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French Constitutional Court stands up for free speech in striking down “anti-terrorist” law

French judges have made it clear that watching disagreeable content does not constitute a conspiracy to commit a violent act.

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The French Constitutional Court has struck down a piece of legislation that would criminalise the viewing of what the French government deems to be “terrorist” websites.

The court ruled that the legislation was an extreme and disproportionate infringement on the freedom of expression and that the provisions of the legislation were neither necessary nor adequate, given provisions of existing laws used to fight genuine terrorism.

The now annulled law, proposed to imprison those found guilty for two years, in addition to forcing them to pay a fine of €30,000.

The Court’s ruling could have implications throughout Europe and the wider world, as governments salivate at the prospect of punishing people for viewing online content.

There are several fatal flaws in the French legislation, beyond the very valid legal opinion derived by the Constitution Court of France.

First of all, there has never been any legitimate scientific study that has been able to prove a link between viewing violent content and committing violent acts.

During the 1980s, the wives of prominent US Senators attempted to pass legislation restricting the sale of heavy-metal and contemporary R & B music records and tapes, under the guise that violent or erotic lyrics have a negative effect on listeners. At the time, no scientific study was able to confirm any such linkage.

This theory was put to the test in US courts in two separate lawsuits. In 1986, the singer Ozzy Osbourne was sued by the parents of a teenager who killed himself. The complaint alleged that Osbourne’s 1980 song “Suicide Solution” was responsible for their son’s act of self-inflicted violence.

The court found that there was no link between listening to the song and the boy’s suicide.

A similar case was filed in a California court in 1990 against the heavy-metal band Judas Priest. Here it was once again alleged that the band’s recording of a song originally recorded by the band Spooky Tooth, “Better by You, Better than Me”, was reponsible for the attempted suicide of two teenage boys.

The court in this case found that there was no link between listening to certain kinds of music and committing acts of self-harm.

While few today would argue that heavy-metal music is actually harmful, just a few short decades ago they did. Today, individuals of the same kidney are arguing that watching videos and reading the literature of terrorist groups is harmful, but there is still on scientific evidence suggesting that their fears are true.

If everyone who has ever watched a terrorist beheading video was literally insane enough to act it out, the view counter on such videos would indicate that there would be far more international terrorism than there presently is, or ever has been.

Furthermore, there are two other problems with the kind of legislation struck down in France.

First of all, it allows exceptions for journalists and researchers who view terrorist content online. What though constitutes a journalist in 2017?

Today, there are many people who are not specifically employed or accredited as journalists who de-facto produce journalism whether on their own websites, websites operated by others or on social media.

Do you really trust various deep states to determine who is and who is not a “journalist”, in an age where those same governments are trying to censor an unambiguously legitimate journalistic outlet like RT? I for one certainly do not trust such people in this capacity.

Then one gets into the even murkier issue of what constitutes terrorist content. In Ukraine, the Donbass freedom fighters are considered terrorists, but in most of the rest of the world they are not. In the United States, Saudi Arabia and some of Europe, the Lebanese political party Hezbollah, which has ministers in the governing coalition, is considered a terrorist organisation, but in the vast majority of the world including in Russia and China, they are not.

The Turkish President recently called Israel a “terrorist state”.  Does this mean that a Zionist from the Netherlands should be arrested in Turkey for logging on to his favourite websites while at a professional conference in Istanbul?

While groups like ISIS/Daesh and al-Qaeda are almost universally condemned, beyond this, there is an incredibly dangerous slippery slope.

Donald Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley recently called Iran a sponsor of terrorism, even though there is no evidence to prove Iran does anything but fight terrorism. Should Iranian media viewers in the US all be imprisoned for disagreeing with Nikki Haley’s baseless assumption? The answer, for any fair minded individual is an unambiguous: NO!

With other European countries including Germany and the UK considering similar legislation as the one struck down in France, people ought to think twice before rushing to criminalise viewing any online content, no matter how disagreeable.

For those who actually are conspiring to commit an atrocity, there are age old statutes on the books in almost all nations, that simply ought to be enforced adequately in order to combat the genuine threat of terrorism.

Perhaps the inadequacy of certain countries to enforce such legislation, is the real reason for taking the cowards way out and seeking to imprison people for the crime of having eyes and viewing something they disagree with. After all such a method is easier than actually going after legitimately violent people.

For those who actually want to see terrorism destroyed, there is actually a strong case to be made in favour of watching terrorist videos in order to understand what anti-terrorist forces like the Syrian Arab Army are up against.

Marine Le Pen is correct – everybody should watch videos of ISIS atrocities

Below is an English translation of the full opinion of the French Constitutional Court:

“The Constitutional Council was seized on October 9, 2017 by the Council of State of a priority question of constitutionality concerning article 421-2-5-2 of the penal code, in its drafting resulting from the law n ° 2017- 258 of February 28, 2017 relating to public security.

These provisions reinstated, under a new wording, the offense of habitual consultation of terrorist websites whose Constitutional Council had censored an initial drafting by its decision n ° 2016-611 QPC of February 10, 2017. Article 421-2-5 -2 of the Penal Code, in this new wording, sanctions a penalty of two years imprisonment and 30 000 euros fine the fact of consulting in a usual way, without legitimate reason, a service of communication to the public on line advocating or provoking the commission of acts of terrorism and involving images or representations of willful attacks on life. The purpose of this offense is to prevent the indoctrination of

It was argued, in particular, that the freedom of communication was disregarded by those provisions since the infringement of the contested provision was neither necessary, given the legal provisions already in force, nor adequate and proportionate.

By its decision of today, the Constitutional Council recalls its consistent jurisprudence inferring from Article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 1789 that in the present state of the means of communication and with regard to the development of public services and the importance of these services for participation in democratic life and the expression of ideas and opinions, the freedom of communication implies the freedom to access such services. services. On the basis of Article 34 of the Constitution, it is open to the legislator to enact rules of a kind to reconcile with the exercise of the right of free communication and freedom to speak, write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which contributes to the objective of constitutional value of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation of terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing offenses. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation of terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing offenses. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. public order and the prevention of infringements. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. public order and the prevention of infringements. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued.

The Constitutional Council adds that, since the enactment of the impugned provisions, the legislature has supplemented the enactment of the legislative provisions previously in force in its decision of February and reproduced in paragraphs 7 to 11 of today’s decision. by adopting, by Law No. 2017-1510 of 30 October 2017 strengthening internal security and the fight against terrorism, new individual measures of administrative control and surveillance to prevent the commission of acts of terrorism. He infers from this that in view of the necessity requirement of the infringement of the freedom of communication,

As regards the adaptation and proportionality requirements for the infringement of the freedom of communication, the Constitutional Council notes that, if the impugned provisions provide that, in order to fall within the scope of the offense which they establish, consultation must be accompanied by the manifestation of adherence to the ideology expressed on the sites consulted, this consultation and this event are not likely to establish by themselves the existence of a will to commit terrorist acts. These provisions thus punish with a sentence of two years imprisonment the mere fact of consulting several times an online public communication service, without the constituting element of the offense constituting the terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to be one of the legitimate examples of reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to be one of the legitimate examples of reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. in particular because a person who adheres to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to come across one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. in particular because a person who adheres to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to come across one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information.

The Constitutional Council deduces from all the foregoing that the impugned provisions undermine the exercise of the freedom of communication which is not necessary, adapted and proportionate. He declares them therefore unconstitutional by giving immediate effect to this declaration”.

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VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

The bug in Mueller’s report released on Thursday is that he accepts that the Russian government interfered in the election. Trump should challenge that, says VIPS.

Consortium News

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Via ConsortiumNews.com:


MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: The Fly in the Mueller Ointment

April 16, 2019

Mr. President:

The song has ended but the melody lingers on. The release Thursday of the redacted text of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” nudged the American people a tad closer to the truth on so-called “Russiagate.”

But the Mueller report left unscathed the central-but-unproven allegation that the Russian government hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails, gave them to WikiLeaks to publish, and helped you win the election. The thrust will be the same; namely, even if there is a lack of evidence that you colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you have him to thank for becoming president. And that melody will linger on for the rest of your presidency, unless you seize the moment.

Mueller has accepted that central-but-unproven allegation as gospel truth, apparently in the lack of any disinterested, independent forensic work. Following the odd example of his erstwhile colleague, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller apparently has relied for forensics on a discredited, DNC-hired firm named CrowdStrike, whose credibility is on a par with “pee-tape dossier” compiler Christopher Steele. Like Steele, CrowdStrike was hired and paid by the DNC (through a cutout).

We brought the lack of independent forensics to the attention of Attorney General William Barr on March 13 in a Memorandum entitled “Mueller’s Forensic-Free Findings”, but received no reply or acknowledgement. In that Memorandum we described the results of our own independent, agenda-free forensic investigation led by two former Technical Directors of the NSA, who avoid squishy “assessments,” preferring to base their findings on fundamental principles of science and the scientific method. Our findings remain unchallenged; they reveal gaping holes in CrowdStrike’s conclusions.

We do not know if Barr shared our March 13 Memorandum with you. As for taking a public position on the forensics issue, we suspect he is being circumspect in choosing his battles carefully, perhaps deferring until later a rigorous examination of the dubious technical work upon which Mueller seems to have relied.

Barr’s Notification to Congress

As you know, the big attention-getter came on March 24 when Attorney General William Barr included in his four-page summary a quote from Mueller’s report: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Understandably, that grabbed headlines — the more so, since most Americans had been convinced earlier by the media that the opposite was true.

There remains, however, a huge fly in the ointment. The Mueller report makes it clear that Mueller accepts as a given — an evidence-impoverished given — that the Russian government interfered in the election on two tracks:

Track 1 involves what Barr, echoing Mueller, claims “a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA)” did in using social media “to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election.” A careful look at this allegation shows it to be without merit, despite Herculean efforts by The New York Times, for example, to put lipstick on this particular pig.  After some rudimentary research, award winning investigative reporter Gareth Porter promptly put that pig out of its misery and brought home the bacon. We do not believe “Track 1” merits further commentary.

Track 2 does need informed commentary, since it is more technical and — to most Americans — arcane. In Barr’s words: “The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election.”

We are eager to see if Mueller’s report contains more persuasive forensic evidence than that which VIPS has already debunked. In Barr’s summary, the only mention of forensics refers to “forensic accountants” — a far cry from the kind of forensic investigators needed to provide convincing proof of “hacking” by the Russian government.

But They Were Indicted!

Circular reasoning is not likely to work for very long, even with a U.S. populace used to being brainwashed by the media. Many Americans had mistakenly assumed that Mueller’s indictment of Russians — whether they be posting on FaceBook or acting like intelligence officers — was proof of guilt. But, as lawyers regularly point out, “one can easily indict a ham sandwich” — easier still these days, if it comes with Russian dressing.

Chances have now increased that the gullible folks who had been assured that Mueller would find collusion between you and Putin may now be a bit more circumspect — skeptical even — regarding the rest of the story-line of the “Russian hack,” and that will be even more likely among those with some technical background. Such specialists will have a field day, IF — and it is a capital “IF” — by some miracle, word of VIPS’ forensic findings gets into the media this time around.

The evidence-impoverished, misleadingly labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 6, 2017 had one saving grace. The authors noted: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.” Forensic investigators can follow a trail of metadata and other technical properties. VIPS has done that.

A “High-Class Entity?”

If, as we strongly suspect, Mueller is relying for forensics solely on CrowdStrike, the discredited firm hired by the DNC in the spring of 2016, he is acting more in the mold of Inspector Clouseau than the crackerjack investigator he is reputed to be. It simply does not suffice for Mueller’s former colleague James Comey to tell Congress that CrowdStrike is a “high-class entity.” It is nothing of the sort and, in addition to its documented incompetence, it is riddled with conflicts of interest. Comey needs to explain why he kept the FBI away from the DNC computers after they were said to have been “hacked.”

And former National Intelligence Director James Clapper needs to explain his claim last November that “the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.” What forensic evidence? From CrowdStrike? We at VIPS, in contrast, are finding more and more forensic evidence that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked by the Russians or anyone else — and that “Guccifer 2.0” is an out-and-out fraud. Yes, we can prove that from forensics too.

But the Talking Heads Say …

Again, if Mueller’s incomplete investigation is allowed to assume the status of Holy Writ, most Americans will continue to believe that — whether you colluded the Russians or not — Putin came through for you big time. In short, absent President Putin’s help, you would not be president.

Far too many Americans will still believe this because of the mainstream-media fodder — half-cooked by intelligence leaks — that they have been fed for two and a half years. The media have been playingthe central role in the effort of the MICIMATT (the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex to stymie any improvement in relations with Russia. We in VIPS have repeatedly demonstrated that the core charges of Russian interference in the 2016 election are built on a house of cards. But, despite our record of accuracy on this issue — not to mention our pre-Iraq-war warnings about the fraudulent intelligence served up by our former colleagues — we have gotten no play in mainstream media.

Most of us have chalked up decades in the intelligence business and many have extensive academic and government experience focusing on Russia. We consider the issue of “Russian interference” of overriding significance not only because the allegation is mischievously bogus and easily disproven. More important, it has brought tension with nuclear-armed Russia to the kind of dangerous fever pitch not seen since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the Russian provocation was real — authentic, not synthetic.

Sober minds resolved that crisis more than a half-century ago, and we all got to live another day. These days sober minds seem few and far between and a great deal is at stake. On the intelligence/forensics side, we have proved that the evidence adduced to “prove” that the Russians hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails and gave them to WikiLeaks is spurious. For example, we have examined metadata from one key document attributed to Russian hacking and shown that it was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

Who Left the Bread Crumbs?

So, if it wasn’t the Russians, who left the “Russian” bread-crumb “fingerprints?” We do not know for sure; on this question we cannot draw a conclusion based on the principles of science — at least not yet. We suspect, however, that cyber warriors closer to home were responsible for inserting the “tell-tale signs” necessary to attribute “hacks” to Russia. We tacked on our more speculative views regarding this intriguing issue onto the end of our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to you entitled “Intelligence Veterans Challenge Russia Hack Evidence.”

We recall that you were apprised of that Memorandum’s key findings because you ordered then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to talk to William Binney, one of our two former NSA Technical Directors and one of the principal authors of that Memorandum. On October 24, 2017, Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney by explaining the genesis of the odd invitation to CIA Headquarters: “You are here because the president told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you.”

On the chance Pompeo has given you no report on his meeting with Binney, we can tell you that Binney, a plain-spoken, widely respected scientist, began by telling Pompeo that his (CIA) people were lying to him about Russian hacking and that he (Binney) could prove it. Pompeo reacted with disbelief, but then talked of following up with the FBI and NSA. We have no sign, though, that he followed through. And there is good reason to believe that Pompeo himself may have been reluctant to follow up with his subordinates in the Directorate of Digital Innovation created by CIA Director John Brennan in 2015. CIA malware and hacking tools are built by the Engineering Development Group, part of that relatively new Directorate.

Obfuscation’

A leak from within the CIA, published on March 31, 2017 by WikiLeaks as part of the so-called “Vault 7” disclosures, exposed a cyber tool called “Marble,” which was used during 2016 for “obfuscation” (CIA’s word). This tool can be used to conduct a forensic attribution double game (aka a false-flag operation); it included test samples in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, and Russian. Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima, to her credit, immediately penned an informative article on the Marble cyber-tool, under the catching (and accurate) headline “WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.” That was apparently before Nakashima “got the memo.” Mainstream media have otherwise avoided like the plague any mention of Marble.

Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Directorate of Digital Innovation have been with the White House — or with former Director Pompeo — on this touchy issue. Since it is still quite relevant, we will repeat below a paragraph included in our July 2017 Memorandum to you under the sub-heading “Putin and the Technology:”

“We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be “masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin” [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. Hackers may be anywhere,” he said. “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.”

As we told Attorney General Barr five weeks ago, we consider Mueller’s findings fundamentally flawed on the forensics side and ipso facto incomplete. We also criticized Mueller for failing to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

Political Enemies & Mainstream Media (Forgive the Redundancy)

You may be unaware that in March 2017 lawyers for Assange and the Justice Department (acting on behalf of the CIA) reportedly were very close to an agreement under which Assange would agree to discuss “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” in the leak of the DNC emails and agree to redact some classified CIA information, in exchange for limited immunity. According to the investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill, Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA) vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learned of the incipient deal and told then-FBI Director Comey, who ordered an abrupt“stand down” and an end to the discussions with Assange.

Why did Comey and Warner put the kibosh on receiving “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” [read Russia]? We won’t insult you with the obvious answer. Assange is now in prison, to the delight of so many — including Mrs. Clinton who has said Assange must now “answer for what he has done.”

But is it too late to follow up somehow on Assange’s offer? Might he or his associates be still willing to provide “technical evidence” showing, at least, who was not the culprit?

You, Mr. President, could cause that to happen. You would have to buck strong resistance at every turn, and there all manner of ways that those with vested interests and a lot of practice in sabotage can try to thwart you — with the full cooperation of most media pundits. By now, you know all too well how that works.

But you are the president. And there may be no better time than now to face them down, show the spurious nature of the concocted “evidence” attempting to put you in “Putin’s pocket,” and — not least — lift the cloud that has prevented you from pursuing a more decent relationship with Russia.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Clement J. Laniewski, LTC, U.S. Army (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)

Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Peter Van Buren,U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Robert Wing, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (former) (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

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Ukraine’s president-in-waiting Zelensky vows to end conflict in Donbass with ‘POWERFUL INFOWAR’

Zelensky vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”

RT

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Via RT…


Comedian-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelensky, set for a landslide win in Ukraine’s presidential vote, stayed true to character at his first press conference, dropping some flashy promises but refusing to go into boring detail.

Shortly after claiming electoral victory, Zelensky held a Q&A session with reporters at his campaign HQ in a Kiev business center. While the official results of the elections have yet to be announced, multiple exit polls suggest he secured more than 72 percent of votes.

Zelensky addressed the media in an easy-going manner. He spoke in a mix of Ukrainian and Russian, switching between the two languages, sometimes in one sentence. He also talked English a bit. But if the press hoped to shed light on the policies of the incoming president and his team, the conference actually generated more questions than answers.

Bringing the civil war in eastern Ukraine to an end appears to be one of the top priorities for Zelensky.

Promising to announce some kind of a plan shortly, he asked the reporters for help in the upcoming “infowar” that he says would help end the conflict, which, since 2014, has been raging between Kiev’s troops and the rebel self-proclaimed republics.

We will launch a very powerful information war to end the war in Donbass.

He then vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”

Next up, Zelensky did not rule out – even if half-jokingly – that the outvoted president Petro Poroshenko could gain a government post if the public “asks so.”

Do you want me to appoint him? Then I will ask society… If they tell me that they want to see Petro Poroshenko in one post or another – maybe, I don’t know.

Zelensky added, though, that he would like to try “new people” first. But the very team of the soon-to-be president still remains a mystery, as he’s refusing to provide any names, be it the new administration, the judiciary, or the country’s military.

“We have very serious acting generals who have authority in the army, you will definitely see them. I have no right to give the names of these people now, as there is an agreement with the generals,” Zelensky said cryptically, likewise not revealing his candidate for prosecutor general.

For now, Zelensky and his Servant of the People party – notably named after his own comedy show where he played a schoolteacher-turned-president – are promising to introduce the team “in the near future.”

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The Triumph of Evil

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


Today (April 17) I heard a NPR “news” report that described the democratically elected president of Venezuela as “the Venezuelan dictator Maduro.” By repeating over and over that a democratically elected president is a dictator, the presstitutes create that image of Maduro in the minds of vast numbers of peoples who know nothing about Venezuela and had never heard of Maduro until he is dropped on them as “dictator.”

Nicolas Maduro Moros was elected president of Venezuela in 2013 and again in 2018. Previously he served as vice president and foreign minister, and he was elected to the National Assembly in 2000. Despite Washington’s propaganda campaign against him and Washington’s attempt to instigate violent street protests and Maduro’s overthrow by the Venezuelan military, whose leaders have been offered large sums of money, Maduro has the overwhelming support of the people, and the military has not moved against him.

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves. Under the Bolivarian Revolution of Chavez, continued by Maduro, the oil revenues instead of departing the country have been used to reduce poverty and raise literacy inside Venezuela.

The opposition to Maduro inside Venezuela comes from the elites who have been traditionally allied with Washington in the looting of the country. These corrupt elites, with the CIA’s help, temporarily overthrew Chavez, but the people and the Venezuelan military secured his release and return to the presidency.

Washington has a long record of refusing to accept any reformist governments in Latin America. Reformers get in the way of North America’s exploitation of Latin American countries and are overthrown.

With the exceptions of Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua, Latin America consists of Washington’s vassal states. In recent years Washington destroyed reform governments in Honduras, Argentina and Brazil and put gangsters in charge.

According to US national security adviser John Bolton, a neoconservative war monger, the governments in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua will soon be overthrown. New sanctions have now been placed on the three countries. Washington in the typical display of its pettiness targeted sanctions against the son of the Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. https://www.rt.com/news/456841-bolton-russia-venezuela-threat/

Ortega has been the leader of Nicaragua since for 40 years. He was president 1985-1990 and has been elected and reelected as president since 2006.

Ortega was the opponent of Somoza, Washington’s dictator in Nicaragua. Consequently he and his movement were attacked by the neoconservative operation known as Iran-Contra during the Reagan years. Ortega was a reformer. His government focused on literacy, land reform, and nationalization, which was at the expense of the wealthy ruling class. He was labeled a “Marxist-Leninist,” and Washington attempted to discredit his reforms as controversial leftist policies.

Somehow Castro and Ortega survived Washington’s plots against them. By the skin of his teeth so did Chavez unless you believe it was the CIA that gave him cancer. Castro and Chavez are dead. Ortega is 74. Maduro is in trouble, because Washington has stolen Venezuela’s bank deposits and cut Venezuela off the international financial system, and the British have stolen Venezuela’s gold. This makes it hard for Venezuela to pay its debts.

The Trump regime has branded the democratically twice-elected Maduro an “illegitimate” president. Washington has found a willing puppet, Juan Guaido, to take Maduro’s place and has announced that the puppet is now the president of Venezuela. No one among the Western presstitutes or among the vassals of Washington’s empire finds it strange that an elected president is illegitimate but one picked by Washington is not.

Russia and China have given Maduro diplomatic support. Both have substantial investments in Venezuela that would be lost if Washington seizes the country. Russia’s support for Maduro was declared by Bolton today to be a provocation that is a threat to international peace and security. Bolton said his sanctions should be seen by Russia as a warning against providing any help for the Venezuelan government.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and vice president Pence have added their big mouths to the propaganda against the few independent governments in Latin America. Where is the shame when the highest American government officials stand up in front of the world and openly proclaim that it is official US government policy to overthrow democratically elected governments simply because those governments don’t let Americans plunder their countries?

How is it possible that Pompeo can announce that the “days are numbered” of the elected president of Nicaragua, who has been elected president 3 or 4 times, and the world not see the US as a rogue state that must be isolated and shunned? How can Pompeo describe Washington’s overthrow of an elected government as “setting the Nicaraguan people free?”

The top officials of the US government have announced that they intend to overthrow the governments of 3 countries and this is not seen as “a threat to international peace and security?”

How much peace and security did Washington’s overthrow of governments in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and the attempted overthrow of Syria bring?

Washington is once again openly violating international law and the rest of the world has nothing to say?

There is only one way to describe this: The Triumph of Evil.

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” — William Butler Yeats

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