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Mon, 25 Sep 2023
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Ukraine using 'Soviet' methods against media - Bild

Missile strike
© AFP/Polina Melnyk/AFP
A missile strike on a market • September 6, 2023 • Kostyantynivka, Ukraine
Kiev recently condemned the New York Times for suggesting a Ukrainian missile had killed civilians at a Donbass market...

Ukraine is resorting to "Soviet methods" to deal with unfavorable media coverage, Bild deputy editor-in-chief Paul Ronzheimer has claimed. He criticized Kiev's recent attack on the New York Times as unjustifiable.

Contradicting claims by the Ukrainian authorities and other Western media, the US newspaper suggested earlier this week that a Ukrainian missile, rather than a Russian one, had killed at least 15 civilians at a market in Donbass earlier this month.

Those claims drew condemnation from Ukrainian officials, including senior presidential aide Mikhail Podoliak, who accused the NYT of promoting "conspiracy theories."

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, Ronzheimer described Kiev's reaction to the report as 'absolutely unacceptable':
"That the government and military are now accusing NYT reporters of [spreading] 'propaganda' and 'fake[s],' more or less openly threatening with the revocation of accreditation because they make notes and analyze what is what, reminds [me] of Soviet methods and should have no place in Ukraine. Gagging the media has nothing to do with European or Western standards that Ukraine otherwise prides itself on."
He called for Kiev to respect the freedom of the press, even if the authorities are uncomfortable with what is reported.

Comment: The pots calling the kettles black? The New York Times, a MSM vehicle, follows dictates. There is a particular trajectory for this release of information.

See also: Ukraine cheerleader NYT actually exposes Zelensky lie about Donbass missile strike

Eye 1

Pirates of the European Union: How Brussels turned its own customs agents into petty thieves

russia estonia border checkpoint
© Sergey Stepanov, Sputnik
Checkpoint at the Russia-Estonia border.
The bloc's bureaucracy, unable to sever economic ties with Russia, decided to annoy Moscow in different way - by stealing from the country's ordinary citizens.

Powerful bureaucratic machines work perfectly - until they don't. Brussels is no exception. The European Union carefully regulates the shape and size of cucumbers, but for some reason still can't decide how its own sanctions against Russia are supposed to work.

Despite the bloc's public shows of unity against Moscow, some EU countries still refuse to let their people freeze in winter and won't stop buying Russian gas through long-established supply channels. There's still no final solution to this issue. However, the European Commission recently issued a document that literally turned customs officers into pirates who were allowed to rob Russians. As it turned out, the "decisive response to Russian aggression" came down to preventing Russian citizens from taking their laptops and toilet paper on a trip to the EU.

Comment: See also:

Arrow Down

Madness: Why Are UN Human Rights advocates obsessed with legalising the Sex Trade?

Tlaleng Mofokeng

Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health
The European Court of Human Rights recently handed down its decision on admissibility in the case of MA and Others v France. The case is being brought by 261 applicants (of a wide range of nationalities, all of whom are prostitutes) who wish to challenge the French law 2016-444 of 2016, which amongst other things makes the purchasing of sex unlawful. (A helpful English language overview of this law, provided by the United States' Library of Congress, can be found here.) The Court has not made a decision about the merits of the case; this is in effect permission to go to a full hearing, although in providing this the Court recognises that there is a prima facie argument to be made that a law banning the purchasing of sex is incompatible with the European Convention.

There is a huge amount to say about this litigation in itself and what it reveals about the way human rights law has developed. Much of this will have to wait for future posts, however. Here, I will confine my observations to a broader issue, onto which the case opens a window: human rights advocates - certainly in official UN fora and in the major human rights NGOs - seem to have become very interested in the cause of decriminalising and ultimately normalising the marketisation and commodification of sex. And, as we will see, this brings to the surface a decay at the heart of the system of international human rights law, demonstrating as it does that people who run this system seem to be increasingly contemptuous of the notion that law might have an existence independent of politics.


Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson quietly signs $29 Million contract with security firm to build migrant camps

Chicago has seen 11,000 migrants arrive since August 2022

Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson has quietly signed a $29million contract with a security firm to build migrant base camps. Chicago has seen 11,000 migrants arrive since August 2022
Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson has quietly signed a $29million contract with a security firm to build migrant base camps, as residents plead with the city's democratic leaders to stop letting asylum seekers in the state.

The city's deal with the controversial Garda World firm, signed last week, includes at least six locations across the city, with zones holding between 200 and 1,400 asylum seekers. It also includes bedding, laundry, showers, three meals a day and security.

It comes as Chicago residents are becoming increasingly concerned about a surge of asylum seekers arriving on buses from southern states. Many of the migrants have been transported north from Republican border states in a bid to prove the Democrats' open arms policies are a disaster.

'I want to know if there is a capacity limit and what is that limit if there is one?' one city resident asked at a community event this week. 'And why can't we close the borders of Chicago or the state of Illinois in the first place? Why can't we close the border?'

Chicago has seen 13,000 migrants arrive in the city since August 2022, and the surge is expected to cost taxpayers $302 million by the end of the year.


Blatant smear attempt: 'Sound of Freedom' inspiration Tim Ballard resigned from child rescue group after misconduct reports

tim ballard
© ANP / Alamy Stock Photo
Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard in Amsterdam in 2022.
Ballard, an anti-sex trafficking activist, said in a statement that "the latest tabloid-driven sexual allegations are false."

Tim Ballard, the anti-sex trafficking activist whose exploits inspired the blockbuster movie "Sound of Freedom," was under investigation for allegedly coercing at least seven women to act like "wives" while on overseas missions when he resigned three months ago from the nonprofit child rescue group he founded, according to a news report published this week.

Ballard, a former Homeland Security agent who founded the Utah-based "Operation Underground Railroad" in 2013, denied the allegations laid out in a VICE News story that cited sources with direct knowledge of the organization.

Comment: Vice magazine citing unnamed "sources with direct knowledge" is really all you need to know about the veracity of the allegations.

Comment: This is just the latest attempt by the leftist media to attack 'Sound of Freedom' which has been performing better than they would have liked, exposing child trafficking.

See also:


Governor Greg Abbott officially declares 'invasion' at southern border by the Mexican drug cartels

INVASION at Southern Border
© Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared an "invasion" at the southern border, attributing it to the Mexican drug cartels. This declaration comes as Governor Abbott takes a firm stance against the escalating security crisis and the influx of criminal activities from across the border.

"I officially declared an invasion at our border because of Biden's policies. We deployed the Texas National Guard, DPS & local law enforcement. We are building a border wall, razor wire & marine barriers. We are also repelling migrants," Governor Abbott announced in a post on Thursday.

Texas will continue to install more razor wire and fortify the border against illegal crossings. We will not back down," said Abbott in another X post after the Biden regime cut the razor wires installed.


Ukraine axes death-threat-spewing transgender military spokesperson

Sarah Ashton-Cirillo
© AFP / Roman Pilipey
Ukraine's territorial defense force spokesperson Sarah Ashton-Cirillo reacts during an interview in Kiev, Ukraine, September 7, 2023.
Sarah Ashton-Cirillo's promise to "hunt down" Russian "propagandists" caused outrage among US conservatives.

The Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces has fired its transender American spokesperson for threatening a wave of assassinations against "Kremlin propagandists" around the world. Sarah Ashton-Cirillo's dramatic threat drew the attention of US Senator JD Vance, who asked the administration of President Joe Biden to explain if it was funding this content.

"The statements of [Junior Sergeant] Ashton-Cirillo in recent days were not approved by the command of the [Territorial Defense Forces] or the command of the [Armed Forces of Ukraine]," the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday.

Comment: See also:

Piggy Bank

U.K. regulator slammed after finding no evidence of politicians being debanked over views

© Unknown
Nigel Farage
The Financial Conduct Authority has been criticised after its review uncovered no evidence that politicians are being denied bank accounts because of their views. The Financial Times has the story:
A review by the chief U.K. financial regulator has uncovered no evidence that politicians are being denied bank accounts because of their views, according to people briefed on the findings.

The Financial Conduct Authority launched a probe in August, weeks after former U.K. Independence party [UKIP] leader Nigel Farage unleashed a debate on free speech by claiming his accounts with private bank Coutts were about to be closed because his views "did not align" with the lender.

The row over the 'debanking' of Farage sparked complaints from other politicians about their treatment by lenders, prompting the Government to order a review by the FCA. People familiar with the situation said the FCA would publish findings in the coming days showing there were no cases of political views being the "primary" reason for personal account closures across the 34 banks and payment companies that were asked to submit data to the regulator. The FCA declined to comment.

Farage told the Financial Times on Monday night:
"This is farcical. There are plenty of examples of prominent Brexiteers being debanked. The FCA is part of the problem." ...
Farage in July published extracts from a dossier compiled by Coutts about him, as it deliberated about closing his accounts, in which the bank said continuing to serve him would not be "compatible with Coutts" since his views were "at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation".

Comment: An ongoing issue smacking of financial discrimination, Sky News had more to report:
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had been investigating the issue covering the 12 months to June in the wake of the so-called de-banking row that engulfed NatWest Group in relation to its handling of accounts, in its Coutts arm, belonging to former UKIP leader Mr Farage.

The watchdog brought forward the publication of its findings, covering practices at 34 lenders, after an apparent leak to the Financial Times.

The FCA said the evidence it had gathered "suggests that no firm closed an account between July 2022 and June 2023 primarily because of a customer's political views".

It added that it planned to work further with banks, building societies and payment companies to verify the data they supplied and better understand why and when they close accounts due to reputational risk.

Mr Farage reacted by claiming the FCA was part of the problem:
"The FCA says it finds no evidence of politicians being 'de-banked' over political views. This new report is a whitewash and a joke. If we don't have a regulator that is fit for purpose, what hope is there for our banking industry?"
The probe was ordered by the chancellor who warned banks last month that they faced "very large" fines if they closed customer accounts based on their political opinions. The Treasury has also unveiled a package of reforms designed to force banks to be more transparent about account closures.

The FCA's report, however, would seem to suggest the government has jumped the gun.

Coutts boss Peter Flavel resigned, as did NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose after she admitted being the source behind an incorrect BBC story about the row.

It came after Mr Farage obtained a 40-page dossier from Coutts which suggested the closure of his accounts was taken partly because his views did not align with its "values", including his position on LGBTQ+ rights and friendship with former US president Donald Trump.

1.1 million UK adults without bank account

The FCA insisted its work in this area was not done.

The regulator's chief executive Nikhil Rathi said:
"While no bank, building society or payment firm reported to us that they had closed accounts primarily due to someone's political views, further work is needed for us to be sure."
The FCA said it will also examine why there are 1.1 million adults in the UK who do not have a bank account.

Mr Rathi added:
"As we undertake that work, the time is also right for a debate on how we balance access to bank accounts with the threat of financial crime, as well as firms' reasonable risk and commercial appetites.

"An important question for policymakers is whether all individuals, businesses and organisations should have the right to an account, as is the case in some other countries.

"What's more, international comparisons suggest robust digital identities could play an important role not only in countering financial crime but also in aiding financial inclusion."
Economic secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith said of the FCA's report:
"Free speech is a fundamental human right. No ifs, no buts - everyone must be able to express their lawful opinions without fear of losing the vital access to a bank account.

"We have already acted to force banks to explain and delay any decision to close an account to protect freedom of expression - meaning customers will have a 90 day notice period and a clear explanation for any account closure. That will be backed up in legislation this year.

"We note the initial report of the FCA. Clearly there is more to be done to validate the submissions by banks and to ensure that the FCA have thoroughly followed up de-banked customer perspectives."
See also:


Nearly 10 million Ukrainians have fled to EU - commissioner

© Marcus Schreiber/AP
The unending Ukrainian influx to EU
The collective bloc is the biggest host of those leaving the country, according to Thierry Breton's numbers...

The EU migration crisis is a challenge that should be handled not by a single European country or region, but by the entire bloc as it deals with millions of asylum seekers, particularly from Ukraine, Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, has said.

Speaking to Sud Radio on Monday, the official suggested that migration - which has recently been on the rise, especially in Italy - "affects us all," including southern and eastern countries. "We have welcomed ... almost 10 million Ukrainian refugees," he said, adding that the Czech Republic stands out in terms of the number of people it has hosted.

"Four percent of its population - 440,000 Ukrainian migrants for a population of 9 million people. Could you imagine that?" he said, noting that Hungary and Poland have also played a major role in providing shelter to Ukrainians fleeing from hostilities in their home country.

In early March 2022, shortly after the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the EU for the first time in its history invoked the Temporary Protection Directive, which can be used only in exceptional circumstances to deal with a "mass influx of refugees." The legislation guarantees Ukrainians access to accommodation, welfare, and healthcare and gives them the right to enter the labor market, and enroll children in educational institutions.

In terms of absolute numbers, Russia accommodates the most Ukrainian refugees (1.27 million), followed by Germany (1.09 million), and Poland (968,000), according to Statista.


California county district attorney sues Democratic-led Sacramento over inaction on homeless crisis

© Michael Ho Wai Lee/SOPA Images/Sipa USA
Tenderloin District San Francisco
Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho is suing the city government in an attempt to require local officials to "enforce laws around sidewalk obstruction and get people off the streets and into professionally-managed camping sites," according to a recent Wall Street Journal story.

Referring to his lawsuit, which has received criticism from Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Ho said in a press conference this week:
"Living on the streets is not compassionate for the unhoused or the housed. We are giving a voice to those that feel as if their cries for help have fallen on deaf ears."
Steinberg claimed that residents of Sacramento, homeless or otherwise, would not benefit from Ho's lawsuit.
"The frustration that members of our community feel is absolutely justified. But the DA's lawsuit will not clear a single sidewalk nor get a single person off the streets."
Steinberg also called Ho's lawsuit a "performative distraction," per KCRA.

Ho responded directly to Steinberg's claims in an interview with KCRA on Tuesday:
"Frankly, the city has had seven years to deal with our unhoused crisis, and frankly, in those seven years our homeless crisis has increased by 250%. Now is the time to act. I believe that the response as well was that they've been working day and night to enforce the law. I would respectfully disagree with that. They are simply not enforcing the law. And that's what I'm asking them to do: to enforce the law, to keep our cities clean and safe."

Comment: The fragmenting of America is everywhere, courtesy of a government unwilling to address it.