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Thu, 23 May 2019
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Is Soros-linked Avaaz group a credible source on fake news? Mainstream media seems to think so

Avaaz headline
© Avaaz
Mainstream news outlets have eagerly reported on a study by the Avaaz campaign group, claiming far-right disinformation groups have been spreading fake news in the lead up to EU elections - but is the group all that it seems?

The Avaaz network bills itself as social action group bringing "people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere"and it's latest study claims that more than 500 suspicious groups and Facebook pages are operating across major EU countries and spreading election disinformation to boost far-right and anti-EU parties ahead of crucial parliamentary elections.

The disinformation networks, Avaaz claimed, are even more popular than the pages belonging to official right-wing and anti-establishment groups and parties - and that they have been engaged in everything from sharing white supremacist content to Holocaust denial.


On the outrage mobs and witch hunts nurtured by Google's HR

google hate speech
© Google
Google has become a company where outrage mobs and witch hunts dominate its culture. These outrage mobs and witch hunts have become an existential threat not only to Google's culture internally, but to Google's trust and credibility externally.

Google has long claimed to be a nonpartisan company, yet like many other tech companies, they also maintain many policies against "hate speech". How do we reconcile these two apparently conflicting goals? While this statement came from a spokesperson for Facebook, it could just as easily apply to Google, Twitter, and many other tech companies.
We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.
An astute reader will notice that this response does not actually answer the question; it merely shifts it from one point to another. Instead of asking, "Is Google a nonpartisan company?" we instead ask, "Does Google apply a nonpartisan definition of hate speech?"1

(As for Facebook, we now know that they have a list of "hate agents" that includes Candace Owens.)


Venezuelan opposition extremist, a US military vet and 'aid volunteer,' caught sending death threats to embassy defenders

death threat venezuelan embassy protectors  Luis Medina

Luis Medina previously served as a machine gunner for the US Marine Corps, and was in the US military reserves until this March.
Far-right Venezuelan opposition activist Luis Medina, a former US Marine and volunteer for Juan Guaido's aid stunt, told CODEPINK embassy defenders "we are coming to get you with plenty of ammunition."

A far-right Venezuelan opposition activist emailed a death threat to human rights activists from the peace group CODEPINK. The threat was delivered when CODEPINK was helping to protect the Venezuelan government's embassy in Washington, DC from an illegal takeover by Juan Guaidó's US-backed coup administration.

This rabid opposition activist, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, previously served as a machine gunner for the US Marine Corps, and was in the US military reserves until this March. He also was on the Colombia-Venezuela border with violent opposition activists, working with an ostensible "aid group" run by coup leader Juan Guaidó, during a failed US-backed putsch in February.

Comment: Luis Medina is a minor loose canon and an embarrassment to the Marine corps no doubt. Still, sunlight is the best disinfectent. Note the large number of posts he's deleted. But the internet is forever. The Grayzone has captured the most egregious entries in Medina's various social media accounts. Perhaps knowing he is being watched will discourage him and other ideologically possessed types from actually doing something stupid.


Professor Richard Wolff: Attack on Huawei tells world to avoid doing business with unstable US

© Reuters / Carlos Barria
The US has underestimated the consequences of the attack on Chinese telecom giant Huawei as it sends a strong signal for the rest of the world to avoid dealing with such an unstable partner, professor Richard Wolff believes.

The trade war with China has already evolved into a technological one as Washington barred American companies from supplying Huawei with components or technology. The move will eventually deprive the Chinese corporation of access to Google's apps and services as well as Intel and Qualcomm chips when the measure fully comes into force.

"This is going to hurt the American economy for years to come in countless ways, it will leave an economic scar on the American economy and there is... a stunning example of stupid economics," professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Richard Wolff, stressed in an interview to RT.

Light Sabers

6 dead, 200 injured in riots as incumbent leader re-elected in Indonesia

© Reuters / Antara Foto / Muhammad Adimaja
Jakarta has descended into violent chaos with angry mobs torching cars and firing missiles and Molotov cocktails at police in post-election skirmishes. So far, six people have been confirmed dead and a further 200 injured.

A reportedly 50,000-strong security force used tear gas and water cannon to quell torrents of rocks, Molotov cocktails and other burning projectiles thrown by violent protesters who decried the re-election of incumbent President Joko Widodo, who won a second term with 55.5 percent of the vote.

His rival Prabowo Subianto, an ex-special forces commander, refused to accept the election result, claiming widespread election fraud, but without providing any evidence to support such allegations.

Footage from social media shows the extent of the overnight unrest and the sheer ferocity of the violence in some areas.

Comment: By 2050 Indonesia is expected to be the fourth largest economy in the world, after China, India and the US, according to one forecast.

With its economic growth rate at 5% per year, and China its number 1 foreign investor, Indonesia is going to become one of the poles in the multi-polar world.


Facebook shuts down, then reinstates, popular low-carb support group

graphic social media representation
Social media channels and low-carb networks were abuzz this week with cries of censorship, malicious targeting, and even anti-low-carb conspiracy theories, when Facebook suddenly shut down a huge South African low-carb support group with 1.65 million followers.

After a global hue and cry, Facebook reinstated the platform some 48 hours later.

The large support group, Banting 7-day Meal Plans, was started a few years ago by Cape Town low-carb advocate Rita Venter. On her twitter feed, Venter notes "I started the group to share what helped me lose weight & get healthy."

Comment: It's not enough that people with the wrong political opinion are getting banned, now scientifically backed nutrition advice is on the chopping block. Next thing you know basic biology will be outlawed on social media, too.

See also:


Chicago high school spends $53K to replace yearbook with students flashing 'white supremacy' symbol

Oak Park and River Forest High School
© Google Maps
The Oak Park and River Forest High School will spend nearly $54,000 replacing the yearbooks after students were found making the 'OK' hand gesture.
A school is Chicago will spend tens of thousands of dollars reprinting its 2018-19 yearbook after several photos contained students posing with a hand gesture which has links to white supremacy.

Administrators at the Oak Park and River Forest High School announced it will spend a total of $53,794 to replace the 1,750 copies of "Tabula" after staff found 18 photos of students making an upside down OK hand sign.

In a letter sent to the community, Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams said while the seemingly innocuous gesture could be interpreted as students of "various races, ethnicities, genders, and grades" playing what is known as the circle game, the upside down OK hand sign has also become associated with white nationalism and the far-right.

"I want to be clear that we are not making any presumptions about students' intent in using the gesture," Pruitt-Adams wrote. "Regardless of intent, however, there is a real and negative impact. Many students, not only our students of color, experience this gesture as a symbol of white supremacy. Potentially subjecting our students to this trauma is simply not acceptable.


EU environmental group investigating Bayer, L'Oreal and Dow for use of harmful chemicals

Bayer AG
© Reuters / Wolfgang Rattay
More than 650 companies are breaking European chemical safety laws, according to an investigation from German environmental group BUND. As a result, potentially harmful chemicals can be found in food, cosmetics, and toys.

"Chemical companies have been disregarding the law for years and getting away with it, selling substances that might cause hormonal cancers, brain disorders and other severe health problems," said BUND's chemical policy officer Manuel Fernandez. "EU and national authorities need to raise their game in a big way."

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) acknowledged that companies have been known to flout chemical safety laws last November, investigating 700 widely used chemicals and finding that two thirds of them broke REACH, the agency's key safety regulation.

The BUND report, published Tuesday, names some of the companies responsible, and identifies some of the potentially deadly substances.


'Where are the headlines?' Roger Waters speaks to Syria gas attack 'stench' in wake of leaked report

Roger Waters
© Reuters / Mario Anzuoni
Pink Floyd's Roger Waters has slammed the official narrative surrounding an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria last year, citing a report that states no such attack took place.

After the media came out in force to claim Syrian President Bashar Assad dropped canisters of chlorine gas on his own people in Douma, Syria last April, the West took action. Britain, France, and the US pounded government positions with air and missile strikes in response, killing six soldiers and three civilians.

"You didn't have to be a bloodhound to smell the rat," Waters wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Comment: There are precious few people in the public eye who not only see the wholesale lies being propagated to justify aggression - but who are willing to actually to say something about it. Bravo, Roger Waters - Bravo!!


Isn't that racist? 75 American colleges offer black-only graduations

graduation caps
© Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
A study by the National Association of Scholars revealed that at least 75 American colleges have black-only graduation ceremonies and 43 percent of surveyed colleges offer segregated residential halls. The organization refers to this as "neo-segregation."

According to a study by the National Association of Scholars, graduation ceremonies at American universities are becoming increasingly segregated.

The study revealed that as many as 75 total colleges segregated graduation ceremonies. And that's not all. 43 percent of the colleges included in the study offer segregated residential halls.
What we found was that neo-segregation is widespread if not pervasive. About 46 percent (80 colleges out of 173 surveyed) segregate student orientation programs; 43 percent (75 colleges out of the total) offer segregated residential arrangements; and 72 percent (125 colleges out of the total) segregate graduation ceremonies. Though these arrangements are ostensibly voluntary, students can't easily opt out. We tracked numerous indicators of neo-segregation, from "Diversity Fly-Ins," (68 percent of the total) where colleges offer minority students an expense-paid segregated preview of the experience that awaits them should they enroll, to segregated alumni groups.

Comment: Neo-segregation is just as racist as the old segregation. It's only accepted now because blacks are the beneficiaries.