The SCO Just Became the World’s Largest Political Organization

1054469676A tectonic geopolitical shift happened in Astana, Kazakhstan, only a few days ago, and yet barely a ripple registered in Atlanticist circles

At the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded in 2001, both India and Pakistan were admitted as full members, alongside Russia, China and four Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).

So now the SCO not only qualifies as the largest political organization – by area and population – in the world; it also unites four nuclear powers. The G-7 is irrelevant, as the latest summit in Taormina made it clear. The real action now, apart from the G-20, also lays in this alternative G-8.

Permanently derided in the West for a decade and a half as a mere talk shop, the SCO, slowly but surely, keeps advancing a set up that Chinese President Xi Jinping qualifies, in a subdued manner, as “a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation.”

That’s the least one can say when you have China, India and Pakistan in the same group.

The SCO’s trademark, under the radar game is quite subtle. The initial emphasis, as we were entering the post-9/11 world, was to fight what the Chinese qualify as “the three evilsof terrorism, separatism and extremism. Beijing – and Moscow – from the beginning were thinking about the Taliban in Afghanistan, and their Central Asian connections, especially via the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Now the SCO is actively warning about the security “deterioration” in Afghanistan and calling for all members to support the “peace and reconciliation” process. That’s code for the SCO from now on directly engaged in finding an “all-Asian” Afghan solution – with both India and Pakistan on board – that should transcend the failed Pentagon “remedy”; more troops.

NATO, by the way, miserably lost its war in Afghanistan. The Taliban control at least 60% of the country – and counting. And adding supreme insult to predictable injury, the Islamic State Khorasan (ISK) – Daesh’s branch in Afghanistan – has just captured Tora Bora, where way back in late 2001 the Pentagon’s B-52s were bombing already-escaped Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Make no mistake; there will be SCO action in Afghanistan. And that will include bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. China has taken over the rotating presidency of the SCO and will be keen to show practical results in the next summit in June 2018.

Read more in original source: Sputnik

Trump Fires Up Europe’s Anti-Establishment Movement

“This year will be the year of the people.”

  • “The genie will not go back into the bottle again, whether you like it or not.” — Geert Wilders, MP and head of the Party for Freedom, the Netherlands.
  • A growing number of Europeans are rebelling against decades of government-imposed multiculturalism, politically correct speech codes and mass migration from the Muslim world.
  • Europe’s establishment parties, far from addressing the concerns of ordinary voters, have tried to silence dissent by branding naysayers as xenophobes, Islamophobes and neo-Nazis.
  • “In many respects, France and Germany are proving they do not understand the meaning of Brexit. They are reflexively, almost religiously, following exactly the path that has provoked the EU’s current existential crisis.” — Ambassador John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
  • “There is a genuine feeling that Trump taking over the White House is part of a bigger, global movement. Our critics, looking at Trump’s candidacy and his speech yesterday, would call it the rise of populism. I would say it’s simply a return to nation state democracy and proper values…. This is a genuine political revolution.” — Nigel Farage, former head of Britain’s UKIP party, who led the effort for the United Kingdom to leave the EU.
  • “This disruption is fruitful. The taboos of the last few years are now fully on the agenda: illegal immigration, Islam, the nonsense of open borders, the dysfunctional EU, the free movement of people, jobs, law and order. Trump’s predecessors did not want to talk about it, but the majority of voters did. This is democracy.” — Roger Köppel, editor-in-chief of Die Weltwoche, Switzerland.

Inspired by the inauguration of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, the leaders of Europe’s main anti-establishment parties have held a pan-European rally aimed at coordinating a political strategy to mobilize potentially millions of disillusioned voters in upcoming elections in Germany, the Netherlands and France.

Appearing together in public for the first time, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, Frauke Petry, leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s Northern League and Harald Vilimsky of Austria’s Freedom Party gathered on January 21 at a rally in Koblenz, Germany, where they called on European voters to participate in a “patriotic spring” to topple the European Union, reassert national sovereignty and secure national borders.

The two-hour rally was held under the banner of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), a group established in June 2015 by Members of the European Parliament from nine counties to oppose European federalism and the transfer of political power from voters to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union.Referring to the June 2016 decision by British voters to leave the European Union, and the rise of President Donald Trump in the United States, Le Pen said:

“We are living through the end of one world, and the birth of another. We are experiencing the return of nation-states. 2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. 2017, I am sure, will be the year in which the peoples of the European continent rise up.”

Wilders added:

“The world is changing. America is changing. Europe is changing. It started last year with Brexit, yesterday there was Trump and today the freedom-loving parties gathered in Koblenz are making a stand. The genie will not go back into the bottle again, whether you like it or not. The people of the West are awakening. They are throwing off the yoke of political correctness.”

Polls indicate that the political sea change engulfing the United States is fueling support for anti-establishment parties in Europe. In addition to anger over eroding sovereignty, a growing number of Europeans are rebelling against decades of government-imposed multiculturalism, politically correct speech codes and mass migration from the Muslim world.

In France, a new Ipsos poll for Le Monde shows that Marine Le Pen is now poised to win the first round of the French presidential election set for April 23, 2017. Le Pen has between 25% and 26% support among likely voters, compared to 23% and 25% for François Fillon of the center-right Republicans party. In December 2016, Fillon held a three-point lead over Le Pen.

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders is now leading polls ahead of the general election scheduled for March 15, 2017. The PVV has the support of between 29% and 33% of the electorate. By contrast, support for the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) has fallen to between 23% and 27%.

In Germany, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has become the third-largest party the country, with support at around 15% percent. The AfD had gained representation in ten of Germany’s 16 state parliaments, and the party hopes to win seats in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) for the first time in national elections set for September 24, 2017.

Europe’s establishment parties, far from addressing the concerns of ordinary voters, have tried to silence dissent by branding naysayers as xenophobes, Islamophobes and neo-Nazis.

In Germany, for example, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, in an underhanded effort to silence criticism of the government’s open door migration policy, called for German intelligence to begin monitoring the AfD.

The German Interior Ministry is now proposing to establish a “Defense Center against Disinformation” (Abwehrzentrum gegen Desinformation) to combat “fake news.” Critics have described the proposed center as a “censorship monster” aimed at silencing dissenting opinions.

Enter Trump. If sufficient numbers of European voters are inspired by the political transformation taking place in the United States, the balance of European political power may begin to shift in favor of the anti-establishment parties. European political and media elites will therefore surely view Trump as a threat to the Europe’s established political order.

In a January 16 interview with the Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump said he believed that Brexit is “going to end up being a great thing.” He added that German Chancellor Angela Merkel made an “utterly catastrophic mistake by letting all these illegals into the country.”

In the same interview, Trump said that the NATO alliance “is very important to me” but he called it “obsolete” for failing to contain the threat posed to the West by Islamic terrorism. He also complained that some countries “don’t pay what they should pay.” Of the 28 countries in the alliance, only five — Britain, Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United States — meet the target of spending at least 2% of their GDP on defense.

European commentators roundly criticized Trump for his comments and some accused the United States of being an “unreliable partner.” European leaders repeated calls for a pan-European Army, a long-held goal of European federalists, which would entail an unprecedented transfer of sovereignty from European nation states to the European Union.

Gatestone Institute Chairman Ambassador John R. Bolton, has provided much-needed context to the debate over NATO. In a recent article for the Boston Globe, he wrote:

“NATO has taken intense criticism this year from Donald Trump, evoking howls of outrage from foreign-policy establishment worthies. The worthies know, however, that Trump is simply using his bullhorn to say what they themselves say more quietly: NATO’s decision-making is often sclerotic; its mission has not been adequately redefined after the Cold War; and too many members haven’t carried their weight financially or militarily for long years…. Trump has emphasized that his complaints are intended to encourage debate about improving and strengthening NATO, not sundering it. The debate is well worth having.”

Bolton added:

“In many respects, France and Germany are proving they do not understand the meaning of Brexit. They are reflexively, almost religiously, following exactly the path that has provoked the EU’s current existential crisis: every failure of closer integration by the ‘European project’ leads only to calls for more integration. Whether it is establishing a currency without a government; pledging military capabilities that collectively the EU never achieves; or pretending to an EU role in world affairs that no one outside of Brussels takes seriously, ‘more Europe’ is always the answer.”

European Reactions to President Trump’s Inauguration

Trump’s presidential inauguration speech was greeted with formal politeness by European leaders — most of whom will have to work with the new leader of the free world — and with unbridled derision by European commentators and media elites — many of whom appear to be in denial about the anti-establishment fervor sweeping the United States and Europe.

Much of the European commentary about Trump has consisted of name-calling and anti-Americanism. A handful of European analysts, however, have called for introspection and self-criticism.

What follows is a brief selection of European commentary on Trump’s inauguration:

In Britain, reactions to Trump were evenly divided between those who do and do not support British membership in the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“From our conversations to date, I know we are both committed to advancing the special relationship between our two countries and working together for the prosperity and security of people on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote:

“I think that the new president has made it very clear that he wants to put Britain at the front of the line for a new trade deal and obviously that’s extremely exciting and important.”

Nigel Farage, the politician who led the effort for the United Kingdom to leave the EU, was one of the few Europeans to understand the magnitude of Trump’s rise. He wrote:

“There is a genuine feeling that Trump taking over the White House is part of a bigger, global movement. Our critics, looking at Trump’s candidacy and his speech yesterday, would call it the rise of populism. I would say it’s simply a return to nation state democracy and proper values. For this inauguration is not just a change from the 44th President to the 45th President of the United States. This is a genuine political revolution.”

In France, President François Hollande advised Trump to stay out of European affairs — this a few days after the French government tried to impose a “two-state solution” on Israel. He said: “Europe will be ready to pursue transatlantic cooperation, but it will be based on its interests and values. It does not need outside advice to tell it what to do.”

Marine Le Pen said: “Clearly, the victory of Donald Trump is another step toward the emergence of a new world, whose vocation is to replace an old order.”

Jean-Marie Colombani, the former editor-in-chief of Le Monde, articulated Europe’s geopolitical predicament, which is the direct consequence of a failure to prioritize French defense spending:

“From an American point of view, Vladimir Putin is a secondary problem: Russia is a medium power, which can certainly create problems for the United States, but only marginally, as in Syria, for example. China is the only power to rival the United States. It will be, already is, the only obsession of Trump’s America.

“Vladimir Putin represents a problem, if not a threat, for Europe. In fact, the Russian President has set the goal of weakening the European Union, in order to restore the role of guardian that the USSR exercised in the East of Europe, in countries that are now members of the EU and NATO. Everything suggests that Trump shares the same objective: to weaken Europe.

“Indeed, Trump’s European policy is inspired by Nigel Farage, who spearheaded the campaign for Brexit, and whose political aim is now to achieve the dismantling of the European Union. This explains the prediction formulated by Trump on the soon-coming demise of Europe, and his anti-German undertones. In the new American president we find the language and elements of all the populist and extremist parties whose common doctrine is hostility towards the European project. Here, then, in the East and the West, Europe is squeezed as in a vise!”

In Germany, which is wholly dependent upon the United States for defense, and which has steadfastly refused to meet its commitment to pay 2% of GDP on defense, reaction to Trump’s speech was overwhelmingly negative.

Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to work with Trump to preserve the transatlantic relationship. “The trans-Atlantic relationship will not be less important in the coming years than it was in past years,” she said. “And I will work on that. Even when there are different opinions, compromises and solutions can be best found when we exchange ideas with respect.”

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was far less diplomatic. He said: “We have to take this man seriously. What we heard today were highly nationalistic tones. I think we have to prepare for a rough ride.” He called on Europeans to unite to “defend our interests.”

Writing for Deutsche Welle, commentator Max Hofmann admonished Europeans to stop complaining about Trump and instead put their own house in order:

“What do you do when your closest partner just disappears on you? You do what the EU should have done long ago: you fix up your home, regardless of what ‘The Donald’ is doing in the USA. There is enough work that needs to be done in Europe with regard to ‘putting your own house in order’ — Brexit, migration and refugee policies, the euro. If Europeans were honest to themselves and viewed what is happening on the old continent from the American perspective — and not just that one — then the situation would not be comprehensible to them. If US parliamentarians were to call European dissent ‘madness’ or ‘nonsense,’ no one could blame them.”

Commentator Hubert Wetzel said that Trump posed a threat to European security and called for European unity to weather the next four years. In an essay laced with hyperbole, he wrote:

“Europeans will have to adapt to a new tone in dealing with America. Trump has made it clear in his speech that he will pursue a nationalist foreign policy, and his speech contained no reference to America’s allies. [Trump actually said: ‘We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones,’ and ‘We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world’]. His willingness to spend money on the defense of other countries is limited. He does not see the USA as a protective power of democratic values in the world; and he is the first U.S. president since the end of the Second World War who has openly expressed doubts about the value of European unity and the existence of NATO. At a time when Russia is trying to weaken the West by means of diplomatic, intelligence, and military means, it is an attitude that is a serious threat to united Europe.”

In Spain, geopolitical analyst Rafael Bardají wrote:

“President Trump promised that a new era is beginning today. In his inaugural speech he made it very clear that he despises Washington and hates the way the establishment has ruled the country up until now, defending its privileges at the expense of citizens. Yes, a speech that can be called populist, but one that nevertheless is true. Democracy, after all, emerged as the government of the people for the people, something that, at present, is far from being a reality in America as well as in Europe. The great social contract of liberal democracy, namely, growing prosperity and peace and security for the citizens, is no longer being fulfilled. This is due to the inability of our elites to deal with the [economic] crisis, due to their obsession with pacifism and due to the subordination of the interests of nationals in favor of immigrants.”

In Switzerland, Roger Köppel, editor-in-chief of Die Weltwoche, warned against efforts by European elites to belittle Trump. He wrote:

“Trump’s election was a healthy shock. The shock was necessary. Not only power cartels, but also worldviews are breaking down. This disruption is fruitful. The taboos of the last few years are now fully on the agenda: illegal immigration, Islam, the nonsense of open borders, the dysfunctional EU, the free movement of people, jobs, law and order. Trump’s predecessors did not want to talk about it, but the majority of voters did. This is democracy.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

  • Follow Soeren Kern on Twitter and Facebook

    © 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Original source: Gatestone Institute

Refugees or an Occupation Army?

  • “Allah requires from the believers to be masters of the land where they live, and only they can have property, and only we will be able to own the land.” — Muslim migrants in Crete, Greece.
  • The migrants were ready to wage jihad because they believed a rumor about an event for which, even had it been true, the Greek State and its inhabitants had no responsibility.
  • The establishment in Greece is a miniature of the American establishment: politicians and institutions of government corrupted to the bones.
  • We Greeks have already been crushed by Islam, by the twentieth century genocide in Turkey and the more recent Turkish occupation of Cyprus, again with the world’s complicity.
  • What is happening in Greece, as in much of Europe, is actually a massive replacement of its population, its values and its way of life.
  • The mainstream political parties obey the self-destructive EU policies on immigration that could eventually cause the end of the Hellenic-Judeo-Christian values of Europe, such as individual freedom, critical thinking and dispassionate inquiry.
What does an occupation army do when it is installed in a country? It occupies the land, forcing residents to follow its own way of life. It implements measures against the country’s inhabitants, it propagandizes its beliefs and uses force to have them imposed.This, sadly, is what has been happening in Greece from the migrants who seem to “forget” that they are hosted in Greece and force the Greeks to feel like guests in their own country.

If someone is a war refugee or his life is in danger in his homeland, it would seem appropriate, when he arrives in the country which offers him asylum, to be grateful to this country, respect its history, its people its values and its laws. The same would hold true for an immigrant who wants to go to a country where he hopes he will find a better future.

In Greece, conversely, illegal immigrants — all of whom the media call “refugees,” apparently trying artificially to legalize them in the moral consciousness of citizens — have been occupying spaces that do not belong to them, using violence, blocking roads, committing crimes against public property, acting aggressively toward residents and the police, and saying that they feel offended when they see symbols that represent Christianity. The guests seem to be trying to take over the house.

Recomended. Read the full article in its original source: Gatestone Institute

Exposed: Clinton Campaign Incites Violence Against Trump Supporters

Video shows Democratic operatives recruit homeless, mentally ill and union members

A new undercover video proves the Clinton campaign is paying people to incite violence at Trump rallies.

The organization Project Veritas — based in New York and founded by James O’Keefe — is releasing the first in a series of new undercover videos showing the Hillary campaign has been paying agitators to disrupt rallies for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

An undercover journalist spoke to operatives representing several progressive activist organizations — namely Americans United for Change (AUC) and Democracy Partners (DP) — admitting to receiving orders and funding from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Scott Foval, a director of AUC, admits, “But I answer to the head of Special Events for the DNC and the head of special events and political for the campaign.”

He describes the chain of events as follows: “The [Clinton] campaign pays DNC, DNC pays Democracy Partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval Group, The Foval Group goes and executes the s**t.

Robert Creamer, DP head and consultant for AUC, told the reporter, “Wherever Trump and Pence are going to be, we have events and we have a whole team across the country that does that.” He continues, “Both consultants and people from the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party apparatus and the people from the campaign, the Clinton campaign; and my role with the campaign is to manage all that.”

Foval adds, “Democracy Partners is the tip of the spear on that stuff.”

An operative for AUC and DP, Aaron Minter — also known as Aaron Black — admits to being the “deputy rapid response director” for the violence at the canceled Trump rally in Chicago in March, along with Robert Creamer.

“So the Chicago protest when they shut all that, that was us,” Minter admitted. “It was more him [Creamer] than me, but none of this is supposed to come back to us, because we want it coming from people, we don’t want it to come from the party.”

He continues,

So if we do a protest and it’s a DNC protest, right away the press is going to say partisan. But if I’m in there coordinating with all the troops on the ground and sort of playing the field general but they are the ones talking to the cameras, then it’s actually people. But if we send out press advisories with DNC on them and Clinton campaign, it just doesn’t have that same effect.

Foval admits, “I’m saying we have mentally ill people, that we pay to do s**t, make no mistake. Over the last 20 years, I’ve paid off a few homeless guys to do some crazy stuff, and I’ve also taken them for dinner, and I’ve also made sure they had a hotel, and a shower. And I put them in a program.”

Besides using homeless and the mentally ill to be the faces for their operations, he goes on to reveal that his most useful ally is the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

But the reality is, a lot of people. especially our union guys — a lot of our union guys … they’ll do whatever you want. They’re rock and roll. When I need to get something done in Arkansas, the first guy I call is the head of the AFL-CIO down there, because he will say, “What do you need?” And I will say, I need a guy who will do this, this and this. And they find that guy. And that guy will be like, Hell yeah, let’s do it.

Despite all the damning evidence against the DNC and the Clinton campaign, the Project Veritas video is being ignored by the mainstream media. Last week, O’Keefe was blocked from his Twitter account for releasing an undercover video of the New York Commissioner of Board of Elections admitting massive voter fraud in New York City.

In light of the undercover sting, president of Americans United for Change has announced that Foval has been fired and maintains the organization “has always operated according to the highest ethical standards.”

Source 1: Church Militant
Source 2: NY Post

Fury in Germany over Syrian Muslim refugee who gets state hand-outs for his FOUR wives and 22 children

Outrage is building in Germany after it was revealed that a Syrian refugee is claiming social benefits for his FOUR wives and 22 children.

Ghazia A. – whose full name has not been disclosed – fled Syria in 2015 and headed to Germany via Turkey, accompanied by his four wives and 23 children – but one of the daughters has now married and is currently living in Saudi Arabia.

According to Muslim tradition, a man is allowed to have up to four wives as long as he can support them financially. 

Germany does not officially recognize polygamy but is footing the bill for his clan nonetheless.

Ghazia had to choose one of the women as an ‘official’ wife in order for him and the rest of the family to claim social benefits.

He opted for his ‘main’ wife Twasif and five children, while the other three women have been officially labelled his ‘partners’ by authorities.

He lives in Montabaur – hometown of kamikaze Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz who achieved infamy last year after seizing the controls of a jetliner he was co-piloting to crash it into the French Alps, killing himself and another 148 people on board.

His other three wives had to split their children between them and were moved into various neighboring communities.

A neighbor of Ghazia told Bild that he is often absent from his ‘main’ family while visiting other wives and children.

‘According to our religion I have the duty to visit each family equally and not to prioritize any of them,’ Ghazia A. told Bild.

The story has caused a storm on social media. ‘Of course, the #Syrian (49) lives with his 4 women & 22 children from #Social benefits, from what else?!’ one person noted in a tweet.

A German financial manager released his calculation of what the German state is paying to the entire family annually. On the website of the Employers’ Association he estimated that the refugees are getting roughly 360,000 Euro per year.

But there is no official confirmation on what they receive.

‘I am practically always on my way to be with my family – yet I would gladly like to work,’ added Ghazia A.

Back in his home country he used to earn money with his car sharing and car service business which covered raising his extended clan.

Some people believe the case reflects the ‘new reality’ in Germany since it opened its doors to over a million people.

‘The new reality in the big canton – nice Friday to you all. My neighbour has 4 women and 23 children,’ one message said.

Another one claimed that the ‘the Syrian with 4 women and 23 children is now being sold to us as a new normality.’

According to Guido Göbel, a local official in Montabaur, covering the financial expenses for the Syrian family is not easy. However, he said that the case is an ‘exemption.’

Source 1: Daily Mail
Source 2: Bild

Germans leaving ‘in droves’ amid fallout from Angela Merkel’s open door migrant policy

Read it in: Germans leaving ‘in droves’ amid fallout from Angela Merkel’s open door migrant policy

And in:  Gatestone Institute.
“I believe that Islam does not belong to Germany. I regard it as a foreign entity which has brought the West more problems than benefits. In my opinion, many followers of this religion are rude, demanding and despise Germany.” — A German citizen who emigrated from Germany, in an “Open Letter to the German Government.”

Hating Russia Trolls – iPredators Inhabit LinkedIn

By: Yana Dianova

Do the US intelligence services troll Linkedin as well as other social media?

The author is a Moscow based private practice lawyer

Though not having been an active user of LinkedIn from the moment of joining it in 2010 (I browse the newsfeed there mostly when traveling to and from from work and occasionally on weekends) with the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis at the beginning 2014, while glimpsing occasionally (but not on an everyday basis) at the posts and comments of my contacts I began to notice some strange activities.

There are obviously some fake profiles, with altered images of certain countries’ leaders or blurred photos, and/or bogus credentials that cannot be independently verified, including current and previous employment and education (further – the “assaulters”) who post provocative and often explicitly insulting “trolling” comments in groups (in particular, the Russian International Affairs Council) and/or under updates regarding Russia and the Ukraine, and when countered by other users, if they have not been able respond with  fact-based arguments, they will employ the lowest argumentative fallacies, including:

1- ad hominem attacks (a favorite one is calling an opponent a “Kremlin/Russian troll”, a “useful idiot” etc.), as here, here and here:

– False attribution (e.g. citing American corporate media like the New York Times and the Washington Post, Ukrainian propagandist sites like euromaidanpress.com and such notorious “opposition activists’” as Kasparov blogs and Facebook pages as credible sources of information) and trying to disparage alternative media, investigative journalists and bloggers as ″conspiracy theorists″ and/or ″Kremlin propagandists″: See here.

    • hasty generalizations without any objective evidence (like “Russians are the most drinking/sloppy/aggressive nation”) and explicit bigotry and smearing of Russia and Russians: here here and here
    • appeal to ridicule (like “Based on your new photo you have gained weight, it must have been due to sanctions”), “straw man”, etc. here here and here

Note: the fact that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored Ukrainian opposition groups prior to the coup in February 2014  is quite well documented, just like the fact that three weeks before the putsch in Kiev, the U.S. State Department was planning to orchestrate the removal of Ukraine’s duly elected President Viktor Yanukovych and select new leaders for Ukraine  (i.e. a four-minute intercepted telephone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt was published on YouTube). See here

Note: On 21 February 2014, Victor Yanukovych conceded to the Maidan protesters and signed the Agreement on settling the crisis in the Ukraine that provided, in particular, for a return to the Constitution of 2004 and re-election of the president by the end of 2014. Apparently fearing that the violence at the Maidan would escalate nevertheless, since the shootings that took place just a couple of days before showed there were gunmen among the crowd and professional snipers provoking the escalation, Yanukovych ordered the police and special forces to withdraw from Kyiv by the same date as the Agreement was signed, fled from Kyiv himself and made a public statement that what was happening was an unconstitutional takeover.

On 22 February 2014, the Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) was “reformed”: seventy deputies of the pro-government Regions Party that held the majority gave up their seats. The reformed Rada decided to hold early presidential elections on 24 May 2014 – in violation of both the Constitution of the Ukraine article 108, which provides that the president may be ousted only in the following cases: 1. resignation (Yanukovych had not resigned); 2. inability to perform his duties due to health conditions (he was able but was not permitted to); 3. impeachment (he was not impeached); 4. death. The respective decision of Rada did not even refer to the Constitution regarding the legal basis for ouster of the president.  A complete analysis of all the violations of the Ukraine’s Constitution sustained in the process of ousting Yanukovych and the election of the new government was made by the Kyiv Times.

Occasionally, when assailants totally ran out of arguments, they would suggest that if you did not like the way they lead a ″discussion″ you could leave LinkedIn, since it is ″their″ social network: here here and here

Although such actions constitute blatant violations of the LinkedIn Community Guidelines and the LinkedIn User Agreement, paragraphs 8.1. and 8.2., LinkedIn support has usually done nothing when such users’ insulting and often defamatory comments were flagged as inappropriate and in response to the allegedly fake notices on their profiles, even when obvious discrepancies in the information on their profiles are clearly demonstrated and evidence of the respective misrepresentation from external sources (i.e. official web sites of government authorities and companies’ registers, as well as e-mail correspondence with their alleged employers) was provided.

The most active of these assaulters who appear to spend 24/7 at LinkedIn posting and commenting, have something in common (if one takes for granted at least part of the data on their profiles)

  • they claim to be either former or active US government officials, including a “retired CIA operations officer”, or “management analysts at the Office of Security, U.S. Department of Commerce” or a “US army veteran” or an “analyst at Wikistrat″, or a ″retired independent consultant″, an ″independent contractor”, etc.;

  • they generally act as a team by commenting on, liking and sharing the same posts aimed at disparaging Russia and almost simultaneously: here and here 

  • they try not only to insult but also to defame and discredit anyone who dares to argue with them, libeling the latter as a “Russian troll” and/or ″Kremlin asset″, be it a Russian Ph.D engineer or lawyer, an American professor of political science, a French entrepreneur or a Canadian journalist, etc.

  • they appear to do all this scientifically, i.e. recording their own and others comments (in particular, in order to file ″collective″ complaints with LinkedIn when someone they specifically provoke does not respond politely): here

The most constructive way to deal with assailants has been to block them, but even then you receive messages from your contacts that continues to insult and defame you when your name is mentioned by a third party or without any reason whatsoever.

Generally, the assailants have act not as typical Internet trolls but rather as IPredators  engaged in ″victimization, stalking or disparagement of others using information and communications technology″. They can go so far as to publish on their blogs outside LinkedIn posts dedicated to particular LinkedIn users (whom they could not ″defeat″ in the course of exchanges of comments) in which they libel them as “Russian trolls” without any proof or valid reason, spreading this libel/defamation throughout LinkedIn.

This phenomenon of cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking on the 400 millions user social network is peculiar not only considering the claimed background of                 the “assailants” (US intelligence services and/or military forces) and the geopolitical context (the “Cold War-II”), but also given that the most active assailants expressly state on their profiles”Information Operations/Information Warfare, Electronic Warfare, Deception, Operational Security, Cyberwar, Intelligence, Special Forces and Special Operations”.

This prompts a reasonable question: could they actually be US government-sponsored trolls?

According to anecdotal evidence by former CIA clandestine service trainee and DIA analyst Lynnae Williams, the FBI and CIA use trolls to monitor social media and interact with users to discredit information disseminated on the web. Williams explained that the CIA provides training videos to new recruits on how to troll the internet. Once a target is locked-in, all open source information is obtained on the individual, and any angle is used on social media sites to discredit them.

The trolls’ work usually falls within several categories, in particular:

  • they combine vast knowledge with disinformation and ridicule, in order to make a subject appear as uninteresting and misleading as possible;

  • they usually post discrediting messages in groups, supporting each other’s claims, while demoting, ridiculing or spreading disinformation in all interesting threads. These trolls are usually very active and are the first to post replies;

  • they usually support each other’s threads;

  • they are very active and are part of many groups and communities, but they are mainly activated by specific subjects – those they know best.

As revealed by the Guardian, the US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

A Californian firm Ntrepid was awarded the $2.76m contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that would allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world and, working around the clock in one location, respond to online conversations with any number of co-ordinated messages, blogposts, chatroom posts and other interventions. The personas should be “replete with background, history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent”, a Centcom tender document said.

The multiple persona contract was thought to have been awarded as part of a program called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces.

David Petraeus, then commander of Centcom, described the operation as an effort to “counter extremist ideology and propaganda and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard”. Petraeus’s successor, General James Mattis, then told the US Senate’s armed services committee that OEV “supports all activities associated with degrading the enemy narrative, including web engagement and web-based product distribution capabilities”.

According to Centcom, their only objective was ″to counter extremists and enemy propaganda outside of the U.S.″, saying that it would be unlawful to address U.S. audiences.
However, the 2013 version of the NDAA included an amendment that legalized domestic deceptive propaganda. The new law allows the U.S government to legally carry out misinformation campaigns against U.S. citizens.

It is worth mentioning in this connection that a close adviser of Obama and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein proposed in 2008 that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups, as well as sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government.

Papers leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate that the US and British intelligence agencies have been deeply engaged in planning ways to covertly use social media for purposes of propaganda and deception. Documents prepared by NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) (and previously published by the Intercept as well as NBC News) revealed aspects of some of these programs.

In particular, Glenn Greenwald published and analyzed the document issued by a previously secret unit of GCHQ –  Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

According to this document, among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and

(2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.

The tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.

The “targets” for this deception and reputation-destruction include: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. The title page of one of these documents reflects JTRIG’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats. The discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political end.  As Glenn Greenwald concludes, ″the broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats.″

The U.S. government as well has actually been caught manipulating social media discourses at such big sites like Reddit and editing Wikipedia, in particular, suggesting that InforWars anchors Alex Jones and Abby Martin are Kremlin propagandists.

The circumstantial evidence, therefore, suggests, that LinkedIn may have one of the US intelligence agencies’ programs for “countering the enemy’s narrative”, actively implemented through the “assailants” who employ the tactics according to the rules for Internet disruption and disinformation, in particular:

  1. pretend that alternative media – such as blogs written by op experts in their fields, without any middleman – are untrustworthy or are motivated solely by money (for example, use the derogatory term “blogspam” for any blog posting, pretending that there is no original or insightful reporting, but that the person is simply doing it for ad revenue);

  2. coordinate with a couple of others to “shout down” reasonable comments (especially effective when the posters launch an avalanche of comments in quick succession,  the original, reasonable comment gets lost or attacked so much that it is largely lost);

  3. use “sock puppets” to monitor social media and “correct” information which you don’t like, or use software that allows you to quickly create and alternate between several false identities, each with their own internet address;

  4. question motives: twist or amplify any fact that could be taken to imply that the opponent has a hidden personal agenda or other bias which avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

Another question that a reasonable person would ask in this connection is to what extent LinkedIn Corporation is involved in the implementation of such a program: does it act as a mere provider of an interactive computer service that “shall not be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act or does it deliberately provide the platform for government sponsored trolls to cyber harass and assault anyone who expresses views that may be deemed an “information threat” by certain circles within the US establishment, curbing thereby the freedom of speech, –  one of the fundamental constitutional freedoms in many jurisdictions?

To be continued
Author: Yana Dianova
Source: Russian Insider

Russian warplanes bomb elite British-backed Syrian rebels

Russian warplanes bombed an elite force of US-trained Syrian rebels on Thursday in an attack apparently aimed at weakening the group’s ability to fight Isil.

The New Syrian Army (NSA), which receives training and direction from British, American and Jordanian special forces, said their base had been struck with cluster bombs.

The strike left two people dead and another 18 injured, appearing to incapacitate at least half of the force and drawing a furious reaction from Washington.

Russia’s latest actions raise serious concern about Russian intentions,” a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We will seek an explanation from Russia on why it took this action and assurances this will not happen again. ”

The attack took place in al-Tanf, a southeastern village near the Jordanian and Iraqi border that the NSA recaptured from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in May last year.

Although Russia has justified military intervention in Syria with the need to fight extremist groups, its air strikes have strengthened President Bashar al-Assad’s hand and sapped rebel groups that had been fighting Isil. The Pentagon’s $500m programme to train Syrian rebels in the fight against Isil has faced scathing criticism for being ill-conceived and largely ineffectual.

But experts say the NSA stands out as a rare success story – and it was slated to lead a crucial assault to split the extremist group’s so-called caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq.

The Kremlin appeared to confirm involvement in the attack on Friday when a spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters it was difficult to distinguish between mainstream and extremist rebel groups from the air.

Monitors say there is no known jihadist presence around al-Tanf.

The direct assault on one of Washington’s most important anti-Isil proxies will further shake the frail relationship of convenience that has developed between the US and Russia as both sides try to bring an end to Syria’s bloody civil war.Tensions ratcheted up on Friday after news broke of an an internal document in which dozens of US State Department employees called for military action against Mr Assad’s forces.

Mr Peskov warned Washington that strikes against the Syrian army could “plunge the region into total chaos.”

Khaled al-Hammad, one of the grop’s founders, said on Friday that the al-Tanf base had only housed around 30 fighters before the attack, which killed two and wounded 18. Asking why the US had not come to the unit’s aid in their hour of need.

We do not think they are serious about us and that is why the Russians bomb us. Because they know the US will not come to our defence, like they do with the YPG and SDF,” he said, referring to a the Kurdish-dominated force that Washington has preferred to lead the anti-Isil fight in northern Syria.

The NSA is largely made up of defected Syrian special forces and has been equipped with state-of-the-art US weaponry. The Pentagon has also based M142 high-mobility artillery rocket systems in Jordan to protect the group’s al-Tanf based.It is understood that Washington planned to back the group in the battle to retake al-Bukamal, a strategically vital border town connecting Isil’s territory in Iraq and Syria. The unit has the potential to win support there because its members are largely drawn from an umbrella fighting group in the nearby province of Deir Ezzor, now an Isil stronghold.

Militarily this is critical to beating Isil in Syria,” said Faysal al-Itani, an expert on south Syrian rebel groups and a fellow with the Atlantic Council.

But the NSA was already embattled, even before the Russian attack and its fighters complain they are not receiving the support they were promised from the West. In April, 11 of their number were killed by an Isil car bomb.

Pleas for US back-up were not answered swiftly enough to end a follow-up attack. British troops later crossed into Syria from Jordan to help rebuild the group’s shattered defences.

Author: Louisa Loveluck
Source: Telegraph.co.uk