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Italy’s migrant crackdown reveals fractures within the EU

‘Welcome thousands of migrants and then we can talk’

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As German Chancellor Angela Merkel races to find a solution to the migrant crisis in Germany by seeking a pan European solution, oppositional interests become more pronounced. As Merkel admits that a solution will come out of a formal bloc-wide meeting on the matter, Italy’s position on the migrant situation becomes more pronounced, and very much opposed to taking in any more refugees.

A draft declaration intended for this weekend’s informal summit was leaked, which proposes that refugees be sent back to the nation in which they initially filed for asylum, almost costed Italy’s presence at the meeting, but, upon Merkel’s assurance that it wasn’t actually on the table for consideration, Conte agreed to participate.

French president Emmanuel Macron, who has a diametrically oppositional position to that of Italy’s populist government, described Italy’s populism as ‘leprosy’, which was immediately called out by Italian ministers, with Matteo Salvini reportedly responding ‘welcome thousands of migrants and then we can talk.’.

Meanwhile, Merkel is on the ropes about finding some sort of answer to the migrant crisis, as her government coalition is verging on collapse over the issue, potentially in a matter of days.

AFP reports:

Italy doubled down Friday on its new tough stance against migrants, insisting it could not take “one more” refugee and warned the migration crisis could put the bloc’s survival at stake.

Just two days before a mini summit on the issue in Brussels, Italy’s three-week-old populist government dug its heels in on campaign promises to stop the influx of migrants, threatening to seize rescue ships or barring them from its ports.

“We cannot take in one more person,” hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told the German weekly Der Spiegel. “On the contrary: we want to send away a few.”

The far-right Salvini, who heads the anti-immigration League party and is also Italy’s deputy prime minister, has come to personify Rome’s new confrontational and unbending stance.

It was he who barred the French NGO-run Aquarius rescue ship, carrying some 630 migrants, from docking in Italy earlier this month, triggering an EU-wide row.

On Thursday, he turned his sights to the German NGO, Mission Lifeline.

“The illegal boat Lifeline is now in Maltese waters with its cargo of 239 migrants. For the safety of its crew and the passengers, we’ve asked Malta to open its ports,” Salvini wrote on Twitter.

“Clearly, the boat should immediately be impounded and its crew arrested,” he added.

But a source close to the Maltese government quoted by the Times of Malta newspaper said later Friday that Malta was “neither the coordinating authority nor one competent to carry out rescues”.

Salvini reacted strongly, saying: “If even one person was to get hurt on board this boat… we will hold Malta accountable.”

He also reiterated that the boat would not be allowed to dock in an Italian port.

– Europe’s future ‘will be decided’ –

Just two days before the informal talks on the migration issue — called by Berlin and being attended by some 16 EU leaders — Salvini warned that nothing less than the EU’s future survival was at stake.

“Within a year it will be decided whether there will still be a united Europe or not,” Salvini told Der Spiegel.

Upcoming EU budget talks, as well as European Parliament elections in 2019, would each act as a litmus test for “whether the whole thing has become meaningless”, he said.

Sunday’s talks are supposed to prepare for a full summit next week, where all 28 EU leaders will discuss plans to overhaul the bloc’s asylum system, which has been under severe pressure since the migration crisis exploded in 2015.

Nevertheless, German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who is facing a ferocious political backlash for letting in well over a million asylum seekers into Europe’s biggest economy — played down expectations that a solution could be found quickly.

Speaking on a visit to Lebanon, Merkel said that “we know that no solution will be reached on Thursday and Friday at the level of the 28 member states… on the overall issue of migration”.

Instead, she said, “bilateral, trilateral and multilateral” deals must be reached to tackle the issue.

But Salvini’s uncompromising line found an echo Friday when Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he was also ready to start turning away migrants if Berlin and Vienna did so, as Germany’s interior minister proposed earlier this week.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned on Monday that he would give Merkel a fortnight to find a European deal to curb new arrivals by the June 28-29 EU summit, failing which he vowed to order border police to turn back migrants.

– ‘Never touch Italian soil again’ –

“Italian ports are no longer at the disposal of traffickers. Open the Maltese ports! Open the French ports,” Salvini said earlier on Friday.

And in a Facebook post on Thursday he vowed that “foreign NGO boats will never touch Italian soil again.”

Rome had briefly weighed boycotting Sunday’s mini-summit, but finally agreed to attend after reassurances from Merkel.

Italy had been riled because a leaked draft statement focused more on the redistribution of the migrants once they had arrived in Europe, rather than on securing Europe’s borders.

But the government was placated after Merkel told them the text had been shelved.

Nevertheless, tensions continue to simmer very close to the surface, and tempers can flare up very quickly.

On Friday, Italy took offence when French President Emmanuel Macron likened rising nationalism and anti-migrant sentiment in Europe to “leprosy”.

“One day, he’s saying that he doesn’t want to offend Italy, and then the next, he’s talking about leprosy,” said Italy’s other deputy prime minister and head of the populist M5S party, Luigi Di Maio.

“We may be leper populists. But I take the lessons from those who open their own ports. Welcome thousands of migrants and then we can talk,” said Salvini.

While the migrant issue is one that has plagued Europe for years now, the political conditions in Europe have become such that it is beginning to threaten the unity of the European bloc. The four visegrad countries diluted the authority of the bloc’s policies by refusing to abide by them, Italy has experienced a fruit basket turnover with migration being one of the key topics, and Germany is threatened by conservative voices, backed by the USA, which are putting Merkel’s hold on power within the bloc’s most powerful and economically significant member into question. Now, more than ever, the push to find a soluble solution to the migrant crisis is necessary to securing the union of the 28 member bloc.

 

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Gano1bluewaterBill SpenceRaycomeauLinda Wren Recent comment authors
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Gano1
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Gano1

The EU is a debt ridden migrant infested mess!…………………..Italy has woken up!.

bluewater
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bluewater

I WILL NOT COMPLY

https://youtu.be/55aFy8TrZ0w

Bill Spence
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Bill Spence

Brussels should advise all EU citizens to migrate to North Africa in order to make space for migrants. Just Leave!

Raycomeau
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Raycomeau

Why are these European Countries not calling out USA instead of fighting among themselves. It is the USA wars and “Regime Change” in Latin America which is causing the majority of immigrants. The other irony is that the “refugee immigrants” want to settle into the USA, the actual country which ousted them from their homes! Why is no one dealing with this fact. Is everyone afraid of the USA. I would appreciate many responses, regardless of your views!

Linda Wren
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Linda Wren

For Germany, who incidentally has made billions on the collapse of Greece & have offered to pay the Lebanese ( with Americans help) to ‘keep’ Syrians from returning home. Merkel doesnt have anything to offer to correct the destruction of Europe.

my2Cents
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my2Cents

The EU is a Washington construct. It has not benefited Europe but only the U.S.
The quicker it dissolves the better. The refugee/financial immigrants too are America’s way to create chaos and control Europe. Gladio is actively engaged in creating ‘terrorist attacks’ using the ‘Allahu Akbar’ mantra and blaming the Muslims to keep Europe in its place. The rational population is catching on.

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Bercow blocks Brexit vote, May turns to EU for lifeline (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 112.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s latest Brexit dilemma, as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, shocked the world by citing a 1604 precedent that now effectively blocks May’s third go around at trying to pass her treacherous Brexit deal through the parliament.

All power now rests with the Brussels, as to how, if and when the UK will be allowed to leave the European Union.

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Via Bloomberg


Theresa May claims Brexit is about taking back control. Ten days before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union, it looks like anything but.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow’s intervention, citing precedent dating back to 1604, to rule out a repeat vote on May’s already defeated departure deal leaves the prime minister exposed ahead of Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels.

Bercow, whose cries of “Orrdurrr! Orrdurrr!’’ to calm rowdy lawmakers have gained him a devoted international following, is now the pivotal figure in the Brexit battle. May’s team privately accuse him of trying to frustrate the U.K.’s exit from the EU, while the speaker’s admirers say he’s standing up for the rights of parliament against the executive.

If just one of the 27 other states declines May’s summit appeal to extend the divorce timetable, then the no-deal cliff edge looms for Britain’s departure on March 29. If they consent, it’s unclear how May can meet Bercow’s test that only a substantially different Brexit agreement merits another vote in parliament, since the EU insists it won’t reopen negotiations.

Caught between Bercow and Brussels, May’s room for maneuver is shrinking. Amid rumblings that their patience with the U.K. is near exhaustion, EU leaders are girding for the worst.

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President Putin signs law blocking fake news, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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ABC’s Ted Koppel admits mainstream media bias against Trump [Video]

The mainstream news media has traded informing the public for indoctrinating them, but the change got called out by an “old-school” journo.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Fox News reported on March 19th that one of America’s most well-known TV news anchors, Ted Koppel, noted that the once-great media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, have indeed traded journalistic excellence for hit pieces for political purposes. While political opinions in the mainstream press are certainly within the purview of any publication, this sort of writing can hardly be classified as “news” but as “Opinion” or more widely known, “Op-Ed.”

We have two videos on this. The first is the original clip showing the full statement that Mr. Koppel gave. It is illuminating, to say the least:

Tucker Carlson and Brit Hume, a former colleague of Mr. Koppel, added their comments on this admission in this second short video piece, shown here.

There are probably a number of people who have watched this two-year onslaught of slander and wondered why there cannot be a law preventing this sort of misleading reporting. Well, Russia passed a law to stop it, hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook. It is a smart law because it does not advocate imprisonment for bad actors in the media, but it does fine them.

Going to prison for reporting “the truth” looks very noble. Having to pay out of pocket for it is not so exciting.

Newsmax and Louder with Crowder both reported on this as well.

This situation of dishonest media has led to an astonishing 77% distrust rating among Americans of their news media, this statistic being reported by Politico in 2018. This represents a nearly diametric reversal in trust from the 72% trust rating the country’s news viewers gave their news outlets in 1972. These statistics come from Gallup polls taken through the years.

 

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