Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Kuwait Files Cases Against Web Users Criticizing Qatar Blockade

Sputnik – 23.08.2017

The Kuwaiti Attorney General’s office filed criminal cases against several social media users who have been criticizing Arab states and their leadership for the decision to cut ties with Qatar and impose a blockade, Kuwaiti Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al Sabah said Tuesday.

“We do not tolerate offensive remarks regarding any friendly Arab country, made by both licensed Kuwaiti media and social media users. The Attorney General’s office will deal with all those who offended Persian Gulf states,” Al Sabah said in an interview to Saudi Arabian Okaz newspaper.

He also noted that the names of those users had been already submitted to the Attorney General’s office.

In early June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and a number of other countries broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar in early June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. The move has been strongly condemned by a number of Kuwaiti journalists and analysts, who have a large number of followers on social media.

Kuwait, acting as a mediator in the crisis, handed over the four Arab states’ ultimatum containing several demands to Doha. The list included requests to sever relations with Iran, close Turkey’s military base on Qatar’s territory, shut down Al Jazeera TV channel and end support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization banned in Russia. Doha has refused to comply with the demands.

August 23, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian Authority shows its ‘authoritarian’ face through Cyber Crimes Law

Ma’an – August 22, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer has joined a growing chorus opposition to the Palestinian Authority (PA) — which the NGO described as “an ever increasingly authoritarian regime” — for a new far-reaching law that effectively criminalizes “any form of digital dissent.”

The decree, issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on June 24, has been described by rights groups as “draconian” and “the worst law in the PA’s history,” for imposing jail time, hard labor, and fines for creating, publishing, and sharing information deemed dangerous by the PA.

In a statement last last week, the leftist PLO faction the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP) called the law “a repressive tool” against all who disagree, oppose, and “confront the misdeeds” of the PA.

The PFLP said the law’s passage came as “the (Israeli) occupation is waging a frantic campaign against journalists, including prosecutions, arrests and attacks, sometimes amounting to direct physical targeting leading to the death and injury of dozens of journalists,” and that that PA “is seeking to prosecute and arrest the same journalists.”

In detailed breakdown of the new law published Sunday, Addameer, which provides legal support to Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel and the PA, explained that the vague and far-reaching law could mean prison time, hard labor, and/or hundreds of dollars in fines for journalists, leakers, meme-sharers, and someone “watching Game of Thrones using a VPN.”

“The most troubling aspects of this document are its vague definitions of what constitutes a punishable offence, its extension of punishment to any individual who assists or agrees with what the decree considers a felony, and the clear attacks on dissenters, journalists, and leakers,” the prisoners’ rights group explained.

Addameer slammed the law for using quasi-legitimate restrictions on hacking and internet fraud as legal camouflage for serious curtailments of privacy and freedom of expression.

While the rights group said there was a “kernel of truth” that such a decree was needed to combat hackers and fraudsters, “it by no means represents a ‘necessity’ as stipulated in the Basic Law.”

Palestinian Basic Law says that presidential decrees may only be issued in a “time of necessity, if the situation is urgent enough as to not be able to wait until the next sitting of the Palestinian Legislative Council,” according to Addameer.

Since Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not convened in Ramallah, meaning that Abbas, who extended his presidency indefinitely in 2009, has been ruling solely by decree for a decade.

Prison time, fines, or both

The law mandates that “any person who…has abused any information technology” can face imprisonment, a fine 200 to 3,000 Jordanian dinars, or both. If the alleged offence affects government data, a minimum sentence of five years of hard labor and a minimum fine of 5,000 Jordanian dinars ($7,070) is called for, Addameer said.

This clause, according to Addameer, is clearly directed at journalists and leakers, though such “abuse” is undefined and open to interpretation.

A person who threatens to commit a felony or an undefined “immoral act” on the internet also faces temporary hard labor.

Anyone who creates or shares content that “infringes on public morals” faces a minimum one-year sentence or a minimum fine of 1,000 Jordanian dinars capped at 5,000 dinars ($7,070), or both.

The greatest threat to press freedoms in the law, Addameer said, is an article that punishes “anyone who creates or manages a website or an information technology platform that aims to publish news that would endanger the integrity of the Palestinian state, the public order or the internal or external security of the State” with a fine between $1,414 and $7,070 or at least a year of jail time, or both.

Anyone who shares such content would also be punished with a maximum one-year prison sentence or fine of between 200 Jordanian dinars ($283) and 1,000 dinars ($1414), or both.

“Something as simple as a share on Facebook could result in a fine, jail time, or both. The decree even goes as far as to criminalize the use of any means to bypass the blocking of certain websites, such as a VPN,” Addameer said.

The decree also demands website providers comply with the PA to block certain websites, enshrines the right for the PA to seize equipment allegedly used in cyber crime felonies, and allows the PA to monitor anyone’s communications and data for a renewable period of 15 days with magistrate’s court approval. Violators of these clauses can expect hard labor or temporary hard labor.

“In essence, besides the infringement on freedom of the press, the PA can now imprison and fine individuals for a Facebook share, watching Game of Thrones using a VPN, making an ‘offensive’ meme, posting a tweet against certain policies, or asserting political allegiances,” Addameer said.

2 known instances of law being used so far

Addameer said that the PA has already used the law to curtail press freedoms and freedom of expression at least twice.

Most recently, five journalists were arrested and accused of “leaking information to hostile entities,” and four others were also questioned. Initial claims said the arrests were not related to the decree, but the prosecutor later cited the law as the reason for their arrest.

The journalists were held for five days and were made to agree to a 1,000 dinar bond, the amount stipulated in the decree. “It is unclear if charges will be further pursued but, at this point, none have been officially issued,” according to Addameer.

The journalists, barring one freelancer, all worked for news outlets that were blocked by the PA in mid-August. The majority of the 30 affected sites were affiliated to PA rivals Hamas and discharged Fatah member Muhammad Dahlan, with a few others being associated with so-called Islamic State.

“The fact that these websites are run by political rivals to the current ruling faction of the PA indicates that that these laws are being and, will continue to be used, to stifle free speech, legitimate decent (sic), and discussions regarding the state of politics in Palestine,” Addameer said.

Despite not being detained under the decree, Addameer also cited the arrest of Palestinian Today journalist Jihad Barakat, as a violation of press freedoms since the law was enacted. He was detained for filming Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah being searched by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint.

Barakat was charged for a range of offenses, including panhandling, for which he will stand trial in the PA court system in September.

Addameer reminded the PA of its obligations under a number of human rights conventions the decree violates regarding freedom of expression, to which the Ramallah-based government has committed.

“Despite the ‘Electronic Crimes Law’ using the language of ‘national security,’ the decree itself is clearly contrary to the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The fact that the limits on free speech have been applied to opposition voices, and critical journalists, is more than enough to conclude that the PA is currently in violation of their international commitments,” the prisoners’ rights group affirmed.

“Furthermore, Addameer urges that the Palestinian Authority must abide by the conventions to which it is a party, especially considering the ongoing deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Another Palestinian, an American Citizen, Deported. No Homeland.

By Barbara Nimri Aziz | Radio Tahrir | August 20, 2017

Rasmea Odeh is either on an airplane out of her country. Or she’s in a federal holding cell in Detroit or New York awaiting deportation from the USA.

Odeh’s departure marks the end of a bizarre life, one that can evoke admiration. As a young Palestinian, Odeh fought against Israeli oppression. Now after a valiant legal battle in this country, her new homeland, she is departing (by force).

Some Americans may recall with satisfaction their support for Russian dissidents in the 1950s and 1960s when the Soviet Union exiled its critics. If they were not sent to Siberia, opponents of the USSR were denied residence in their homeland, involuntarily banished. However much the US and UK welcomed them and even lionized them, banishment is a hard punishment to bear. Today’s Russia no longer metes out such penalties; which is not to say Russia is completely tolerant of dissent.

In the US, one hardly hears of Americans being banished from these hallowed shores. However rare, it does occur. Often Palestinian Americans are the target of this injustice, with Israeli authorities (somehow, usually) involved in legal cases brought against those Palestinians in U.S. courts.

Perhaps the most widely publicized case is that of Professor Sami Al-Arian. Starting in 1993, after a long, noble struggle against false accusations, years in jail, support from an international campaign determinedly led by his own family, continued harassment from the US government, Al-Arian finally succumbed and left the country in 2015. Before him, his associate Mazen Al-Najjar also spent years attempting to secure justice before he too was deported. [I myself interviewed both men on several occasions between 1993 and 2003 on Radio Tahrir (www.RadioTahrir.org), WBAI, 99.5 fm. While Al-Arian’s case is well documented, Al-Najjar’s history is almost completely scrubbed from the public record.] Both men were brave advocates for US justice and for Palestinian rights.

Rasmea Odeh’s treatment is a troubling reminder that this happens to US citizens who have never committed a crime in this country and never threatened anyone in the US.

Odeh is the latest Palestinian banished from this country. Now 69, she moved to the US (where her father resided) and settled in the Chicago area in the 1990’s. She was pressed to leave her home in the Occupied Territories like countless Palestinians over the past half century, dispossessed people who lost homes, family and hope. They left under duress in search of peace and dignity.

In 1994 Odeh applied for an immigration visa, later for US citizenship. Unlike many immigrants, she dared to become a community leader. Any immigrant, whatever their background, who arrives here quickly learns to keep their head down and their mouth shut—civil rights-be-damned. Just join the American dream for a job and a house.

The long arm of Israeli injustice followed Odeh however, and perhaps because of her visibility, her history with Israeli authorities was disclosed. (Many years earlier, Odeh was convicted for involvement in an attack on Israelis. She was released in a prisoner exchange after serving ten years.) Her American crime? She’d failed to report that conviction in her immigration application, a serious oversight. So when her history came to light in 2013, US authorities brought a charge of “immigration fraud” against Odeh. In her defense a major campaign was launched, and in 2015 the conviction was set aside. Forces determined to destroy her stepped up the attack however and she faced yet another trial, set for May 2017. Although there was considerable public support for her, in March Rasmea’s defense team advised a plea deal. She would serve no jail time, but her citizenship was revoked and she’d be deported. Thus the court’s announcement last week of her removal.

While this conclusion was hardly noted in the regular US press, the Jewish press, in USA and in Israel, hailed the decision, using the news to highlight her 1969 terrorism conviction and to draw attention to a ubiquitous threat of Palestinian terrorism.

Such tactics are part of the ever present Israeli campaign coursing through US culture, a threat that smothers dissent, intimidates and drives academics out of the universities, and in response to the success of the BDS movement, is pressing ahead with S. 720– a bill in the US Congress, to prohibit Americans who will not countenance Israeli injustice– from participating in any boycott of Israeli products and institutions.

All the more reason to support vocal critics, including journalists, and American community leaders like Linda Sarsour

There will always be funds for shelter-less and malnourished children in refugee camps. Today, in the face of stepped up Israeli surveillance and political pressures, immense courage in needed to pursue justice for Palestine and free speech on behalf of their rights. Many Americans (including journalists), nameless and known figures–Arabs and non-Arabs— have moved into obscurity after years of threats and intimidation. Somehow new champions emerge to continue a just cause.

 

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Freedom for the Speech We Hate: The Legal Ins and Outs of the Right to Protest

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | August 22, 2017

“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”— Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

There was a time in this country, back when the British were running things, that if you spoke your mind and it ticked off the wrong people, you’d soon find yourself in jail for offending the king.

Reacting to this injustice, when it was time to write the Constitution, America’s founders argued for a Bill of Rights, of which the First Amendment protects the right to free speech. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, was very clear about the fact that he wrote the First Amendment to protect the minority against the majority.

What Madison meant by minority is “offensive speech.”

Unfortunately, we don’t honor that principle as much as we should today. In fact, we seem to be witnessing a politically correct philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be “acceptable” speech.

There are all kinds of labels put on such speech—it’s been called politically incorrect speech, hate speech, offensive speech, and so on—but really, the message being conveyed is that you don’t have a right to express yourself if certain people or groups don’t like or agree with what you are saying.

Hence, we have seen the caging of free speech in recent years, through the use of so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses and at political events, the requirement of speech permits in parks and community gatherings, and the policing of online forums.

Clearly, this elitist, monolithic mindset is at odds with everything America is supposed to stand for.

Indeed, we should be encouraging people to debate issues and air their views. Instead, by muzzling free speech, we are contributing to a growing underclass of Americans—many of whom have been labeled racists, rednecks and religious bigots—who are being told that they can’t take part in American public life unless they “fit in.”

Remember, the First Amendment acts as a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world. When there is no steam valve to release the pressure, frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.

The attempt to stifle certain forms of speech is where we go wrong.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is “a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment…that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.” For example, it is not a question of whether the Confederate flag represents racism but whether banning it leads to even greater problems, namely, the loss of freedom in general.

Along with the constitutional right to peacefully (and that means non-violently) assemble, the right to free speech allows us to challenge the government through protests and demonstrations and to attempt to change the world around us—for the better or the worse—through protests and counterprotests.

As always, knowledge is key.

The following Constitutional Q&A, available in more detail at The Rutherford Institute (www.rutherford.org), is a good starting point.

Q:        WHAT LAWS GIVE ME THE RIGHT TO PROTEST?

A:         The First Amendment prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Protesting is an exercise of these constitutional rights because it involves speaking out, by individual people or those assembled in groups, about matters of public interest and concern.

Q:        WHERE CAN I ENGAGE IN PROTEST ACTIVITY?

A:         The right to protest generally extends to places that are owned and controlled by the government, although not all government-owned property is available for exercising speech and assembly rights. However, beyond public or government property, a person cannot claim a First Amendment right to protest and demonstrate on property that is privately owned by someone else. This also applies to private property that is generally open to the public, such as a shopping mall or shopping center, although these areas sometimes allow demonstrations and other free speech activity with permission from the owner. You are also entitled to engage in protest activities on land you own.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the government may not forbid homeowners from posting signs on their property speaking out on a political or social issue.

Q:        WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS TO PROTEST IN A TRADITIONAL PUBLIC FORUM?

A:         Places historically associated with the free exercise of expressive activities, such as streets, sidewalks and parks, are traditional public forums and the government’s power to limit speech and assembly in those places is very limited. The government may not impose an absolute ban on expression and assembly in traditional public forums except in circumstances where it is essential to serve a compelling government interest.  However, expression and assembly in traditional public forums may be limited by reasonable time, place and manner regulations. Examples of reasonable regulations include restrictions on the volume of sound produced by the activity or a prohibition on impeding vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  To be a valid time, place and manner regulation, the restriction must not have the effect of restricting speech based on its content and it must not be broader than needed to serve the interest of the government.

Q:        CAN I PICKET AND/OR DISTRIBUTE LEAFLETS AND OTHER TYPES OF LITERATURE ON PUBLIC SIDEWALKS?

A:         Yes, a sidewalk is considered a traditional public forum where you can engage in expressive activities, such a passing out literature or speaking out on a matter of public concern. In exercising that right, you must not block pedestrians or the entrances to buildings. You may not physically or maliciously detain someone in order to give them a leaflet, but you may approach them and offer it to them.

Q:        CAN MY FREE SPEECH BE RESTRICTED BECAUSE OF WHAT I SAY, EVEN IF IT IS CONTROVERSIAL?

A:         No, the First Amendment protects speech even if most people would find it offensive, hurtful or hateful. Speech generally cannot be banned based upon its content or viewpoint because it is not up to the government to determine what can and cannot be said. A bedrock principle of the First Amendment is that the government may not prohibit expression of an idea because society finds it offensive or disagreeable. Also, protest speech also cannot be banned because of a fear that others may react violently to the speech.  Demonstrators cannot be punished or forbidden from speaking because they might offend a hostile mob. The Supreme Court has held that a “heckler’s veto” has no place in First Amendment law.

Q:        HOW DO THESE RIGHTS APPLY TO PUBLIC PLACES I TYPICALLY VISIT?

A:         Your rights to speak out and protest in particular public places will depend on the use and purpose of the place involved.  For example, the lobbies and offices of public buildings that are used by the government are generally not open for expressive activities because the purpose of these buildings is to carry out public business. Protesting would interfere with that purpose.  Ironically, the meetings of a governmental body, such as a city council or town board, are not considered public forums open for protest activities because the purpose of the meeting is generally to address public business that is on the agenda.  However, some government councils and boards set aside a time at the meeting when the public can voice their complaints.

The grounds of public colleges and universities are generally considered available for assembly and protest by students and other members of the institution’s community.  However, those who are not students, faculty or staff of the institution may be denied access to the campus for speech and protest activities under rules issued by the school.

Public elementary and secondary school grounds also are not considered places where persons can engage in assembly and protest.  However, students at these schools do not lose their right to free speech when they enter the school. The First Amendment protects the right of students to engage in expressive acts of protest, such as wearing armbands to demonstrate opposition to a war, that are not disruptive to the school environment.

Q:        DO I NEED A PERMIT IN ORDER TO CONDUCT A PROTEST?

A:         As a general rule, no. A person is not required to obtain the consent or permission of the government before engaging in activities that are protected by the First Amendment.  One of the main reasons for that constitutional provision was to forbid any requirement that citizens obtain a license in order to speak out.  The government cannot require that individuals or small groups obtain a permit in order to speak or protest in a public forum.

However, if persons or organizations want to hold larger rallies and demonstrations, they may be required by local laws to obtain a permit.  The Supreme Court has recognized that the government, in order to regulate competing uses of public forums, may impose a permit requirement on those wishing to hold a parade or rally.  Government officials cannot simply prohibit a public assembly according to their discretion, but the government can impose restrictions on the time, place, and manner of peaceful assembly, provided that constitutional safeguards are met. Such time, place and manner restrictions can take the form of requirements to obtain a permit for an assembly.

Whether an assembly or demonstration requires a permit depends on the laws of the locality.  A permit certainly is required for any parade because it would involve the use of the streets and interfere with vehicle traffic. A permit to hold an event in other public places typically is required if the gathering involves more than 50 persons or the use of amplification.

Q:        DO COUNTER-DEMONSTRATORS HAVE FREE SPEECH RIGHTS?

A:         Yes, they do. Just because counter-demonstrators oppose you and the viewpoint of your demonstration does not mean they have any less right to speak out and demonstrate. However, the same rules apply to counter-demonstrators as apply to the original assembly. The group cannot be violent and must assemble and protest in an appropriate place and manner.

Q:        WHAT CAN’T I DO IN EXERCISING MY RIGHTS TO PROTEST?

A:         The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. The First Amendment does not provide the right to conduct a gathering at which there is a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic on public streets or other immediate threat to public safety. Laws that prohibit people from assembling and using force or violence to accomplish unlawful purposes are permissible under the First Amendment.

Q:       AM I ALLOWED TO CARRY A WEAPON OR FIREARM AT A DEMONSTRATION OR PROTEST?

A:         Your right to have a weapon with you when you protest largely depends on what is allowed by state law and is unlikely to be protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee to freedom of speech. Not all conduct can be considered “speech” protected by the First Amendment even if the person engaging in the conduct intends to express an idea. Most courts have held that the act of openly carrying a weapon or firearm is not expression protected by the First Amendment.

The right to possess a firearm is protected by the Second Amendment, and all states allow carrying a concealed weapon in public, although most require a permit to do so. Some states allow persons to openly carry firearms in public. However, it is not yet settled whether the Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess a firearm in public. Thus, the right to carry a firearm at a demonstration or protest is a matter that depends on what is allowed under state law. Carrying other weapons, such as stun guns, which are not firearms also is subject to restrictions imposed by state law. Possession of weapons also may be prohibited in certain places where demonstrations might take place, such as a national park.

Even if possession of weapons is allowed, their presence at demonstrations and rallies can be intimidating and provocative and does not help in achieving a civil and peaceful discourse on issues of public interest and concern. Demonstrations often relate to issues raising strong feelings among competing groups, and the presence of counter-demonstrators makes conflict likely.  In these situations, where the purpose of the gathering is to engage in speech activities, firearms and other weapons are threatening, result in the suppression of speech and are contrary to the purpose of the First Amendment to allow all voices to be heard on matters of public importance.

Q:        WHAT CAN’T THE POLICE DO IN RESPONDING TO PROTESTERS?

A:         In recent history, challenges to the right to protest have come in many forms. In some cases, police have cracked down on demonstrations by declaring them “unlawful assemblies” or through mass arrests, illegal use of force or curfews. Elsewhere, expression is limited by corralling protesters into so-called “free-speech zones.” New surveillance technologies are increasingly turned on innocent people, collecting information on their activities by virtue of their association with or proximity to a given protest. Even without active obstruction of the right to protest, police-inspired intimidation and fear can chill expressive activity and result in self-censorship. All of these things violate the First Amendment and are things the police cannot do to censor free speech. Unless the assembly is violent or violence is clearly imminent, the police have limited authority under the law to shut down protesters.

Clearly, as evidenced by the recent tensions in Charlottesville, Va., we’re at a crossroads concerning the constitutional right to free speech.

As Benjamin Franklin warned, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

It must be emphasized that it was for the sake of preserving individuality and independence that James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, fought for a First Amendment that protected the “minority” against the majority, ensuring that even in the face of overwhelming pressure, a minority of one—even one who espouses distasteful viewpoints—would still have the right to speak freely, pray freely, assemble freely, challenge the government freely, and broadcast his views in the press freely.

This freedom for those in the unpopular minority constitutes the ultimate tolerance in a free society. Conversely, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, when we fail to abide by Madison’s dictates about greater tolerance for all viewpoints, no matter how distasteful, the end result is always the same: an indoctrinated, infantilized citizenry that marches in lockstep with the governmental regime.

Some of this past century’s greatest dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. For instance, in George Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.”

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

If ever there were a time for us to stand up for the right to speak freely, even if it’s freedom for speech we hate, the time is now.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

TSA facial biometric body scanners and government watchlists being used in train stations

MassPrivatel | August 22, 2017

The TSA is winning the war on Americans minds as commuters are being tricked into giving away their rights without a fight.

The above video warns that facial recognition body scanners are coming to a train station near you…

Soon you might have to pass through one of these to get to your train or subway.”

Last week, the TSA  Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority ‘voluntarily’ asked commuters to walk through facial recognition body scanners before being allowed to board a train.

If you watched the video you might have noticed that the mass media (CBS) did not interview a single person who was concerned about their privacy. Instead, they quoted passengers who think body scanners are a good thing.

Nothing suspicious about that, right?

CBS warned that if the LA Metro installs the body scanners next year, commuters won’t be able to opt-out. 

According to an article in the LA Times, the LA Metro has begun piloting biometric body scanners that send short-wave radio frequencies through commuters bodies to search for bombs and weapons.

A ‘pilot program’ is really a government euphemism for gauging the public’s response to another intrusive police search.

Bill Gates bankrolled high speed body scanners

According to an article in ‘The Guardian’, the start-up company Evolv Technology is pilot testing high speed body scanners at the Los Angeles’s Union Station, Union Station in D.C., and the Denver international airport.

Evolv has taken a page right out of the TSA playbook citing safety concerns and fear of terror to justify their usage.

Evolv CEO Michael Ellonbogen said, “I think we need to change our entire take on physical security and knit it into the flow of our daily lives”.

“It’s an unfortunate trend, but physical security is morphing and the problem is worsening”, said Lux Capital’s Bilal.

Corporations are using Americans fears of terror to make huge profits.

Evolv stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars if commuter train stations install their body scanners. A single scanner will cost taxpayers $60,000, while Bill Gates who helped fund Evolv Technoloy makes a nice profit.

Police use our fears of terror to justify losing of our rights

An LA Times article served as a mouthpiece to justify more government spying.

“While we’ll never become a fully secured environment like you’d have in the airport, we do want to find a way to more effectively screen passengers,” Metro security executive Alex Wiggins said. “We are trying to stay ahead of the threat.”

Mr. Wiggins isn’t done scaring the public just yet…

“Transportation is a very soft and attractive target,” said Wiggins,“Given the recent large-scale attacks at transit facilities in Europe, we need to see if there is technology that can screen large number of peoples and focus in on weapons and explosives.

Curiously, the LA Times devoted only one sentence to privacy concerns.

Three months ago, I warned everyone that California Transit Authorities have a history of using corporate spy gear to spy on commuters.

A class action lawsuit in California revealed that Transit Police are using a ‘Bart Watch’ app and Stingray surveillance to allegedly spy on commuters texts and emails.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, the war on terror is a for-profit business being led by private corporations and DHS. (The TSA is part of DHS.)

To learn more I recommend checking out Gary Jacobucci’s article that asked if, ‘DHS is a private offshore corporation.‘ Here are two companies that appear to be fronts for DHS: Homeland Security Solutions and Homeland Security Corporation. (Click here & here to find out more.)

Body scanners use government watchlists 

Evolve uses ‘Known Wolves’, watchlist software that can identify people of interest or anyone on a government watchlist.

“Stay on constant lookout for known wolves and other watchlist individuals using proven facial recognition and human IQ. Integrated video camera provides positive ID for alarm resolution. Send notifications and alerts to mobile team or operations center.”

Getting the public to accept facial recognition body scanners at airports and Disney World is only part of a much greater privacy nightmare.

Evolv’s facial recognition body scanners are being used at public area screenings, sporting events, and employee screenings.

Retail stores and conference centers are also using facial biometric cameras and scanners.

Imagine a future where the police use government watchlists, facial biometric scanners, Stingray cellphone surveillance, Bluetooth, and license plate readers to spy on our every movement.

This is our future unless we fight for our privacy rights.

image credit: CryHavok

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Britain’s crackdown on internet trolls undermine freedom of speech?

RT | August 21, 2017

New measures designed to crack down on hate crime could have a “chilling effect” on freedom of speech, warn civil liberties campaigners.

Fresh guidelines issued on Monday by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would see online abuse treated with the same “robust and proactive” approach used to address offline offending.

However, in this attempt to protect users from abuse, the CPS risks undermining the fundamental right to freedom of expression, according to Open Rights Group Legal Director Myles Jackman.

“Some offenses employ highly subjective terms like ‘grossly offensive’ and ‘obscene’ which could have a severe chilling effect on the more unpalatable but legitimate areas of free speech, if interpreted strictly,” Jackman said.

The new measures, aimed at protecting people from online trolling, come as part of a bid to crack down on the “corrosive effect” of hate crime on British society.

Regional police forces reported a rise in hate crimes of up to 100 percent in the months following the EU referendum last year.

According to figures released by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the rate increased fivefold in the capital following four terrorist attacks in the UK that killed more than 30 killed and injured many more.

The updated CPS documents state: “Hate crime can be perpetrated online or offline, or there can be a pattern of behavior that includes both.

“The internet and social media in particular have provided new platforms for offending behavior.”

CPS Director Alison Saunders said tackling hate crime has become a priority for prosecutors because of the major impact it has on people’s lives.

“These documents take account of the current breadth and context of offending to provide prosecutors with the best possible chance of achieving justice for victims,” Saunders said.

“They also let victims and witnesses know what they should expect from us.”

She hopes the new guidelines will encourage people to report hate crimes, with the “knowledge they’ll be taken seriously and given the support they need.”

Britain’s Jewish and Muslim communities say a lot of offenses involve the internet.

Fiyaz Mughal, the founder of campaign group Tell MAMA, which monitors Islamophobic abuse, praised the new focus on social media.

“Those who think that street-based hate crimes should have precedent over online ones, should realize there is no competition in getting access to justice,” he said, according to the Independent.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Left, You Have Been Duped

By Richard Hugus | August 20, 2017

On August 19, a week after a heavily publicized clash over a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, an estimated 8,000 people converged on Boston Common to protest a speaking event organized by a group calling itself the Boston Free Speech Movement. Who are the Boston Free Speech Movement and what do they stand for? We’ll never know because antifascists, leftists, anti-racists, and progressives of Boston prevented them from even speaking. Some might say this was a good thing — no one wants to hear from bigots (if that’s who they were) — but in fact the left in all its self-righteousness was duped into an assault on the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees the right of free speech, for everyone. The left have been the pawns of much more powerful forces who, if they aren’t organizing these news events and provocations outright, are certainly happy to see precedents set for publicly shutting down free speech by the use of force. First it will be the speech of fascists, then it will be the speech of anybody the authorities don’t like, including leftists.

Suddenly we are being confronted with organizations who claim to know what is or is not appropriate for the rest of us to hear. Now that sides have been established — one which can decide what is and isn’t acceptable speech, and another which is forbidden to speak on pain of attack, all that remains is for the powerful to make sure their narrative is the one that’s allowed. Isn’t this fascism? Aren’t people who claim to be anti-fascist actually doing what classic fascists do?

It’s not a coincidence that just prior to these speaking events being shut down, Google, Inc. asserted its right to decide what is and is not a legitimate news source. At the same time the US Congress is considering legislation that would make it illegal for US citizens to support boycott, divestment, or sanctions against Israel. Not surprisingly, the pro-Israel Anti Defamation League (ADL) has been brought on by Google to advise them on which news sources are legitimate and which are not. Google now has such a monopoly on information on the Internet that it is in a position to bury unapproved news sources forever. The ADL will therefore be able to effectively censor any negative news about what Israel is doing in Palestine and the middle east, just as AIPAC, through its ownership of the US Congress, will be able to censor free speech of American citizens when it comes to, once again, Israel.

In the ‘50s the ADL monitored “pinkos” for the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. In the ‘90s ADL monitored activists working to end apartheid in South Africa, in the 2000s the ADL began monitoring Arab American organizations and mosques. Today the ADL monitors pro-Palestine groups on college campuses. In each case the ADL has gone after “extremism and hate speech” in the US, as defined by Israel.

One wonders, why does Israel, a foreign country, have such a say on what people in the US can and can’t talk about?

There is no way to censor speech without a point of view or agenda. The agenda is usually dictated by whoever has power. Thus censorship serves those in power. When we take part in it, we serve the power.

People are apparently upset about an upsurge of Nazism. Why weren’t they in the streets when neocon Victoria Nuland and the US State Department organized a coup in Ukraine with the overt assistance of neo-Nazis? Why were Nazis okay during Obama’s presidency but not during Trump’s?

Where was the outrage when Hillary Clinton and the US State Department attacked and destroyed Libya? The liberal left considered this a “humanitarian intervention,” just as it did when the US decimated Yugoslavia.

Why is it that after six years of siege and murder committed by US proxy forces in Syria, the only national demonstration that could be mustered in Washington was on the issue of private remarks Trump once made about grabbing women — the famous “pussy hat” demonstration?

Why is it that the liars in the mainstream press could get away with false stories of chemical attacks in Syria being carried out by the Syrian government when it was obvious that the attacks were carried out as false flags by US proxy forces? Why are Syrians still being bombed and killed every day by US “coalition” forces with no protest?

Why is it that Iraq is no longer a concern, after 26 years of genocidal assault by Uncle Sam, with efforts now being made to balkanize Iraq through support for “Kurdistan”? Why are US troops still there? Why are they still in Afghanistan? Where are the masses taking to the streets to shout down the liars making these policies?

Why is it the business of the US to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs, even to the point of military intervention? Has Venezuela harmed the US in some way? Has the left swallowed yet again the lie that the US is concerned about human rights in another country?

Why is it that Palestinians have been forgotten, as Israel, the US’s closest ally, transparently conducts genocide against them, year after year, so that today Israel can talk openly of forced transfer of the entire Arab population of Palestine. Isn’t terror also being committed when Israeli settlers routinely ram their cars into Palestinians in the street, or is it just terror when this happens in Europe?

Why is it that the US supports a state for Jewish people only that necessarily discriminates again non-Jewish Christians and Muslims? Isn’t discrimination on the basis of religion a hate crime? Isn’t the ADL in a conflict of interests when it claims to be an authority on hate crimes while representing such a state? Has the left ever repudiated its long record of blocking for Israel and Israel’s crimes?

Why is it that the virtuous left has nothing better to do than face off with a few obvious provocateurs with their over-the-top nazi slogans while the US — their country, in their name — is actively supporting Saudi Arabia in its destruction of a practically defenseless Yemen?

Where has the left been in its opposition to US government and media “hate speech” and war-baiting against Russia, China, and Iran? Is World War III not a problem? Did something lead leftists to believe that life on earth was not important right now?

Is the US threat of a nuclear attack on North Korea a side issue — something to be dealt with only after facing off with the Klan?

What about the murder of millions of Arabs and Muslims since 9-11 on the basis of a false story about who did 9-11? Surely there is a case to be made here for discrimination on the basis of religion, if not serial mass murder, based on a pretext which itself was an open crime for all the world to see. Why does the left consider discussion of this crime unimportant and passé?

That the left has mobilized to stomp on a handful of people in Charlottesville and Boston only proves its impotence. It’s like the man who has been frustrated at work all day who comes home and kicks his dog.

The worst of it all is that both the left and right have been suckered into a division which will use up all their energy and get plenty of attention from the press while the real crimes and the real criminals roll steadily along, laughing at the stupidity of everyone involved and the ease with which they were manipulated.

August 20, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 3 Comments

Israel to Impose Fines for Commemoration of Nakba

IMEMC News & Agencies – August 17, 2017

Israeli occupation authorities are prepared to impose massive fines on Palestinians who commemorate the Israeli occupation of Palestine, a report revealed on Tuesday.

An Arab member of the Knesset said, according to Days of Palestine, that occupation authorities have decided to fine institutions which rent out space for events organized by non-Jewish citizens, which the state regards as illegal.

“The Israeli measure is against the simplest basics of democracy and free speech,” explained Jamal Zahalkeh MK. “It is racist because it targets Arab citizens and their institutions.”

On Sunday, the Israeli Culture and Sport Minister, Miri Regev, and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit met and agreed on how to implement the so-called “Nakba Law” which first surfaced in 2011.

It stipulates that any institution in receipt of government funds will be fined up to three times of the said funds if it rejects Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state; incites racism, violence or terrorism; supports armed resistance or terrorist acts against Israel; or commemorates Israel’s “independence day” as Palestinian Nakba Day.

Israel Hayom said that Regev asked for the meeting after reports about an event hosted by a Jaffa theatre in honor of former Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, who was indicted for smuggling telephones to Palestinian security prisoners.

Regev and Mendelblit, the newspaper said, agreed that complaints about alleged violations of the Nakba Law, by public institutions, would be passed on to the finance ministry, which would have a week to respond on whether a given incident in fact violates the law.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 2 Comments

The Neocons Are Pushing the USA and the Rest of the World Towards a Dangerous Crisis

The Saker | Unz Review | August 18, 2017

First, my writing on the wall

In October of last year a wrote an analysis I entitled The USA are about to face the worst crisis of their history and how Putin’s example might inspire Trump and I think that this is a good time to revisit it now. I began the analysis by looking at the calamities which would befall the United States if Hillary was elected. Since this did not happen (thank God!), we can safely ignore that part and look at my prediction of what would happen if Trump was elected. Here is what I wrote:

Trump wins. Problem: he will be completely alone. The Neocons have a total, repeat total, control of the Congress, the media, banking and finance, and the courts. From Clinton to Clinton they have deeply infiltrated the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom, and the three letter agencies. The Fed is their stronghold. How in the world will Trump deal with these rabid “crazies in the basement“? Consider the vicious hate campaign which all these “personalities” (from actors, to politicians to reporters) have unleashed against Trump – they have burned their bridges, they know that they will lose it all if Trump wins (and, if he proves to be an easy pushover his election will make no difference anyway). The Neocons have nothing to lose and they will fight to the very last one. What could Trump possibly do to get anything done if he is surrounded by Neocons and their agents of influence? Bring in an entirely different team? How is he going to vet them? His first choice was to take Pence as a VP – a disaster (he is already sabotaging Trump on Syria and the elections outcome). I *dread* the hear whom Trump will appoint as a White House Chief of Staff as I am afraid that just to appease the Neocons he will appoint some new version of the infamous Rahm Emanuel… And should Trump prove that he has both principles and courage, the Neocons can always “Dallas” him and replace him with Pence. Et voilà!

I went on to suggest that Trump’s only option would be to follow Putin’s example and do to the Neocons what Putin did to the oligarchs. Clearly that did not happen. In fact, one month after the election of Trump I wrote another analysis entitled “The Neocons and the “deep state” have neutered the Trump Presidency, it’s over folks!“.

Less than a month ago I warned that a ‘color revolution’  was taking place in the USA. My first element of proof was the so-called “investigation” which the CIA, FBI, NSA and others were conducting against President Trump’s candidate to become National Security Advisor, General Flynn. Tonight, the plot to get rid of Flynn has finally succeeded and General Flynn had to offer his resignation. Trump accepted it. Now let’s immediately get one thing out of the way: Flynn was hardly a saint or a perfect wise man who would single handedly saved the world. That he was not. However, what Flynn was is the cornerstone of Trump’s national security policy. (…) The Neocon run ‘deep state’ has now forced Flynn to resign under the idiotic pretext that he had a telephone conversation, on an open, insecure and clearly monitored, line with the Russian ambassador. And Trump accepted this resignation. Ever since Trump made it to the White House, he has taken blow after blow from the Neocon-run Ziomedia, from Congress, from all the Hollywood doubleplusgoodthinking “stars” and even from European politicians. And Trump took each blow without ever fighting back. Nowhere was his famous “you are fired!” to be seen. But I still had hope. I wanted to hope. I felt that it was my duty to hope. But now Trump has betrayed us all. Again, Flynn was not my hero. But he was, by all accounts, Trump’s hero. And Trump betrayed him. The consequences of this will be immense. For one thing, Trump is now clearly broken. It took the ‘deep state’ only weeks to castrate Trump and to make him bow to the powers that be. Those who would have stood behind Trump will now feel that he will not stand behind them and they will all move back away from him. The Neocons will feel elated by the elimination of their worst enemy and emboldened by this victory they will push on, doubling-down over and over and over again. It’s over, folks, the deep state has won.

I then concluded that the consequences of this victory would catastrophic for the United States:

In their hate-filled rage against Trump and the American people (aka “the basket of deplorables”) the Neocons have had to show their true face. By their rejection of the outcome of the elections, by their riots, their demonization of Trump, the Neocons have shown two crucial things: first, that the US democracy is a sad joke and that they, the Neocons, are an occupation regime which rules against the will of the American people. In other words, just like Israel, the USA has no legitimacy left. And since, just like Israel, the USA are unable to frighten their enemies, they are basically left with nothing, no legitimacy, no ability to coerce. So yes, the Neocons have won. But their victory is removes the last chance for the US to avoid a collapse.

I think that what we are seeing today are the first signs of the impending collapse.

The symptoms of the agony

  • Externally, the US foreign policy is basically “frozen” and in lieu of a foreign policy we now only have a long series of empty threats hurled at a list of demonized countries which are now promised “fire and brimstone” should they dare to disobey Uncle Sam. While this makes for good headlines, this does not qualify as a “policy” of any kind (I discussed this issue at length during my recent interview with SouthFront). And then there is Congress which has basically stripped Trump from his powers to conduct foreign policy. This bizarre, and illegal, form of a “vote of no-confidence” further hammers in the message that Trump is either a madman, a traitor, or both.
  • Internally, the latest riots in Charlottesville now being blamed on Trump who, after being a Putin agent is now further demonized as some kind of Nazi (see Paul Craig Roberts’ first and second warnings about this dynamic)
  • Organizationally, it is clear that Trump is surrounded by enemies as illustrated by the absolutely outrageous fact that he can’t even talk to a foreign head of state without having the transcript of his conversation leaked to the Ziomedia.

I believe that these all are preparatory steps to trigger a major crisis and use it to remove Trump, either by a process of impeachment, or by force under the pretext of some crisis. Just look at the message which the Ziomedia has been hammeing into the brains of the US population.

The psychological preparation for the forthcoming coup: scaring them all to death

Here are three very telling examples taken from Newsweek’s front page:

PutinCovers

Ask yourself, what is the message here?

Trump is a traitor, he works for Putin, Putin wants to destroy democracy in the United States and these two men together are the most dangerous men on the planet. This is a “plot against America“, no less!

Not bad, right?

“They” are clearly out there go get “us” and “we” are all in terrible danger: Kim Jong-un is about to declare nuclear war on the US, Xi and Putin are threatening the world with their armies, and “our” own President came to power courtesy of the “Russian KGB” and “Putin’s hackers”, he now works for the Russians, he is also clearly a Nazi, a White supremacist, a racist and, possibly, a “new Hitler” (as is Putin, of course!).

And then, there are those truly scary Mooslims and Aye-rabs who apparently want only two things in life: destroy “our way of life” and kill all the “infidels”. This is why we need the TSA, 16 intelligence agencies and militarized police SWAT teams everywhere: in case the terrorists come to get us where we live.

Dangerous international consequences

This would all be rather funny if it was not also extremely dangerous. For one thing, the US is really poking at a dangerous foe when it constantly tries to scare Kim Jong-un and the DPRK leadership. No, not because of the North Korean nukes (which are probably not real nuclear capable ICBMs but a not necessarily compatible combination of nuclear ‘devices’ and intermediate range ballistic missiles) but because of the huge and hard to destroy conventional North Korean military. The real threat are not missiles, but a deadly combination of conventional artillery and special forces which present very little danger to the US or the US military, but which present a huge threat for the population of Seoul and the northern section of South Korea. Nukes, in whatever form, are really only an added problem, a toxic “icing” on an already very dangerous ‘conventional cake’.

[Sidebar – a real life nightmare: Now, if you *really* want to terrify yourself and stay awake all night then consider the following. While I personally believe that Kim Jong-un is not insane and that the main objective of the North Korean leadership is to avoid a war at all costs, what if I am wrong? What if those who say that the North Korean leaders are totally insane are right? Or, which I think is much more likely, what if Kim Jong-un and the North Korean leaders came to the conclusion that they have nothing to lose, that the Americans are going to kill them all, along with their families and friends? What could they, in theory, do if truly desperate? Well, let me tell you: forget about Guam; think Tokyo! Indeed, while the DPRK could devastate Seoul with old fashioned artillery systems, DPRK missiles are probably capable of striking Tokyo or the Keihanshin region encompassing Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe including the key industries of the Hanshin Industrial Region. The Greater Tokyo area (Kanto region) and the Keihanshin region are very densely populated (37 and 20 million people respectively) and contain an immense number of industries, many of which would produce an ecological disaster of immense proportions if hit by missiles. Not only that, but a strike on the key economic and financial nodes of Japan would probably result in a 9-11 kind of international economic collapse. So if the North Koreans wanted to really, really hurt the Americans what they could do is strike Seoul, and key cities in Japan resulting in a huge political crisis for the entire planet. During the Cold War we used to study the consequences of a Soviet strike against Japan and the conclusion was always the same: Japan cannot afford a war of any kind. The Japanese landmass is too small, too densely populated, too rich in lucrative targets and a war would lay waste to the entire country. This is still true today, only more so. And just imagine the reaction in South Korea and Japan if some crazy US strike on the DPRK results in Seoul and Tokyo being hit by missiles! The South Koreans have already made their position unambiguously clear, by the way. As for the Japanese, they are officially placing their hopes in missiles (as if technology could mitigate the consequences of insanity!). So yeah, the DPRK is plenty dangerous and pushing them into their last resort is totally irresponsible indeed, nukes or no nukes]

What we are observing now is positive feedback loop in which each move by the Neocons results in a deeper and deeper destabilization of the entire system. Needless to say, this is extremely dangerous and can only result in an eventual catastrophe/collapse. In fact, the signs that the US is totally losing control are already all over the place, here are just a few headlines to illustrate this:

A French expression goes “when the cat is gone, the mice dance”, and this is exactly what is happening now: the US is both very weak and basically absent. As for the Armenians, they say “The mouse dreams dreams that would terrify the cat”. Well, the “mice” of the world are dancing and dreaming and simply ignoring the “cat”. Every move the cat makes only makes things worse for him. The world is moving on, while the cat is busy destroying himself.

Dangerous domestic consequences

First on my list would be race riots. In fact, they are already happening all over the United States, but they are rarely presented as such. And I am not talking about the “official” riots of Black Lives Matter, which are bad enough, I am talking about the many mini-riots which the official media is systematically trying to obfuscate. Those interested in this topic should read the book Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry by Colin Flaherty which shows that racist attacks on Whites by Blacks (aka “polar bear hunting”) are on the rise pretty much all over the county. Likewise, anybody who stubbornly persists in ignoring the strong correlation between race and crime ought to read Ron Unz’s seminal analysis Race and Crime in America. Now, before some self-appointed thought police volunteer accuses me as a racist, I am not saying anything at all about the causes of the racial problems in the United States. I am only saying that racial violence in the US is severe and rapidly getting much worse.

The second problem which I see threatening the US society is an extremely rapid delegitimization of the entire US political system and, especially, of the Federal government. For decades now Americans have been voting for ‘A’ and each time what they ended up with is ‘not-A’. Examples of that include the famous “read my lips, no new taxes”, of course, but also Obama promises to stop stupid wars and now Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp”. Americans have been lied to for decades and they know it. There is a widening chasm between the so-called “American values” taught in schools and the reality of power. While officially the US is supposed to stand for democracy, freedom and all the other good things advocated by the Founding Fathers, the disgusting reality is that the US is in bed with Wahabis, Nazis and Zionists. The all-prevailing hypocrisy of it all now threatens to bring down the entire US political system just as the no less prevailing hypocrisy of the Soviet system brought down the USSR (if interested, you can read more about this topic here). The simple truth is that no regime can survive for too long when it proactively supports the exact opposite of what it officially is supposed to stand for. The result? I have yet to meet an adult American who would sincerely believe that he/she lives in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. Maybe infants still buy this stuff, but even teenagers know that this is a load of bull.

Third, for all the encouraging statistics about the Dow Jones, unemployment and growth, the reality is that the US society is rapidly transforming itself into a three-tired one: on top, a small number of obscenely rich people, under them, a certain amount of qualified professionals who service the filthy rich and who struggle to maintain a lifestyle which in the past was associated with the middle-class. And then the vast majority of Americans who basically are looking at making “minimal wage plus a little something” and who basically survive by not paying for health insurance, by typically working two jobs, by eating cheap and unhealthy “prolefeed” and by giving up on that which every American worker could enjoy in the 1950s and 1960s (have one parent at home, have paid holidays, a second vacation home, etc.). Americans are mostly hard workers and, so far, most of them are surviving, but they are mostly one paycheck away from seriously bad poverty. A lot of them only make ends meet because they get help from their parents and grand-parents (the same is true of southern Europe, by the way). A large segment of the US population now survives only because of Walmart and the Dollar Store. Once that fails, food stamps are the last option. That, or jail, of course.

Combine all this and you get a potentially extremely explosive situation. No wonder that when so many Americans heard Hillary’s comment about the “basket of deplorables” they took that as declaration of war.

And how do the Neocons plan to deal with all this?

By cracking down on free speech and dissent, of course! What else?

Their only response – repression of course!

YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter – they are all cracking down on “bad” speech which includes pretty much any topic a garden variety self-described ‘liberal’ frowns upon. GoDaddy and Google are even going after domain names. Oh sure, nobody gets thrown in jail for, say, defending the 2nd Amendment, but they get “demonetized” and their accounts simply closed. It’s not the cops cracking down on free speech, it’s “Corporate America”, but the effect is the same. Apparently, the Neocons do not realize that censorship is not a viable strategy in the age of the Internet. Or maybe they do, and they are deliberately trying to trigger a backlash?

Then there is the vilification campaign in the media: unless you are some kind of ‘minority’ you are assumed to be nefarious by birth and guilty of all the evils on the planet. And your leader is Trump, of course, or maybe even Putin himself, vide supra. Christian heterosexual White males better run for cover…

Whatever may be the case, by their manic insistence, on one hand, to humiliate and crush Trump and, on the other, to repress millions of Americans the Neocons are committing a double mistake. First, they are showing their true face and, second, they are subverting the very institutions they are using to control and run this country. That, of course, only further weaken the Neocons and the United States themselves and that further accelerates the positive feedback loop mentioned above which now threatens the entire international system.

Us and Them

What makes the gradual collapse of the AngloZionist Empire so uniquely dangerous is that it is by far the biggest and most powerful empire in world history. No empire has ever had the quasi monopoly on power the USA enjoyed since WWII. By any measure, military, economic, political, social, the US came out of WWII as a giant and while there were ups and downs during the subsequent decades, the collapse of the USSR only reaffirmed what appeared to be the total victory of the United States. In my admittedly subjective opinion, the last competent (no, I did not say ‘good’, I said ‘competent’) US President was George Herbert Walker Bush who, unlike his successors, at least knew how to run an Empire. After that, it is all downhill, faster and faster. And if Obama was probably the most incompetent President in US history, Trump will be the first one to be openly lynched while in office. As a result, the AngloZionist Empire is now like a huge freight train which has lost its locomotive but still has an immense momentum pushing it forward even though there is nobody in control any more. The rest of the planet, with the irrelevant exception of the East Europeans, is now scrambling in horror to get out of the path of this out of control train. So far, the tracks (minimal common sense, political realities) are more or less holding, but a crash (political, economic or military) could happen at any moment. And that is very, very scary.

The US has anywhere between 700 to 1000 military bases worldwide, the entire international financial system is deeply enmeshed with the US economy, the US Dollar is still the only real reserve currency, United States Treasury securities are held by all the key international players (including Russia and China), SWIFT is politically controlled by the US, the US is the only country in the world that can print as much money as it wants and, last but not least, the US has a huge nuclear arsenal. As a result, a US collapse would threaten everybody and that means that nobody would want to trigger one. The collapse of the Soviet Union threatened the rest of mankind only in one way: by its nuclear arsenal. In contrast, any collapse of the United States would threaten everybody in many different ways.

So the real question now is this: can the rest of the planet prevent a catastrophic collapse of the AngloZionist Empire?

This is the irony of our situation: even though the entire planet is sick and tried of the incompetent arrogance of the AngloZionists, nobody out there wants their Empire to catastrophically collapse. And yet, with the Neocons in power, such a collapse appears inevitable with potentially devastating consequences for everybody.

This is really amazing, think of it: everybody hates the Neocons, not only a majority of the American people, but truly the entire planet. And yet that numerically small group of people has somehow managed to put everybody in danger, including themselves, due to their ugly vindictiveness, infinite arrogance and ideology-induced short-sightedness. That this could ever have happened, and at a planetary scale, is a dramatic testimony to the moral and spiritual decay of our civilization: how did we ever let things get that far?!

And the next obvious question: can we still stop them?

I honestly don’t know. I hope so, but I am not sure. My biggest hope with Trump was that he would be willing to sacrifice the Empire for the sake of the US (the opposite of what the Neocons are doing: they are willing to sacrifice the US for the sake of their Empire) and that he would manage a relatively safe and hopefully non-violent transition from Empire to “normal country” for the US. Clearly, this is ain’t happening. Instead, the Neocons are threatening everybody: the Chinese, the Russians, the North Koreans and the Venezuelans of course, but also the Europeans (economically), the entire Middle-East (via the “only democracy in the Middle-East”), all the developing countries and even the American people. Heck, they are even threatening the US President himself, and in not-so-subtle ways!

So what’s next?

Truly, I don’t know. But my overwhelming sense is that Trump will be removed from office, either for “high crimes and misdemeanors” or for “medical reasons” (they will simply declare him insane and unfit to be the President). Seeing how weak and spineless Trump is, he might even be “convinced” to resign. I don’t see them simply murdering him simply because he is no Kennedy either. After that, Pence comes to power and it will all be presented like a wonderful event, a group-hug of the elites followed by an immediate and merciless crackdown on any form of political opposition or dissent which will immediately be labeled as racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, terrorist, etc. The evil hand of the “Russian KGB” (yes, I know, the KGB was dissolved in 1991) will be found everywhere, especially amongst US libertarians (who will probably be the only ones with enough brains to understand what is taking place). The (pseudo-) “Left” will rejoice. Should this course of action result in an unexpected level or resistance, either regional or social, a 9-11 false flag followed by a war will be the most likely scenario (why stray away from something which worked so well the first time around?!). Unless the US decides to re-invade Grenada or give Nauru a much deserved thrashing, any more or less real war will result in a catastrophic failure for the US at which point the use of nukes by the Neocon crazies might become a very real risk, especially if symbolic US targets such as aircraft carriers are hit (in 1991 when the US sent the 82nd AB to Iraq there was nothing standing between this light infantry force and the Iraqi armored divisions. Had the Iraqis attacked the plan was to use tactical nuclear weapons. Then this was all quickly forgotten).

There is a reason why the Neocons thrive in times of crisis: it allows them to hide behind the mayhem, especially when they are the ones who triggered the mayhem in the first place. This means that as long as the Neocons are anywhere near in power they will never, ever, allow peace to suddenly break out, lest the spotlight be suddenly shined directly upon them. Chaos, wars, crises – this is their natural habitat. Think of it as the by-product of their existence. Eventually, of course, they will be stopped and they will be defeated, like all their predecessors in history. But I shudder when I think of the price mankind will have to pay this time around.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | 6 Comments

A De-Putin-Nazification of America Update

By CJ Hopkins | CounterPunch | August 18, 2017

So the de-Putin-Nazification of America couldn’t be going much better at the moment. In terms of emotionally manipulating people (and especially any heretofore wayward members of the American “left”) into forming a mindless, hysterical mob and running around like headless chickens branding anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton a goose-stepping Nazi, this past week has been a huge success. At this point, if you haven’t yet posted an anti-Nazi loyalty oath on Twitter, Facebook, or some other platform, you’re a potential “Nazi sympathizer” … and you don’t want to be one of those, now do you? No, I didn’t think you did. So, if you haven’t done that, you’d better get on it. Here are few tips to get you started.

Your anti-Nazi loyalty oath should include a clearly-worded statement acknowledging that Donald Trump is Hitler, or at least the leader of the tens of hundreds of imbecilic, neo-Nazi losers who, according to most of the mainstream media, are on the verge of overthrowing the entire American ruling establishment. It should also include a threat to unfollow, de-friend, and otherwise socially ostracize anyone who hasn’t posted such an oath, or who, despite the Charlottesville Kristallnacht, stubbornly continues thinking critically, or maintains any form of historical awareness, or presents any kind of rational arguments challenging the prevailing Nazi hysteria.

It should also include one or more of the following:

(1) If not an outright call for the First Amendment to be repealed, then at least a demand for a ban on “hate speech,” and the removal of every hate-based statue, flag, painting, book, film, song, joke, or other expression of racism, hatred, religious bigotry, misogyny, extremism, general rudeness (and any other forms of speech or expression that you don’t like) from public view. Don’t worry about the ramifications of this ban. It will never, ever, be used against you, or anyone that you agree with, or against any authors or artists that you like. It’ll be a ban on “hate-speech,” after all, and it’s not like that term is completely subjective, or subject to the whims of those in power, or anything like that.

(2) A demand that the already overly-broad definition of “terrorism” now be expanded even further, to include the fascist who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, killing one and wounding many others. Never mind that this murderous idiot seems to have done this on the spur of the moment (or, if it was a planned attack, that he’s even more of an idiot than he seems, which, judging from his mug shot, is hard to believe). The important thing is to help the Resistance expand the definition of “terrorism” to the point where they can slap it onto anyone. Again, don’t worry about the ramifications. The “terrorist” label will never, ever, be used against groups that you approve of, or innocent people in faraway countries that some future president wants to murder with drones. The Resistance would never, ever, do that. They know who is and who isn’t a terrorist. And if they don’t, they can always check with Obama.

(3) A reference (either veiled or direct) to someone who may be a Nazi-sympathizer. This is crucial in terms of motivating others to post their loyalty oaths, and fostering an atmosphere of paranoia, which is always so helpful at times like this. Surely, you know of someone who has said, tweeted, published, or posted something that could be interpreted as “Nazi-friendly.” Don’t bother with the Trump supporters. The corporate-owned media will take care of them. You want to go after other leftists, specifically leftists who have been reluctant to call Trump Hitler, or a Putinist agent, or who disagree with you about Syria, or, you know, just people who get on your nerves. This is a golden opportunity to pore through their tweets and Facebook posts, find something you can use against them, and then accuse them of harboring Nazi sympathies. Given the current level of hysteria, few people are going to check your facts. This is one you can really have fun with. See how far you can push the paranoia. Make up elaborate conspiracy theories. If you’re not quite sure how to go about that, check The New York Times or The Washington Post … they’re masters of that kind of thing.

Your anti-Nazi loyalty oath should definitely not include any of the following:

(1) Any mention of the Ukrainian Nazis that Obama, Clinton, and the rest of the Resistance (before it was the Resistance, of course) helped regime-change the Ukrainian government when it wouldn’t play ball with the EU and NATO. Mentioning the Resistance’s support of these Nazis would only confuse those reading your oath, who might not understand that there are good Nazis and bad Nazis, and who have probably forgotten how the US government smuggled a number of actual Nazis (i.e., members of the NSDAP) into America after WWII … or how, since the end of that war, the United States has mass murdered countless millions of people all over the planet (but, technically, not in a genocidal fashion, so that doesn’t make us the same as Nazis).

(2) Actual membership figures on neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, because those figures are pathetically small. Doing this would make your loyalty oath (not to mention the whole Nazi hysteria thing, generally) seem, if not paranoid, then at least absurd, or like part of some manufactured effort to whip up support for a ruling class coup by waving Nazis in front of everyone’s faces. This would be extremely counterproductive. Remember, one of the primary goals of the De-Putin-Nazification program is to convince the public that Richard Spencer (and the handful of other insignificant idiots that the corporate media is showering with publicity) is about to lead an overwhelming force of tiki torch-bearing neo-Nazis into the streets of American cities to battle the hyper-militarized police, the national guard, and the US military, or some other preposterous scenario like that.

(3) Any reference whatsoever to the corporatocracy that runs the country, and that normally decides who can run for president, and which is currently making an example of Trump in order to dissuade any future billionaires from having the audacity to fuck with them. You’ll be better off avoiding this subject entirely, as it only reminds folks how screwed they are, and how, odds are, they’re probably all worked up about something the corporate-owned media wanted to get them all worked up about, neo-Nazis, Russian hackers, nuclear war with North Korea, Syrian gas attacks, lone wolf terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, or whatever. Take it from someone who’s worked in show business. No one likes being made aware of how they are being manipulated … or provided with a binary set of officially acceptable contextual parameters within which they can think and speak.

But don’t worry too much about that binary stuff. There’ll be plenty of time to get into all that after we rid the world of these Nazis, and these racists, and all these Confederate statues. And Trump, of course. That’s the main thing … getting rid of Donald Trump, and getting a Democrat back in office. Oh, yeah … and the books. We need to look at the books. God knows how many Confederate books are still out there in the public libraries, and in people’s homes, where children can read them. We’ll need to get to the books eventually.

In the meantime, focus on Priority One. Go hard on the Nazi hysteria, at least throughout the rest of the weekend, after which they’ll probably need to switch us back to the Russia hysteria, or possibly the North Korea hysteria, or … damn, see? Here I go with that contextual parameter stuff again. I’ve really got to stop doing that. The last thing I need is to get myself accused of being some kind of Nazi sympathizer, or Confederate apologist, or Russian propagandist, or extremist, or terrorist, or, you know … whatever.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or  consentfactory.org.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Palestinian Journalists Declare Hunger Strike

A journalist during a protest at Israel’s Ofer detention center in the West Bank (PLO/File)
By Jaclynn Ashly | IMEMC News | August 14, 2017

As local and international criticism continued to mount against the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s (PA) tightening noose on freedoms of expression in the occupied West Bank, seven Palestinian journalists imprisoned by the PA have begun a hunger strike after being detained under the controversial Cyber Crimes Law, approved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last month.

Palestinian journalists Mamduh Hamamra, a correspondent for Al-Quds News, Al-Aqsa TV correspondent Tariq Abu Zeid, and freelance journalist Qutaiba Qassem all declared a hunger strike immediately after their detentions were extended by up to 15 days on Thursday, according to a statement released by Omar Nazzal, a member of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and former prisoner of Israel.

Issam Abdin, a lawyer and head of advocacy at Palestinian NGO al-Haq, confirmed to Ma’an News Agency that four more Palestinian journalists –Al-Quds News correspondent Ahmad Halayqa, Shehab News Agency correspondent Amer Abu Arafa, and reporters Islam Salim and Thaer al-Fakhouri — had declared a hunger strike on Thursday to protest their detention.

The journalists had all been detained several days prior for allegedly violating the terms of the new law, according to Abdin.

All seven of the journalists reportedly work for media outlets that were among 30 sites blocked by the PA in June — all of which were reportedly affiliated with the Hamas movement, the ruling party in the besieged Gaza Strip which has been embroiled in a bitter ten-year rivalry with the Fateh-led PA, or Abbas’ longtime political rival, Muhammad Dahlan.

While the move to block the websites in the West Bank was condemned at the time as an unprecedented violation of press freedoms in the Palestinian territory, Abbas took the crackdown on media to another level last month by passing the Cyber Crimes Law by presidential decree.

‘A draconian law’

In a statement on Thursday, Nazzal said that at least six of the imprisoned journalists — omitting al-Fakhouri — were being detained over allegations of violating Article 20 of the Cyber Crimes Law.

The article states that an individual could face at least one year in prison or be fined at least $1,410 for “creating or managing a website or an information technology platform that would endanger the integrity of the Palestinian state, the public order, or the internal or external security of the State.”

Meanwhile, “any person who propagates the kinds of news mentioned above by any means, including broadcasting or publishing them” faces up to one year in prison or a fine ranging from $282 to $1,410, according to the new law.

Abdin said that these “loose articles,” through which individuals would face imprisonment simply for publishing certain articles on their social media accounts, set the groundwork for arresting Palestinian journalists and “destroying the freedom of journalism work in Palestine.”

Nadim Nashif, the cofounder and director of Palestinian and Arab digital advocacy group 7amleh, called the law “terrible” and “draconian.”

“It’s the worst law in the PA’s history,” Nashif said. “It allows the PA to arrest anyone under unclear definitions.”

Nashif noted that not only did the law criminalize the creation, publication, and propagation of certain information deemed dangerous by the PA, it also ruled that individuals found to have bypassed PA blocks on websites through proxy servers or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) could face three-month prison sentences.

Nashif said that the law had dragged the West Bank “backwards.”

Despite Israel’s decade-long occupation of the West Bank and the more than 10-year political split with Hamas, “generally, the media and websites were left alone,” Nashif said. “They were not part of this political fight.”

“The PA is kind of breaking the last spaces of freedom of speech,” he said.

Palestinian journalists trapped between Hamas-PA divide

Rights groups were quick to condemn the detention of the journalists, claiming that the new law was aimed at rooting out political dissent against Abbas and the PA — likely under the auspices of the PA’s widely condemned security coordination with the Israeli state, although the PA has repeatedly stated that it has halted this policy since July.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, a PA security official had initially said that at least five of the imprisoned journalists were arrested for “leaking information and communicating with hostile parties.”

However, Addameer added, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate contacted Palestinian security forces on Wednesday morning and were told that the journalists were detained “in order to pressure Hamas to release another journalist detained in the Gaza Strip,” referring to Fouad Jaradeh, a correspondent for official PA news channel Palestine TV who has been imprisoned in Gaza for more than two months.

Both Hamas and the PA have been criticized for carrying out retaliatory acts on individuals affiliated with the opposing group, most notably in the shape of politically motivated arrests and imprisonment.

Abdin said that Palestinian journalists have been “plunged into the Hamas-Fateh division,” as both groups have targeted journalists in order to quash opposition that could affect their political hold in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said in a statement on Wednesday that the journalists’ arrests were “part of a marked escalation of violations against media freedoms” in both the West Bank and Gaza.

However, the new law and Abbas’ moves to stifle dissent against the PA are “not just problematic for journalists,” Nashif said. “Any activist or individual who the PA thinks is an opponent can now be arrested without any clear reason.”

The PA has also been accused of conducting sweeping detention campaigns targeting Hamas-affiliated residents of the West Bank, while the PA has escalated measures in recent months to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip.

A study by Palestinian think tank al-Shabaka documented the consequences of the PA’s security campaigns, “whose ostensible purpose were to establish law and order,” but have been perceived by locals as criminalizing resistance against Israel.

‘It’s illegal under Palestinian law’

Abdin pointed out that both the website blocking and the new cyber crimes law violated Article 27 of Palestinian Basic Law, which protects the press freedoms of Palestinian citizens, including their right to establish, print, publish, and distribute all forms of media. The law also guarantees protections for citizens who are working within the field of journalism.

The article also prohibits censorship of the media, stating that “no warning, suspension, confiscation, cancellation, or restriction shall be imposed upon the media,” unless a law violating these terms passed a legal ruling.

Abbas, however, has not received permission from the judiciary to approve these far-reaching restrictions on the press, according to Abdin.

Since Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not convened in Ramallah, meaning that the vast majority of laws passed by the PA in the past ten years have been passed by Abbas, who extended his presidency indefinitely in 2009, via presidential decrees.

Al-Haq has pointed out that the new legislation violates international law, including Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Rights groups, activists, and journalists have demanded that the PA amend the law to abide by pre-existing Palestinian legislation, rescind its blockage of news sites, and end its practice of routinely arresting Palestinian activists, writers, journalists, and others for their political opinions.

Edited for the IMEMC by chris @ imemc.org

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Statement from The Rutherford Institute Regarding Violence at the August 12 Rally in Charlottesville

The Rutherford Institute | August 14, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE — That this weekend’s display of hate, violence and civil disorder resulted in the death of Heather Heyer is not just a tragedy for those who knew and loved Heather, but for all of us who believe that love is greater than hate and that freedom for all is imperative if we are to stand strong against the forces of tyranny that continue to batter this nation.

There is always the temptation following a tragedy to point fingers and find someone to blame in addition to those directly responsible for committing acts of violence. It is unfortunate that those leading the charge right now have chosen to cast the blame on civil liberties organizations that were compelled to stand up for the principles of the Constitution when the government failed to do so. To suggest that the ACLU of Virginia or The Rutherford Institute or the federal district court were in any way complicit in this weekend’s violence is to do a grave disservice to every individual who has ever fought and died for the freedoms on which this nation was founded.

The City of Charlottesville had several lawful options it could have pursued to prepare for this weekend’s anticipated clash between protesters.

1. The City could have chosen to close the downtown forum altogether and move all three permit-holders to McIntire Park. It did not do so. Instead, the City Manager created a clear First Amendment crisis by revoking only one of the three downtown permits granted for this weekend, by failing to provide any evidentiary-based factual support for its actions, and by waiting to act until mere days before the anticipated rallies were to take place.

2. The City should have ensured that police were under clear orders to maintain law and order by establishing clear boundaries and safeguarding the permit zones. In fact, the City made it clear in press statements and in legal filings that it was preparing for demonstrations downtown by both sides whether or not the Unite the Right rally’s permit for Emancipation Park was honored. According to news reports, more than 1000 armed police, riot teams plus the National Guard were deployed to maintain law and order at the August 12 demonstration. As indicated by its preparations for the July 8 KKK rally, the City and law enforcement were completely cognizant of the need to establish barriers keeping the two sparring sides apart and to ensure that all three permit holders’ rights to access their respective spaces were respected.

3. The First Amendment provides for the right to peacefully assemble in public. In other words, no permit is necessary for citizens to assemble in public. The permitting process simply provides for space to be reserved by a particular group at a particular space for a particular purpose. While the government has the discretion to refuse permits based on reasonable time, place and manner concerns, it may not discriminate against a group based on the content of their speech. Whether or not a permit had been issued for any of the three downtown parks on August 12, the protesters and counterprotesters made it clear that they planned to exercise their right to assemble. Many of those assembled maintained their commitment to peaceful, nonviolent action. The rights of those who exercised their First Amendment rights peacefully and lawfully were diminished by those who opted to act with violence and in clear violation of the law. There is no defense for such actions.

As Glenn Greenwald recognized in his article in The Intercept taking issue with those who attacked the ACLU (and The Rutherford Institute) for challenging the City of Charlottesville over its unequal application of the permitting laws, civil liberties advocates “defend the rights of those with views we hate in order to strengthen our defense of the rights of those who are most marginalized and vulnerable in society.”

The Rutherford Institute remains committed to preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution, even in those most difficult situations when doing so means defending the rights of those whose views may be hateful or unpopular.

***

The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization, provides legal assistance at no charge to individuals whose constitutional rights have been threatened or violated and educates the public on a wide spectrum of issues affecting their freedoms.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment