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Major news stories being buried by Covid19 Coronavirus

 
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:12 am    Post subject: Major news stories being buried by Covid19 Coronavirus Reply with quote

China to expel more US journalists in escalating row over media US announced earlier this month that five state-controlled Chinese media outlets would face restrictions
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/china-restricts-reporters-curbs -media-200317173945386.html

China to expel more US journalists in escalating row over media
US announced earlier this month that five state-controlled Chinese media outlets would face restrictions.

18 Mar 2020
China has said it will revoke the credentials of journalists at three American newspapers after the United States imposed restrictions on Chinese nationals working at their state-owned media in the US.

Beijing is demanding that US journalists working for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post newspapers, whose credentials are due to expire before the end of 2020, hand back their press cards within 10 days, according to a statement.

It was not immediately clear how many journalists would be affected.

Beijing on Tuesday said the journalists would also not be allowed to continue working in the semi-autonomous territories of Hong Kong or Macau.

The Chinese move follows the US decision to designate five Chinese media outlets as foreign missions, and restricted the number of Chinese nationals that could work for them.

Beijing said the steps were necessary and reciprocal countermeasures in response to what it called unreasonable oppression of Chinese media in the United States.

The US expulsion of Chinese journalists was an upgraded evidence of political oppression. For too long, the Chinese journalists have been unfairly treated under the discriminatory policies of the US. https://t.co/wVvTodyLxk

— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) March 17, 2020
"The US expulsion of Chinese journalists was an upgraded evidence of political oppression," tweeted Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. "For too long, the Chinese journalists have been unfairly treated under the discriminatory policies of the US."

Amnesty International said the move was likely to further stifle access to information at a crucial time in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This latest escalation of the tit-for-tat row between Beijing and Washington threatens to severely undercut the flow of accurate and independent information from China," said Joshua Rosenzweig, the head of Amnesty's China team. "At a time when the world needs to work together to combat the devastation wrought by the virus, the banishment of these journalists could potentially have grim public health consequences."

Designation as foreign missions
The US announcedearlier this month that the five state-controlled Chinese media outlets would be restricted to 100 visas, a de-facto expulsion of about one-third of their Chinese staff. It cited increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment and intimidation of US and other foreign journalists working in China.


Controlling the coronavirus narrative: China’s propaganda push - The Listening Post
The Chinese outlets, which employ about 160 Chinese citizens in the US, include the official Xinhua News Agency and China Global Television Network (CGTN), the international operation of state broadcaster CCTV.

In February, China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters over the newspaper's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday urged Beijing to reconsider the move.

"I regret China's decision today to further foreclose the world's ability to conduct the free press operations that, frankly, would be really good for the Chinese people in these incredibly challenging global times, where more information, more transparency are what will save lives," Pompeo told reporters.

"This is unfortunate," Pompeo said. "I hope they will reconsider."

The Foreign Correspondents' Clubs in both Beijing and Hong Kong expressed alarm at China's decision.

The FCCC noted that at least 13 journalists had been given visas of less than six months since the start of 2019, while three of those had been given one month visas since the start of this year. Resident visas are usually issued for a year.

"By expelling journalists and keeping others in a state of visa uncertainty, China is overtly using its powers in an attempt to influence overseas news coverage, by punishing those who publish information authorities see as unfavorable and wish to keep quiet," the group said in a statement.

The FCCHK noted that under 'one country, two systems' decisions about employment visas for foreign journalists were the responsibility of Hong Kong's Immigration Department.

If the system had changed it would be a "serious erosion" of the territory's governing framework, it added, urging the Hong Kong government to clarify the situation.

China has expelled nine correspondents since 2013, according to the FCCC. Its recent report into working conditions in the country found 82 percent of correspondents surveyed had experienced interference, harassment or violence while reporting.

_________________
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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FCC approves SpaceX to deploy up to 1 million small antennas for Starlink internet network
Published Fri, Mar 20 20203:37 PM EDT
Michael Sheetz
@thesheetztweetz
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/20/fcc-approves-spacex-to-deploy-1-millio n-antennas-for-starlink-internet.html

The FCC authorized SpaceX to begin rolling out as many as 1 million ground antenna for its Starlink internet project.
Starlink is an ambitious network of about 12,000 satellites that SpaceX wants to use to provide high-speed internet to anywhere in the world.
“It looks like a UFO on a stick,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said of these ground antenna in an interview earlier this month.

Here’s what to expect from private space companies in 2020 and beyond

SpaceX got a key government license last week, federal filings reveal, as the company clears a regulatory hurdle that moves it closer to offering a new high-speed internet service from space.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized SpaceX to begin rolling out as many as 1 million of the ground antenna the company will need to connect users to its Starlink satellite internet network. Starlink is SpaceX’s plan to build an interconnected network, or “constellation,” of about 12,000 small satellites, to provide high-speed internet to anywhere in the world. The company has launched 360 Starlink satellites in the past year.

The license details that each ground antenna is 0.48 meters in diameter, or just under 19 inches across.

“It looks like a UFO on a stick,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in an interview earlier this month. “It’s very important that you don’t need a specialist to install. The goal is for ... just two instructions and they can be done in either order: Point at sky, plug in.”

Starlink is intended for about the 3% “hardest to reach customers” for telecommunications companies, in rural areas where “5G is really not well-suited,” Musk said. SpaceX intends Starlink to have a high-speed connection for any users, with latency below 20 milliseconds.
Starlink competitor OneWeb may face bankruptcy

OneWeb, a SoftBank-backed competitor of Starlink, is also in the middle of launching its own global satellite constellation. But Bloomberg reported on Thursday that OneWeb is considering filing for bankruptcy, with the report saying the company is facing a cash crunch. OneWeb has raised $3.4 billion to to fund its satellite network, but CEO Adrián Steckel told CNBC in a February interview that the company “is always raising” money.

“We’re constantly raising capital,” Steckel said, just after the company’s second launch. “We’re not being public about what we’re raising. When the time comes we’ll make an announcement.”

SpaceX has likewise been steadily raising funds, including $500 million in a round this year. Musk noted in the March interview that there are “zero” similar satellite efforts “that didn’t go bankrupt,” referring to companies that fell short of building networks in the early 2000s.

“We just want to be in the ‘not bankrupt’ category, that’s our goal,” Musk added.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

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http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last night Julian Assange called me. Here is what we talked about
DiEM25 English Julian Assange webmaster YanisVaroufakis 26908 Views 0 comment March 24, 2020
https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2020/03/24/last-night-julian-assange-ca lled-me-here-is-what-we-talked-about/

Last night, immediately after our first DiEM25 TV event, my phone rang. It was Julian. From prison. It was not that first time that he honoured me deeply by using the few phone calls prison allows him to make to call me. Like every other such occasion, when I unexpectedly recognise his voice a torrent of emotions comes flooding in. Guilt, primarily, at the thought that, the moment the line is disconnected, he will remain there – in the exceedingly dark place to which he has been confined because of a decision he made long ago to help the rest of us grasp what the powers-that-be have been doing on our behalf without our knowledge or consent.
Julian wanted to talk about the effects of Covid-19 on the world we live in and, of course, on his case. He remarked that Jeremy Corbyn’s election manifesto, that the establishment had lambasted for being too radical, now seems unreasonable moderate. We laughed at the audacity of those who were telling the people of Britain that it was irresponsible to spend a few tens billions on providing proper funding to the NHS and social care for all, on turning broadband into a public utility, and on taking the railways into public ownership to make them work properly – the very same people who, now that big business and capitalism more generally, are in serious trouble seem to have discovered the money tree, announcing trillions to be pumped into the economy. Julian did not know (how could he, when the prison authorities deny him access to newspapers, the internet, even to BBC Radio 4?) that Boris Johnson had, earlier yesterday, announced the temporary nationalisation of the railways – seeing that privateers can never provide a decent service in the midst of a national emergency.
After a few minutes during which we allowed ourselves to bask in the neoliberals’ Waterloo, in the hands of some RNA that the system could simply not cope with without abandoning all its certainties, we discussed what this means for the future. Julian said, quite correctly, that this new phase of the crisis is, at the very least, making it clear to us that anything goes – that everything is now possible. To which I added that anything ranges from the best to the worst possible developments. Whether the epidemic helps deliver the good or the most evil society will depend, of course, on us – on whether progressives manage to band together. For if we do not, just like in 2008 we did not, the bankers, the spivs, the oligarchs and the neofascists will prove, again, that they are the ones who know how not to let a good crisis go to waste.
Will we succeed? Julian had a hopeful comment on this: At the very least, transnational organisations like Wikileaks and DiEM25 had honed the digital tools for online debates and campaigns well before Covid-19 came on the scene. In some measure, we are better prepared than others.
Then we talked about his case. His prison conditions are deteriorating. Now that visits have stopped, his isolation is getting worse. His lawyers are about to petition the court for bail. If any prisoner’s health at Belmarsh High Security prison is in jeopardy from Covid-19 infection, it is Julian’s. Will the court grant him bail? Unlikely. Will the new crisis change the odds of his extradition? We agreed that the answer to the last question is: probably, but only a little – now that the national security complex in the US and in the UK have things to worry about that did not feature a few weeks ago.
Our conversation lasted ten minutes and one second. Then the prison warden cut the line. The one man who knows the perils and pains of isolation better than all of us, had emerged from it to give me, us, a ten-minute lesson in how not to lose it while in confinement.
Make no mistake dear reader: Julian is struggling to keep his faculties, not to lose his mind. For hours every day in solitary he fights the darkness and the despair. When he sounds lucid, funny even, on the phone it is so because he has worked for 20 hours in anticipation of the moment when he will have to communicate his side of the story, his thoughts, to the outside world. No one should have to live that way.
And so it is that, now that we are all in some state of isolation, Julian’s plight – as well as insights – must give us pause, and cause, to discover in ourselves the power, and the solidarity, necessary to ensure that this crisis is not wasted – that the inane and corrupt powers-that-be do not end up, once again, the beneficiaries.

_________________
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www.rl911truth.org
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www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Israeli military confiscates Palestinian field clinic for virus victims — B’Tselem’s ‘shocking’ report
News Kate on March 28, 2020 0 Comments
https://mondoweiss.net/2020/03/israeli-military-confiscates-palestinia n-field-clinic-for-virus-victims-btselems-shocking-report/

Ruins left behind in 'Ein a-Duyuk a-Tahta on Friday March 27, 2020. Photo supplied by community to B'Tselem.
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

During the Coronavirus crisis, Israel confiscates tents designated for clinic in the Northern West Bank
B’Tselem 26 Mar — This morning, Thursday, 26 March 2020, at around 7:30 am, officials from Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank arrived with a military jeep escort, a bulldozer and two flatbed trucks with cranes at the Palestinian community of Khirbet Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley. They confiscated poles and sheeting that were meant to form eight tents, two for a field clinic, and four for emergency housing for residents evacuated from their homes, and two as makeshift mosques. The force also confiscated a tin shack in place for more than two years, as well as a power generator and sacks of sand and cement. Four pallets of cinder blocks intended for the tent floors were taken away and four others demolished.

As the whole world battles an unprecedented and paralyzing healthcare crisis, Israel’s military is devoting time and resources to harassing the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank that Israel has attempted to drive out of the area for decades. Shutting down a first-aid community initiative during a health crisis is an especially cruel example of the regular abuse inflicted on these communities, and it goes against basic human and humanitarian principles during an emergency. Unlike Israel’s policies, this pandemic does not discriminate based on nationality, ethnicity or religion. It is high time the government and military acknowledged that now, of all times, Israel is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the five million Palestinians who live under its control in the Occupied Territories.
In addition to the shocking destruction of the clinic under construction, the Civil Administration is continuing its demolition routine. Today, it demolished three seasonal homes of farmers who are residents of Jerusalem, in the village of ‘Ein a-Duyuk a-Tahta west of Jericho.
https://www.btselem.org/press_release/20200326_israel_confiscates_clin ic_tents_during_coronavirus_crisis

Palestinians in Jordan Valley ordered by Israeli army to stop installing solar panels
JORDAN VALLEY, Wednesday, March 25, 2020 (WAFA) – The Israeli military authorities today ordered residents of the Jordan Valley to stop installing solar panels in their village, according to a local official. Mutaz Bisharat, from the Tubas governorate, said soldiers raided Khirbet al-Dir in the northern Jordan Valley and handed residents an order to stop work on installing solar panels gift of the Italian humanitarian aid and development group GVC. He also said that the soldiers banned a resident from installing a caravan for farming purposes on his land in the same village.
http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=hN2vTCa115515213363ahN2vTC

Palestinian shed and water well destroyed by Israeli forces in West Bank
27 Mar by Ali Salam — Israeli forces, on Thursday, demolished a farming shed and a water well in Deir Ballut town, west of Salfit city, according to a local official. Governor of Salfit, Abdallah Kmeil told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that Israeli forces escorted a bulldozer into Wadi Sarida area, where the heavy machinery tore down a farming shed and a water well belonging to Aziz Yusef Abdullah, a villager. Kmeil noted that Israeli forces were exploiting the lockdown enforced on the occupied territories over the spread of coronavirus, to secure the implementation of the seizure of more Palestinian land.
https://imemc.org/article/palestinian-shed-and-water-well-destroyed-by -israeli-forces-in-west-bank/

Three Palestinian homes demolished by Israeli forces near Jericho
27 Mar by Ali Salam — Israeli forces, on Thursday, demolished three Palestinian-owned homes in the village of al-Diyouk, west of the occupied West Bank city of Jericho, under the pretext they were built without permits, local sources said. The sources told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that Israeli soldiers and police accompanied bulldozers as they invaded the village in the early morning, and proceeded to demolish the three houses, each 120 square meters in area, owned by Palestinian citizens from occupied Jerusalem and from the West Bank city of Hebron. Israel uses the pretext of a missing building permit to destroy Palestinian homes, while at the same time denying Palestinians the permission to build.
https://imemc.org/article/three-palestinian-homes-demolished-by-israel i-forces-near-jericho/

In order to expand settlement, Israeli forces raze lands in north of West Bank
NABLUS, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today razed Palestinian lands near the northern West Bank village of Jalud, south of Nablus, in order to expand a nearby illegal Israeli settlement, sources said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told WAFA that the razed land is located several hundred meters from Jalud high school and is intended to expand the illegal Israeli settlement of Shvut Rachel and to build a road connecting it to other Israeli settlements and outposts. He noted that Jalud is a village surrounded by a number of Jewish-only settlements, warning that the majority of its lands has been taken for the settlements. Daghlas said that these settlements pose a real threat to the Arab and Palestinian population as the Israeli government has seized over 10,000 dunums of land in favor of settlements, while 85% of the village’s lands were declared military zones to provide protection for the settlers.
http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=M94M77a115494274797aM94M77



Coronavirus doctor warns of ‘incoming disaster’ in Gaza
MONTREAL, Canada (Al Jazeera) 26 Mar by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours — For years, Dr Tarek Loubani has been guided by a simple principle: All patients, no matter where they live, should have equal access to high-quality healthcare. But it is obvious to the Palestinian-Canadian emergency room doctor that this ideal is not yet a reality. “I practised in Canada, and I practised in Gaza, and I could see that my patients in Gaza weren’t receiving the same care,” he told Al Jazeera this week, as the blockaded Palestinian territory confirmed its first two cases of the novel coronavirus. The global coronavirus pandemic has thrust stark global disparities in access to healthcare and medical equipment into the spotlight, as some countries are ravaged while others are succeeding so far in staving off a crisis. The Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places in the world, is expected to be among the hardest-hit areas, as experts fear chronic shortages and an already strained healthcare system will exacerbate the spread of the virus. Medical workers in Gaza are preparing for the worst, said Loubani, who spent two weeks working there last month. “People were so terrified because they knew that they were living in a powder keg,” he said. “And even these two cases represent such an incoming disaster.”… “The most frustrating part about the health system in Gaza is [that] we actually know the answer, and the answer is an immediate end to the blockade, even if for a short period so that we can get through this crisis,” Loubani said. “There’s some amount of the coronavirus that’s inevitable in Gaza, but the disaster we’re about to watch unfold is not inevitable.”
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus-doctor-warns-incomi ng-disaster-gaza-200325195816841.html

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another non victim now the lock down is in place
https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/03/27/chloe-middleton-the-coronavir us-death-that-wasnt/

spiked - humanity is underrated
Chloe Middleton: the coronavirus death that wasn’t
The 21-year-old’s tragic death has not been recorded as due to Covid-19.
Chloe Middleton: the coronavirus death that wasn’t
SPIKED 27th March 2020

This week, the news of the heartbreaking death of 21-year-old Chloe Middleton went across social media. She was reported to be Britain’s youngest coronavirus victim with no pre-existing condition. And so her case was quickly held up as proof as to why young people – thought to be too blasé about Covid-19 – should take the outbreak more seriously.


But the Guardiam reports this afternoon that her death has not actually been recorded as a Covid-19 death:

‘Middleton was taken to Wexham Park hospital in Slough last weekend after she had a heart attack. Attempts to resuscitate her failed and she was pronounced dead soon after arriving… A Berkshire coroner said the death was related to Covid-19 after being told Middleton had a cough, the source said. But this surprised medics at the hospital, who have not recorded it as a coronavirus incident.’

An NHS source tells the Guardian that ‘the coroner’s move “raised eyebrows” at the hospital because [Middleton] had not tested positive for the disease’.

This shows us the dangers of allowing political imperatives – ie, the need for young people to take this crisis seriously – to get ahead of the facts. Amid this outbreak we need clear-eyed discussion of what’s really going on.

It seems this tragedy was too swiftly leapt upon and turned into a cautionary tale about Covid-19, purely because it aligned with some people’s worst fears. We need to do better.


28th March 2020 at 10:37 pm
The Guardian article linked to has been ‘removed on 28 March 2020 pending review’…..



LIAM COOK
27th March 2020 at 11:15 pm
Dear Thompson,

Thank you! I had been looking into this myself as I couldn’t see in any of the reports that this poor young lady has tested positive for SARs-Cov-2. And as her death was a few days before why was it so long to be reported? It was after her family posted a social media message about it…..as I have a little more time on my hands these days I am forming a commission of like minded citizens as me to look into media false reports which are increasing fear where they have not verified the reports, or mince words, mince statistics etc. As this fear created it what is currently causing an overload of hospitals. As ICUs are no busier than a normal winter’s day – quote C.M.O. UK 25.03.2020 during the Prime Ministers address at about 25:25 in, than the current “overload” being reported must at the moment be because of the 10s of thousands of people who are desending on hospitals due to fear to get tested. As only 10% have COVID 19 and only 80% of those should not even be going to the hospital due to light symptoms, the media accurately reporting these things is PARAMOUNT to keeping the country calm and saving the NHS. Fear will destroy the NHS before a (I say a because there are 4 other Human Coronaviruses that commonly affect the population every year) coronavirus does.
Anyway I wanted to see as you and the Guardian are the only 2 news outlets who have told the true story on Chloe’s cause of Death, if you would be interested in the expose I will be putting together at this time on some top media outlets who try to profit off of the CV through false or knowingly inaccurate news stories?

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

J’Accuse 211
30 Mar, 2020 in Uncategorized by craig
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/03/jaccuse-2/

A 22 person team from Police Scotland worked for over a year identifying and interviewing almost 400 hoped-for complainants and witnesses against Alex Salmond. This resulted in nil charges and nil witnesses. Nil. The accusations in court were all fabricated and presented on a government platter to the police by a two prong process. The first prong was the civil service witch hunt presided over by Leslie Evans and already condemned by Scotland’s highest civil court as “unlawful, unfair and tainted by apparent bias”. The second prong was the internal SNP process orchestrated by a group at the very top in SNP HQ and the First Minister’s Private Office. A key figure in the latter was directly accused in court by Alex Salmond himself of having encouraged a significant number of the accusers to fabricate incidents.

The only accusations Police Scotland could take forward were given to them by this process. Their long and expensive trawl outside the tiny closed group of accusers revealed nothing. Let me say that again. Police Scotland’s long and expensive trawl outside the tiny closed group of accusers revealed nothing at all.

Let me give you an example. I have personally read an account by a woman who was contacted by the police and asked to give evidence. She was called in for formal interview by the police. The massive police fishing expedition had turned up the fact that, years ago, Alex Salmond had been seen to kiss this woman in the foyer of a theatre. She was asked if she wished to make a complaint of sexual assault against Alex Salmond. The woman was astonished. She told them she remembered the occasion and Alex, who was a friend, had simply kissed her on the cheeks in greeting. No, of course she did not wish to complain. She felt they were trying to push her to do so.

That is typical of hundreds of interviews in the most extensive and expensive fishing expedition in Scottish police history. That turned up nothing. Zilch. Nada.

What the police did get was eye witness evidence that several of the allegations they had been handed by the closed group were fabricated. Two eye witnesses, for example, appeared in court who had been within six feet of the alleged buttock grab during a Stirling Castle photocall. Both had been watching the photo being taken. Both testified nothing had happened. The police had that evidence. But they ignored it. A more startling example is below.

You may be interested to know the police also spent a great deal of time attempting to substantiate the “incident” at Edinburgh airport that has been so frequently recycled by the mainstream media over years. MI5 also hired a London security consultancy to work on this story. The reason so many resouces were expended is that they were desperate to stand up this claim as the only incident from outside the tiny cabal of Scottish government insiders.

They discovered the actual Edinburgh airport “incident” was that Alex Salmond had made a rather excruciating pun about “killer heels” when the footwear of a female member of staff had set off the security scanner gate. This had been reported as a sexist comment in the context of a much wider dispute about staff conditions. That is it. “Killer heels”. A joke. No charge arose from this particular substantial waste of police time, in which the involvement of MI5 is highly noteworthy.

You will probably know that I too faced politically motivated accusations of sexual misconduct from the state, in my case the FCO, when I blew the whistle on British government collusion in torture and extraordinary rendition. I too was eventually cleared of all charges. When you are facing such charges, there comes a moment when you reveal the evidence to those defending you. They, of course, will not necessarily have presumed your innocence. I recount in Murder in Samarkand this moment in my own case, when after going through all the evidence my representative turned to me and said in some astonishment “You really didn’t do any of this, did you?”. He had been disinclined to believe the British government really was trying to fit me up, until he saw the evidence.

In Alex Salmond’s case, after going through all the evidence, his legal team were utterly bemused as to why it was Alex Salmond who was being prosecuted; rather than the members of the WhatsApp group and senders of the other messages, texts and emails being prosecuted for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. There could not be a plainer conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Not only were members of this very small political grouping orchestrating complaints in the documented communications, they were encouraging their creation.

It is much worse than that. There is plain reference to active and incorrect communication from the SNP hierarchy to Police Scotland and the Crown Office.The reason that Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscal’s office prosecuted the victim of the conspiracy rather than the conspirators, is that they had themselves been politically hijacked to be part of the fit-up. I fully realise the implications of that statement and I make it with the greatest care. Let me say it again. The reason that Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscal’s office prosecuted the victim of the conspiracy rather than the conspirators, is that they had themselves been politically hijacked to be part of the fit-up. Just how profound are the ramifications of this case for the Scottish establishment has so far been appreciated by very few people.

Alex Salmond’s counsel, in his summing up for the defence, said that the evidence of collusion and conspiracy in the case “stinks”. It certainly does; and the stench goes an awful long way. A new unionist online meme today is to ask why the accusers would put themselves at risk of prosecution for perjury. The answer is that there is no such risk; the police and prosecutors, the Scottish government including, but not only, as represented by the accusers, have all been part of the same joint enterprise to stitch up Alex Salmond. That is why there is still no investigation into perjury or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, despite the evidence not just of the trial but of the documents and texts which the judge prevented from being led as “collateral”.

I cannot begin to imagine how evil you have to be to attempt falsely to convict someone of that most vicious, most unforgivable of crimes – rape. But it is impossible to have followed the trial, still more impossible to know the evidence that the judge ruled inadmissible as collateral, without forming the view that this was a deliberate, a most wicked, conspiracy to fit him up on these charges. Furthermore it was a conspiracy that incorporated almost the entire Establishment – a conspiracy that included a corrupt Scottish Government, a corrupt Crown Office, a corrupt Scottish Police and an uniformly corrupt media.

Coverage of the trial was a disgrace. The most salacious accusations of the odious prosecutor were selected and magnified into massive headlines. The defence witnesses were almost totally ignored and unreported. The entire stream of evidence from credible witnesses that disproved the prosecution case in its entirety was simply never presented in the papers, still less on radio and TV. A great deal of that evidence proved that prosecution witnesses were not merely mistaken, but had been deliberately and coldly lying.

Let us consider the lead accusation, that of attempted rape. I want you honestly to consider whether or not this should have been brought before the court.

Woman H claimed that Salmond attempted to rape her after a small dinner with Alex Salmond, an actor (the publication of whose name the court banned), and Ms Samantha Barber, a company director. Salmond gave evidence that the entire story was completely untrue and the woman had not even been there that evening. Samantha Barber gave evidence that she knows woman H well, had been a guest at her wedding reception, and that woman H had phoned and asked her to attend the dinner with the specific explanation she could not be there herself. Indeed, affirmed Ms Barber, woman H definitely was not there. She had given that firm evidence to the police.

Against that, there was a vague statement by the actor that he believed a fourth person had been present, but he described her hair colour as different to woman H, described her as wearing jeans when woman H said she was wearing a dress, and did not say the woman had her arm in a sling – which it was established woman H’s arm was at that time. One arm in a sling would be pretty debilitating in eating and the sort of detail about a fellow diner at a very small dinner party you would likely remember.

Given the very firm statement from Samantha Barber, her friend, that woman H was definitely not there, a number of lawyers and police officers with whom I have discussed this have all been perplexed that the charge was brought at all, with such a strong witness to rebut it, given that the police were relying on an extremely tentative identification from the actor (who did not appear in court to be cross-examined). The truth is, as the jury found, that woman H was not physically there when she said the incident took place. Woman H had lied. More importantly, the evidence available to the police and prosecutor fiscal showed that there was never any realistic prospect of conviction.

So why was the charge brought?

You might also wish to consider this. While the jury was considering its verdict, two members of the jury were removed. Here I know more than I can legally say at present. That might be put together with the chance that somebody was tailing Alex Salmond’s defence counsel and video recording his conversation on a train. If you look at the recording, it is obvious that if it were being taken with a mobile phone, that act of recording would have been very plainly visible to Mr Jackson. It appears far more likely this was done with a concealed device, possibly routed through a mobile phone for purposes of metadata.

I only have definite good source information on MI5 involvement in the attempt to dredge up charges at Edinburgh airport. While I have no direct evidence the juror expulsion or the Jackson tape were underlain by security service surveillance, I am very suspicious given the knowledge that MI5 were engaged in the witch-hunt. Which of course also begs the question that if any of the alleged incidents inside Bute House were true, the state would by now have produced the MI5 or GCHQ/NSA recordings to prove it (claiming they were sourced from elsewhere). Salmond has been considered by them a threat to the UK state for decades, and not only over Scottish Independence.

I also ask you to consider who has been, and who has not been, persecuted. Alex Salmond stood in the dock facing total ruin. The conspirators have faced not even questioning about their collusion.

I have published the only detailed account of the defence case. In consequence not only was I slung out of court by the judge on a motion of the prosecution, and threatened with jail by the Crown Office for contempt of court, the judge also made an order making it illegal to publish the fact that I had been barred from the court, in effect a super injunction. Yet the mainstream media, who published ludicrously selective and salacious extracts from the proceedings designed deliberately to make Salmond appear guilty, have received no threats from the Crown Office. They continue to churn out article after article effectively claiming Salmond is guilty and massively distorting the facts of the case.

One consequence of the extreme media bias is that lies which were told by the prosecution are still being repeated as fact. The lie that a policy and/or practice was put into place to prevent women working alone in the evenings with Alex Salmond, was comprehensively demolished by four separate senior civil service witnesses, one of them a prosecution witness. That was never media reported and the lie is still continually repeated.

It is only the person who published the truth, as agreed by the jury, who faces hostile action from the state.

Because the only thing that was not fixed about this entire affair was the jury. And they may well have contrived to nobble even that with jury expulsion.

We should be very grateful to that jury of solid Edinburgh citizens, two thirds of them female. They were diligent, they did their duty, and they thwarted a great injustice in the midst of a media hanging frenzy that has to have impacted upon them, and probably still does.

I would however state that, up until she inexplicably expelled me from the court, I had found Lady Dorrian’s handling of the trial entirely fair and reasonable. Equally it was a judicial decision in the Court of Session that had found the Scottish Government process against Salmond to be “unlawful, unfair and tainted by apparent bias”.

Which brings me on to the role of the Head of the Scottish Civil Service, Leslie Evans. “We may have lost a battle, but we will win the war”. That is how, in January 2019, Leslie Evans had messaged a colleague the day they lost in the Court of Session. It is an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of these people that the colleague she messaged was in the Maldives at the time.

It is incredible that after a process Evans claimed in court to have “established” was described as unlawful and unfair by a very senior judge, her first thought was on “winning the war”. That message alone is sufficient to sack Leslie Evans. Is shows that rather than being a civil servant engaged in an effort to administer justly, she was engaged as parti pris in a bitter battle to take down Alex Salmond. She would not even accept the verdict of the Court of Session. It astonishes me, as a former member for six years of the senior civil service myself, that any civil servant could commit themselves in that way to try ruthlessly to take down a former First Minister, with no heed whatsoever either to fair process or to the decision of the courts.

It is quite simply astonishing that Ms Evans has not been sacked.

Well, Leslie Evans did carry on her war. At the cost of many millions to the Scottish taxpayer, she has now lost the battle in both Scotland’s highest civil court and in Scotland’s highest criminal court. The campaign to destroy Salmond has been trounced in both the Court of Session and the High Court. That Leslie Evans is still in post is a national scandal. That Nicola Sturgeon a few weeks ago extended Evans’ tenure by a further two years is an appalling misjudgment.

Evans has a particularly unionist outlook and regards her role as head of the Scottish civil service as equivalent to a departmental permanent secretary of the United Kingdom. Evans spends a great deal of time in London. Unlike her predecessor, who regarded Scotland as separate, Evans regularly attends the weekly “Wednesday Morning Colleagues” (WMC) meeting of Whitehall permanent secretaries, chaired by the Westminster Cabinet Secretary. She much values her position in the UK establishment. What kind of Head of the Scottish Civil Service spends the middle of the week in London?

Rather than any action being taken against the perpetrators of this disgraceful attempt to pervert the course of justice, even after their plot has been roundly rejected in the High Court, the Scottish Government appears to be doubling down in its accusations against Alex Salmond through the medium of the state and corporate media, which is acting in complete unison. It has now been widely briefed against Salmond that Police Scotland has passed a dossier to the Metropolitan Police on four other accusations, set at Westminster.

What the media has not told you is that these accusations are from exactly the same group of conspirators; indeed from some of the actual same accusers. They also do not tell you that these accusations are even weaker than those pursued in Scotland.

In the massive effort to prove “pattern of behaviour” in Alex Salmond’s recent trial, incidents which happened outwith Scottish jurisdiction could be presented as evidence in a separate “docket”. Thus the defence heard evidence from the “Chinese docket” of Salmond “attempting to touch” a colleague’s hair in a hotel lift in China. Well, the London “docket” was considered even weaker than that, so it was not led in the Edinburgh trial. The idea that Leslie Evans’ “war” against Salmond will be won in an English court, having failed in both the civil and criminal Scottish courts, is just black propaganda.

As is the continued campaign to claim that Salmond is really guilty, carried on by Rape Crisis Scotland. They yesterday published a statement by the nine anonymous accusers attacking Salmond further, and rather amusingly the nine wrote together to deny they were associated with each other. It seems to me entirely illegitimate for this group to be able to conduct a continued campaign of political harassment of Alex Salmond from behind the cloak of state-enforced anonymity, after he has been acquitted of all charges. I understand the reasoning behind anonymity for accusers in sex allegations. But surely state backed anonymity should not be used to enable the continued repetition of false accusations without fear of defamation law, after the jury has acquitted? That is perverse.

It is also a fact that Rape Crisis Scotland is just another instrument of the Scottish government, being almost entirely funded by the Scottish government. There is a very serious infringement of public conduct here. One of the nine conspirators, whose statement is being amplified by Rape Crisis Scotland, is personally very directly involved in the channeling of government money to Rape Crisis Scotland. That is a gross abuse of office and conflict of interest and should be a resignation matter. Here again, direct wrongdoing is being carried out from behind the screen of state-backed anonymity.

Let me give you this thought. Alex Salmond having been acquitted, you would think that the unionist media would seek to capitalise by training its guns on those at the head of the SNP who sought to frame him, who after all are still in power. But instead, the unionist media is entirely committed to attacking Salmond, in defiance of all the facts of the case. That shows you who it is the British establishment are really afraid of. It also confirms what I have been saying for years, that the SNP careerist establishment have no genuine interest in Scottish Independence and are not perceived by Whitehall as a threat to the union. And in that judgement at least, Whitehall is right.

I should state that in this article I have, absolutely against my own instincts, deferred to Alex Salmond’s noble but in my view over-generous wish to wait until the Covid-19 virus has passed before giving all the names of those involved and presenting the supporting documents. I have therefore removed several names from this article. Alex Salmond believes that it is wrong to move on this at a time when many people are suffering and grieving, and he has stated that it would indeed be narcissistic to think of his own troubles at this time of wider calamity. I find this extremely upsetting when his enemies are showing absolutely no respect nor restraint whatsoever and are engaged in full-on attack on his reputation. I can assure you this is even more frustrating for me than for you. But while the mills of God grind slowly, they grind exceedingly small.

Those who do not know Scotland are astonished that the Alex Salmond trial and its fallout have not damaged support in the polls for Independence nor even for the SNP. I am not in the least surprised – the reawakening of the national consciousness of the Scottish people is an unstoppable process. If you want to see it, look not at any single politician but at the mass enthusiasm of one of the great, self-organised AUOB marches. The spirit of Independence rides the SNP as the available vehicle to achieve its ends. It is no longer primarily inspired nor controlled by the SNP – indeed the SNP leadership is blatantly trying to dampen it down, with only marginal success. This great movement of a nation is not to be disturbed by fleeting events.

That is not to underplay the importance of events for those caught up in them. As Alex Salmond stood in the dock, he was very probably staring at the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison, of never being with his wife Moira again, and of having his reputation as Scotland’s greatest national leader for centuries erased. The party hierarchy had already overseen the Stalinesque scrubbing of his image and name from all online content under the SNP’s control. The future now looks very different, and I am cheered by the brighter horizon.

Let me finish this article by observing that the British state continues to keep the unconvicted Julian Assange in conditions of appalling detention and receiving brutal personal treatment reserved normally for the most dangerous terrorists. The British state has refused to let Assange out of jail to avert the danger of Covid-19. By contrast the government of Iran has allowed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe out of prison to reduce her danger from the epidemic. Which of these governments is portrayed as evil by the state and corporate media?

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trump’s Narcoterrorism Indictment of Maduro Already Backfires
https://www.pressenza.com/2020/03/trumps-narcoterrorism-indictment-of- maduro-already-backfires/

27.03.2020 - US, United States - Codepink
Trump’s Narcoterrorism Indictment of Maduro Already Backfires
Attorney General William Barr presenting indictments against the Venezuelan government.

By Leonardo Flores

For twenty years, right wing extremists in Miami and Washington have been slandering the Venezuelan government, accusing it of drug trafficking and harboring terrorists without ever offering even a shred of evidence. They finally got their wish on Thursday, when the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled indictments against President Nicolás Maduro and 13 other current or former members of Venezuela’s government and military. In addition to the indictments, Attorney General William Barr offered a $15 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Maduro, as well as $10 million rewards for Diosdado Cabello (president of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly), Tarek El Aissami (vice president for the economy), Hugo Carvajal (former director of military intelligence) and Cliver Alcalá (retired general).

The indictment has backfired already. Hours after the announcement, Alcalá posted videos online that threaten to cause further splits in the opposition and could result in the arrest of Juan Guaidó. Before going into those details, however, it’s important to understand just how politically biased the charges are against Maduro et al.

The myth that Venezuela is a narco-state has already been debunked by the Washington Office in Latin America, a think tank in Washington that supports regime change, as well as by FAIR, 15 y Último, Misión Verdad, Venezuelanalysis and others. It cannot be denied that Venezuela is a transit country for cocaine, but as the maps above and below show, less than 7% of total drug movement from South America transits from Venezuela (the Eastern Caribbean region includes Colombia’s Guajira Peninsula). These maps, produced by the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Southern Command, respectively, immediately raise questions as to why Venezuela is the country being targeted.

Maritime drug flows from South America in 2017. Photo: Adam Isaacson

Of course, the charges have nothing to do with the drug trade; they are the latest escalation in the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure March.” The pretext is an alleged plot by the Venezuelan government to flood the United States with “somewhere between 200-250 metric tons of cocaine.” Although that figure might seem high, it’s important to understand the context. The United States is the world’s biggest consumer of cocaine and Colombia is the world’s biggest producer. On the other hand, Venezuela does not cultivate coca, does not produce cocaine and, according to the U.S. government’s own figures, less than 10% of global cocaine traffic transits through the country.

For the sake of comparison, the U.S. agencies that provided Barr with the figure of “200-250 tons” also say that an average of nearly 2,400 tons of cocaine flowed through Colombia between 2016 and 2019 (Venezuela averaged 216 tons – ten times less – in the same period). Colombia’s current president, Iván Duque, is a close ally of the country’s former president, Alvaro Uribe, who himself has been linked to drug trafficking. Almost exactly a year ago, President Trump complained that “more drugs are coming out of Colombia right now than before” Duque was president, yet the U.S. continues giving millions in security aid to Colombia as part of its failed war on drugs.

The U.S double standard about narco-states is not limited to Colombia. Honduras’s U.S.-backed president, Juan Orlando Hernández, was linked to drug trafficking in a U.S. court, yet this news did not warrant a major announcement by the DOJ, presumably because Hernández is a U.S. ally. Another U.S. ally, Guatemala, had six times as much cocaine flow through its territory as Venezuela.

The indictments are another brick in the foundation for a pretext for either a direct U.S. military invasion or a proxy war using Colombian forces. There are obvious comparisons to 1989, when the U.S. put a $1 million bounty on Panamanian president Manuel Noriega, only to subsequently invade the country, causing an estimated 4,000 deaths. The rewards the U.S. is offering for Maduro and four others are also troubling, as they have already been compared to a bounty. Maduro has already survived at least one assassination attempt (in August 2018 when drones laden with explosives detonated prematurely), and the rewards could be interpreted as, at minimum, a “get out of jail free” card should someone succeed in murdering him. On the other hand, the rewards verify what the Venezuelan government has been saying all along: the U.S. is offering millions of dollars for people to turn on the country’s leadership.

Yet the Trump administration appears to have made a serious miscalculation by including the retired General Alcalá in the indictments. A former ally of ex-president Hugo Chávez, Alcalá joined the opposition in 2015 and has been linked to various coup plots and planned terror attacks since 2016. He is the highest profile former officer to turn against Maduro and is considered the “leader of pro-Guaidó military personnel.” Alcalá is now wanted both by the United States and by Venezuela.

Alcalá is implicated in a recent plot to attack the Maduro government. On March 24, Colombian authorities seized a truck full of weapons and military equipment, including 26 assault rifles, worth $500,000. Venezuelan intelligence services linked the weapons to three camps in Colombia where paramilitary groups of Venezuelan deserters and U.S. mercenaries are training to carry out attacks against Venezuela. According to Venezuela’s Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez, these groups were planning to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to attack military units and plant bombs. He also linked the groups to Alcalá.

These allegations proved to be correct, as Alcalá, in a video he posted online hours after the indictments, admitted that the weapons were under his command. He further admitted that the weapons were purchased with funds given to him by Juan Guaidó, with whom he allegedly signed a contract. Additionally, Alcala claimed that the operation was planned by U.S. advisors, with whom he supposedly met at least seven times. Aclalá also alleged that Leopoldo López, the founder of Guaidó’s party Voluntad Popular who was sprung from house arrest during Guaidó’s April 30 attempted insurrection, had full knowledge of the terror plot.

As a result of these videos, Venezuela’s Attorney General has opened an investigation into Juan Guaidó for an attempted coup. Despite Guaidó’s self-proclamation as president in January 2019, his attempted insurrection in April 2019, his repeated calls for sanctions and a military invasion, Venezuelan authorities had refrained from moving against him. The U.S. indictments appear to have caused the Venezuelan government to issue its strongest response to the Trump administration’s and Guaidó’s continued provocations.

Of course, if the Trump administration were truly serious about combating terror, corruption and drug trafficking, the first Venezuelan they should look at ought to be Juan Guaidó. After all, he was photographed with members of the infamous Los Rastrojos drug cartel, who allegedly helped him cross into Colombia in exchange for his turning a blind eye to the cartel’s expansion from Colombia into western Venezuela. Guaidó’s team in Colombia embezzled humanitarian aid funds and now he has been directly implicated in a terror plot, one which presumably used money given to him by the United States (as that is his only source of financing).

The revelations about Guaidó’s spending of U.S. funds to buy weapons and his alleged involvement in yet another violent plot are putting pressure on opposition figures and parties that have hinted at wanting to participate in this year’s legislative elections but have yet to fully commit to dialogue. A day before the U.S. indictments were revealed, President Maduro invited several of these leaders to join a dialogue in the Apostolic Nuncio (the Vatican’s embassy in Caracas) in order to try to reach consensus over the nation’s response to COVID-19. Now they are faced with the difficult choice of either angering Venezuelan voters (83% of whom reject a military option) by continuing to support Guaidó’s violence or angering the United States by working with indicted government officials.

The Trump administration has been sabotaging a negotiated solution to Venezuela’s problems for two years, including in February 2018, when it threatened an oil embargo and support for a coup during negotiations between the government and the opposition in the Dominican Republic, and again in August 2019, when it imposed a full embargo during another attempt at dialogue. These new indictments, which even the New York Times described as “highly unusual”, seemed timed to sabotage negotiations once again, as earlier in the week members of the moderate opposition, including National Assembly president Luis Parra, had recently urged the U.S. to lift the sanctions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet another blunder with the indictments is that the Trump administration is sending contradictory messages. On the one hand, they have spent three years urging high level Venezuelan government and military officials to defect, promising space to operate politically after a transition government comes into power. On the other, they indicted the most high-profile member of the military who has defected, Cliver Alcalá, on serious charges of narcoterrorism.

The brazenness of the indictments in attempting to cast Venezuela as a narco-state, the lack of foresight regarding possible repercussions, the attempted sabotage of dialogue and the mixed messaging are all signals that the Trump administration is desperate to ensure its regime change policy shows results. The victims of this policy are the Venezuelan people, who would be much better off with a policy of de-escalation, dialogue and a removal of the deadly sanctions.

Leonardo Flores is Latin American policy expert and campaigner with CODEPINK.

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