Coffee

Pepe Escobar: NATO's wet dream in Crimea

Crimea
© Unknown

Time waits for no one, but apparently will wait for Crimea. The speaker of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, has confirmed there will be a referendum on greater autonomy from Ukraine on May 25.

Until then, Crimea will be as hot and steamy as carnival in Rio - because Crimea is all about Sevastopol, the port of call for the Russian Black Sea fleet.

If the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a bull, this is the red flag to end all red flags. Even if you're deep in alcohol nirvana dancin' your troubles away at carnival in Rio - or New Orleans, or Venice, or Trinidad and Tobago - your brain will have registered that NATO's ultimate wet dream is to command a Western puppet Ukrainian government to kick the Russian navy out of its base in Sevastopol. The negotiated lease applies until 2042. Threats and rumors of reneging it have already emerged.

The absolute majority of the Crimean peninsula is populated by Russian speakers. Very few Ukrainians live there. In 1954, it took only 15 minutes for Ukrainian Nikita Krushchev - he of the banging shoe at the UN floor - to give Crimea as a free gift to Ukraine (then part of the USSR). In Russia, Crimea is perceived as Russian. Nothing will change that fact.
Bad Guys

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and the nightmare of Italian justice

Anyone following the byzantine trials of Amanda Knox, the American exchange student accused with her onetime boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of murdering her roommate in Perugia, will have noticed that criminal justice in Italy doesn't work the way it does in other countries. First they were guilty, then they weren't, now they are again. In the United States, this is commonly referred to as double jeopardy and is barred under the Constitution. In Italy, it's pretty much business as usual.

When the pair was first arrested, more than six years ago, they were left to rot in jail and for months - in Sollecito's case in solitary confinement - before charges were brought. They didn't qualify for bail because bail does not exist in Italy. The prosecution regularly leaked information to the media but did not formally share its investigative findings with the defendants or their lawyers until the summer of 2008, by which time the public was broadly convinced they were no ordinary college students, but rather, depraved sex addicts who had forced the victim, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, into a satanic orgy before brutally stabbing her to death.

To this day, it remains doubtful whether evidence ever existed to substantiate such a scenario.
Eye 1

How covert agents infiltrate the internet to manipulate, deceive, and destroy reputations


A page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It's time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about "dirty trick" tactics used by GCHQ's previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking "Five Eyes" alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations."

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse "hacktivists" of using, the use of "honey traps" (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.
War Whore

Can Washington overthrow three governments at the same time?


Since when are revolutions supported by imperialism? (here: Maidan , Kiev).
The power of a state is measured by its ability to defend itself and to attack on one or more fronts. In this context, Washington is trying for the first time to show it can overthrow three governments simultaneously: Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela. If it succeeds, no government would be henceforth able to resist it.

Washington, which failed in 2011 to bomb Libya and Syria simultaneously, is now engaged in a new demonstration of its strength: organizing regime change in three states at the same time, in different regions of the world: Syria (CentCom), Ukraine (EuCom) and Venezuela (SouthCom).

To do this, President Obama has mobilized almost the entire National Security Council team.

First, Advisor Susan Rice and Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. These two women are champions of "democratic" talk. They have for many years specialized in advocating interference in the internal affairs of other countries under the pretext of preventing genocide. But behind this generous rhetoric, they couldn't care less about non-US lives as shown by Ms. Power during the chemical weapons crisis in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. The ambassador, who was aware of the innocence of the Syrian authorities, had gone to Europe with her husband to attend a film festival dedicated to Charlie Chaplin, while her government denounced a crime against humanity, the responsibility for which was placed upon President al Assad.
Briefcase

Judges judging judges - Judgment at Nuremberg

Nuremberg trial

Dec. 10, 1945: Defendants and defense attorneys during the Nuremberg trials
Stanley Kramer's masterpiece Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) stands alone as the finest film about judges ever made. In the film, four Nazi judges are placed on trial at Nuremberg before a panel of three American judges. Three of the German judges are Nazi thugs but one of them, Ernst Janning (played by Burt Lancaster), was quite different. Janning had been a famous and aristocratic legal scholar, a drafter of the Weimar constitution, and a man who detested Hitler and the Nazis. Yet he remained on the bench under the Third Reich. All defendants are convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. The chief American judge, Dan Haywood (played memorably by Spencer Tracy), brushes aside the various excuses offered by defense counsel Rolfe (a role for which Maximilian Schell won an Oscar).

The Nuremberg war crime trials presented many thorny jurisprudential issues, such as the problem of ex post facto criminal law and the issue of how the court obtained jurisdiction over the defendants. In particular, what justification is there for an international (rather than a German) tribunal to try a case in which the offenses were committed by Germans against other Germans?

Comment: The above article was written in 1998. Just think of all the laws that were created and passed since then, especially after 911 in the U.S.A. (slowly but steadily spreading throughout the Western world and beyond) and how
court decisions aggressively broadened the coverage of the law, both in defining who was a [terrorist] and who was [one of "us"], and in describing the circumstances that would violate the law
We look back to the 1940s and we wonder in horror how the Nazis were able to create such a repressive, inhumane and utterly insane system and cause all the destruction and deaths that they did for so long! But someone looking from the future back to our world today, would wonder with the same exact horror, provided that s/he has any conscience.

Movie: Judgment at Nuremberg - Must See!


Quenelle

US Hypocrisy and 'Regime change': The Simple Truth About Ukraine - Video

Stormtrooper

Meet the racist, anti-gay 'democrats' the US and EU have chosen to lead Ukraine into a 'glorious future'


The Ukraine's new opposition leader, created by the US and EU, giving the Sig Heil to his rabid supporters
The violent anti-government street protests that have rocked the Eastern European nation of Ukraine include a smorgasbord of opposition groups and dissenters who strongly object to the rule of President Viktor Yanukovych and the purported influence of Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the nation's affairs. Clashes between rioters and police have already killed at least 25 people and wounded more than 250.

The most controversial element of the anti-government alliance is Svoboda (Freedom), an extreme right-wing political party that not only has representation in parliament, but has been dubbed by its critics as a neo-Nazi organization. Britain's Channel 4 News reported that Svoboda has assumed a "leading role" in the street protests in Kiev, with affiliated paramilitary groups prominently involved in the disturbances. Svoboda flags and banners have been featured in the demonstrations at Kiev's Independence Square. During the continuing street riots, one Svoboda MP, Igor Myroshnychenko, created an iconic moment of sorts when he allegedly helped to topple the statue of Vladimir Lenin outside a government building, followed by its occupation by protesters.

However, despite its extremist rhetoric, Svoboda cannot be called a "fringe" party - indeed, it currently occupies 36 seats in the 450-member Ukrainian parliament, granting it status as the fourth-largest party in the country. Further, Svoboda is linked to other far-right groups across Europe through its membership in the Alliance of European National Movements, which includes the British National Party (BNP) of the United Kingdom and Jobbik, the neo-fascist, anti-Semitic and anti-Roma party of Hungary. The leader of Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok, who has appeared at the Kiev protests, has a long history of making inflammatory anti-Semitic statements, including the accusation during a 2004 speech before parliament that Ukraine is controlled by a "Muscovite-Jewish mafia." Miroshnychenko also called the Ukrainian-born American film actress Mila Kunis a "dirty Jewess."
Bad Guys

US and EU are paying Ukrainian rioters & protesters

© Unknown
A number of confirmations have come in from readers that Washington is fueling the violent protests in Ukraine with our taxpayer dollars. Washington has no money for food stamps or to prevent home foreclosures, but it has plenty of money with which to subvert Ukraine.

One reader wrote: "My wife, who is of Ukrainian nationality, has weekly contact to her parents and friends in Zhytomyr [NW Ukraine]. According to them, most protesters get an average payment of 200-300 grivna, corresponding to about 15-25 euro. As I additionally heard, one of the most active agencies and 'payment outlets' on EU side is the German 'Konrad Adenauer Stiftung', being closely connected to the CDU, i.e. Mrs. Merkel's party."

Johannes Loew of the Internet site elynitthria.net/ writes: "I am just back from Ukraine (I live in Munich/Germany) and I was a lot at the Maidan. Most of those people get only 100 grivna. 300 is for Students."

As I reported on February 12, "Washington Orchestrated Protests Are Destabilizing Ukraine," Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a rabid Russophobe and neoconservative warmonger, told the National Press Club last December that the US has "invested" $5 billion in organizing a network to achieve US goals in Ukraine in order to give "Ukraine the future it deserves."
Light Saber

I traveled to Palestine-Israel and discovered there is no 'Palestinian-Israeli conflict'

The mind has a way of making traumatic experiences seem like distant dreams to those who survive them. As it goes, the more traumatic the experience, the quicker the paramedics in one's mind rush to dress wounds, resuscitate and stabilize the victim; the victim being you.

Since returning from Palestine 36 hours ago, I find myself confronted with feelings of detachment and minimization of what I encountered. My subconscious has decided the horrors I witnessed in the 'Holy Land' were nothing serious-horrors which include a 26-foot-tall concrete wall enclosing the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank, and the sniper towers seemingly on every other corner of this open-air prison.

This was my first trip to Palestine-most westerners call it Israel, but I'll address that topic shortly. I had never been to the country, but I read enough to know the basics: Palestinians and Israelis were fighting over land. The Israeli government was formed in 1948 as part of a vision set forth by a secular European colonial political movement called Zionism, founded by Hungarian Theodor Herzl in 1896. Herzl, an atheist, sought to free the Jews from European oppression and anti-Semitism, with the ultimate goal being the creation of a Jewish state. He first proposed East Africa's Uganda as the location of the Jewish state. This proposal also found the approval of the British government which controlled Palestine since the First World War. Herzl, however, later identified Palestine as the country of choice. I knew this.

The history of Palestinians was something I was familiar with as well, only because in high school, my friend's parents were Moroccan Jews with staunch right-wing Zionist views. They'd go on about how Palestinians were worth shit and how they were sucking off the land they stole, and how they were not from Palestine, but Jordan. Truth be told, my friend's parents' passion about their 'homeland' made me sick. As a black person living in the United States, I could not relate to their love for their proclaimed homeland because I never had one. My ancestors were captured from various regions of Africa and forced onto ships bound for the Americas. Therefore, when questioned about the geographic origins of my ancestors, my answers were as vague as Africa is big.
Pistol

Gangster Bankers: World-scale money laundering for drugs and terrorism but too big to jail

banksters
© Illustration by Victor Juhasz
How HSBC hooked up with drug traffickers and terrorists. And got away with it

The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays, almost like the government was hoping people were too busy hanging stockings by the fireplace to notice. Flooring politicians, lawyers and investigators all over the world, the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. Yes, they issued a fine - $1.9 billion, or about five weeks' profit - but they didn't extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses.

People may have outrage fatigue about Wall Street, and more stories about billionaire greedheads getting away with more stealing often cease to amaze. But the HSBC case went miles beyond the usual paper-pushing, keypad-punching­ sort-of crime, committed by geeks in ties, normally associated­ with Wall Street. In this case, the bank literally got away with murder - well, aiding and abetting it, anyway.

For at least half a decade, the storied British colonial banking power helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, suspected in tens of thousands of murders just in the past 10 years - people so totally evil, jokes former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, that "they make the guys on Wall Street look good." The bank also moved money for organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and for Russian gangsters; helped countries like Iran, the Sudan and North Korea evade sanctions; and, in between helping murderers and terrorists and rogue states, aided countless common tax cheats in hiding their cash.

"They violated every goddamn law in the book," says Jack Blum, an attorney and former Senate investigator who headed a major bribery investigation against Lockheed in the 1970s that led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. "They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business."

That nobody from the bank went to jail or paid a dollar in individual fines is nothing new in this era of financial crisis. What is different about this settlement is that the Justice Department, for the first time, admitted why it decided to go soft on this particular kind of criminal. It was worried that anything more than a wrist slap for HSBC might undermine the world economy. "Had the U.S. authorities decided to press criminal charges," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer at a press conference to announce the settlement, "HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the U.S., the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized."

It was the dawn of a new era. In the years just after 9/11, even being breathed on by a suspected terrorist could land you in extralegal detention for the rest of your life. But now, when you're Too Big to Jail, you can cop to laundering terrorist cash and violating the Trading With the Enemy Act, and not only will you not be prosecuted for it, but the government will go out of its way to make sure you won't lose your license. Some on the Hill put it to me this way: OK, fine, no jail time, but they can't even pull their charter? Are you kidding?
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