, leaving many to wonder whether the ruling may prompt challenges to the new UK legislation, which critics have dubbed the ‘snooper charter.’