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Copying Hillary Clinton, now France’s Emmanuel Macron claims to be Russia’s target

French Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron claims – like Hillary Clinton before him – to be the target of a Russian ‘fake news’/cyber attack even as official investigations in Germany cast doubt on claims of Russian involvement in European politics.

Alexander Mercouris

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It was completely predictable and it has now happened.

Emmanuel Macron, the ‘Golden Boy’ candidate who is now being heavily promoted in the French Presidential election by the French and European establishment, and who – not coincidentally – is the only candidate in the French Presidential election who supports the current confrontational policy against Russia, has borrowed a leaf from Hillary Clinton’s play-book and is alleging that he will be the target of a ‘fake news’/cyber attack organised by Russia.

The way in which this is being done is set out in an article in the Financial Times, which quotes the head of Macron’s campaign and the French Defence Minister, and which conveys dark hints of reports by the French counter intelligence service.

Here is what the Financial Times is reporting

Emmanuel Macron’s campaign has accused Russia and its state-owned media of using hacking and fake news to interfere with the French presidential race, which the novice politician is favourite to win. Richard Ferrand, who is managing Mr Macron’s campaign, said there were “hundreds and even thousands” of hacking attempts emanating from Russia and said false news reports were “weighing on our democratic life”.

“Today we must look at the facts: two main media, Russia Today and Sputnik, which belong to the Russian state, are spreading fake news,” he said on France 2 television.

His comments tap into a growing fear in the European intelligence community that Russia could try to influence this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections in France as well as Dutch and German polls. This follows accusations by US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the US presidential election last year, carrying out attacks on the Democratic party’s computers.

The Kremlin dismissed the claims as a “witch-hunt”. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French defence minister, last month warned that a “massive diffusion of false information” could be used as a tool to influence the election. The French anti-cyberespionage agency, ANSSI, last year briefed the presidential candidates’ campaigns on possible threats.

The actual ‘evidence’ that Macron is the subject of such an attack is provided in a different article by the Daily Telegraph

Some observers believe a less spectacular, but no less coordinated, combination of leaks and misinformation were on display last weekend, when Russian news outlets ran a series of stories about Emmanuel Macron, the only French presidential candidate who does not advocate a rethink of Paris’s position on sanctions.

Last Friday, Julian Assange told the pro-government paper Izvestia that Wikileaks had obtained material compromising to Mr Macron. On Sunday night Dmitry Kiselev, a notoriously partisan pro-Kremlin television presenter, used his weekly news roundup on national Television to launch a blistering attack on Mr Macron in what he called “the Battle for France.”

On Monday, Sputnik, the Russian state news agency, ran an interview with a conservative French MP who said Mr Macron works for the American banking interests, is supported by a “powerful gay lobby,” and is rumoured to be in a long-running extra martial affair with another man.

Mr Macron laughed off the allegations, saying on Monday that “If you’re told I lead a double life with Mr Gallet it’s because my hologram has escaped.”

None of this remotely lives up to the claims of a sinister Russian ‘fake news’/cyber attack on Macron.

What Dmitry Kiselev says to Russian television viewers can have no bearing on the outcome of the French Presidential election, whilst Izvestia’s interview of Julian Assange and Sputnik’s interview of a French conservative MP look like legitimate news reporting.

Interestingly the Daily Telegraph itself casts doubt on the whole anti-Russian ‘fake news’/cyber warfare story.  Thus we read things in its article like this

Proving that is another matter, however. A year-long investigation the BND (German foreign intelligence) and BfV (German domestic intelligence) concluded last week that Russia was pursuing a “hostile strategy,” but failed to establish a definite link between the Lisa case and the Russian authorities.

“We have’t found a smoking gun,” Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted an unnamed government source as saying. “We’d have liked to have shown them the yellow card.”

The report also examined suspicions of Russian funding or other links to the far-Right Alternative for  Germany (AfD) party but found no evidence.

Another case examined in the report was a claim, spread last year from a Russian Whatsapp message and heavily circulated by Russian-speaking Germans, that Arab men were planning a Valentine’s Day mass rape of German women. Unlike the Lisa case, this was a complete fabrication. But the report concluded the effort was amateurish and the Kremlin was not involved. The Witch Hunt That has left some Western politicians feeling “Russian hacking” has become a convenient means with which to smear the Euro-sceptic right.

At this point it needs to be said that the German investigation is so far the only official investigation carried out by a European intelligence agency into the whole “Russian ‘fake news’/cyber warfare” story which is known about and which has reported its findings, and it is clear that it has drawn a complete blank.

In other words no official confirmation exists that in Europe Russia is trying to influence anyone, and the whole anti-Russia ‘fake news’/cyber warfare hysteria is being spun out of thin air.

This starting to be noticed by some people.  Thus elsewhere in the Daily Telegraph article we read things like this

“I find many of the accusations about hacking and false news and everything are being presented without much clear evidence,” said Thierry Baudet, a Dutch MEP and the founder of Forum voor Democratie, which campaigns for Holland to leave the European Union.

“And it seems to suit the opposition’s position surprisingly well. I would be much more suspicious and demanding a factual basis for what they are saying,” he told the Telegraph. Mr Baudet, who says he sees himself as an ally of Daniel Hannan, the arch Eurosceptic Tory MEP, is no stranger to accusations of pro-Russian bias.

He campaigned for a no vote in a Dutch referendum on ratifying the EU association agreement with Ukraine and has questioned the independence of the investigation into the downing of Malaysian airlines flight MH17 over east Ukraine – both positions that fit closely with Kremlin interests.

He describes his position on both issues as “”pro-Dutch” rather than “pro-Russian” and says he does not have strong opinions about Nato’s current confrontation with Russia.

“What we were saying, and the Dutch people agreed with us, is that it was not in our national interests to associate ourselves with a country as corrupt as Ukraine. I don’t know if that is the same as being pro-Russian,” he said.

The Dutch foreign ministry admitted this week that it had not verified that the signatures gathered to trigger the referendum were genuine. Mr Baudet denied that called the legitimacy of the vote into question, saying no one had presented any evidence that the signatures had been tampered with.

Discriminating between inconvenient news and a security threat, and the dangers of legitimate concerns turning into a witch-hunt against dissenting thought, are two of the biggest problems of fighting what Russian hawks call an “information war.” Perhaps worse is over reacting.

“A couple of months ago we underestimated Russian influence in media and cyber attacks  and so on – no one was looking at it  and no one was thinking about it,” said Dr Meister.  “Now I think  it is just the opposite – we are overestimating Russian ability to influence electoral behaviour. There is even a kind of a panic now,” he added.

That some people – in the Netherlands especially – are starting to notice that this latest witch-hunt is not based on evidence but depends entirely on paranoia and hysteria is important.  However that is not preventing opportunists like Emmanuel Macron from trying to take advantage of it.

Whether in the end it does him any more good than it did Hillary Clinton is another matter.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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