Puppet MastersS


Prosecution of far-right but not Antifa for same riots 'constitutionally impermissible': Judge

flame bin
© Elijah Nouvelage/Getty ImagesAntifa extremist pushes a burning recycle bin at Trump supporters during a free speech rally in Berkeley, Calif • April 15, 2017
A federal judge on Wednesday found that the "selective prosecution" of far-right groups without charging their far-left counterparts for the same acts is "constitutionally impermissible."

U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney of southern California therefore dismissed charges against two men from the "white nationalist" Rise Above Movement (RAM) who violently clashed with members of the far-left group Antifa at three southern California pro-Trump events in 2017.

In his 35-page order, the judge stressed the importance of equal protection under the law. He said that although the two men may have been involved in violent acts, prosecutors were wrong to exclusively target them without also pursuing charges against Antifa members implicated in similar violent actions at political events.

Judge Carney wrote (pdf):
"Such selective prosecution leaves the troubling impression that the government believes speech on the left more deserving of protection than speech on the right.

"The fundamental principles of the First Amendment rights to free speech and to assemble are the "bedrock" of the United States. This is not always easy. Sometimes, people use that right to 'spread vitriolic and hateful ideas and beliefs'.

"While Defendants openly promoted ideas the Court finds reprehensible, and likely committed violence for which they deserve to be prosecuted, this case is about something more important. It is about upholding the free speech and assembly rights guaranteed to all of us.

"It does not matter who you are or what you say. It does not matter whether you are a supporter of All Lives Matter or a supporter of Black Lives Matter. It does not matter whether you are a Zionist professor or part of Students for Justice in Palestine. It does not matter whether you are a member of RAM or Antifa. All are the same under the Constitution, and all receive its protections."

Comment: Liberty and Justice for Some? Bravo to at least one judge in America who understands the issue of selective prosecution and is bold enough to say so.

Bad Guys

NATO says Kiev can use F-16 jets to strike targets 'outside Ukraine', despite Russia's warning

Jens St.
© Virginia Mayo/APNATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg • NATO headquarters • Brussels, Belgium • February 7, 2024. Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged that the use of western-supplied arms to strike targets in Russia had long been a point of contention among Ukraine's allies.
Ukraine has the right to strike "Russian military targets outside Ukraine" in line with international law, the Nato secretary-general has said for the first time since the start of the full-scale war nearly two years ago.

Jens Stoltenberg earlier this week acknowledged that the use of western-supplied arms to strike targets in Russia had long been a point of contention among Kyiv's allies, due to fears of escalating the conflict.

"It's for each and every ally to decide whether there are some caveats on what they deliver, and different allies have had a bit different policies on that," Stoltenberg told Radio Free Europe in an interview published on Tuesday.

Comment: RT explains Russia's position:
The way the US-made jet is designed means it might have difficulties operating from Ukrainian runways, sparking speculation that they could be flown from Poland, Romania or the Baltic states instead.

Russia has repeatedly warned such a deployment would be an escalation of the conflict and may even risk nuclear war, as the F-16 is capable of delivering B61 gravity bombs.

"So, if one of those planes takes off from a NATO nation - what would that be? An attack on Russia. I shall not describe what could happen next," Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and deputy head of Russia's National Security Council, said in an interview on Thursday.
It's becoming clear that the US is intent on escalating the situation in one way or another, and alongside this Russia has been revealing just how involved with the proxy war the West is:


G7 finds 'experts' to declare theft of Russian assets legal

Russia central bank facade
Russia Central Bank
Ten lawyers have argued that the seizure would be legitimate due to the Ukraine conflict

A group of self-styled "experienced public international lawyers and practitioners" have put together a case for confiscating Russian sovereign funds currently frozen by the US and its allies, saying it would be the appropriate response to Moscow's "unlawful conduct" towards Ukraine.

Approximately €260 billion ($280 billion) in Russian sovereign funds were frozen by the Group of Seven countries in 2022. The UK and the US have recently demanded the outright seizure of these funds in order to fund the government in Kiev.

Comment: "[T]his could set a dangerous precedent and damage the reputation and stability of the euro."

No sh*t Sherlock.

Russia can take the hit as they are making money hand over fist on oil revenue, despite the sanctions. Knowing the neocons as well as they do, Russia pretty much wrote off those funds as soon as the freeze was announced.

But, every future potential investor in the EU will be thinking "if they can do this to Russia, they can do this to anyone." Who's going to take that risk? At the instigation of the U.S., and against the advice of their own state banks, Europe is voluntarily cutting its throat.

The Alexes at The Duran comment:

Light Saber

Best of the Web: Pepe Escobar: The Axis of Asymmetry takes on the 'Rules-based Order'

The Axis of Asymmetry takes on the Rules Based Order
© The CradleThe Axis of Asymmetry takes on the Rules Based Order
World War III is here, playing out asymmetrically in military, financial, and institutional battlefields, and the fight is an existential one. The western Hegemon, in truth, is at war against international law, and only 'kinetic military action' can bring it to heel.

The Axis of Asymmetry is in full swing. These are the state and non-state actors employing asymmetrical moves on the global chessboard to sideline the US-led western rules-based order. And its vanguard is the Yemeni resistance movement Ansarallah.

Ansarallah is absolutely relentless. They have downed a $30 million MQ-9 Reaper drone with just a $10k indigenous missile.

They are the first in the Global South ever to use anti-ship ballistic missiles against Israel-bound and/or -protecting commercial and US Navy ships.

For all practical purposes, Ansarallah is at war with no less than the US Navy.


Lavrov's remarks at the G20 Ministerial Council

© UnknownRussian FM Sergey Lavrov at the G20 conference
Lavrov's remarks on the G20's role in overcoming current international tensions is rather short for Lavrov and contains an excellent idea. Perhaps the presser will come later.
Dear Colleagues:
We are grateful to our Brazilian friends for the opportunity to discuss geopolitical issues. We see this as the desire of the chairmanship to stimulate the search for a common denominator and diplomatic solutions that will create favourable peaceful conditions for mutually beneficial economic development.

When we join forces, the world is able to change for the better, to move forward. The twentieth century was an important milestone in freeing humanity from the shackles of colonialism. It would seem that we have defeated economic banditry, the exploitation of other people's labor and other people's wealth. The transition to détente during the Cold War allowed the USSR and the United States to lay the foundation for containing military risks and building a reliable strategic security architecture, primarily in Europe. We regret that those achievements have been almost completely destroyed today.

Star of David

The resistance has a plan for Israel. But on the other side, fantastical U.S. stratagems ensure a cascading failure

flags ruins
© Green Prophet/CNN/jiss.org/KJNGaza devastation after Israeli strikes
We have entered a period of breakdown and violence, as the forces pulling apart the old status quo cascade and mutually reinforce one another.

In a speech on Tuesday, Hizbullah leader Seyed Nasrallah said that the Party will continue the border offensive until at least the Gaza massacre stops. The war in Gaza however, is far from over. And Nasrallah warned that even were a ceasefire to be reached in Gaza:
"Should the enemy perform any action, we will return to operating according to the rules and formulas that existed before. The purpose of the resistance is to deter the enemy, and we will react accordingly."
Israel's Defence Secretary Gallant has underlined that contrary to international consensus expectations, he too expects the war in Lebanon to continue. Gallant said the military has stepped up its attacks against Hizbullah by one level out of ten:
"The Air Force planes flying currently in the skies of Lebanon have heavier bombs for more distant targets. Hizbullah went up half a step, whilst we, a full one ... We can attack not only at 20 kilometres [from the border], but also at 50 kilometres, and in Beirut and anywhere else."
It is not clear what 'red line' Hizbullah would have to cross for Israel to significantly escalate its response to much higher levels; Israeli leaders have suggested that an attack on a strategic site; or an attack leading to major civilian casualties; or a substantive barrage on Haifa might constitute the breaking point.

Comment: The more relevant the US tries to be, the more irrelevant it becomes.

Star of David

Israel says it will attack Rafah by Ramadan if hostages not returned

© Emmanuel Dunand/Archives Agence France-PresseIsraeli War Cabinet Minister and National Unity Chair Benny Gantz prepares to address the Conference of Presidents about the war with Hamas in Gaza, on Sunday in Jerusalem.
Israel warned on Monday that it would attack the densely packed city of Rafah by the start of Ramadan next month if all of its remaining hostages are not returned.

Israel said it is preparing an attack on the crowded city as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military would "finish the job" of destroying Hamas without announcing a plan to safely move civilians.

More than 1.4 million Palestinians have crowded Rafah since the Oct. 7 start of the war, many living in tents or little shelter at all. U.S. President Joe Biden has called on Israel to come up with an evacuation plan for those civilians ahead of them attacking Rafah.

Benny Gantz, a part of Netanyahu's war cabinet, said:
"The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know, if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue everywhere, including the Rafah area."
The Israeli Defense Forces said they detected and killed Hamas fighters who launched a rocket against Israel on Sunday in Gaza. The IDF said Nahal Brigade soldiers found a rocket launch site in minutes and ordered the Air Force to conduct a strike.

Comment: Israel is bluffing. It has every intention to attack Ramadan. It wants Israeli hostages out of its way before the bludgeoning begins.

Arrow Down

Supreme Court rejects appeal from Trump-allied lawyers over 2020 election lawsuit in Michigan

© Getty ImagesUnited States Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from Sidney Powell and other lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump over $150,000 in sanctions they were ordered to pay for abusing the court system with a sham lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in Michigan.

The justices did not comment in leaving in place the sanctions against seven lawyers who were part of the lawsuit filed on behalf of six Republican voters after Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory over Trump in the state.

Among the lawyers is L. Lin Wood, whose name was on the lawsuit. Wood has insisted he had no role other than to tell Powell he would be available if she needed a seasoned litigator.

The money is owed to the state and Detroit, for their costs in defending the lawsuit. The sanctions initially totaled $175,000, but a federal appeals court reduced them by about $25,000.

Comment: US Supreme Court turns a deaf ear:
The US District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division largely sided with Whitmer and the defendants, writing, "[Powell's election fraud suit] should never have been filed. The State Defendants and the Intervenor-Defendants should never have had to defend it."

The court assessed both monetary and disciplinary sanctions against Powell and several other members of the Trump legal team.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals largely affirmed the district court's sanction. However, the appeals court did remove the sanctions and fees against some members of Trump's legal team and reduced the overall monetary sanctions owed to around $150,000. Powell and several of the attorneys whose sanctions were not reversed filed a petition for certiorari to the US Supreme Court.

In March 2022, the Texas State Bar Association filed a complaint against Powell claiming that she engaged in misconduct by pursuing baseless lawsuits alleging fraud in the 2020 presidential election. In December 2022, Wisconsin's governor also filed sanctions against Powell for similar allegations to those of the Michigan sanctions suit.


Ship ablaze after missile attack in Gulf of Aden - UK Navy

Red Sea
© Houthi Movement/Getty ImagesYemen's Houthi fighters' takeover of the Galaxy Leader Cargo in the Red Sea • November 20, 2023
The incident followed 'self-defense strikes' by the US targeting Houthi missiles and a launcher prepared to fire toward the Red Sea...

A vessel caught fire after being hit by two missiles southeast of the Yemeni port of Aden on Thursday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) has said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

It comes as Houthi militants have escalated attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The militants who control large parts of Yemen have been targeting merchant ships in response to Israel's military operation in Gaza, which started in October. The United States and the UK have formed an international coalition to protect navigation in the area.

Thursday's incident took place 70 nautical miles from Aden, and the coalition forces are responding, according to the UKMTO, which is a monitoring service operated by the British Navy. An investigation is underway, it added. There has been no official information so far on the type of the vessel that was struck, damage, or casualties.

According to the Associated Press, ship-tracking data helped identify the vessel as a Palau-flagged cargo ship named Islander that had been coming from Thailand bound for Egypt.

Earlier this week, the Houthis claimed to have targeted an Israeli cargo vessel, a number of US warships, and a British vessel in an incident described as "catastrophic," causing the crew to abandon ship.

Comment: Another report:
Yemeni Houthis on Monday said they attacked two American ships in the Gulf of Aden in support of the Palestinian people.

In a statement, the group's military spokesman Yahya Saree said the attack was carried out by "a number of naval missiles," and claimed to have made "accurate hits."

There have been no comments yet by the US and UK on the Houthi statement.

Early on Monday, the group also claimed to have targeted a British cargo vessel, the Rubymar, in the Gulf of Aden and downed a US military drone in Al Hudaydah in the western part of the country.

With tensions escalating due to the joint strikes of the US and UK against Houthi targets in Yemen, the group declared that it considered all American and British ships legitimate military targets.


Assange's final appeal - Your man in the public gallery, part 2

Royal Courts of Justice britain assange
© (Nick Garrod/FlickrInside the Royal Courts of Justice

Comment: This is the continuation of Craig Murray's coverage of Julian Assange's final extradition hearing in the UK Royal Court on February 21, 2024. Read the first part here.

Julian Assange is a person in political conflict with the view of the United States, who seeks to affect the policies and operations of the US government.

Section 87 of the Extradition Act 2003 provides that a court must interpret it in the light of the defendant's human rights as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights. This definitely brings in the jurisdiction of the court. It means all the issues raised must be viewed through the prism of the ECHR and from not other angle.
europe extradition rules assange
To depend on the treaty yet ignore its terms is abuse of process and contrary to the ECHR. The obligation in UK law to respect the terms of the extradition treaty with the USA while administering an extradition under it, was comparable to the obligation courts had found to follow the Modern Slavery Convention and Refugee Convention.