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Putin Keeps Cool and Averts WWIII as Israeli-French Gamble in Syria Backfires Spectacularly

Putin vowed that Russia would take extra precautions to protect its troops in Syria, saying these will be “the steps that everyone will notice.”

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Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


By initiating an attack on the Syrian province of Latakia, home to the Russia-operated Khmeimim Air Base, Israel, France and the United States certainly understood they were flirting with disaster. Yet they went ahead with the operation anyways.

On the pretext that Iran was preparing to deliver a shipment of weapon production systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli F-16s, backed by French missile launches in the Mediterranean, destroyed what is alleged to have been a Syrian Army ammunition depot.

What happened next is already well established: a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft, which the Israeli fighter jets had reportedly used for cover, was shot down by an S-200 surface-to-air missile system operated by the Syrian Army. Fifteen Russian servicemen perished in the incident, which could have been avoided had Israel provided more than just one-minute warning before the attack. As a result, chaos ensued.

Whether or not there is any truth to the claim that Iran was preparing to deliver weapon-making systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon is practically a moot point based on flawed logic. Conducting an attack against an ammunition depot in Syria – in the vicinity of Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base – to protect Israel doesn’t make much sense when the consequence of such “protective measures” could have been a conflagration on the scale of World War III. That would have been an unacceptable price to achieve such a limited objective, which could have been better accomplished with the assistance of Russia, as opposed to NATO-member France, for example. In any case, there is a so-called “de-confliction system” in place between Israel and Russia designed to prevent exactly this sort of episode from occurring.

And then there is the matter of the timing of the French-Israeli incursion.

Just hours before Israeli jets pounded the suspect Syrian ammunition storehouse, Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan were in Sochi hammering out the details on a plan to reduce civilian casualties as Russian and Syrian forces plan to retake Idlib province, the last remaining terrorist stronghold in the country. The plan envisioned the creation of a demilitarized buffer zone between government and rebel forces, with observatory units to enforce the agreement. In other words, it is designed to prevent exactly what Western observers have been fretting about, and that is unnecessary ‘collateral damage.’

So what do France and Israel do after a relative peace is declared, and an effective measure for reducing casualties? The cynically attack Syria, thus exposing those same Syrian civilians to the dangers of military conflict that Western capitals proclaim to be worried about.

Israel moves to ‘damage control’

Although Israel has taken the rare move of acknowledging its involvement in the Syrian attack, even expressing “sorrow” for the loss of Russian life, it insists that Damascus should be held responsible for the tragedy. That is a highly debatable argument.

By virtue of the fact that the French and Israeli forces were teaming up to attack the territory of a sovereign nation, thus forcing Syria to respond in self-defense, it is rather obvious where ultimate blame for the downed Russian plane lies.

“The blame for the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of its crew members lies squarely on the Israeli side,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said. “The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, took admirable efforts to prevent the blame game from reaching the boiling point, telling reporters that the downing of the Russian aircraft was the result of “a chain of tragic circumstances, because the Israeli plane didn’t shoot down our jet.”

Nevertheless, following this extremely tempered and reserved remark, Putin vowed that Russia would take extra precautions to protect its troops in Syria, saying these will be “the steps that everyone will notice.”

Now there is much consternation in Israel that the IDF will soon find its freedom to conduct operations against targets in Syria greatly impaired. That’s because Russia, having just suffered a ‘friendly-fire’ incident from its own antiquated S-200 system, may now be more open to the idea of providing Syria with the more advanced S-300 air-defense system.

Earlier this year, Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached an agreement that prevented those advanced defensive weapons from being employed in the Syrian theater. That deal is now in serious jeopardy. In addition to other defensive measures, Russia could effectively create the conditions for a veritable no-fly zone across Western Syria in that it would simply become too risky for foreign aircraft to venture into the zone.

The entire situation, which certainly did not go off as planned, has forced Israel into damage control as they attempt to prevent their Russian counterparts from effectively shutting down Syria’s western border.

On Thursday, Israeli Major-General Amikam Norkin and Brigadier General Erez Maisel, as well as officers of the Intelligence and Operations directorates of the Israeli air force will pay an official visit to Moscow where they are expected to repeat their concerns of “continuous Iranian attempts to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organization and to establish an Iranian military presence in Syria.”

Moscow will certainly be asking their Israeli partners if it is justifiable to subject Russian servicemen to unacceptable levels of danger, up to and including death, in order to defend Israeli interests. It remains to be seen if the two sides can find, through the fog of war, an honest method for bringing an end to the Syria conflict, which would go far at relieving Israel’s concerns of Iranian influence in the region.

 

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spikeregolo gelliniA.F.tiredofthemedialiestherevolutionwas Recent comment authors
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Lena Jones
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Lena Jones

It is smart to first wait for the findings of the Russian investigations into the incident before we can be absolutely certain of EXACTLY what happened and EXACTLY what Russia will be doing about it. Until then, articles like this are full of conspiracy theories and regurgitation.

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

Russia will do nothing! Well, nothing is also to much. They will sign in the future some joint ventures pipelines contracts to cross over Syria.

This way the long GAS WAR that Russia is fighting since the USSR times doesn’t go down the drain and they keep control of the flow of natural gas into European Market!

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

bull-shit, it’s about “SOVEREIGNTY” ,Russia is there by invitation to protect a legitimate sovereign government duly elected by the Syrian peoples !!!!!!!

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

Yes. But the “GAS WAR” is certainly a reason all parties are interested in this area in the first place.

tiredofthemedialies
Guest
tiredofthemedialies

yes, just like Donbass. (Oh I forgot, it let 20 thousand folks die there, at the hands of the Banderast filth..)

regolo gellini
Guest

You are right !

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

And Lena everything in this CIVILIZATION is a conspiracy… I always say that the BANKS ARE THE NUMBER ONE MONEY LAUNDRY SCUM IN THE PLANET, but other slaves just say “You’re a conspiracy theorist”! I just don’t have the means to expose the LAUNDRY MACHINE! But from time to time the SHIT DOES IT THE FAN! “Danske Bank money laundering ‘is biggest scandal in Europe’ Unpleasant lesson of €200bn case shows need to be vigilant – European commission” Of course that the scoundrels (you call them politicians!) are just pretending to be shocked! “The European commission has described the €200bn… Read more »

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

China and Russia seem to be working on the banking problem. The world will experience what places like some South American countries are suffering through, currency collapse. Russia and especially China have been obtaining precious metals for a long time now and will someday leave the SWIFT system.

Vince Dhimos
Guest

This article does not assert that all the details are in and does not pretend to know them. It only references already well known facts. The most important fact is that Israel has admitted to fireing missiles at an area dangerously close to a Russian asset. The rest is secondary. After all, we know that after Turkey shot down a Russian plane, Russia beefed up air defenses in Syria. It is highly likely that it will repeat this kind of behaviour after this Israeli shootdown.

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

If the Israelis were, as they say, already back in Israeli airspace when the plane blew up – then what was that warning they sent less than a minute before it blew up?

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

What’s the point of “beefed up air defenses” if you’re not going to use them?!

Until now all of that “beefed up” only resulted in one IL-20 shoot and right next to those “beefed up” air defenses!

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

I’m getting the sneaking impression we’ll be waiting till hell freezes over – and hell will freeze over first.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Russian Army downed their own plane……Russia wants WW3.

Kaput
Member

kindly supply Mr Shoigun with your REal facts……….. or start running to your bunker.

Cicero
Guest
Cicero

Only in your delusions!

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Gavin Williamson commits extra British troops in Ukraine to stop Russia ‘reversing Cold War outcome’ – media
MORE BRITISH TROOPS TO FIGHT THE RUSSIAN ARMY IN OCCUPIED DONBASS!!

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

Mr Williams is still hoping the Russians will just shoot-toop ‘n go way.

guest
Guest
guest

Better idea would be a police contingent from missing persons division. They may be more successful in finding this illusive Russian army.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

They occupy Donbass since 2014

7.62x54R
Guest
7.62x54R

More Russian troops to fight the British foreigners in Nazi Ukraine.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Nazzies are Russians

Martha
Guest
Martha

“On the pretext that Iran was preparing to deliver a shipment of weapon production systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli F-16s, backed by French missile launches in the Mediterranean, destroyed what is alleged to have been a Syrian Army ammunition depot.”

Show everyone the recon photos/info Bibi.

VFL
Guest
VFL

The War Criminal Land + Resources Thieving Genocidal Apartheid Regime of Israel LIES Always! It’s in their DNA, 70+ Years Experience.

Kaput
Member

Lets put it this way, Portugal offered a nation to all Jews in the Planalto of Benguela in Angola……..45 0000 sq km of fertile land, plus imense natural resources…. THEY did refuse . I suppose the roths wanted a : bigger fish :… continuous war in order to fill their coffers. so lets cook the Balfour Dec. and all has just worked out fine. lol There was never apartheid in Angola, and Isabel dos Santos is the one and only African queen… all is well then. stop crybaby nhau.

Prometheus
Guest
Prometheus

Not to mention the Jewish Autonomous Oblast they were given by the Russian. Natural Resources are there too. The Khazars did migrate there but have since move on to Palestine leaving very few Jews in the Oblast. The interesting thing I found was the predominant symbol in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast was the Menorah not the Star of David.
The need for the Khazars presence in Palestine was completely unnecessary.

Kaput
Member

ALL info bellow on the Benguela offer can be read at MALOMIL, A Port. Palestine. —– The biggest blunder nhau.?…….. beware of blue eyes……….. lol the famous turkish amulet .

Stephan Williams
Guest
Stephan Williams

3000 years of psychotic murdering experience…

regolo gellini
Guest

Of course you mean 3 thousanf years of lies !

Kaput
Member

It is about time for Mr Shoigun, to be loud and clear…… someone not afraid of mossad, the roths , and Lucifer. It is all about oil….imense natural resources, water supply, and greater isrhell……. lol I wonder why the word holocaust was invented by the jews ????? ……………….L. Bros. crash is responsible for the death of 16 million human lives……….. ……… where is the joke ??????

G George
Guest
G George

Being cowardly often averts a fight, at the same it just invites more of the same. If Putin would, just once, live up to his talk the West might back down; however, he keeps inviting them to do more by being chickenshit.

Guy
Member
Guy

I would suspect that the S-300s will soon be brought in and positioned strategically so as to be used by the SAA next time, if there is a next time.Which would be entirely justified and legal by the way under international. I don’t think that Russia could legally fire missiles at another nation from Syrian territory, even if it is deemed the protectorate of Syria.Russia is very sensitive about international law , at least under Putin’s leadership.

Guy
Member
Guy

“These weapons were meant to attack Israel and posed an intolerable threat against it”
So says the IDF but it is clear to any awake thinking person that any weapons that Hezbollah could/would have will be used to defend Lebanon from Israeli attack .Remember the Litani River that Israel so covets but is in Labanese territory.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

comment image

Only in The Russia

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

Everyone needs to have fun!

niner
Guest
niner

Gordon Duff, veteranstoday.com, with considerable force of argument, said on rense.com, that the russian S200 are built to make it impossible for them to shoot down russian aircraft of any kind.

he claims it was the french missiles which actually hit the russian surveillance plane. and this description of events makes more sense out of the admitted facts.

Kaput
Member

so instead of 5 S 300 s, lets employ 10

S 300 s, just to make sure .

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

To which you can add, the Syrians say they didn’t do it.
But hey – let’s believe Israel.

Vince Dhimos
Guest

Hezbollah is not seen as a terror organization at all in Lebanon, where it enjoys the distinction of being one of the main political parties ruling the nation and is remembered for its valiant defence of Lebanon from the Israelis in 2006, when they tried to annihilate that nation. No Lebanese — incl Christians — will ever see Hezbollah as a terrorist org,and if the US stops lying about Hezbollah and Iran, Israel will be sitting with egg on its face.

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

It’s my understanding that Syria has denied responsibility – I certainly haven’t seen Asaad make an apology to the Russian people….. which I would expect if his forces accidentally killed 15 allied servicemen.

But hey – let’s believe Israel. They are after all – the masters of truth.

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

This entire affair is very strange and suspicious.
Not even a week and already even RT has forgotten these men existed let alone were murdered.

Walter Dublanica
Member

Russia needs to retaliate against Israel and teach them a lesson. Putin needs to stop his meetings with BiBi, they are of no value to Russia.

cstahnke
Guest

The alliance of US, UK, France, Israel and Saudi Arabia are testing Russia to see how far they can go before Russia responds. It makes some sense to know this for this alliance to take steps to take out Syria and Iran which is the objective. They’re not giving up on that objective despite Assad’s popularity and that he defeated the mercenaries hired by the alliance. At some point Russia must deliver a counter-blow here or it will have to accept the partition of Syria–that seems the bottom line for the alliance at this time.

Kaput
Member

” the alliance ” is not unique, even if they throw in the north atlantic terrorist org. ….. it will be stale mate……… Russia+China+Iran+Hezbollah+Mongolia + ?????? . Besides I dnt believe in the partition of Syria, unless Putin has suddenly become a coward or a lizard. Some kind of no fly zone + offshore naval protection, will work just fine…………. Golan Heights is not bibs to keep either., lets do the job professionally. I grew up with “next door jews ” they are arrogant and have a huge IQ, BUT they dnt mix with humans. Was in isrhell ( 50… Read more »

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Mike Pompeo blasts Russia: ‘They have not proven helpful’ anywhere in the world

spike
Guest
spike

so the editor of this article thinks that the IAF actions were deliberate? how numb do you have to be to get a job with the duran?

it’s common sense for the IAF pilots to have used any available cover…the syrian air defence units are in the habit of letting loose with a barrage of anti-air missiles for every airframe that see on the target acquisition radar

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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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