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Fri, 19 Oct 2018
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Dehumanising! Twitter & Atlantic Council release millions of Tweets from 'Russian trolls'

Twitter Russia flag
© Dado Ruvic / Reuters
Ahead of midterm elections, Twitter has reminded Americans that democracy is still under threat by releasing millions of tweets by pesky Russians (and Iranians) from the past decade. How do they know? Well, that's the question.

Twitter says the database released on Wednesday contains an archive of tweets and media "we believe resulted from potentially state-backed information operations." Translation: dastardly Russian (and some Iranian!) trolls looking to corrupt the sanctity of American elections.

Some ten million posts - dating back to 2009 - come from 3,841 accounts Twitter thinks are highly likely connected to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), and from 770 supposedly "backed by" Iran. Most of the content dealt with American politics, weighing in on both sides of the widening left-right divide in the US. Posts about Black Lives Matter activism: Russian bots. Gun rights? Russian bots. NFL players kneeling for the national anthem? Yep, Russian bots.

Folder

UK vetoed plan for Assange to get diplomatic immunity in Russia, newly released files show

Assange
© AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE
In this file photo dated Friday May 19, 2017, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange looks out from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Newly released Ecuadorean government documents made public late Tuesday Oct. 16, 2018, by Ecuadorean opposition lawmaker Paola Vintimilla, have laid bare an unorthodox attempt to extricate Assange from his embassy hideaway in London by naming him as a political counselor to the country's embassy in Moscow.
Newly published files confirm plan to move Assange to Russia

Julian Assange: Hacker. Journalist. Diplomat?

Newly released Ecuadorean government documents have laid bare an unorthodox attempt to extricate the WikiLeaks founder from his embassy hideaway in London by naming him as a political counselor to the country's embassy in Moscow.

But the 47-year-old Australian's new career in international affairs was nipped in the bud when British authorities vetoed his diplomatic status, effectively blocking him from taking up the post in Russia.

The files were made public late Tuesday by Ecuadorean opposition lawmaker Paola Vintimilla, who opposes her government's decision to grant Assange nationality. They largely corroborate a recent Guardian newspaper report that Ecuador attempted the elaborate maneuver to get Assange to Moscow just before Christmas last year.

Comment: So the Brits thwarted any chance Assange had of escaping persecution, and, like Edward Snowden, the only other country that dared defy the pathological Western establishment to offer him a safe haven was Russia. Let it be stand for the record - yet again - that whistleblowers on crimes by governments in the West, will find no justice in the West:


Eye 2

Justin Trudeau is far more dangerous than Donald Trump

Justin Trudeau
Readers of the above statement will likely fall into one of two categories: those who knew this all along, or those who will find the statement absurd. I am putting this argument out there for the latter category and hopefully it will be read with an open mind. If you are the type of person who does not have the ability to question their own beliefs, and prefer the comfort of an echo-chamber, then this piece is probably not for you. I will offer only one caveat on my position: Donald Trump will only turn out to be more dangerous in the short-term if he blunders his way into a nuclear war.

Before I begin, I just want to make a couple of things clear. My political leanings would make me either a classical liberal, or perhaps a left-leaning libertarian, depending on the criteria used. I am not a conservative or a Trump supporter, but I have been forced to abandon my support for the Left because of its increasingly alarming and bizarre politics. I care deeply about my country and our precious and rare civilization. I dislike suffering, and wish to act in a way that minimizes it for all people. The reason that I am writing this piece is that I believe that we are being duped, and that this is going to lead to a lot of suffering in the future.

I believe that the tool that is being used to dupe us is political-correctness. It is a very powerful tool because it stifles all argument and creates the perfect conditions for mass manipulation of the population. Those in charge set all of the rules and conditions for conversation and a large percentage of the population becomes afraid to make statements that they know to be true; or worse, are forced to make statements that they know to be untrue. Christopher Hitchens issued a warning about this more than twenty years ago when he said, "There's a police-state coming, get used to it. And it will all be done in the name of niceness". Well, it's arrived.

Comment: Trudeau is definitely taking Canada down a dangerous path through his all out embrace of leftist identity politics. Soon there won't be anything left to call "Canada" anymore.


Attention

Skripal and Khashoggi: A tale of two disappearances and US hypocrisy

khashoggi
Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London's case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

Comment: See also:


Light Saber

Supreme Court hearing case that could end Internet censorship, expand scope of the First Amendment

Internet companies
After the recent purge of over 800 independent media outlets on Facebook, the Supreme Court is now hearing a case that could have ramifications for any future attempts at similar purges.

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that could change free speech on the Internet forever.

Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, No. 17-702, the case that it has agreed to take, will decide if the private operator of a public access network is considered a state actor, CNBC reported.

The case could affect how companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and YouTube are governed. If the Court were to issue a far-reaching ruling it could subject such companies to First Amendment lawsuits and force them to allow a much broader scope of free speech from its users.

The Court decided to take the case on Friday and it is the first case that was taken after Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the Court.

DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Melendez claimed that they were fired from Manhattan Neighborhood Network for speaking critically of the network. And, though the case does not involve the Internet giants, it could create a ruling that expands the First Amendment beyond the government.

Comment: We're not holding our breath, but it would be good to see a class action lawsuit by all those who've been purged from social media giants. Perhaps this case will be the first of many.


Radar

Silicon Valley and the US Pentagon team up to declare that 'Russia is the enemy'

bezos airforce
American foreign policy is more and more resembling the NFL's and broadcast networks' pre-game football hype before the Super Bowl. For those of you who grimaced while watching former President Barack Obama touchdown dancing and pretending to be a sports hero, the current POTUS is even worse. To make matters worse for humanity, many of my countrymen fall for the whole act. Case in point, hyping America's military might and bravado.

When I read the INSIDER headline,"F-22 stealth jets got 587 enemy aircraft to back off in their first 'combat surge' over Syria," I immediately checked the newswires to see if Syria had exploded into World War III. Thank God, I voiced aloud on discovering the Military & Defense section (and the rest of the magazine) are owned by Insider Inc. and our old friend Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world. No, thank your lucky stars, we are not at war with Russia, Iran, and Syria. Yes, Bezos and company consider these nations our "enemies."

Gear

The individuals tasked with "stopping election interference" are the ones who are actually rigging it

election interference
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg made the media rounds to give a rather shady explanation of why Facebook suddenly closed hundreds of incredibly popular pages in what's being called The Alternative Media Purge. Zuckerberg accused the closed pages, many of which had millions of fans, of spreading "political spam."

Ironically, many of the pages that were shut down had absolutely nothing to do with politics or elections, unless you include the fact that they recommended skipping the entire circus. None of these pages were accused of being "the Russians," who were the scapegoat of the last surprise presidential election results. A couple of the things that many of the pages did have in common, incidentally, were an anti-war outlook and a police watchdog mentality.

But as far as making the election more resistant to interference, the result of the Alternative Media Purge is the diametric opposite. People will now only get one side of the story.

The alternative media changed everything during the last presidential election.

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, much of the world snickered. Who was this reality television star to take on part of the Clinton Empire? There was no way, people scoffed, that Trump could possibly win.

MIB

Senior Treasury official arrested after leaking sensitive data to the press related to Mueller investigation

leaked mueller
© Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
The Justice Department has arrested a senior Treasury department official accused of leaking to a reporter confidential financial reports related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian election hacking and President Trump associates.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser at the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), was charged with disclosing suspicious activity reports, known as SARs, to an unidentified reporter beginning in October 2017, authorities said.

The substance of those reports - which focused on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his former business partner Rick Gates, the Russian Embassy, alleged Russian spy Maria Butina and the Prevezon Alexander real estate company - was later detailed in roughly 12 articles published by BuzzFeed, according to an 18-page federal complaint.

Comment: Edwards is a just a pawn in a much bigger game being played. The thing is these 'intelligence assessments' had to make their way to the press in one way or another, as that was the primary purpose of creating them in the first place.


Pirates

Thievery: Facebook blacklists news pages of disabled vet - after taking $300K from him for advertising

Kolfage blacklist Facebook

Kolfage stated that he has invested a large amount of money into Facebook’s advertising system and his pages are one of the key ways that he earns money to support his family.
Facebook blacklisted the conservative news page run by disabled Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage with no warning or explanation - after he reportedly spent more than $300,000 on Facebook advertising.

On his new website which aims to put an end to social media censorship, Air Force veteran and triple-amputee Brian Kolfage explains who he is and the challenges he's facing stating: "I'm a veteran of The United States Air Force. I was severely wounded in Combat, on 9/11/2004 while serving in Iraq I lost both my legs entirely and my right hand. I'm the most severely wounded US Airman to survive."

Kolfage continued: "I'm not a 'conservative.' I'm not a 'liberal.' I'm an American, with deep beliefs in what our country stands for. I proved this by vowing to protect and fighting for America greatest tenant: Free Speech. Many Americans have fought for these political freedoms ... freedom of speech ... and every American has enjoyed those freedoms... UNTIL TODAY. October 11th Facebook shut down thousands of Facebook accounts for their political opinions stating that they don't have a 'legitimate political argument'. STOP SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP NOW!"

Comment:


Megaphone

Ongoing US meddling in Macedonia's affairs sees MPs promised bail for swapping vote

Macedonia name change referendum
© Reuters / Marko Djurica
Opponents of the Macedonia name change referendum, September 30, 2018
The US State Department has urged the opposition in Macedonia to vote in favor of the name change deal despite the failed referendum, while the government in Skopje is threatening those that don't with terrorism prosecutions.

In a letter dated Tuesday, assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs Wess Mitchell says that Washington is "disappointed" in the position of the leading opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE.

"We urge you to set aside partisan interests to advance our shared strategic interests and secure a brighter future for your citizens among the European family of nations," Mitchell says in the letter, whose authenticity was confirmed by the US embassy in Skopje.

Comment: Where in the world is the US not meddling? Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: What's The Problem With Nationalism?