Posted tagged ‘social media’

Europe’s Out-of-Control Censorship

April 6, 2017

Europe’s Out-of-Control Censorship, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, April 6, 2017

Who would have thought that more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), Western Europe would be reinventing itself in the image of the Soviet Union?

*****************************

If Facebook insists on the rules of censorship, it should at the very least administer those rules in a fair way. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness.

Posts critical of Chancellor Merkel’s migrant policies, for example, can be categorized as “Islamophobia”, and are often found to violate “Community Standards”, while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook’s “Community Standards”.

Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook’s bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah’s Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews — despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and murder of Jews.

Germany has formally announced its draconian push towards censorship of social media. On March 14, Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced the plan to formalize into law the “code of conduct”, which Germany pressed upon Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in late 2015, and which included a pledge to delete “hate speech” from their websites within 24 hours.

“This [draft law] sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement announcing the planned legislation.

“Criminal” content? Statements that are deemed illegal under German law are now being conflated with statements that are merely deemed, subjectively and on the basis of entirely random complaints from social media users — who are free to abuse the code of conduct to their heart’s content — to be “hate speech”. “Hate speech” has included critiques of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policies. To be in disagreement with the government’s policies is now potentially “criminal”. Social media companies, such as Facebook, are supposed to be the German government’s informers and enforcers — qualified by whom and in what way? — working at the speed of light to comply with the 24-hour rule. Rule of law, clearly, as in North Korea, Iran, Russia or any banana-republic, has no place in this system.

Maas is not pleased with the efforts of the social media companies. They do not, supposedly, delete enough reported content, nor do they delete it fast enough, according to a survey by the Justice Ministry’s youth protection agency. It found that YouTube was able to remove around 90% of “illegal” postings within a week, while Facebook deleted or blocked 39% of content and Twitter only 1%. The German minister, it seems, wants more efficiency.

“We need to increase the pressure on social networks… There is just as little room for criminal propaganda and slander [on social media] as on the streets,” said Maas. “For this we need legal regulations.” He has now presented these legal regulations in the form of a draft bill, which provides for complaints, reporting and fines.

There also appears to be no differentiation made between primary-source hate speech, as in many religious tenets, and secondary-source hate speech, reporting on the former.

According to the draft, social media platforms with more than two million users would be obliged to delete or block any criminal offenses, such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint. The networks receive seven days for more complicated cases. Germany could fine a social media company up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law; it could fine a company’s chief representative in Germany up to 5 million euros.

It does not stop there. Germany does not want these measures to be limited to its own jurisdiction. It wants to share them with the rest of Europe: “In the end, we also need European solutions for European-wide companies,” said Maas. The European Union already has a similar code of conduct in place, so that should not be very hard to accomplish.

Facebook, for its part, has announced that by the end of 2017, the number of employees in complaints-management in Berlin will be increased to more than 700. A spokeswoman said that Facebook had clear rules against hate speech and works “hard” on removing “criminal content”.

If Facebook insists on operating under rules of censorship, it should at the very least aim to administer those rules in a fair manner. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness. Instead, Facebook’s practice of its so-called “Community Standards” — the standards to which Facebook refers when deleting or allowing content on its platform in response to user complaints — shows evidence of entrenched bias. Posts critical of Merkel’s migrant policies, for example, can get categorized as “Islamophobia”, and are often found to violate “Community Standards”, while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook’s “Community Standards”.

Facebook’s bias, in fact, became so pronounced that in October 2015, Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis, to stop allowing Palestinian Arab terrorists to use the social network to incite violent attacks against Jews. The complaint sought an injunction against Facebook that required it to monitor incitement and to respond immediately to complaints about content that incites people to violence. Shurat Hadin wrote at the time:

“…Facebook is much more than a neutral internet platform or a mere ‘publisher’ of speech because its algorithms connect the terrorists to the inciters. Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions … Additionally, Facebook often refuses to take down the inciting pages, claiming that they do not violate its ‘community standards’. Calling on people to commit crimes is not constitutionally protected speech and endangers the lives of Jews and Israelis”.

In 2016, Shurat Hadin filed a separate $1 billion lawsuit on behalf of five victims of Hamas terrorism and their families. They are seeking damages against Facebook under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act, for Facebook’s having provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook services, which Hamas then used to carry out their terrorist activities. The US has officially designated Hamas a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” which means that it is a criminal offense to provide material support to such an organization.

Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook’s bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah’s Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews — despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and the murder of Jews.

It is only a small step from imposing censorship on social media companies to asking the same of email providers, or ordering postal authorities to screen letters, magazines and brochures in the event that citizens spread supposed “xenophobia” and “fake news”. There is ample precedent for such a course of action on the continent: During the Cold War, people living behind the Iron Curtain had their private letters opened by the communist authorities; those passages deemed to be out of line with the communist orthodoxy, were simply blacked out.

Who would have thought that more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), Western Europe would be reinventing itself in the image of the Soviet Union?

Twitter Grants Verification to Muslim Brotherhood’s Violent, Anti-Semitic Online Mouthpiece

November 28, 2016

Twitter Grants Verification to Muslim Brotherhood’s Violent, Anti-Semitic Online Mouthpiece, Washington Free Beacon, November 28, 2016

Bydgoszcz, Poland, 20 June 2016: Twitter has announced the possibility of live streaming via itís site. With the integration of Periscope, the popular live streaming app Twitter now has the majority of the live streaming market in itís hands making rivals like Meerkat all but disappear. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***

Twitter. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto) 

“At a time when Twitter is already facing criticism for banning individuals based solely on speech, Twitter has effectively lionized a group responsible for the burning of Coptic churches and the killing of Egyptian police and judiciary officials,” Shideler added. “How is Twitter supposed to help defeat online radicalization when it essentially endorses the biggest source for Islamist radicals in the world?”

************************

The social media website Twitter is facing criticism for its recent decision to grant verification to the Muslim Brotherhood’s official mouthpiece, which routinely writes in favor of violent terror acts and disseminates anti-Semitic propaganda.

The Muslim Brotherhood–which has been designated as a terror outfit and banned by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and elsewhere–operates in the online sphere via a website known as Ikhwan Web, which serves as the Brotherhood’s “official” English-speaking feed.

Twitter recently granted verification to Ikhwan Web’s online feed, giving the organization an air of legitimacy that leading lawmakers and experts described as reckless given the Brotherhood’s history of supporting violent jihad and terrorism.

‎”Verifying the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter feed helps further their narrative of civilization-Jihad,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a Muslim Brotherhood critic who has authorized legislation to designate it in the United States as a terror organization, told the Washington Free Beacon.

“This maneuver makes the Brotherhood seem like a legitimate group while providing them cover to spread their radical version of Islam,” Cruz added. “I look forward to working with the new administration to expose the Brotherhood’s efforts to increase their influence in America.”

Ikhwan Web’s Twitter feed serves as a central hub for the Brotherhood’s radical propaganda and official statements. A Free Beacon request for comment to Twitter’s public relations department went unanswered.

Twitter has faced a wave of criticism for failing to shut down various accounts promoting radical jihad and terrorism against Western countries. Others have criticized the social media site for cracking down on accounts associated with conservative-leaning thinkers and writers.

Recent tweets indicate that the Brotherhood is, via its Twitter feed, advocating continued violence and resistance against Egypt’s ruling government. It also is working to mainstream the Brotherhood as a legitimate resistance organization and governing body.

Ikhwan Web has a history of promoting violence in the Middle East, primarily in Egypt, where the Brotherhood led a bloody coup and continues to support violence against the country’s ruling authority.

“It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom,” the Brotherhood said in a 2015 statement that was posted on Ikhwan Web.

The website also has a history of defending individuals accused of organizing terror attacks on U.S. soil.

Other recent articles posted by the group promote violence against the Israeli government and Jewish people, including one 2009 post quoting a Muslim Brotherhood leader as calling for “jihad” to “liberate” Jerusalem from Israeli control.

The Brotherhood falsely claims that Israel is attempting to vandalize Muslim holy sites and prevent access for adherents to the faith.

Other postings rally against “the ugly face” of Zionism.

Kyle Shideler, director of the Center for Security Policy’s Threat Information Office, told the Free Beacon that Twitter’s decision to grant legitimacy to the organization is “deeply concerning.”

“This decision by Twitter to provide the Muslim Brotherhood with this literal blue check of approval is deeply disconcerting,” Shideler said.

“At a time when Twitter is already facing criticism for banning individuals based solely on speech, Twitter has effectively lionized a group responsible for the burning of Coptic churches and the killing of Egyptian police and judiciary officials,” Shideler added. “How is Twitter supposed to help defeat online radicalization when it essentially endorses the biggest source for Islamist radicals in the world?”

Merkel Back Crackdown on Free Speech On Social Media Sites

November 25, 2016

Merkel Back Crackdown on Free Speech On Social Media Sites, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, November 25, 2016

angela-merkel-1

German Chancellor Angela Merkel long ago established herself as a menace to free speech, particularly in her decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. Now, she is throwing her support behind a crackdown on “hate speech” on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — radically expanding the already broad scope of government regulation of speech.

Merkel declared “I support efforts by Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere to address hate speech, hate commentaries, devastating things that are incompatible with human dignity, and to do everything to prohibit it because it contradicts our values.”

“Incompatibility with human dignity”? That is a standard that virtually defies definition. It would leave the government in the position to determine who is insulting “human dignity.”

Merkel is also threatening social media companies to get rid of “fake news” or risk a government crackdown. Merkel appears to fear that social media bots could influence German elections after President Obama flagged the role of fake news in the Trump election. Merkel insisted

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

Merkel is clearly “all in” on the crackdown on free speech. The question is whether the German people will or can reverse this trend against this defining right of fundamental civil liberties and human rights.

What do you think?

VIDEO: Merkel Says ‘Trolls’ and ‘Fake News’ Could Influence German Election

November 24, 2016

VIDEO: Merkel Says ‘Trolls’ and ‘Fake News’ Could Influence German Election, Breitbart, Liam Deacon, November 24, 2016

merkelbows

Angela Merkel has said public opinion is being “manipulated” on the internet, claiming “fake news” websites and “trolls” could influence the approaching German elections.

In her first major address since announcing her intention to seek a fourth term, the German chancellor was also heckled and labelled a “disgrace” as she claimed to be “fighting illegal immigration” in Germany.

“Something has changed. As globalization has marched on, debate is taking place in a completely new media environment. Opinions aren’t formed the way they were 25 years ago,” she said, according to AFP.

“Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls – things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms and we have to learn to deal with them,” she added.

The chancellor linked the rise of alternative media to populist politics in the West during the speech.

“A lot of people are concerned about the stability of our social order,” she said. “Suddenly it seems that what we considered self-evident isn’t that self-evident after all.”

She reportedly claimed that democracy itself, and even the economy, were under threat.

The chancellor also insisted that “hate speech” should be censored in Germany, because “it’s not compatible with our ideals”. Debates, she said, should be carried out in what she saw as “the spirit of respect for others”.

The speech also covered the topic of migration, which saw the German leader shouted down in her own legislative chamber.

“We have passed the EU-Turkey agreement and I want to clearly state that, also looking at other areas…” she started, before a woman interrupted her, crying: “Disgrace!”

“Careful,” the Chancellor replied.

“It is your opportunity to openly express your opinions. I believe fighting illegal immigration,” she added. But the woman shouted back, “yeah, yeah”, dismissing the claim sarcastically.

Mrs. Merkel continued her speech: “Putting a stop to illegal smugglers who do vicious trade with human beings, to do something against the fact that this year 4,500 or more refugees have drowned is one of the most important requirements of political trade.”

Allies of the chancellor applauded her as she asserted: “Those who have to rely on smugglers because they can’t shape politics, they do not do their job in the sense that I envision it.”

More than a million illegal migrants walked into Germany last year. The numbers began rising sharply immediately after Mrs. Merkel promised to suspend the Dublin agreementin August, and “welcome” any migrant who could make it across Germany’s borders.

Gulag, Western Style

November 23, 2016

Gulag, Western Style, PJ MediaDavid Solway, November 22, 2016

newspeak

In the last analysis, this system of subjugation looks to be even more effective than the cruder techniques of its tyrannical counterparts. In the absence of public awareness and concerted pushback, we will have sold our birthright for a mess of political potage.

*****************************

There are various ways of quashing social and political dissent, some more effective than others. The “Soviet method” practiced in stringently repressive regimes—torture, imprisonment, the ever-expanding Gulag, summary execution—works extremely well in the shorter historical timeframe, until a people rise up in revolt or such demonic societies collapse from their own internal contradictions. Of course, the truly Stygian regimes, closed to the world, indifferent to economic pressures, and under the heavy boot of unbroken military control, such as North Korea, may persist indefinitely or until defeated in war. But generally speaking, the tried-and-true methods of political oppression are sufficient to the task of keeping a population in a state of enslavement for a prolonged historical period.

In the sphere of the liberal West, however, there are other means of subjection to the will of increasingly centralized governments. Because they tend to function gradually and under the radar, these tactics are enormously efficient in their deadening effects, going unrecognized until it is often too late to mount significant resistance. They operate through a process of curricular distortions, social pressure and incremental legislation targeting speech habits, facets of normal behavior, assumptions of what counts as morally legitimate, and financial and job security.

A useful technique for anaesthetizing the individual citizen and rendering him compliant is the erasure of authentic historical knowledge. We’ve remarked the success of this approach in the U.S. with the “history from below” or “people’s history” movement, associated with Howard Zinn, and the foregrounding of a bowdlerized version of Islamic history in American schools. Canada is no different. Eric McGeer, author of Words of Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War, writes: “In my last years of high school teaching I was increasingly infuriated and disgusted at the portrayal of Canada in the history textbooks assigned for use in our courses. There was no sense of gratitude in the textbooks, no empathy with the people of the past or an attempt to see them in their own terms, no sense of the effort people made to create one of the few truly liveable societies on earth. You would have thought that this country was nothing more than a racist, bigoted, this or that-phobic hotbed. My first lesson involved taking the book and dropping it into the waste paper basket and advising the students to do the same.” (personal communication). The study of history, McGeer concludes, is nothing now but a progressive morality tale and a mechanism of social engineering. Sounds a lot like Title IX. Pride in one’s nation, its accomplishments and sacrifices, is contra-indicated. There is more than one way of burning the flag.

The center-right consensus that has characterized Western nations has been under attack for some considerable time as nation after nation in the once liberal West gravitates progressively leftward. Robert Conquest’s Second of his Three Laws of Politics states that “any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” The consequence of Conquest’s Law is, inevitably, what Robert Michels in Political Parties called “The Iron Law of Oligarchy,” which formulates how democratic institutions tend to succumb to the rule of an elite—in our day, a progressivist camarilla that controls government policy and media outlets, and harnesses the energies of dissenting associations and cabals. In many countries, the democratic process has become or is on the road to becoming a mere formality.

The oligarchic agenda can be detected in the disastrous nationalization of the health care system; the decadence of an academy which indoctrinates rather than educates; the rise of destructive feminism and the feminization of the culture; the transgendering of everyday life—in Canada, for example, Bill C-16 has been tabled, making “gender expression” a prohibited ground of discrimination and potentially mandating non-binary pronouns such as zhi or hir, as is already the case in New York City where astronomical fines are levied for contravention; the special status ascribed to the incursions of anti-democratic Islam; the “abolition of the family,” as Marx and Engels urged in The Communist Manifesto; and the regulatory strangling of the free market economy and the conjoint attrition of the middle class. Additionally, the leftist project is materially facilitated by the growing prevalence of kangaroo courts run by committed activists of every conceivable stripe and in which no provision whatsoever is made to assist those too often falsely accused of discrimination or being in violation of some obscure code or policy of sanctioned conduct. The judgments handed down against those who have offended the sensibilities of favored identity groups will often involve harshly punitive forms of retribution that may cost a defendant his employment and his livelihood.

A Romanian friend who suffered through Nicolae Ceaușescu’s dictatorship in his home country tells me that in many ways the situation in the “freedom loving” West is actually worse. In Romania, as in the Soviet Union and the rest of the Eastern Bloc, most people knew that the regime was founded on lies and that the media were corrupt, time-serving institutions. Here, on the contrary, people tend to believe that the government is relatively, if not entirely, trustworthy, that the judiciary is impartial, and that the media actually report the news. Citizens are therefore susceptible to mission creep and are piecemeal deceived into a condition of indenture to socialist governance, an activist judiciary, a disinformative, hireling press corps, and left-wing institutions. People will vote massively for the Liberal Party in Canada and the Democrats in the U.S., not realizing they are voting themselves into bondage, penury and stagnation. The process operates insensibly and takes longer to embed itself into the cultural mainstream, but the result is alarmingly effective and durable. My friend has never read F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom or George Orwell’s 1984, but his layman’s insights and practical experience bear out Hayek’s scholarly analysis and Orwell’s dire warnings.

A totalitarian regime will control its citizens through propaganda, censorship, and outright violence, modes of oppression that are at least publicly demonstrable, evident to most. But knowing that the enchainment of the spirit is ultimately more reliable than the enchainment of the flesh, a democratic polity veering towards oligarchy will focus on propaganda and censorship as well, but in a far more subtle form. It will function mainly through public shaming rituals, social ostracism, rigid speech codes, Orwellian disinformation, and legal or quasi-legal assault. It does not need to depend on physical violence.

Fear of social rejection, the lure of groupthink, the pestilence of political correctness controlling what one may say and think, public apathy, historical ignorance, and especially the Damoclean sword of selective hiring, job dismissal, and financial reprisal go a long way to subdue a people to the will of its masters and consign them to a Gulag that may be less observable a such, but one that is nonetheless socially and economically crippling to individuals, families and businesses.

In the last analysis, this system of subjugation looks to be even more effective than the cruder techniques of its tyrannical counterparts. In the absence of public awareness and concerted pushback, we will have sold our birthright for a mess of political potage.

Saudi women revolt: #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen

September 7, 2016

Saudi women revolt: #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, Counter Jihad

(Lot of luck with that. — DM)

Female oppression and subjugation are integral elements of Islamic supremacism, exhibited by Saudi Arabia (among other Islamic states), which exports and funds Wahhabism globally. Saudi Arabia is now experiencing a kind of social media revolt by its women against its guardianship laws. Hurray for social media in allowing these women some dissenting expression; they are otherwise buried and gagged under the niqab.

“The hashtag, #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, has taken the Twitter social networking world by storm, calling for an end to these oppressive laws” of male guardianship.

Females in Saudi Arabia are permanently under male guardians from birth. They can’t be educated, travel, marry, “or even have surgery” without male guardian approval. In fact, if a woman so much as leaves the house against the wishes of her male guardian, he can “go to the police and file a complaint that you are a fugitive and the police will come after you and take you home.”These are elements of Islamic law, but nowhere else are they so strictly enforced as in Saudi Arabia.

Western leftist feminists who turn a blind eye to the tortures of the sisterhood by Islamic supremacists and jihadists, meanwhile, are perhaps too busy with the chorus of celebratory jeering over the death of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly (who spoke out boldly against Muslim immigration in Europe and the erosion of democratic principles) to take note of this new development about women in Saudi Arabia.

stopenslavingsaudiwomen

“Calls to end Saudi male guardianship sweeping social media”, by Katie Beiter, The JPost , September 7, 2016:

Reem, a 37-year-old Saudi nurse, who asked that her last name be withheld, recalled when her family arranged her marriage. After graduating from nursing school, she worked for 10 years until her cousin approached her father asking for her hand in marriage.

“All of a sudden my father said to me, this is my nephew and you will marry him,” Reem said. “We were complete opposites in character and I didn’t like him, he wasn’t handsome. So, I refused, I cried, I did everything a Saudi girl can do, but sadly, they forced me.”

“It broke my soul,” she added. After a year of being engaged, Reem broke it off. Her parents then forced her to marry a man, who, according to Reem, was a drug addict; so she divorced him.

“Now, I am divorced with one son. I am a nurse, but I stay with my family. I have a good salary, but they refuse to let me live independently. I am 37 years old and I still live with my parents,” Reem said.

Stories like these are not uncommon in Saudi Arabia, a conservative, Muslim country, where male guardianship laws still reign. These laws require Saudi women, regardless of age, to have a male guardian, usually a husband or a father, who makes all legal decisions for them.

The hashtag, #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, has taken the Twitter social networking world by storm, calling for an end to these oppressive laws.

“Basically, from when they are born to when they die, Saudi women require male guardians, who are given legal control over their lives,” Kristine Beckerle, a Human Rights Watch researcher recently reported. According to Beckerle, the New York-based human rights organization “has concluded that male guardianship is the most significant impediment to women’s rights in Saudi Arabia today.”

Saudi women are not allowed to travel, marry, study, or even have surgery without permission from their guardians. “If you go out against your guardian’s will, he can go to the police and file a complaint that you are a fugitive and the police will come after you and take you home,” Reem added.

There is a Twitter hashtag in Arabic (#سعوديات_نطالب_باسقاط_الولاية51), which updates the number of days the hashtag has been circulating. It has reached 51.

“It’s a unified effort by Saudi Women in attempt to voice their struggle in the only legal way that they can in Saudi Arabia,” Isaac Cohen, Director of the S.A.F.E. Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Saudi women fight male guardianship, told The Media Line.

Women have chosen the social media platform to raise awareness because protest rallies are illegal and can even carry prison sentences in Saudi Arabia. In the past, Saudi women have feared publicizing their beliefs; however, women have now become more willing to take a stand in the anti-guardianship campaign, according to Beckerle.

These women have gone so far as to record videos of themselves to post on social media, articulating the horrors of the repressive laws. Aside from the hashtags, there have been many other instances of solidarity amongst Saudi women.

Some of which include the distribution of “I am my own guardian” bracelets and stickers; a petition to the king, which gathered over 3,000 signatures in 24 hours; and a wall in Riyadh with the hashtag written in graffiti.

“I am flabbergasted. The media is not free and Saudi women themselves face many levels of difficulty. To see women take up the call and demand their rights has been incredible,” Beckerle said.

There have been movements in the past to change laws in Saudi Arabia. In October 2013, there was a campaign to allow women the right to drive; however, that was unsuccessful.

However, activists hope that this campaign may be different. Because the guardianship laws affect a number of different aspects of women’s lives, Beckerle believes that this gives the government room to initiate changes….

Federal Government Authorizes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to Censor “Anti-Islam” Speech; Lawsuit Filed

July 13, 2016

Federal Government Authorizes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to Censor “Anti-Islam” Speech; Lawsuit Filed, July 13, 2016

AFLC_SocialMedia_Censorship_Banner_07-11-16-3-Final-1024x527

Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment.

Section 230 provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Jihad Watch.

As alleged in the lawsuit, Geller and Spencer, along with the organizations they run, are often subject to censorship and discrimination by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because of Geller’s and Spencer’s beliefs and views, which Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube consider expression that is offensive to Muslims.

Such discrimination, which is largely religion-based in that these California businesses are favoring adherents of Islam over those who are not, is prohibited in many states, but particularly in California by the state’s anti-discrimination law, which is broadly construed to prohibit all forms of discrimination.  However, because of the immunity granted by the federal government, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are free to engage in their otherwise unlawful, discriminatory practices.

As set forth in the lawsuit, Section 230 of the CDA immunizes businesses such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from civil liability for any action taken to “restrict access to or availability of material that” that they “consider[] to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, issued the following statement:

“Section 230 of the CDA confers broad powers of censorship upon Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube officials, who can silence constitutionally protected speech and engage in discriminatory business practices with impunity by virtue of this power conferred by the federal government in violation of the First Amendment.”

Muise went on to explain:

“Section 230 is a federal statute that alters the legal relations between our clients and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, resulting in the withdrawal from our clients of legal protections against private acts.  Consequently, per U.S. Supreme Court precedent, state action lies in our clients’ challenge under the First Amendment.”

David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added:

“Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have notoriously censored speech that they deem critical of Islam, thereby effectively enforcing blasphemy laws here in the United States with the assistance of the federal government.”

Yerushalmi concluded:

“It has been the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists to impose such standards on the West.  Its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which co-sponsored, with support from Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton, a U.N. resolution which called on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are falling in line, and we seek to stop this assault on our First Amendment freedoms.”

AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise and David Yerushalmi, along with the plaintiffs in this case, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, will hold a Press Call from 2:00-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13.  To access this press conference call, dial(641) 715-3655 and enter code 111815.

All Your Social Media Belong to the EU

June 10, 2016

All Your Social Media Belong to the EU, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, June 10, 2016

Social media

For a decade, the top search result for “EU referendum” on Google was the political blog EU Referendum. Then it was abruptly displaced by solidly pro-EU media outlets. It appeared that someone at Google had decided that search traffic should be driven to pro-EU sites. Ingrid Carlqvist, a Swedish columnist who covers, among other things, migrant violence, at Gatestone, had her Facebook account deleted after posting a video detailing migrant rapes in Sweden.

These seemingly isolated incidents fit into a larger pattern as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter helped create and signed a “code of conduct” banning hate speech. Facebook had already become notorious for its political agenda while Twitter had created a Trust and Safety Council filled with extremist left-wing groups like Feminist Frequency to censor the politically incorrect.

Google has historically been a pro-free speech outlier. Its politics have never been ambiguous, but it has eschewed the overt censorship of some of its new partners working to keep the EU free of political dissent. But the code of conduct goes well beyond censorship. The companies will be working to strengthen their “ongoing partnerships with civil society organisations who will help flag content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct”. That amounts to empowering left-wing advocacy groups to dictate content removal to major companies. It means that not only Twitter, but Facebook, Google and Microsoft will get their own Trust and Safety Council. It may be called something else. It may not even have a name. But it will have power. That’s what this really means.

And it’s only a starting point in a larger propaganda initiative.

“The IT Companies and the European Commission, recognising the value of independent counter speech against hateful rhetoric and prejudice, aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives,” the press release reads.

Even more than the censorship, the counter-narratives push represents a troubling development.

Left-wing groups won’t just be embedded as censors, but major tech firms will be expected to promote their agendas. And the biggest resource that companies with massive social media platforms have at their disposal isn’t mere money. It’s the ability to decide what is trending and what isn’t.

If a story about Islamic terrorism trends, will Facebook or Twitter be expected to promote a counter-narrative from an Islamic group? How exactly is this any different than traditional propaganda?

“The IT Companies to intensify their work with CSOs to deliver best practice training on countering hateful rhetoric and prejudice and increase the scale of their proactive outreach to CSOs to help them deliver effective counter speech campaigns. The European Commission, in cooperation with Member States, to contribute to this endeavour by taking steps to map CSOs’ specific needs and demands in this respect,” the release tells us.

CSO stands for Civil Society Organization. It’s used more often now that NGO carries with it an air of contempt. That last sentence informs us that the CSOs will have “demands.” The European Commission will help leverage and assemble these demands. Meanwhile major tech firms will be working to aid these CSOs in pushing their agenda.

What will this look like? We got a preview of it with Facebook’s “Initiative for Civil Courage Online”. Facebook had been facing pressure from Germany’s Merkel who was worried over public outrage at crimes committed by her Muslim migrant arrivals. Censorship was obviously the order of the day.

The Initiative promoted Klick It Out which, in properly Orwellian fashion, urged people to “See It. Report It.” The “It” being “Social Media Discrimination.” And then users were expected to “Klick It Out”. It was a failure. But Facebook and friends are doubling down.

Tech companies love the idea of creating “counter-narratives” because it’s cheaper to throw some money at an NGO or CSO, or to boost their profile, than to invest still more money in censorship. It’s not because they have a bias for free speech, but because active censorship, even when outsourced to poorer countries, which it often is, demands more resources. Pushing an agenda is cheap.

And the goal of companies like Facebook is to increase usage, rather than reduce it, which is why COO Sheryl Sandberg championed “like attacks” in which users flood the pages of bigots with their own speech. But the code of conduct is a thorough rejection of any of that self-interested libertarianism. Censorship is packaged together with agenda pushing. There might be like attacks, but what the EU really wanted was deletion and promotion for the groups that its leaders support. And they got it.

Some fraction of these efforts may be directed at ISIS supporters, but there is no particular reason to be optimistic about that. By putting CSOs first, the message is that this isn’t about counter-terrorism, but about promoting one set of political agendas at the expense of another. Much like Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, this is about selecting who should speak and who should be silenced.

Programs like these operate under the umbrella of fighting extremism. And extremism, unlike blowing up buses or beheading hostages, is in the eye of the beholder. And the beholder is a tech company standing on the left while looking to the right. The obsession with radicalization treats lawful speech as the precursor to violence. It also assumes that Muslim terrorism emerges from a cycle of extremism between Muslims and critics of Islam. Silence the critics and you stop the terrorism.

European governments, like those of Angela Merkel, are far less worried about Salafists than they are about domestic political dissent. When Merkel berated Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over insufficient censorship, it wasn’t because she objected to the pipeline that feeds Muslims from Germany into ISIS. Muslim terrorism is inconvenient, but political dissent is politically explosive. Social media comprise an alternative organizing force that counters the dominance of media narratives. That makes it a threat.

Attempts to silence more prominent voices like Richard North and Ingrid Carlqvist have run into a backlash, but it’s impossible to rally in support of each ordinary person who has their account shut down or their blog pushed down in the rankings for having politically incorrect views. Social media at their best bring people together. This initiative is about disrupting social organizations that are disapproved of.

It is about preserving the dominance of a government-media narrative while promoting astroturf organizations that try to appear independent, but really echo that very same narrative.

Private companies have the right to determine what content appears on their platforms. But Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have become part of an alliance with governments and advocacy groups to maintain a particular narrative. They will not simply be removing hateful content. Instead they have undertaken to play a role in putting forward a particular set of ideas by particular governments.

That’s propaganda and it is the opposite of how the internet was meant to be used.

The deal puts a series of private organizations, backed by EU government power, in charge of determining the content of social media, both positive and negative. Social media were meant to be centered around the user. Instead this deal displaces the user and replaces him or her with the EU.

European Union Declares War on Internet Free Speech

June 3, 2016

European Union Declares War on Internet Free Speech, Gatestone InstituteSoeren Kern, June 3, 2016

♦ Opponents counter that the initiative amounts to an assault on free speech in Europe. They say that the European Union’s definition of “hate speech” and “incitement to violence” is so vague that it could include virtually anything deemed politically incorrect by European authorities, including criticism of mass migration, Islam or even the EU itself.

♦ Some Members of the European Parliament have characterized the EU’s code of online conduct — which requires “offensive” material to be removed from the Internet within 24 hours — as “Orwellian.”

♦ “By deciding that ‘xenophobic’ comment in reaction to the crisis is also ‘racist,’ Facebook has made the view of the majority of the European people… into ‘racist’ views, and so is condemning the majority of Europeans as ‘racist.'” — Douglas Murray.

♦ In January 2013, Facebook suspended the account of Khaled Abu Toameh after he wrote about corruption in the Palestinian Authority. The account was reopened 24 hours later, but with the two posts deleted and no explanation.

The European Union (EU), in partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, has unveiled a “code of conduct” to combat the spread of “illegal hate speech” online in Europe.

Proponents of the initiative argue that in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, a crackdown on “hate speech” is necessary to counter jihadist propaganda online.

Opponents counter that the initiative amounts to an assault on free speech in Europe. They say that the EU’s definition of “hate speech” and “incitement to violence” is so vague that it could include virtually anything deemed politically incorrect by European authorities, including criticism of mass migration, Islam or even the European Union itself.

Some Members of the European Parliament have characterized the EU’s code of online conduct — which requires “offensive” material to be removed from the Internet within 24 hours, and replaced with “counter-narratives” — as “Orwellian.”

The “code of conduct” was announced on May 31 in a statement by the European Commission, the unelected administrative arm of the European Union. A summary of the initiative follows:

“By signing this code of conduct, the IT companies commit to continuing their efforts to tackle illegal hate speech online. This will include the continued development of internal procedures and staff training to guarantee that they review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.

“The IT companies will also endeavor to strengthen their ongoing partnerships with civil society organisations who will help flag content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct. The IT companies and the European Commission also aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives [emphasis added], new ideas and initiatives, and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking.”

Excerpts of the “code of conduct” include:

“The IT Companies share the European Commission’s and EU Member States’ commitment to tackle illegal hate speech online. Illegal hate speech, as defined by the Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law and national laws transposing it, means all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin….

“The IT Companies support the European Commission and EU Member States in the effort to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally. The spread of illegal hate speech online not only negatively affects the groups or individuals that it targets, it also negatively impacts those who speak out for freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination in our open societies and has a chilling effect on the democratic discourse on online platforms.

“While the effective application of provisions criminalizing hate speech is dependent on a robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech, this work must be complemented with actions geared at ensuring that illegal hate speech online is expeditiously acted upon by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame. To be considered valid in this respect, a notification should not be insufficiently precise or inadequately substantiated.

“The IT Companies, taking the lead on countering the spread of illegal hate speech online, have agreed with the European Commission on a code of conduct setting the following public commitments:

  • “The IT Companies to have in place clear and effective processes to review notifications regarding illegal hate speech on their services so they can remove or disable access to such content. The IT companies to have in place Rules or Community Guidelines clarifying that they prohibit the promotion of incitement to violence and hateful conduct.
  • “The IT Companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.
  • “The IT Companies and the European Commission, recognising the value of independent counter speech against hateful rhetoric and prejudice, aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking.”

The agreement also requires Internet companies to establish a network of “trusted reporters” in all 28 EU member states to flag online content that “promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct.”

The EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vĕra Jourová, has defended the initiative:

“The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech. Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalize young people and racists use to spread violence and hatred. This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected. I welcome the commitment of worldwide IT companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.”

Others disagree. The National Secular Society (NSS) of the UK warned that the EU’s plans “rest on a vague definition of ‘hate speech’ and risk threatening online discussions which criticize religion.” It added:

“The agreement comes amid repeated accusations from ex-Muslims that social media organizations are censoring them online. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain has now begun collecting examples from its followers of Facebook censoring ‘atheist, secular and ex-Muslim content’ after false ‘mass reporting’ by ‘cyber Jihadists.’ They have asked their supporters to report details and evidence of any instances of pages and groups being ‘banned [or] suspended from Facebook for criticizing Islam and Islamism.'”

NSS communications officer Benjamin Jones said:

“Far from tackling online ‘cyber jihad,’ the agreement risks having the exact opposite effect and entrapping any critical discussion of religion under vague ‘hate speech’ rules. Poorly-trained Facebook or Twitter staff, perhaps with their own ideological bias, could easily see heated criticism of Islam and think it is ‘hate speech,’ particularly if pages or users are targeted and mass reported by Islamists.”

In an interview with Breitbart London, the CEO of Index on Censorship, Jodie Ginsburg, said:

“Hate speech laws are already too broad and ambiguous in much of Europe. This agreement fails to properly define what ‘illegal hate speech’ is and does not provide sufficient safeguards for freedom of expression.

“It devolves power once again to unelected corporations to determine what amounts to hate speech and police it — a move that is guaranteed to stifle free speech in the mistaken belief this will make us all safer. It won’t. It will simply drive unpalatable ideas and opinions underground where they are harder to police — or to challenge.

“There have been precedents of content removal for unpopular or offensive viewpoints and this agreement risks amplifying the phenomenon of deleting controversial — yet legal — content via misuse or abuse of the notification processes.”

A coalition of free speech organizations, European Digital Rights and Access Now, announced their decision not to take part in future discussions with the European Commission, saying that “we do not have confidence in the ill-considered ‘code of conduct’ that was agreed.” A statement warned:

“In short, the ‘code of conduct’ downgrades the law to a second-class status, behind the ‘leading role’ of private companies that are being asked to arbitrarily implement their terms of service. This process, established outside an accountable democratic framework, exploits unclear liability rules for online companies. It also creates serious risks for freedom of expression, as legal — but controversial — content may well be deleted as a result of this voluntary and unaccountable take-down mechanism.

“This means that this ‘agreement’ between only a handful of companies and the European Commission is likely in breach of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (under which restrictions on fundamental rights should be provided for by law), and will, in practical terms, overturn case law of the European Court of Human Rights on the defense of legal speech.”

Janice Atkinson, an independent MEP for the South East England region, summed it up this way: “It’s Orwellian. Anyone who has read 1984 sees its very re-enactment live.”

Even before signing on to the EU’s code of conduct, social media sites have been cracking down on free speech, often at the behest of foreign governments.

In September 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard on a live microphone confronting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on what he was doing to prevent criticism of her open-door immigration policies.

In January 2016, Facebook launched an “Online Civil Courage Initiative” aimed at Facebook users in Germany and geared toward “fighting hate speech and extremism on the Internet.”

Writing for Gatestone Institute, British commentator Douglas Murray noted that Facebook’s assault on “racist” speech “appears to include anything critical of the EU’s current catastrophic immigration policy.” He wrote:

“By deciding that ‘xenophobic’ comment in reaction to the crisis is also ‘racist,’ Facebook has made the view of the majority of the European people (who, it must be stressed, are opposed to Chancellor Merkel’s policies) into ‘racist’ views, and so is condemning the majority of Europeans as ‘racist.’ This is a policy that will do its part in pushing Europe into a disastrous future.

Facebook has also set its sights on Gatestone Institute affiliated writers. In January 2013, Facebook suspended the account of Khaled Abu Toameh after he wrote about corruption in the Palestinian Authority. The account was reopened 24 hours later, but with the two posts deleted and no explanation. Abu Toameh wrote:

“It’s still a matter of censorship. They decide what’s acceptable. Now we have to be careful about what we post and what we share. Does this mean we can’t criticize Arab governments anymore?”

In June 2016, Facebook suspended the account of Ingrid Carlqvist, Gatestone’s Swedish expert, after she posted a Gatestone video to her Facebook feed — called “Sweden’s Migrant Rape Epidemic.” In an editorial, Gatestone wrote:

“After enormous grassroots pressure from Gatestone’s readers, the Swedish media started reporting on Facebook’s heavy-handed censorship. It backfired, and Facebook went into damage-control mode. They put Ingrid’s account back up — without any explanation or apology. Ironically, their censorship only gave Ingrid’s video more attention.

“Facebook and the EU have backed down — for now. But they’re deadly serious about stopping ideas they don’t like. They’ll be back.”

1637This week, the EU, in partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, unveiled a “code of conduct” to combat the spread of “illegal hate speech” online in Europe. The next day, Facebook suspended the account of Ingrid Carlqvist, Gatestone’s Swedish expert, after she posted a Gatestone video to her Facebook feed — called “Sweden’s Migrant Rape Epidemic.”

 

Obama’s UN Whoppers Exposed

October 10, 2015

Obama’s UN Whoppers Exposed Another analysis of the mind-numbing banalities and outright falsities that emanated from Barack Obama’s mouth at the United Nations

Source: Obama’s UN Whoppers Exposed

This article originally appeared at Kopp Online. Translated from the German by Boris Jaruselski

Stupidity…arrogance… or both?

Those who made the effort during US President Obama’s speech to listen without falling asleep as Secretary of State John Kerry would clearly have preferred to do would have noticed a clear contrast with the later speech of the Russian President.

Barack Obama’s emotions were discernible before he ended his first sentence. He displayed an extraordinary mix of contempt and arrogance: “We possess the largest, baddest Armed Forces; to the rest of you, we determine where they will go.”

It is scarcely possible to find an honest sentence whilst reading through the official transcription of Obama’s speech in this example of not grey, but black propaganda art. I quote some of the most egregious points where right at the beginning after the usual pious evaluation of 70 years of US history Obama says:

“The United States has worked with many nations in this Assembly to prevent a third world war — by forging alliances with old adversaries; by supporting the steady emergence of strong democracies accountable to their people instead of any foreign power.”

I am hard pressed to find a single strong democracy accountable to its citizens which has been supported by US interventions in recent years. On the contrary, since the US invasion and destruction of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 the US State Department under Hillary Clinton initiated the Arab Spring destabilizations, a false flag installation of “democracy” perpetuated through NGO’s and Social Media.

This destruction was brought to Africa’s most stable and peaceful state namely Ghaddafi’s Libya and thereafter in 2013 to Ukraine with a US supported Maidan-coup which propelled a band of Neofascist hooligans to power for the purpose of destabilising Russia.

Every covert and overt US intervention has brought the world substantially closer to the Third World War. The most recent step in this direction is the US intention to station their most modern nuclear weapons on German soil which will represent a significant imbalance to the current status quo between NATO and Russia.

Continuing with Obama’s speech, after presenting the audience with snazzy sounding words from the wonderful principles of the UN Charter including shining examples such as “collective endeavours” and “diplomatic cooperation of the major world powers”, follows this illogical conclusion:

“I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.”

A modern cover-version of 1970’s Jim Croce songs would go something like “You don’t mess around with Barack”. So much for the UN Charter. This is the iron fist in the velvet glove which has only too often represented the core of the US’s Foreign and Military policies.

Obama then proceeds to talk about tyrants and dictators. He attempts to dismiss accusations of US involvement with NGO’s to facilitate regime change.

“It is not a conspiracy of U.S.-backed NGOs that expose corruption and raise the expectations of people around the globe; it’s technology, social media, and the irreducible desire of people everywhere to make their own choices about how they are governed.”

The reality as most amongst the UN Audience are already aware of, through personal experience with US financed NGO’s such as the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, is that it is exactly these “US backed NGO’s” and “weaponised democracy and human rights” methods which topple legitimate governments when they refuse to bow down to Washington’s agenda.

As revelations by Snowden and others confirmed, US Social Media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and others are connected to or cooperate with the CIA and State Department in order to facilitate slick NGO regime change. A blatant lie follows as the US President explains:

“No matter how powerful our military, how strong our economy, we understand the United States cannot solve the world’s problems alone. In Iraq, the United States learned the hard lesson that even hundreds of thousands of brave, effective troops, billions of dollars from our Treasury, cannot by itself impose stability on a foreign land.”

With all due respect, Mr President, if you’ve gained this bitter experience after seeing “Billions of Dollars” not belonging to the US Treasury but to the American Taxpayer, Chinese and others who invested in your Treasury Bonds to finance the Iraq War debacle wasted, why are you then in Syria today?

What are you doing now when you’re training the Ukrainian Armed Forces? Why go everywhere around the world in order to stir up people? Why do you build military bases around the world where you can dig a hole to plant the US Flag? You’ve admitted yourself that this has been an unmitigated disaster. It seems that nowadays Washington is becoming further detached from reality.

Finally the President addresses the real cause of his current discomfort: Russia.

“Consider Russia’s annexation of Crimea and further aggression in eastern Ukraine. America has few economic interests in Ukraine. We recognize the deep and complex history between Russia and Ukraine. But we cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated. If that happens without consequence in Ukraine, it could happen to any nation gathered here today. That’s the basis of the sanctions that the United States and our partners impose on Russia.”

This statement skillfully ignores the reality of events in Ukraine in 2013 and 2014.

It is proven that a Washington sponsored Colour Revolution in November 2013 brought  demonstrations to the Maidan Square against the legal, elected government of the corrupt but legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych.

These Soros NGO sponsored demonstrations began literally seconds after a tweet from  US-backed and current Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for “Euromaidan” protests against the legitimate decision of the Yanukovych Government to accept the economically more attractive (than joining the EU) Russian proposal to join the new Eurasian Economic Union. Under this arrangement Ukraine would have received a 30 percent rebate for Russian gas and a Russian obligation to buy 15 billion dollars worth of Ukrainian government bonds.

It was left to the Neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State Department Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland (who says Washington forgot how to act diplomatically?) together with Vice President Joe Biden, Ambassador (to Ukraine) Geoffrey Pyatt and dozens of Ukraine based CIA agents in February 2014 to – as George Friedman, American head of Stratfor, put it – stage “the most public coup in history”.

In the coup aftermath Washington selected members of the Ukrainian Government including a US State Department veteran as Ukraine’s new Finance Minister. Joe Biden’s son was apppointed to head the board of a Ukrainian State Gas Enterprise.

The Syrian Swindle

At long last Obama addressed Syria, the issue which recently brought Russian diplomacy to world attention. Obama explained:

“Nowhere is our commitment to international order more tested than in Syria. When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is not just a matter of one nation’s internal affairs — it breeds human suffering on an order of magnitude that affects us all.”

Until now it has not been proven that Assad “slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people”. Secondly, it attempts to justify the pernicious concept of “Responsibility To Protect” aka RTP which Washington used in 2011 to destroy Libya.

RTP represents a violation of the UN Charter by Washington. Washington’s “coalition” air-attacks on Syria, supposedly against ISIS, is another UN Charter violation (as drafted by the US in 1945) since this involves the bombing of a sovereign country without an official request from its government.

Moderate Syrian Opposition?

Washington insists on first expelling elected President Assad whilst simultaneously claiming to want to eradicate ISIL. (Also known as IS, ISIS and Daesh depending on which of its many names you choose to use.) Russia’s position is unambiguous: Bashar al Assad’s government, the Syrian National Army and Syria’s Secret Service are the only organised forces in Syria today capable of eliminating Salafist terrorists.

Obama makes mention in his speech of US support for ‘moderate’ opposition rebels. Already in April 2013, when ISIS was still called Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq and led by a US-trained lieutenant of Osama Bin Laden, the New York Times citing numerous US officials documented that virtually all rebel fighters in Syria were hardline Islamic terrorists. There are currently no ‘moderate’ opposition fighters. The so-called ‘moderate’ Free Syrian Army signed a non-aggression pact with ISIS in 2014.

Two weeks before Obama’s UN Address General Lloyd Austin III, who heads of the US “War against ISIS” program, testified to an Armed Services Committee hearing in the US Senate that the program which is supposed to produce 5400 trained fighters per year only had “four or five” active fighters in Syria.

All the others defected to ISIS or the al-Nusra-Front of Al-Qaeda, the US backed “moderate opposition” to ISIL. At the same senate hearing Christine Wormuth, State Secretary for the Syrian War at the Pentagon, testified that Assad still has significant resources at his disposal and that the Syrian Government “still had the most powerful military force in the country.” According to current estimates the Syrian Government need not fear being overthrown.

In Moscow a joke is making the rounds in which Putin returns to the Kremlin after his New York excursion and talks with Obama on Syria and other issues. A close confidant asks how the talks went.

Putin reports: to soothe the nerves and relax the atmosphere prior to serious discussions such as the Syrian conflict and the situation in Ukraine he suggested they sit down for a game of chess. On the game with Obama he had the following to say: “It is like playing against a dove. First it knocks over all of the pieces, then it defecates on the board and struts about as if it had won.”