eat shit, nazi amerikkan fukkkups

‘Full Extent’ of Russian Meddling on Google in 2016? $4.7k Spent on Ads
Sputnik News, Dec 11 2018

Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that the “full extent” of so-called Russian meddling activity that took place on the platform during all of 2016 was $4.7k spent on some digital advertisements. Rep Jerry Nadler, a Demagog from New York and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, asked the search engine’s chief executive during Tuesday’s hearing:

Does Google now know the full extent to which its online platforms were exploited by Russian actors in the election two years ago?

Pichai responded:

We undertook a very thorough investigation, and in 2016 we now know that there were two main ad accounts linked to Russia which advertised on Google for about $4.7k in advertising.

Nadler asked to confirm:

A total of $4.7k?

The Google executive replied:

That’s right.

Google employees and executives contributed $1.6m to the Clinton campaign, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

the only good thing about england’s future is that it is going to be exceedingly brief

BBC knowingly broadcasts ‘coded negative imagery’ of Corbyn, top British lawyer claims
RT.com, Dec 11 2018

One of Britain’s leading barristers has claimed that a senior BBC journalist has told him that the public broadcaster has indulged in showing “coded negative imagery” of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn since his election in 2015. Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, a group which recently helped win the case in the EU courts for the UK to unilaterally stop Brexit if they wish to do so, took to social media to post the alleged evidence of bias against Corbyn. Maugham, who originally made the claims in March this year, said that he was making messages between himself and a senior BBC journalist public after being ‘trolled’ by Rob Burley, editor of the BBC’s live political programmes, about the issue.

The unverified texts show the BBC journalist describe Corbyn as a “stupid man” who is not up to the job of leading the Labour Party because it’s too complex a role for him. Revealingly, the journo goes on to say that he’s an “old man” with many deficiencies which can’t be written out plainly so they’re “all transmitted in code.” Some of the visuals the BBC transmit “screams OLD MAN OLD MAN OLD MAN,” he added. Maugham, who freely admits that he’s a frequent critic of the Labour leader, particularly on the issue of Brexit, insists he won’t personally name the journalist in question. He is willing, however, to get a senior lawyer with the agreement of the BBC’s Burley, to certify that the journalist in question is an important figure within ‘news’ at the public broadcaster. The lawyer claims he’s still waiting to hear back from Burley.

It comes after Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan ordered an inquiry after the Daily Record newspaper leaked documents at the weekend showing anti-Corbyn propaganda being promoted by the Institute for Statecraft, a charity which has received £2m in government funding.

trouble brewing

Trump To Condemn China Over Hacking, Economic Espionage; Stocks Slide
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Dec 11 2018

First thing this morning, we reported that “it appears that the next leg of the market’s violent whiplash is upon us, as active traders scramble to reposition from being max short to as long as they possibly can… at least until the next flashing red headline unleashes the next panic selling round.” Well, moments ago we got just that headline, when the WaPo reported that the Trump administration is preparing to condemn Beijing for what it says are China’s continued efforts to steal Pindostan’s trade secrets and advanced technologies and compromise sensitive government and corporate computers:

Pindostan To Condemn China Over Hacking, Economic Espionage: Wapo – multiple government agencies are expected to condemn China, citing a documented campaign of economic espionage and the alleged violation of a landmark 2015 pact to refrain from hacking for commercial gain.

And in what may be the most significant move, the DoJ is expected to announce the indictments of multiple hackers suspected of working for a Chinese intelligence service and participating in a long-running espionage campaign that targeted Pindo networks.

The coming indictments are the latest salvo in a major DoJ initiative launched last month to combat Chinese commercial spying. Since September, federal prosecutors have brought charges in three intellectual property theft cases involving Chinese hackers and spies and one involving alleged economic espionage by a Chinese state-owned company. The forthcoming indictments involve hackers whom Pindo boxtops have connected to the Ministry of State Security, China’s intelligence and security agency, which has in recent years greatly increased its cyber-intrusions into Pindo targets as China’s military has dialed back its activities. In Sep 2015, Xi came to Faschingstein and, standing in the Rose Garden alongside Pres Obama, pledged that his country would not seek to steal trade secrets and intellectual property from Pindo companies to help Chinese industry. And although the military curtailed its commercial hacking in 2016, Beijing’s cyber-spies, in particular those affiliated with the MSS, have stepped into the breach, government and industry officials said.

Additionally, the Trump administration is planning to declassify intelligence relating to the breaches, which date to 2014, and to sanction some of those believed responsible, according to people familiar with the plans. Ely Ratner of the Center for a New American Security said:

The tariff war is a bit of a sideshow to the broader geopolitical competition that is almost inevitably going to heat up. There is essentially no overlap between Xi’s vision for China’s rise and what Pindostan would consider an acceptable outcome for Asia.

Taken together, the announcements represent a major broadside against China “over its mounting aggression against the West and its attempts to displace Pindostan as the world’s leader in technology, officials said,” echoing our discussion from yesterday that the real reason for the Pindo-China trade war is to containing China’s technological advancement, and specifically its growing independence in semiconductor manufacturing. They are part of an intensifying government-wide approach to confronting China and would come as the two countries have reached a momentary detente in their trade war. In short, China is the new Russia. The reported slammed the Dow Jones, wiping out virtually all gains for the day.

petty little big rube tweet

Kremlin blasts Pompeo’s ‘squandering’ remark, says Pentagon budget ‘enough to support all Africa’
RT.com, Dec 11 2018

Mike Pompeo is in no position to claim that sending two strategic bombers to Venezuela was a “squandering” of public funds, Moscow countered, saying half of the Pindo military budget is enough “to support all of Africa.” The Pindo Sec State produced a lengthy tirade on Twitter on Tuesday, claiming the arrival of two Russian Tu-160 bombers was an example of “two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.” Later in the day, the remark was met with a sharp rebuke from the Kremlin. Kremlin spox Dmitry Peskov told journalists:

This is indeed very undiplomatic. We think it was an utterly inappropriate comment. Pres Trump might give his own assessment of Pompeo’s statement as he did in the past. As far as the ‘squandering’ is concerned, we don’t agree with that. Half the Pentagon’s budget would be enough to support all of Africa.

The exchange happened a day after a pair of Tu-160s touched down at Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar International Airport on Monday. The bombers, nicknamed the ‘White Swans’ in the Russian military, had flown over 10,000 km to reach the South American country. Their visit was part of “combined operational flights” with the Venezuelan Air Force, according to the Russian military. That aside, it has recently emerged that Donald Trump has committed to a $750b military budget, despite earlier labeling the $716b excesssive. Above all, the mammoth Pindo military budget has long been the largest in the world. According to SIPRI, it dwarfs the defense expenditure of Russia, China, India, Britain, France and Germany combined.

tit for tat detention

China Arrests Former Canadian Diplomat As Government Fears Reprisal For Huawei CFO
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Dec 11 2018

Is this one of the “severe” reprisals threatened by Beijing when it summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing for a meeting over the weekend? According to Reuters, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig has been detained in China. Kovrig’s employer, International Crisis Group, is working to secure his “safe” release. The reason for Kovrig’s detention wasn’t immediately clear, and Beijing has refused to comment on his detention. However, Reuters noted:

It was not immediately clear if the cases were related, but the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver has stoked fears of reprisals against the foreign business community in China. The think-tank said in a statement: “International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China. We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release.” China’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Public Security did not respond immediately to questions faxed earlier about Kovrig’s detention. The exact reason for the detention was not immediately clear. The Canadian embassy declined to comment, referring queries to Ottawa.

Kovrig, a Mandarin speaker, has been working for the ICG as an in-house “expert” since February 2017. Prior to that, he served as a diplomat for the Canadian government between 2003 and 2016, with stints in Hong Kong and Beijing. While it’s possible that the timing of Kovrig’s arrest is purely coincidental, the timing is certainly very suspicious.

the truth about cyber-warfare

Russian Cyber-Threat Centre: Pindostan & Eurostan Hindering Global Ban On Malicious Software Development
South Front, Dec 10 2018

On Dec 11, Nikolai Murashov, deputy director of Russia’s National Cyber-Threat Response Centre, accused the EUUKUS with hampering efforts to introduce an international ban on the creation of malicious software. He added that statistics on the geographical distribution of cyber-attacks between 2016 and 2017 show that the EUUS are global hotspots from which cyber-attacks are carried out.

We have studied research compiled by Symantec and Webroot in Pindostan, Japan’s NTT Security, and China’s CNCERT/CC cyber-security centers between 2016 and 2017. This data makes it clear that according to these companies Pindostan & Eurostan are the main sources of malicious activity. Pindostan has in fact unilaterally blocked the functioning of mechanisms on cooperation with Russia in ensuring security in the fields of information and communication technologies, despite a 2013 agreement on the joint tackling of threats in this sphere. Russia is ready to resume constructive dialogue in this sphere, as long as is based on open and equal cooperation. Almost everywhere, there is no ban on the development of similar software. Moreover, officials in the EUUKUS do everything to hamper the approval of any recommendations on the criminalization of such activities at forums where global information security is discussed.

According to National Cyber-Threat Response Centre data, large cyber-attacks involving the viruses WannaCry, NotPetya and BadRabbit affected users in nearly 100 countries in 2017, infecting over 500,000 computers, more than 60% of them in Russia. According to Murashov, these attacks, using advanced encryption methods, affected not only ordinary users, but components of Russia’s information infrastructure as well. He further claimed that foreign intelligence agencies stood behind the cyber-attacks which affected Russian cyber-infrastructure on the day of the ‘Direct Line With Vladimir Putin’ program in 2017, as well as voting day in presidential elections in March.

Most cyber-attacks come from Pindostan & Eurostan, reports Russian agency
TASS, Dec 11 2018

MOSCOW – Deputy Director of Russia’s Computer Incident Response Coordination Center Nikolai Murashov said at a briefing on Tuesday:

Most cyber-attacks come from Pindostan and Eurostan. The 2016-2017 statistics on sources of cyber-attacks provided by leading cyber-security companies clearly show that Pindostan and Eurostan are the main source of malware activities. At the same time, it is a known fact that most information and communication industry giants operate under Pindo jurisdiction. According to information presented here, Pindostan takes an active part in 49.6% of all kinds of cyber-attacks, while Russia is involved in 1.7% to 4% of them, depending on the type of attacks. This industry is a special case, because manufacturers seek to rapidly put new products and services on the market. They don’t have time to test the safety of these products and services. As a result, software and hardware errors go unnoticed and turn into latent vulnerabilities. Some of them become evident after a product has been in use for years.

The Computer Incident Response Coordination Center was established in Sep 2018 based on an order issued by the FSB director in compliance with the presidential decree to create a state system to detect, prevent and deter cyber attacks on Russian information assets.

EUUKUS do not recognize production of malware as a crime
TASS, Dec 11 2018

MOSCOW – The deputy director of Russia’s National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents, Nikolai Murashov, told a news briefing on Tuesday:

Pindostan, Britain and the Euro vassals go to great lengths in resisting the idea the production of malware should be recognized as a crime. As a matter of fact, no bans exist on the production of such malware whatever country one may look at. Moreover EUUKUS reps at international forums devoted to international information security firmly oppose the adoption of any recommendations for criminalizing such activity. According to experts, one in eight software vulnerabilities is critical or highly dangerous. The costs such vulnerabilities are fraught with rest heavily upon our shoulders. In most cases the manufactures are not responsible for the reliability and safety of their products. The public at large is told that extra research into security will be a hindrance on market development, while for users innovations are far more important. Professionals will confirm the principle: no vulnerabilities, no computer attacks. In the current situation, an international ban on the development of malware might be a major step forward in enhancing users’ security. This is precisely what Russia has done. Under Article 273 of the Criminal Code, creation of computer malware constitutes an offense. Sadly, very few countries have followed our example.

south front for monday & tuesday

Pindostan Officially Accuses Assad & Russia Of Staging CW Attack In Aleppo
South Front, Dec 10 2018

On Dec 7, the State Dept finally released an official statement on the Nov 24 CW attack which hit the government-controlled city of Aleppo, injuring over 100 people. However, instead of condemning terrorist groups which used CW, the State Dept accused the Assad government and the Russians of gassing Aleppo residents, to undermine the ceasefire in the Idlib deescalation zone. The statement is another example of doublethink widely employed by the Pindo bloc in its diplomatic and media efforts in the conflict. When alleged CW attacks take place in the militant-held areas, Pindostan blames Assad. When alleged CW attacks take place in the government-held areas, Pindostan blames Assad. The Russian Defense Ministry reacted to accusations by saying that the supply schedule of CW by the Western special services to the terrorists in Syria is synchronized with State Dept’s statements. The defense ministry added that it has undeniable evidence that the CW attack was carried out by militants. According to the Russian side, Pindostan may have been using CW accusations against Russia and Syria to draw attention from its own war crimes in the area of Hajin in the Euphrates Valley.

On Dec 7, two Turkish military convoys entered Idlib through the Kafr Lusen border crossing. The convoys, which included several battle tanks, moved to Turkish observation posts in Murak and Shir Mughar in northern Hama. These two of 12 Turkish observation posts established in the framework of the Idlib deescalation agreement have a special importance because they are located in the area where an SAA military action is expected in case of a further escalation in the region. Sporadic clashes between the SAA and militants erupt in northern Hama on a constant basis. Over the past few days, the SAA has repelled several militant attacks. On Dec 8, the SAA even employed an armed UAV to target positions of the NFL in the town of al-Hakurah. On Dec 8, Mustafa Bakkor, a spokesman for Jaysh al-Izza, claimed that Iranian forces in northern Hama are raising Russian flags over their positions to “protect themselves from Israeli bombardment.” Earlier in 2018, the FSA in southern Syria made similar accusations, claiming that Iranian forces were wearing SAA uniforms to avoid being detected by Israeli military intelligence.

The SOHR in London reported that government forces had arrested 12 suspects during a recent operation against Daesh in western Daraa. Some of the suspects are reportedly related to Abu Ali al-Baridi, a former leader of the Daesh-linked Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, which was eliminated in July as a result of the joint operation by the SAA and former members of the FSA. In Deir Ezzor province, the SDF continue their efforts against Daesh. Last weekend, SDF units backed up by Pindosi and French SOF entered the town of Hajin and captured over a half of it. The advance was supported by more than 100 airstrikes of the coalition. Daesh-linked news agency Amaq claims that Daesh killed over 20 SDF fighters and destroyed at least 2 vehicles in the clashes. It appears that if the SDF really seek to capture Hajin, they will do this soon.

MI6 And GCHQ To ‘Assist’ Ukrainian Central Election Commission
South Front, Dec 11 2018

MI6 Chief Alex Younger

On Dec 3, MI6 Chief Alex Younger spoke in front of students at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He spoke of Britain’s plan to fortify its intelligence ties with its European counterparts, despite leaving the EU next year. He said:

The implications of the Brexit debate have been set out by ministers. For our part as SIS, we will always work with our sister agencies to strengthen our indispensable security ties in Europe.

He said that Russia is an adversary that remains in “perpetual confrontation” with Britain and the West as a whole. He cited the “flagrant hostile act” of the alleged use of the lethal nerve agent Novichok on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. He further claimed that the MI6 helped expose the “perpetrators” behind the attack, as well as coordinated the expulsion of Russian diplomats from NATO nations and other allies, following Britain’s determination that Russia was behind the attack. He claimed that the expulsions damaged Russia’s “intelligence-gathering.” He added that China’s dominance of emerging technologies presents a greater risk to security in the future.

Significantly, the French magazine “Intelligence Online” published an article called “La confronation Londres-Moscou passé par Kiev.” In it, the magazine reported that in addition to “direct clashes in the cyberspace” between Russia and Britain, the conflict has also moved to Ukraine, which the British intelligence services are increasingly supporting following the extensive presence in this country of Pindo intelligence agents. In addition, London is directly discussing with Kiev its cyber-security support program for the Central Election Commission of Ukraine. This program is funded from the British budget, and includes the supply of technical equipment and training in “cyber-hygiene”, in accordance with the terminology of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. These courses, which are assisted by experts of the British intelligence services in the field of cyber-operations led by GCHQ, are conducted in collaboration with Ukrainian and Pindo intelligence. In addition to that, in terms of ground operations, Britain has 66 people in the OSCE mission in Ukraine, and the #2 man there is on the British FCO payroll. Is this possible, that MI6 and GCHQ are directly meddling in the upcoming Ukrainian elections, and they were asked to do so? Not that the Integrity Initiative wouldn’t do that regardless, since there appeared to be a form “cluster” in Ukraine, judging by the documents. Imagine, though, if Mexico asked Russia’s FSB or “GRU” to “assist” the Central Election Commission. Unsurprisingly, the outrage and outcry would be massive from Pindostan and the West as a whole. However, it has been established that British and Pindosi intelligence officers are “good” by design, while their Russian and Chinese counterparts are “evil.”

Free French Army, Yellow Helmets, French ‘Bana Al-Abed’ And Bellingdaw
South Front, Dec 11 2018

The Western propaganda over the war in Syria, Yemen and “Russian aggression” appears to be backfiring, after the apparent advent of numerous satirical and parody Twitter accounts mimiking MSM-style approaches to cover what they call “the French Civil War.” For example, a Twitter account that presents itself as belonging to a seven-year-old girl living in Paris called Benoîte Abedoux was recently banned from the social media giant.

The presumed child called for “airstrikes on France,” due to authorities’ violent crackdown on the yellow vest protesters. An obvious satire of Bana Alabed, whose accounted allegedly belongs to a 9-year-old girl from Aleppo, essentially praising NATO’s narrative in Syria. The account was active for a week and a half on Dec 10 and tweeted more than 300 times, received thousands of followers and posted mostly memes, messages and pictures all extreme mockeries of the Western propaganda narrative. The primary target of the account was Pres Emmanuel Macron, against whose leadership the yellow vest protests are on-going every Saturday.

Since the last bidet in #Paris was bombed by #Macron, we’re literally just left with Eau de Toilette.
Toilet water.#MacronMustGo #ToiletKiller pic.twitter.com/HNKBXpO3vA
— Benoîte Abedoux (@abedoux) Dec 8 2018

The account also sarcastically presents Macron’s double standards in claiming that “Assad must go” due to the Syrian leader’s response to the effective invasion of his country by violent jihadi extremists, many of which French, but sees no issue for French authorities to employ brutal measures against the French protesters. Tweets suggest Macron possesses WMDs, is deploying chemical weapons against civilians, and has ordered bombing campaigns on major metropolitan centers. The alleged seven-year-old also frequently refers to the “Free French Army” which is being trained in Syria in order to help France liberate itself from Macron and the “Yellow Helmets” distributing medical support to injured citizens, and calls for Russian President Vladimir Putin to support the “moderate rebels” in their quest to remove the President from power. Following the ban, the account was remade.

Macron’s “chemical” attack was unsuccessful in stopping the “seven-year-old girl.” Similarly, an account called “Banan Alabedi” is the alleged account of “Just a 9-year-old who considers every Yemeni defending their country as Houthi.” The account largely comments on the Toads and praises their conduct in Yemen and condemns any attempts to limit arms sales to the Kingdom.

Furthermore, it praised Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for sending 500 Saudi royal falconers to help against the “evil Houthi.”

The account also saw support from your average, adult-aged users:

Another parody account that appeared is “Bellingdaw.” And similarly, to Bellingcat is an “open-source investigation,” but of the “Civil War in France.” The account calls out to all of the “armchair experts” who are reporting on the situation in Syria, Yemen, etc

These accounts are beginning to get banned and censored, they are unmentioned in MSM, presumably because their claims appear as wild and unreal as the claims by Bellingcat and co. Partisangirl gave a good overview of the situation in her tweet:

The Twitter accounts are an obvious parody. However, many do not see the joke. “PropOrNot,” which according to independent researchers was established by the Atlantic Council, lost no time to blame “Putin & Friends” for all of the fake accounts. Some MSM journalists and think tanks are furious because the newly appeared network of satirical and parody Twitter accounts is an example of the doublethink approach employed by the MSM and Western diplomats in their actions towards Syria, Iran and other countries declared “enemies of the democratic world.” Furthermore, while the protests in France show no promise of stopping. organizations linked to NATO, the Ukraine, and the West as a whole have concluded that Russia plays a hand in organizing them. If the situation develops, all Yellow West protestors will soon be decalred Russian agents.

liberal totalitarianism is global

The EU and the warning signs of Fascism
Kit Knightly, Off-Guardian, Dec 10 2018

Things are spiralling out of control in Europe, faster than many predicted. Outside of Brexit, there is strong anti-EU feeling in Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece and France. The EU is in danger of crumbling, and people afraid of losing power are prone to extreme acts of dictatorial control. How long before the EU truly becomes the authoritarian force that people from both ends of the political spectrum have always feared? Earlier this year, the EU voted to “punish” one of its own members, Hungary, for the internal policies of its elected government. To be clear about this: whatever you think of Viktor Orban, he was elected by the people of Hungary. He is their legally recognised democratic leader. Hungary voted for him. In contrast, Hungary did NOT vote for any of the 448 MEPs who supported the motion posed by Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini that:

The Hungarian people deserve better … They deserve freedom of speech, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and equality, all of which are enshrined in the European treaties.

Note that democracy is not included on that list. Tolerance, justice and equality, but not democracy. A Freudian slip perhaps. The European Parliament vote was itself a corrupt nonsense in which abstentions were disregarded so the two-thirds majority could be reached. Forcing through a bill that essentially calls for a change of regime in Hungary via:

appropriate measures to restore inclusive democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights in Hungary

One suggested punishment, “The Nuclear Option,” is a loss of voting rights. Hungary would still be a member of the EU, would still have to pay into the EU, would still have to obey all EU laws and regulations, but would no longer have a say in what those laws were. This would, notionally, be in defence of “inclusive democracy.” How long before disapproval and punishment of certain leaders turns into outright removal? Can we really say that would never happen? This month, Paris (and other French cities) have seen the massive Gilets Jaunes protests against the fuel tax, austerity and income inequality. The violent repression of these protests has received no criticism from either individual member states of the EU, or the EU itself. However, an armored vehicle painted with the EU’s insignia was seen on the streets of Paris. Both Macron and Merkel have talked recently of the need for an EU Army. Will these protests in France be used as an excuse to implement those plans? Let’s assume the EU Army is brought about. Let us supply the EU with its coveted “defence force”: 250,000 hypothetical men, drawn from all the member states. What is their purpose? What is their function? For example, would they have been deployed to Catalonia last year to “keep the peace”? Would an EU army have moved against a peaceful vote to “defend” the integrity of the Union? Would a possible step in dealing with Viktor Orban’s government be to deploy the EU Defence Force to Budapest and remove the man who is a threat to “equality”? Would that count as “appropriate measures to restore inclusive democracy”? If Brexit is ruled a “threat to human rights” (or some other collection of buzzwords), would the EU army be rolling armoured vehicles along the streets of London to protect us from ourselves? There have been, and could be, many situations in the EU’s recent past where military intervention was only avoided because it literally wasn’t an option. An EU Army would make it an option, do we trust Brussels not to avail themselves of it?

Some argue that an EU Army would be a good thing because it would decrease Europe’s reliance on NATO, and remove Pindo influence. I don’t believe that to be the case, and as evidence, I supply the fact that the Carnegie Endowment, a well-known Pindo-backed NGO, is very much in favour of the plan. Of course, the increasing possibility of an EU consensus imposed by force is only one part of the threat. Outside of physical repression, both by the EU (of national sovereignty), and by the state (of the individual right to protest), there are warning signs of intellectual repression. A coming crackdown on freedom of expression and opinion. There is a scary article on The Guardian today entitled “Russia ‘paved way for Ukraine ship seizures with fake news drive.’” It’s not scary because of the headline. It’s scary because of the motivations behind it and the implications for the future of Europe. The meat of the article is an unsourced, unlinked & evidence-free claim of Russian malfeasance and as such, Hitchens’ Razor applies. The first half of the article is riddled with lies, omissions and mistakes. It’s the Guardian. You expect that. Disregard the babble about cholera and nuclear bombs. Disregard the factual errors, many though they are. In this instance, none of it matters. All that matters is the second half, the proposed “solution” to the “problem” to which this article is a “reaction.” Namely, online disinformation. Specifically, “Russian” online disinformation. Julian King, former Britain’s ambassador to France and now EU security commissioner, wants tech companies to take steps to prevent the spread of “fake news.” It’s a war against dissent, with three fronts.

One – establish the “truth”:

Last week the EC announced it would set up a rapid alert system to help EU member states recognise disinformation campaigns

Essentially, there will be an EU mandated list of acceptable “news,” and anything which deviates from that in the slightest way will be branded “disinformation.” This will allow people to dismiss, rather than engage with, views that differ from their own.

Two – eliminate dissent:

King said social media platforms needed to identify and close down fake accounts that were spreading disinformation.

By “fake accounts” they mean accounts which spread “disinformation.” Being a “bot” is not about whether or not you are a real person, it’s about whether or not you have the right opinions. As has been demonstrated, they either do not know or do not care who is real and who is not. Perfectly real people have been labelled Russian bots in the media, when they are proven to be neither Russian nor bots. Whether this is incompetence or corruption does not matter, the point is governments have shown they cannot be trusted on this issue.

Three – control the narrative:

We need to see greater clarity around algorithms, information on how they prioritise what content to display, for example. If you search for anything EU-related on Google, content from Russian propaganda outlets like RT or Sputnik is invariably in the first few results …. All of this should be subject to independent oversight and audit.

The Google algorithm is allowing news that either disagrees with the EU, or is directly critical of it, to be shown in their results. This is unacceptable. What the EU security commissioner wants is for Google to “fix” their system, to make sure news that deviates from the EU’s agenda does not show up in their results. Now, if you think that sounds like censorship, don’t worry because:

What we are not trying to do is to censor the internet.There is no suggestion that we or anyone else should become the arbiter of what content users should or shouldn’t be consuming online. This is about transparency, not censorship.

The EU wants Google to remove certain websites from their algorithm, but it’s about transparency, not censorship. So that’s OK. To sum up:

  • The EU’s two major figureheads are both in favour of an EU army.
  • The EU’s flag is painted on armoured vehicles repressing anti-government protests in France.
  • The EU is putting aside £4.6m (€5m) to “help people recognise disinformation.”
  • The EU wants to pressure social media companies into “shutting down” accounts that spread “fake news.”
  • The EU wants Google to alter their algorithm, to promote news that praises the EU and demote sites critical of it.
  • The EU wants us to understand that this is about “transparency” and is definitely NOT censorship.

Does this sound like an organization of which we want to be a part? Are we supposed to likethe proposed multi-national EU “defense force” putting down anti-EU marches on the streets of Barcelona or Rome? To cheer on the idea that the EU Army could be sent into non-cooperative member-states to remove “dangerous” elected leaders because they are a threat to “equality”? We won’t even be able to get to truth of those matters, because the EU will be supplying lists of “fake news” social media accounts to Twitter and Facebook, who will dutifully shut them down. While Google alters and re-alters their algorithm to make sure any news covering EU repression of democracy is pushed so far down the results pages it may as well not exist. The British press, pundits and talking heads are constantly referring to the “Brexit crisis,” but that’s just hysteria and fear mongering. Re-negotiating your position in a trade bloc is NOT a crisis. A crisis is what happens when an unelected, bureaucratic power structure suddenly senses its grip on power is slipping, and acts accordingly. And a crisis could well be on the horizon. The signs are there, if you want to see them.

“we need to be much more fact-based, which is always a problem with the trump administration”

Turmoil on Wall Street continues
Nick Beams, WSWS, Dec 11 2018

Wall Street had another turbulent day yesterday with the Dow moving in a range of more than 600 points. It closed marginally up, by 34 points, after dropping by more than 500 points in the opening two hours of trading. The market turmoil was the product of several factors, including the decision by British PM Theresa May not to go ahead with a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal with the EU; a Chinese court decision in a case brought by Qualcomm against Apple; concerns over growth in Pindostan and the global economy; and the continuing impact of the Pindo-China trade war. The news that May had pulled the plug on the vote in parliament after saying she faced defeat by a “significant margin” sent stocks down in the morning session, as the prime minister announced she would begin a tour of European capitals to seek a better deal. The director-general of the business lobby group CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, summed up the mood in the corporate world, describing the decision as “another blow” for companies looking for clarity. she said:

Investment plans have been paused for two-and-a-half years. Unless a deal is agreed quickly, the country risks sliding towards a national crisis.

But there is virtually no prospect of a rapid solution. EC Pres Donald Tusk said the EU was ready to talk about how to “facilitate” the agreement with the UK but said there would be no renegotiation and May has not indicated when she might bring a revised deal back to parliament. News out of China that a court had ruled in favour of Qualcomm against Apple over intellectual property and had banned sales of iPhone models was another factor in the initial market slide. The Intermediate People’s Court in Fuzhou granted a preliminary injunction against Apple after finding it in violation of two Qualcomm patents. Qualcomm said the ruling meant that four Apple subsidiaries are barred from importing and selling seven models, but Apple is disputing this interpretation saying it only applies to phones running on an older operating system. Whatever the immediate outcome, the ruling is another blow to Apple, which relies on China for 20% of its global market under conditions where sales of its latest models have been below expectations. Apple’s market value, which earlier this year topped $1T, has fallen by $250b since then. The bitterness of the conflict between the two tech giants which has been ongoing for the past two years was highlighted by a statement from Apple on the decision which said:

Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world.

A statement from Qualcomm said:

While we rarely resort to the courts for assistance, we also have an abiding belief in the need to protect intellectual property rights. Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us.

Given that one of the central accusations levelled by the US against Beijing is that Chinese companies steal US intellectual property, there is a certain irony in the fact that a fierce battle between two Pindo tech giants over IP theft is being fought out in a Chinese court. Concerns over global growth were another major factor in the ongoing slide and volatility in Pindo markets. Signs of a downturn are reflected in the fall in the prices of commodities. The sharpest fall is in the price of oil, down by 30% since the beginning of October. The price of copper, another key indicator of industrial production, is down by 17% from levels reached earlier this year. One of the key factors is the slowdown in the Chinese economy which experienced its lowest growth rate in a decade in the third quarter, with indications that it could go lower. There are also signs of a slowing in Japan, with the government reporting that its economy contracted at an annualised rate of 2.5% in the third quarter. While this is being put down to a series of natural disasters and the economy is predicted to “bounce back,” there are concerns over future growth. Kiichi Murshima, an economist at Citi in Tokyo, told the FT:

With the global economy and Chinese activity in particular slowing, there remains uncertainty as to the extent of a rebound in goods exports in the fourth quarter.

Global equity markets could also be heavily impacted by a slowdown in the Pindo economy. Christian Mueller-Glissmann, a senior analyst at Goldman Sachs, also pointed to the effect of the eruption of class struggle in France exemplified by the “yellow vests” movement. He told the CNBC business channel on Monday:

Next year is going to be tough, because I think one of the key changes to this year is that Pindostan is going to slow down. We expect Pindostan to slow down to less than 2% by the end of next year, and as a result of that you could see the market getting quite scared. In Europe, previous concerns have centred on Italy but this could change. Next year the focus might shift to broader Europe for other reasons. We have European Parliament elections. We have relative instability in Germany and France these days. I think that this could start to be a bigger story than Italy.

Another major weight on the Pindo financial markets is the impact of the economic war against China, which escalated last week with the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, a key executive at the Chinese communications giant Huawe, on Pindo charges of fraud over deals with Iran in defiance of Pindo bans. In a television interview last week, before the arrest announcement, former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman Stephen Roach hit out at the anti-China measures launched under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act with a report issued last March by Robert Lighthizer. Roach, now a senior fellow at Yale University, told CNBC:

I have to reluctantly say that this report makes a very weak case in trying to justify tariffs and the risk of a trade war. The Trump administration has accused China of forced technology transfers, employing predatory merger and acquisition policies, and cyber-hacking to steal intellectual property. There is no evidence whatsoever that China has forced technology transfers through joint ventures. Data do not support the claim of predatory merger and acquisition policies. There is no new evidence of Chinese cyber-hacking since 2015. We need to be much more fact-based, which is always a problem, I think, with the Trump administration.

However, as the arrest of Meng Wanzhou has revealed, the economic war against China is not only being driven by the Trump administration but by the permanent “deep state” intelligence and military apparatus which regards Beijing’s economic rise as an existential threat to Pindo economic and military dominance and is determined to use all measures deemed necessary to prevent it.

these trotskyites are very much opposed to the nationalist tide, but they’re good observers

May delays Brexit vote while Corbyn refuses to move no confidence motion
Chris Marsden, WSWS, Dec 11 2018

On the day PM Theresa May called off the vote on her proposed Brexit deal with the EU, Jeremy Corbyn refused to move a motion of no confidence until she completed a fresh round of negotiations with Brussels. Amid the threatened collapse of the Conservative government, with 100 Tory MPs opposing May, mainly on its hard-Brexit wing, Corbyn is obsessed with proving his statesmanlike qualities and Labour’s bona fides as a government that can be trusted to safeguard the interests of big business. Once again he has thrown a lifeline to May, and handed the political initiative to the Brexit wing of the Tories and the pro-EU membership Remainers within the Blairite wing of the Labour Party. May called off today’s scheduled vote because she knew her proposed agreement would be heavily defeated. All the main opposition parties were opposed, supporting either remaining in the EU, or renegotiations that would in the end mean the same thing. To these critics, May stressed that her deal was the only alternative to a hard-Brexit with tariff-free access to Europe’s markets closed to Britain immediately.

But her fate was more directly threatened by the Tory hard-Brexiteers and the DUP whose 10 MPs she depends on for a majority, who have denounced the “backstop” arrangement designed to avoid the return of a hard-border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, in the event that Britain leaves the EU without an all-encompassing trade deal. With the EU stipulating that this means Northern Ireland staying in the ECU, large parts of the single market and the EU VAT system, and with no clear procedure on how to end the arrangement, the DUP and the Tory Right warn this could potentially split Northern Ireland from Great (mainland) Britain. For three humiliating hours in parliament, May repeatedly made clear that her ambitions were limited to seeking reassurances from the EU that would placate the concerns of the Brexiteers and the DUP, especially “to ensure that the backstop cannot be in place indefinitely.” Hers was still the only deal that honoured the Brexit referendum vote to leave, she insisted, while still preventing a hard-Brexit. On the opposition benches, Corbyn said the government was in “complete chaos” and repeatedly urged May to stand down. But he again faced down calls to table a vote of no-confidence, backed by the SNP and the Lib Dems. Over 50 Blairites, most of whom are opposed to a general election that would bring Corbyn to power, signed a letter demanding a no confidence motion, to which a party spox replied:

We will put down a motion of no confidence when we judge it most likely to be successful. When she brings the same deal back to the House of Commons without significant changes, we will have the backing of “others across the House.

That is, when Labour would possibly secure the support of pro-Remain Tories and enough Brexiteers to end May’s premiership. Corbyn has again given the Tories time to potentially regroup, rather than fulfil his hope for them to commit political suicide. May continues to use the prospect of electoral defeat as her main weapon, warning her rebels in the Mail on Sunday:

We have a leader of the opposition who thinks of nothing but attempting to bring about a general election, no matter what the cost to the country. I believe Jeremy Corbyn getting his hands on power is a risk we cannot afford to take.

Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg called her out, stating:

This is not governing. It risks putting Jeremy Corbyn into government by failing to deliver Brexit. The prime minister must either govern or quit.

With speculation that the next days will finally see the 48 Tory MPs submitting the necessary letters to trigger a no confidence motion in May, there was discussion of a possible “dream ticket” of top Brexit figure Boris Johnson standing for leader and Remainer Amber Rudd as his deputy. It is unclear whether May intends to resubmit a revised or “clarified” deal next week, or delay until the New Year. She has only said the final deadline is January 21. But there is every likelihood that her party would remove her before then, or that parliamentary arithmetic shifts sharply enough towards Remain to change everything, including raising the possibility of a general election or a second referendum. In whatever way events unfold, May’s days are numbered. EU leaders, including president of the EC Pres Juncker and Irish premier Leo Veradkar, have queued up to insist that no substantive changes will be made to the agreement. Juncker said:

We will not renegotiate the deal that’s on the table right now. That is very clear.

His spox added:

As far as we’re concerned, Britain is leaving the EU on Mar 29 2019. We are prepared for all scenarios.

This was backed up with statements indicating advanced preparations for a no-deal Brexit. To reinforce the EU’s hard-line stance, EC judges ruled that MPs had the option of unilaterally revoking Article 50, ending withdrawal and maintaining full EU membership. The case was brought by an alliance of Labour Remainers and the SNP. The judges ruled that a letter from the government to the EC would stop Brexit if received any time before the Mar 29 2019 deadline. Blairite Chris Leslie described the ruling as a game-changing moment, opening the possibility of a second referendum after any parliamentary rejection of May’s deal. The only silver lining for May was offered by former EC Pres Romano Prodi, who said renegotiation was possible given the economic and political consequences of Britain crashing out of the bloc without a deal. Indicating the scale of the unfolding crisis, the delayed vote caused the pound to fall to its lowest level in 18 months, at €1.00 = £0.90. The response within Labour on the issue is to exert maximum pressure on Corbyn to commit to a second referendum, with the pro-Corbyn Momentum group now openly allied with the Blairites. Corbyn continues to resist, fearing that moving too quickly would alienate most Labour voters who supported Brexit. Each side now regularly warns of social and political unrest if the popular vote for Brexit is thwarted or if a hard-Brexit leads to economic chaos. Therese Raphael warned in Bloomberg News that Britain could soon see “unrest” similar to the Yellow Vests movement in France. She wrote:

What happens if traditional pathways for affecting change no longer work? What happens, say, if the political sphere is so unstable that there is no clear policy vision; if government not only ceases to be responsive but is no longer even coherent? Britain may be about to find out … Someone will begin passing out high-visibility vests or another symbol of defiance. It may not be immediate, but chaos, loss, uncertainty and disruption will breed palpable anger.

All such warnings point to the underlying issue of rising social tensions and class antagonisms produced by the savage austerity measures to which all factions of Britain’s ruling elite are committed.