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Fri, 28 Feb 2020
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Brick Wall

This Assange "trial" is a self-contradictory Kafkaesque nightmare

Escher Assange Belmarsh
The first week of the Julian Assange extradition trial has concluded, to be resumed on May 18th. If you haven't been following the proceedings closely, let me sum up what you missed:

The prosecution is working to extradite Assange to the US under a US-UK extradition treaty, a treaty whose contents the prosecution now says we should ignore because they explicitly forbid political extraditions. The prosecution says it doesn't matter anyway because Assange is not a political actor, yet in 2010 the US government that's trying to extradite him labeled him a political actor in those exact words. Assange's trial is taking place in a maximum security prison for dangerous violent offenders because that's where he's being jailed for no stated reason and despite having no history of violence, which means he's kept separate from the courtroom in a sound-resistant safety enclosure where he can't hear or participate in his own trial. The magistrate judging the case says he can't be allowed out of the enclosure since he's considered dangerous, because he's been arbitrarily placed in a prison for dangerous violent offenders. The magistrate keeps telling Assange to stop speaking up during his trial and to speak through his lawyers, yet he's being actively prevented from communicating with his lawyers.

Comment: See also:


Spreading fear: PETA is being mocked and ridiculed by social media users after implying that eating meat may cause coronavirus

peta coronavirus
PETA is being mocked and ridiculed by social media users after implying that eating meat may cause coronavirus.

The aggressive animal rights organization made the shocking suggestion on Twitter last week, writing: 'Carnivorous is an anagram of coronavirus. Coincidence? We think NOT!'

Thousands of commenters have replied, accusing PETA of spreading dangerous misinformation and also pointing out a few unflattering anagrams of the name 'PETA.'

'Scientists have a hunch that contact with live animals or their dead flesh may be the source of the deadly virus,' PETA wrote.

Che Guevara

'OAS misled public': MIT study finds 'NO evidence of fraud' in Bolivia election that saw Evo Morales ousted in military coup

evo morales
© Reuters / Mariana Greif
A new MIT study has found no evidence of fraud in Bolivia's 2019 election, despite allegations of serious irregularities by the Organization of American States (OAS), which led to the ousting of Evo Morales in a military coup.

John Curiel and Jack R Williams examined the OAS's report and published their findings in the Washington Post on Thursday. "As specialists in election integrity, we find that the statistical evidence does not support the claim of fraud in Bolivia's October election," they wrote.

The MIT researchers said the OAS had adopted a "novel approach to fraud analysis" and that its statistical conclusions would appear to be "deeply flawed."

Comment: Previously:

Star of David

Gilad Atzmon: My Struggle

Gilad Atzmon
I launched my study into Jewishness two decades ago. It began as a result of my reaction to the relentless attacks on dissident Jewish thinkers who didn't fit with the 'revolutionary agenda' of the so-called Jewish 'anti Zionist' Left. I quickly grasped that it was actually the Jewish Left, the radicals and progressives, who displayed the most problematic traits associated with Zionism and Jewish identitarianism.

I was perplexed: the same people who adhere to tribal politics and operate in racially segregated political cells preach universalism to others. I came to understand that nothing was transparent or obvious about Jewish culture and identitarianism, and that this was by design. I decided to untangle the Jewish enigma from a new perspective: instead of asking who or what Jews are, I asked what those who self-identify as Jews believe in, what precepts they adhere to. This question was the beginning of my struggle.

By the time I published The Wandering Who? (2011), I realised that those who identify as Jews can be divided into three non-exclusive categories. 1. Those who follow Torah and Mitzvoth. 2. Those who identify with their Jewish ancestry. 3. Those who identify politically as Jews. In The Wandering Who I argued that while the first and the second categories are innocent, the third category is always contaminated by biological determinism. The third category is, in fact, racist to the core. While Jews aren't necessarily a race, Jewish politics are, too often, racially oriented. This applies to both Zionists and the so called 'anti' Zionists. In my work there is no real distinction between Jewish Zionists and their Jewish dissenters. I have found them to be equally racist.

Comment: See also:

Eye 1

Facial-recognition company that works with law enforcement says entire client list was stolen

facial recognition
© REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Clearview AI, a facial-recognition software maker that has sparked privacy concerns, said Wednesday it suffered a data breach. The data stolen included its entire list of customers, the number of searches those customers have made and how many accounts each customer had set up.

"Security is Clearview's top priority," Tor Ekeland, Clearview AI's attorney, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security."

The company didn't specify the flaw. The data breach was first reported by The Daily Beast.

Clearview's clients are mostly law enforcement agencies, with police departments in Toronto, Atlanta and Florida all using the technology. The company has a database of 3 billion photos that it collected from the internet, including websites like YouTube, Facebook, Venmo and LinkedIn.


Coronavirus Pandemonium: China no Longer Testing For Antibodies - They're Just Guessing Numbers

Comment: Which means, if anything, the numbers of people with actual Coronavirus are being overestimated...

Global panic sets in as China moves the diagnostic goal-posts
coronavirus sign
In Hubei Province, China, where the 'new' virus was first diagnosed, and where the vast majority of the cases have occurred, it's no longer considered necessary to test for the presence of CV antibodies before diagnosing the disease.

Let's say that again.

The epicentre of the so-called new virus outbreak is currently diagnosing new cases of the disease without testing for the virus.

Instead they are relying on 'clinical diagnosis', which is defined as [our emphasis]:
"The estimated identification of the disease underlying a patient's complaints based merely on signs, symptoms and medical history of the patient rather than on laboratory examination or medical imaging."

Comment: The WHO and most governments took their cue from China. When they observed how seriously the Chinese were taking it, they followed suit. Which is interesting in itself.

But the likely reason why China acted 'out of an abundance of caution' is because their 'top experts' at the BSL-4 biolab in Wuhan city goofed up and accidentally released a virus they had been fiddling with in order to produce some form of Coronavirus vaccine.


'Trolling of the highest order': Russian communists FURIOUS after Lenin's birthday chosen as date for major public vote

© Global Look Press / ZUMAPRESS.com / Evgeny Sinitsyn
He died almost a century ago, but they still haven't gotten around to burying him. So, it's fair to say Vladimir Lenin still casts a long shadow on the Russian political scene.

For obvious reasons, Russia's Communist Party has made itself the protector of the Bolshevik leader's legacy and it tends to react sensitively to any perceived slight. Now many of its members are up in arms over plans to hold a forthcoming national vote on Lenin's birthday.

When the date for the general ballot on changing the constitution was announced, most Russians were simply happy to have a day off work. However, Communists quickly realized that April 22 happens to coincide with the 150th birthday of their revered icon. Now, they're not entirely convinced that the clash is purely coincidental.

Brick Wall

Project Veritas: ABC News' David Wright identifies as 'a socialist' - UPDATE

david wright ABC news
© Twitter / @WrightUps
Senior ABC News correspondent David Wright accused his own network of denying President Donald Trump "credit" for his administration's accomplishments and revealed that he's a "socialist," according to an undercover video captured by Project Veritas.

Comment: While the big news of this Project Veritas release is that Wright said that he's a socialist (gasp!), the real news here is what he had to say about the state of the news in general and his network in particular. News is just another form of entertainment at this point, with the mighty clicks and views dictating the slant of everything important. This isn't exactly stunningly new information, but it's interesting to hear it from someone on the inside who "feel(s) really bad about it".

See also: UPDATE 02/26/20: Fox News reports that ABC's David Wright has (predictably) been suspended, though not fired, for his unguarded remarks to an undercover Project Veritas reporter:
Wright was disciplined after higher-ups at ABC News reviewed footage in which Wright describes himself as a "socialist" and appears to criticize the network for the way in which it chooses to present the news.

The veteran reporter expounded at length on his political views. "I would consider myself a socialist, like I think there should be national health insurance," he said. "I'm totally fine with reining in corporations, I think they're too many billionaires, and I think there's a wealth gap - that's a problem."

In the hidden video that Project Veritas said was filmed in New Hampshire during its primary's coverage, Wright, 56, also called President Trump "a d---" while simultaneously complaining that Trump is sometimes not given "credit for what things he does do."

Wright did not respond to Fox News' request for comment. A rep for ABC News told Fox News he would be reassigned after serving his suspension.

"Any action that damages our reputation for fairness and impartiality or gives the appearance of compromising it harms ABC News and the individuals involved," the rep said. "David Wright has been suspended, and to avoid any possible appearance of bias, he will be reassigned away from political coverage when he returns."

Alarm Clock

Life expectancy 'flatlines' after 10 years of austerity, report says

old person
Life expectancy in England has ground to a halt for the first time in a century, according to a landmark report.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, a leading expert on public health, said the widening gap between the rich and poor is to blame.

His 172-page report said life expectancy in England has barely improved in the last decade - the first time in more than 100 years it has failed to significantly increase for a 10-year period.

And for those in the poorest areas it has actually declined - by almost a year for women living in the North East.

Comment: The Guardian writes:
Austerity has taken its toll over the last 10 years in all of these areas, says Marmot in a foreword to the report. "From rising child poverty and the closure of children's centres, to declines in education funding, an increase in precarious work and zero hours contracts, to a housing affordability crisis and a rise in homelessness, to people with insufficient money to lead a healthy life and resorting to food banks in large numbers, to ignored communities with poor conditions and little reason for hope ... Austerity will cast a long shadow over the lives of the children born and growing up under its effects."
See also:

Star of David

Rashid Khalidi takes on the 'hegemonic narrative' of Jewish nationalism in personal new book

Rashid Khalidi

Rashid Khalidi
There was an urgency about Rashid Khalidi when the dean of Palestinian-American historians addressed a jam-packed crowd at the prestigious Politics & Prose bookstore in DC, Feb. 10. He told us he was taking off the academic gloves in his new book, The Hundred-Years' War on Palestine. "This book is more personal," he said. It draws on his illustrious family's more than hundred years' experience witnessing and directly confronting the "colonial invasion" of his country, continuing to this day in his own work as an academic truth-teller.

A questioner challenged Khalidi as to whether he was faithful to the historian's duty of "objectivity." He replied, "The fact is there is a hegemonic narrative about Israel and Palestine, which takes the Western, pro-Zionist perspective. Eighty percent of what is said about the issue in the U.S. sticks to the hegemonic narrative. It's not my job to repeat that narrative. Besides, historians, in fact, usually advance an argument or thesis. They don't just say, 'On the one hand or on the other hand.' "