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Fact checking Benjamin Netanyahu’s General Assembly speech

The speech was full of downright lies and “alternative facts”. Here is the reality.

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Yesterday, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the United Nations in a speech that served as a kind of appendix to Donald Trump’s controversial, bellicose declaration that was delivered hours earlier.

Both speeches predictably focused on Iran and both leaders told a great deal of untruths and half-truths about the situation. Here are some of the most glaring untruths, followed by a factual explanation of the situation.

1. Iran is “devouring nations”. 

The full quote from Netanyahu is as follows:

“Well as you know, I strongly disagreed. I warned that when the sanctions on Iran would be removed, Iran would behave like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations, but devouring nations, one after the other. And that’s precisely what Iran is doing today.

From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East. Iran spreads this curtain of tyranny and terror over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, and it pledges to extinguish the light of Israel”.

In reality, Iran occupies zero countries and has not occupied any country in its modern history. By contrast, Israel has occupied part of Syria, the Golan Heights, since 1967. This occupation is condemned by the United Nations and all five permanent members of the Security Council, including the United States.

The other country on Netanyahu’s list that has been occupied by Israel and not Iran is Lebanon. After invading Lebanon in 1982, Israel set up a permanent occupying force in southern Lebanon between 1985 and the year 2000. Israel maintained a presence in the country until 2006, when Israeli forces retreated in the face of strong Hezbollah defences.

Israel continues to occupy Palestine according to the UN and most impartial observers. It previously occupied Egypt, the Jordanian West Bank and in 1981, illegally bombed Iraq.

Iran by contrast has done no such things. The Iranian assistance provided to Syria during the conflict in the country has been done under a legal agreement with Damascus based on mutual friendship and a common cause against Salafist terrorism. Iran’s training of some Iraqi volunteers has been conducted on a similar basis.

By no logical stretch of the English language, could this been seen as “devouring nations”.

2. “We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces”

This statement while designed to sound like a defensive measure is actually an admission of a premeditated war crime. No foreign country can use the threat of force to blackmail its neighbours or anyone else when it comes to internal affairs.

If Syria invites Iran to establish some sort of permanent presence in the country, that is a matter which is strictly between Syria and Iran. To use this as a pretext for an act of war, is put simply, a war crime.

3. “Syria has barrel-bombed, starved, gassed and murdered hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and wounded millions more, while Israel has provided lifesaving medical care to thousands of Syrian victims of that very same carnage. Yet who does the World Health Organization criticize? Israel”.

This one is full of outright lies. First of all, prior to the conflict, not only were all Syrisns feed, but food prices were subsidised by the government, making nutritious foodstuffs more affordable in Syria than in most parts of the region.

Even today, Syrians are not starving, but due to western backed sanctions, food is more expensive and medicine is both more expensive and more scarce than they were prior to the conflict with Salafist terrorism. None of this has to do with the Syrian government nor its partners who continue to deliver aid.

Syria has not possessed any chemical weapons since 2013. In a joint effort by both Russia and the US, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons certified that by early 2014, there were no chemical weapons left in the Syrian governments hands.

Syria did develop a chemical weapons program in the 1970s in response to intelligence about Israel’s secretive nuclear weapons program.

In spite of this, Syria has never used chemical weapons, not on a foreign power and not internally.

The only chemical weapons in Syria today, are those in the hands of terrorists who are fighting Syria.

In respect of the Israeli hospital program. These hospitals have not been open to ordinary Syrians, let alone to the Syrian soldiers fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Instead, the hospitals have perversely been used to give medical treatment to al-Qaeda and ISIS fighters who are known as some of the most violent terrorists in the world.

4. “Two years ago, I stood here and explained why the Iranian nuclear deal not only doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, Iran’s nuclear program has what’s called a sunset clause”.

Not only does the JCPOA (aka Iran nuclear deal) prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but Barack Obama’s administration admitted this openly. The EU and Russia continue to express their support of the deal and the US State Department, EU and UN have all agreed that Iran is in full compliance with the deal.

The only country in the Middle East to develop and maintain nuclear weapons is Israel. Furthermore, Israel obtained its nuclear weapons without international sanction and to this day, refuses to admit to having nuclear weapons. As such, Israel is not a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Israel is one of only four nations in the world to have never signed the treaty.

Israeli historian Avner Cohen as well as the award-winning US journalist Seymour Hersh have confirmed the existence of the so-called ‘Samson Option’, wherein Israel will deploy its nuclear weapons if it feels its security is threatened.

During his speech at the UN, Netanyahu alluded to the ‘Samson Option’ in saying,

“Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions”.

In this sense, Iran has much more to fear form Israel than Israel has to fear from Iran, yet ironically it is Israel that continually protests about its own fears.

CONCLUSION: 

While Iran hasn’t invaded another country in its modern history, nor has it occupied a single country, Israel has occupied five: Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan. Unlike Iran, Israel has nuclear bombs, unlike every other country in the Middle East.

With this record, it becomes clear who should be afraid of whom.

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seby
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seby

This slimeball could not talk straight if a pipe was coming out of his mouth.

What has the world come to, when people elect scumbags like these to “lead” them.

Norman
Guest
Norman

Only if they’re scumbags themselves?

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

You ignore the fact that most Jews are brainwashed, from birth, into believing that they are a “chosen” master race. Americans are brainwashed almost as thoroughly.

Norman
Guest
Norman

Not ignoring anything, fact or otherwise. At some level you’d have to be in agreement with the scumbag to elect same, weither brainwashed or not. You walk away when you wake up?

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Brainwashed people have to be awakened. In IsraHELL’s case that awakening may take a couple of nuclear weapons. America will require more work – like a dollar that suddenly will buy what it’s worth…………nothing.

Norman
Guest
Norman

America and Israel both are more than aware of everything that awaits them hence their plans and efforts to divert, forestall, avoid and or change the outcomes.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

The rulers of America and Israel are aware. The people are definitely NOT.

Norman
Guest
Norman

Not knowing the full implications of one’s support for whatever cause does not absolve you from any and all of it’s consequences. Call to mind the adoration of the German people for Hitler and realise their complicity to later beg they did not know? How disingenuosly horrible and disgusting. Ultimately there could be reasons why many would not publicly voice their disapproval, but, to put it down to being brainwashed is laying it on too thick.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Possibly, you may wish to learn about the conditions that led to the rise of Hitler. If you have been taught, for your entire life, that the sky is “pink” and finally learn that seven billion people call it “blue”, you are not at fault for the error. You’re making unreasonable assumptions about the ability of people to reason through issues. Many, many millions of Americans and others are TAUGHT that thought is wrong or a waste of time. They have to be taught otherwise. You can’t just tell them that they’re “stupid” or “bad” and expect results.

Norman
Guest
Norman

It’s precisely the conditions that led to the rise of Hitler and his answers / solutions to all of it that found a home in the hearts and minds of most. They had , initially, no idea of the real intentions and horrors that would unfold but they stayed the course with Hitler didn’t they? Americans and the rest of the world are no different. Those few that are different is shouting in the wind. I wouldn’t plead the innocence of the “brainwashed” not when it comes down to making choices?

harris
Guest
harris

“Many sincere Christians, ignorant of the facts, believe present-day
Jews to be “people of the Book” returning as “chosen of God” to their
Israel homeland. This is totally false. In fact, the whole theory that
God’s Chosen People return to Palestine before the reign of the Messiah
is unsupported by a line in the New Testament, which foretells only that
the Anti-Christ forces will be centered in and defeated in Palestine
before His Coming. They are there now.”

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

You are entirely correct – except for the part about the anti-Christ being defeated in Palestine.

There’s no real reason for such an assumption. The battle-ground is Washington, London, Moscow and Beijing. BRICS will defeat the evil empire in those places, hopefully economically and not through nuclear war.

Don’t fantasize that humans can “interpret” what God wants. Be good and fight against evil. That is enough for us to think about. God’s going to do what God’s going to do.

Norman
Guest
Norman

Entirely true. The battles and wars between nations is an entirely different matter than the battle between Christ and Satan. Not saying the one has nothing to do with the other. The one is designed to divert attention away from the other and just how near we are to the end of everything. Even so, we have time to disagree and fight one another on the details. Hilarious?

harris
Guest
harris

exactly, it’s an apostate state.

AmeliaCCalvillo
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AmeliaCCalvillo

Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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lickeyleaks
Guest
lickeyleaks

Netbigobyu went to the same prep school as Trump,McCain,Obama,Bush,The Clintons and then 3 months in Hollywood as a finishing school..

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

Pathetic Polish-Lithuanian Turd, who changed his surname in order to pretend to be part of the artificially created “Israeli Identity”.
Deception and lies from day one, it’s the Khazarian way of life. No honour, no morals, the ends justify the means.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Although of Jewish background, I am starting to turn anti Semitic.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

If you are of “Jewish background” the odds are 95% that you are Khazar (Polish-Ukrainian background) and have nothing to do with any Semitic culture or genes. Merely having ancestors who adopted Judaism 1400 years ago, even if you speak a dead language, doesn’t make you “Semitic”. Semites are ARABS.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Sorry Tapatio. I posted my sage advice before reading yours. I like Vera so that is probably OK.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Ms Gottlieb seems nice and sensible. It doesn’t matter about both posting the same basic message. It happens all the time.

Norman
Guest
Norman

Both Ishmael and Isaac are the sons of Abraham from different mothers. Abraham is a descendant of Arphaxad and Arphaxad a descendant of Shem which makes both Ishmael and Isaac to be Shemites. In time the word Shemites changed to Semites. The meaning did not however change.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

That’s nice. Everyone in the Middle East was Semitic. However, at tel Megiddo, Rome made the Hebrew version functionally extinct. Sadly, they didn’t do a thorough job. As to who begat whom 3000 to 4000 years ago (according to the cult that gave new meaning to prevarication), I couldn’t care less. If a Jew said the sky was blue, I would check to make sure that it hadn’t turned pink. I’ve read and compared the teachings of the BUddha, Jesus and Mohammad and concluded that Jesus and Mohammad intended to cure the world of the disease that was the old… Read more »

Norman
Guest
Norman

“.. Jesus and Mohammed intended to cure the world of the disease that was the old Abrahamic cult.”? What on earth are you talking about. I cannot speak for Mohammed since I’m not absolutely familiar with his teachings but to assert that Jesus intended to do as you concluded is not true at all. Consider that Jesus has come and gone( to come again) and yet the disease as you call them remains to this day. The cult /disease as you call them has grown and multiplied. They’re still here. Your conclusion is faulty then.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

You are probably not a Semite but a Turkic Khazar. Ease into it by reading The Thirteenth Tribe, by Arthur Koestler, righteous Jew.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

As I just answered above…I want NO part of any religion.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

Opposing this Zionist supremacist slimeball doesn’t make you an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew, it makes you a self-respecting Jew. Oliver Stone, Seymour Hersh and numerous others don’t have any personal issues when criticizing Israel and neither should you.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Please!!! Spare me this ‘self hating Jew’ crap! Those Germans who fought Hitler…would you have called them ‘self hating Germans’??? I have no use for Zionists – giving Judaism a bad name. I have become an atheist and want absolutely NO part of any religion.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

I am totally with you, Vera. That was precisely my point. Leaving aside personal religious convictions, I am in full agreement with your comment. The ”self-hating Jew” canard is used to denigrate the most ”dangerous” critics of Zionism: anti-Zionist Jews.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

I like the way you put it.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

IsraHELL, like the US and other Rothschild puppet states, is an outlaw state. It should be Boycotted-Divested-Sanctioned and Blockaded until it can either obey international law or collapses completely.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Quarantine.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Exactly.

harris
Guest
harris

Do you know that in France, they have passed laws wherein people get heavy fines and even are sentenced to prison terms ( ie Vincent Reynouard) for criticizing publicly Israel and history. Similar laws are being prepared in the UK and I think Congress in US is preparing some laws to tackle businesses who refuse to accept Israeli made goods…

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Those laws passed in France because their Parliament is just as corrupt as the US Congress.

I doubt that such laws can pass in the US or UK, though it’s possible that something similar to Germany’s laws could pass. That’s a more general restriction on public expression.

Doesn’t really matter. I’m going to say what I believe/know.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Fuckoff Bibi you asshole. Strangely enough, this monster gestated in Nazi Lithuania and Fascist Canada before going to Nazi finishing school – Israel – AKA The Jewish State.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

Netanyahu playing tough with other people’s backs. Let the US stop endlessly backing trash like him and then one may listen to a different tune coming from Tel Aviv.

GIVVO6_B
Guest
GIVVO6_B

At least the kosher fascist did not have another childish cartoon to try and demonise Iran this time.

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Theresa May survives another week in ongoing Brexit fiasco (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 153.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit survival, as the UK Prime Ministers appears to be heading to Brussels so she can coordinate with EU technocrats in order to meet a November deadline to move the unpopular agreement through all channels of British government.

It is still a very fluid situation. May has made it through a tough weekend where support to oust her never materialized, but the week ahead is anything but certain. For now May’s Brexit position looks secure.

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“Brexit. A Deal That Pleases No One,” authored by Daniel Lacalle via dlacalle.com…

The agreement announced between the British government and the European Union has been received in the United Kingdom with criticism from all sides. The defenders of staying in the European Union consider it very negative, of course. However, and this is the most important part, it is unlikely that the conservative party itself will support this agreement in parliament. Jacob Rees-Mogg has called the agreement “a failure of the negotiators and a failure to deliver Brexit.” Boris Johnson has said that it turns the United Kingdom into a “vassal state” and Nigel Farage has described it as “the worst agreement in history”.

Including the entire United Kingdom in the customs union and maintaining the payment of 10 billion pounds a year to give the European Union veto rights to the most important decisions is something that most conservative members of parliament will reject and that does not satisfy the Labor Party – which is also not pro-EU, let’s be clear – nor the liberal-democrats.

That is the great problem facing the government of Theresa May. That not even the government as a whole supports this agreement. The resignations that have been registered prove it. Even if the rest of the government decides to accept this agreement as a lesser evil, it is very difficult for the parliament to approve it.

At the centre of the controversy is a negotiating process that the European Union has left as a United Kingdom issue. But by letting the United Kingdom deal with its own divisions and problems, the EU also lost the perfect opportunity to offer British citizens and the rest of Europe a refreshing, leading and exciting project. And that is the big problem. That Brexit has been seen in many circles in Brussels as an opportunity to advance in the political and interventionist project, instead of moving towards a union in freedom for global, economic and political leadership.

The problem of the UK government is that it is led by a person, Theresa May, who must present a proposal to leave the EU when she has always been an advocate of remaining (Theresa May initially campaigned for the “Remain”). Thus, it is not surprising that the parliament arithmetics in favor of this agreement is not at all clear.

The British Parliament has more members in favor of Brexit than against, but it cannot be THIS Brexit.

Boris Johnson and the pro-Brexit hardliners may see an opportunity to weaken Theresa May and force a change of leadership that will bring a new leader more committed to a better deal.

Moderate Labour, who have been terrified for months with the radical drift of the Corbyn team, may also see an opportunity to weaken the leader who tries to take Labour to the far left.

My perception is that if there were a second referendum the result would probably be the same. In the United Kingdom there are no voices with political weight and real popular support to defend the European Union project. In the United Kingdom, the debate is either seeing the European Union as an annoying partner or as an impossible danger to solve.

Citizens in Europe see Brexit with sadness, logically. In the United Kingdom, news arriving from the European Union do not encourage a remain stance. High unemployment, unresolved immigration problems, lack of global leadership, high taxes, the specter of a new debt crisis in Italy and other risks. Pro-Europe UK leaders offer no other argument to citizens than the so-called Project Fear, a massive economic risk. However, British citizens see UK unemployment at 75-year lows, while in Europe they see the slowdown of the eurozone and the budget crisis of other countries, and do not find an unquestionable reason to stay in the club.

The UK citizen who votes for Brexit does not seem convinced that the only solution is to belong to a union that demands more control but offers less growth and employment.

The reactions to the agreement have not been very euphoric in any case. It seems something that was presented to fail. The pound and stock market did not react as the EU negotiators would think once the deal was seen as unlikely to pass parliament. In the bond market, Gilts strengthened as UK bond spreads fell while eurozone peripheral yields soared. The opposite of what would be seen as an EU victory.

Reaching an agreement that benefits everyone is difficult, but not impossible

The problem in the United Kingdom is that the agreement that would satisfy the pro-Brexit is impossible, and that the agreement that would please the pro-EU is impractical. That the message of economic ruin is not bought by Brexiters and not even the Remainers see the marvels of the EU membership.

Economically, it has been a mistake to present British citizens with the idea of “either the EU or the chaos”, because it does not work when there is not a clear, exciting and global leadership project.

The United Kingdom, one of the voices that defended economic freedom and open markets in an increasingly bureaucratic European Union is an essential partner to advance in Europe. Reaching an agreement that benefits everyone is difficult, but not impossible.

I have never bought the “EU or chaos” argument. I believe that both parts can benefit from a mutually beneficial deal. I am convinced that, even if this agreement is not approved, the British government will reconsider and present a solid plan for its citizens.

 

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Rise of the Western Dissidents

The only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. He is far from alone.

The Duran

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Authored by Allum Bokhari via Breitbart:


We’re used to Russian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and Saudi Arabian dissidents. But those who rightly believe the west is superior to authoritarian regimes must now contend with a troubling trend — the rise of the western dissident.

Chief among them is Julian Assange, who for a half-decade has been forced to live in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed political asylum since 2011. Assange claimed that he would be extradited to the U.S. to face charges over his work at WikiLeaks if he left the embassy, and was routinely mocked as paranoid for doing so.

This week, we learned that Assange was right and his critics were wrong. Thanks to a clerical error by the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, reporters were able to confirm the existence of sealed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

Because the charges are sealed and the evidence is unknown, it’s impossible to say if the case has merit. But it likely relates to WikiLeaks’ release of unredacted diplomatic cables in 2011, which forced the U.S. to relocate several of its foreign sources.

Some allegations are more serious. While he was alive, neoconservative Senator John McCain maintained that leaks provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, which included the diplomatic cables, caused U.S sources to be murdered.

Those who see Assange as a villain will end the story here. What is typically left out is that WikiLeaks originally released the diplomatic cables in piecemeal form, with names redacted to prevent loss of life and minimize harm.

It was only after a Guardian journalist’s error led to the full unredacted cables leaking to third parties on the web that WikiLeaks published them as well — and not before Assange attempted to warn the office of Hillary Clinton, then U.S. Secretary of State.

In other words, WikiLeaks behaved precisely as any responsible publisher handling sensitive material should, redacting information that could cause harm. The redactions only stopped when they became pointless. Assange is unlikely to have won more than a dozen journalism awards if he were completely reckless in his publications.

The Pentagon later admitted under oath that they could not find any instances of individuals being killed as a result of being named in Manning’s leaks to WikiLeaks, contradicting Sen. McCain’s allegations.

At worst, Assange and WikiLeaks can be accused of negligence, not deliberate recklessness, in the way it handled sensitive material. But as Breitbart Tech reporter Lucas Nolan points out, a far stronger case can be made against Hillary Clinton for the way she handled State Department emails — yet we see no criminal charges against her.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. In that, he is far from alone.

In the late 2000s to early 2010s, western governments targeted all manner of individuals associated with Assange and the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, including Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda, and The Guardian newspaper.

This was the early growth period of the internet, when the web had become a truly popular medium but had yet to be censored by pliant social media corporations. It was a time of profound unease at the power of the internet to undermine authority, both through the dissemination of information as in the case of WikiLeaks and Snowden, and in the new mobilization of political forces, as in the case of Occupy Wall Street and the SOPA/PIPA protests. Heavy-handed crackdowns against individuals and groups that were seen, rightly or wrongly, as symbols of the web’s early anarchic tendencies, like Kim DotcomAaron SwartzAnonymous, and LulzSec, were not uncommon.

These days, however, a new class of western dissident has emerged — the populist dissident.

Populist Dissidents

Who would have thought that the highest court in Europe, home of the enlightenment, would uphold a case in which a woman was prosecuted for blasphemy against Islam?

Who would have thought that Britain, the birthplace of liberalism and the free press, would ban an independent journalist from its shores for satirizing the same religion?

Who would have thought that Germany, whose living memory of the totalitarian Stasi is just three decades old, would put its largest opposition party under surveillance?

Just a few years ago, all three would sound far-fetched. But cases like these have become common as elites in virtually every western country mount a panicked attempt to contain the rise of populism (the goal, in the words of a Google executive, is to render it a “hiccup”in history’s march towards progress).

Look at the case of Tommy Robinson, the British critic of Islam who was dragged through Britain’s courts on fuzzy contempt-of-court charges. Sentenced to an astonishing thirteen-month imprisonment, Robinson was eventually freed after a successful appeal and now awaits a final trial before Britain’s Attorney General. Shaky charges that have been successfully appealed were exploited to persecute a British citizen who was inconvenient to the establishment. And there’s still a further trial to come.

Then again, Britain is a country that routinely bans foreign politicians and media figures from the country for being too right-wing. Michael SavageGeert WildersLauren SouthernPamela Geller, and Robert Spencer all enjoy this dubious distinction. Theresa May, who was responsible for internal affairs and immigration when Spencer and Geller were banned, is now the Prime Minister.

But it’s not just Britain. Not only has Trump’s White House, supposedly an ally of populists, failed to publicly intervene on behalf of the American citizens banned from the U.K. for expressing populist viewpoints, but it hasn’t even investigated allegations that far-left Antifa activists were able to stop conservative Rebel Media personality Jack Buckbyfrom entering the country by spreading false criminal allegations.

Julian Assange, a left-libertarian may share little ideological ground with right-wing critics of Islam. But they all share at least one thing: persecution by western states coupled with anti-establishment political speech or activities. They are also targets of the security establishment — Assange because of leaks that have exposed their secrets, and the populists because they refuse to censor themselves to avoid angering Muslims. (The UK justified its attempted ban of Geert Wilders by arguing that his presence in the country could lead to “inter-faith violence.”)

We also see attacks on free speech, with governments and politicians across the west pressuring Silicon Valley to suppress its critics. An unaccountable, unelected elite can sweep away a person’s livelihood in minutes, and cut their political message off from millions of American citizens. As I wrote in my column two weeks ago, the overarching trend is the gradual destruction or delegitimization of every tool, digital or otherwise, that non-elites use to express their preferences. Does that sound like a free society, or a controlled one?

You don’t have to agree with any of the individuals or groups listed above to see that surveilling political parties, blocking journalists from entering countries, jailing critics of religion, upholding blasphemy laws and censoring the net is the behavior of authoritarian nations, not liberal democracies. Yet this is the disturbing pattern we now see in the west.

Worse, foreign authoritarian regimes now provide safe harbor for western dissidents, in the same way that the west does for foreign dissidents. Edward Snowden, accused of violating the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 for blowing the whistle on the NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans, has for years resided safely in Russia, a country that persecutes and even kills its own journalists. Before that, he sought refuge in Hong Kong, a “Special Administrative Region” of the People’s Republic of China, an even more terrifyingly totalitarian state.

Will there now be a quid pro quo, with Russia and other authoritarian regimes protecting our dissidents while the west protects theirs? Or will western countries remain true to their liberal traditions, and stop its alarming attempts to surveil, suppress, and persecute a growing number of its own citizens? On present trends, a dark and dystopian future seems to loom on the horizon.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to [email protected].

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Zuckerberg’s “War Face” Has Driven Key Executives Away, Stoked Tension With Sandberg

About a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018.

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Via Zerohedge


Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gathered around 50 of his key executives and told them that the company was at war – more specifically, under siege from lawmakers, investors and angry users over the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal and Russian influence on the platform.

Zuckerberg, according to the Wall Street Journal, told his top lieutenants during that June meeting that while executives can move more slowly and methodically on key decisions during “peacetime,” he would be acting more decisively going forward, said people familiar with the remarks.

The result? Tension which has boiled over to the point where several key executives have left the country – as well as friction between Zuckerberg and longtime COO, Sheryl Sandberg.

The 34-year-old CEO believes Facebook didn’t move quickly enough at key moments this year and increasingly is pressing senior executives to “make progress faster” on resolving problems such as slowing user growth and securing the platform, said people familiar with the matter. Mr. Zuckerberg also at times has expressed frustration at how the company managed the waves of criticism it faced this year.

On Friday, that tension was on display when, during a question-and-answer session with employees at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., he blasted a fresh round of critical news coverage as “bullshit,” according to the people familiar with the remarks. –WSJ

One Facebook employee at the Friday session asked if the company could mitigate leaks by publishing internal reports on how frequently offenders are found and fired. While Zuckerberg said that Facebook does fire leakers, the root cause is “bad morale” thanks to negative press coverage.

And while the WSJ notes Zuckerberg has taken on ambitious annual goals, such as learning Mandarin and reading 25 books, this year his biggest challenge is fixing Facebook through his tougher management style, according to a person familiar with his thinking (so says the WSJ). Perhaps the Facebook CEO hired a drill sergeant to coach him on bringing out his inner-Alpha?

According to the Journal, Zuckerberg and Sandberg have had confrontations over his new management style, after she had long been afforded considerable autonomy over the company’s teams which handle communications and policy.

This spring, Mr. Zuckerberg told Ms. Sandberg, 49, that he blamed her and her teams for the public fallout over Cambridge Analytica, the research firm that inappropriately accessed private data on Facebook users and used it for political research, according to people familiar with the exchange.

Ms. Sandberg later confided in friends that the exchange rattled her, and she wondered if she should be worried about her job.

Mr. Zuckerberg also has told Ms. Sandberg she should have been more aggressive in allocating resources to review troublesome content on the site, said one person familiar with the matter, a problem that the company still struggles to fix. –WSJ

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg seems to be pleased of late with internal improvements, telling reporters last week that Sandberg is a “very important partner to me, and continues to be, and will continue to be.”

Privately, Zuckerberg has told executives that some of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal was just “hysteria,” to which Facebook simply didn’t mount an effective response.

Clash of the tech titans

Zuckerberg famously has butted heads with the co-founders of photo-sharing app Instagram, over his desire to share user location data on the main Facebook platform in order to help better target ads. The now-resigned Instagram founders strongly opposed the idea, and abruptly left the company in September.

The founders of WhatsApp similarly bailed on Facebook after disagreements over how to best extract revenue from the messaging service, according to people familiar with the matter.

And most recently, was the departure of Oculus VR co-founder Brendan Iribe, who was forced out by Zuckerberg in part due to a disagreement over the future of the virtual-reality handset, the people said. The decision to leave was reportedly “mutual.”

All told, about a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018. In May, Facebook announced a major reshuffling of top product executives in a way that helped free up Mr. Zuckerberg to oversee a broader portfolio within the company.

This turmoil at the top of Facebook has made it difficult for the company to execute on some product decisions and shore up employee morale, which has been sinking over the last year along with the stock price, which has fallen 36% since its peak. Many employees are frustrated by the bad press and constant reorganizations, including of the security team, which can disrupt their work, according to current and former employees. –WSJ

Doing whatever it takes

Facebook has come under fire recently – most notably after a New York Times report that the company used GOP operatives to smear the company’s detractors and promote negative news about competitors Google and Apple.

When the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal broke – the resultant rebukes from Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google executives sent Zuckerberg ballistic. The Facebook CEO “later ordered his management team to use only Android phones —arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple’s,” according to the Times.

Facebook then went on the offensive against the fellow tech giants.

On the advice of Joel Kaplan – a well-connected Republican friend, Bush administration official, and former Harvard classmate of Sandberg, Facebook began to go after Google and Apple.

Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. –NYT

Facebook has responded, initially saying they didn’t put out “fake news” against their competitors, and they had no idea what their marketing department was doing. On Friday, however, Sandberg said she took full responsibility for the actions of the communications team.

Facebook has tried to move forward following its various scandals; spearheading efforts to reign in data harvesting, and looking for someone to oversee its corporate, external and legal affairs.

Hopefully whoever is ultimately in charge of oversight won’t be scared away by Zuckerberg’s war face.

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