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Brilliant comments on Zerohedge sum up the pathetic and desperate EU attempt to freeze Russian assets

The asset freezes enforce a judgment in Khodorkovsky’s favor that is procedurally flawed, grotesquely biased and still under appeal. It also contradicts a far more balanced and proper judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. Zerohedge commenters pounce on the EU criminality.

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By now most readers of this site should be well aware of the EU’s latest childish and illegal attempt to humiliate Russia by seizing assets in Belgium and France during the showcase St. Petersburg Economic Forum. What the entire incidence shows us is how desperate the west is getting in trying to stick it to Russia.

It also shows all Europeans to what length the Brussels will go to help one of their own, in this case convicted mafia boss and tax evader Mikhail Khodorkovsky…a man so vile that for nearly the entire 1990’s he stole billions from the Russian state while watching his very own citizens suffer from poverty.

The EU loves to help these guys…as far as their very own citizens struggling to find work and make a living…not so much.

Zeroehdge comments on this story were outstanding…

NoDebt – New cold war.  Only this time it’s the West that is banging the heel of its shoe on the podium and screaming incoherently.

Latina Lover – The western banksters are getting increasingly desperate. Stealing Russia’s assets in Europe via a EU kangaroo court will further increase Putins support, as even more Russians realize they are at war with the USSA/EU.  The actions was launched to piss on Putin at the Russian Economic Forum, but also to distract the sheeple from the Grexit.

froze25 – Bilderberg just finished up, the bankster troops have their marching orders.  Let the games begin.  I would stock up on canned goods and water quickly.  Ammo too.

suteibu – This is an old trick.  The US played this same gambit against Japan in the late30s/early 40s.

To assume they are tinkering with something that could spin out of control is naive.  This is their path to war, their game of chicken in which Russia will either bow to them or they will wage war.

Latina Lover – Stealing Russia’s assets is a desperate move to prop up the failing central bankster ponzi system. Without new assets, the ponzi scheme will collapse.

PutinReloaded – It’s only the US needs that needs a war. Russia can just stay firm and coplete the de-dollarization of Eurasia, by then the US wil have melt like wax.

Savyindallas – They have no choice. They have pretty much looted and stolen all there is to steal from their own people.

Brazen Heist – Even a 15 year old can see this was a politicized move made in distaste. So far I see its the Western governments that are the offensive ones, the ones losing control, the ones having a go and playing with fire…they are desperate for conflict….Russia, China just react defensively to this shit-slinging, and get lambasted by the “free” press for standing up to the shit show narrative most sheeple are expected to swallow.

Savyindallas – As can be seen here on ZH, more and more people in the West are siding with Russia, as we see the insanity of Western governments that are acting against the best interests of their own people. Here in America we are saddled with tens of trillions of debt that eventually must be repaid -all for the benefit of billionaire Oligarchs who have been looting this country. Same goes for Europe. And what is the Oligarchs solution?   -massive third world immigration to balkanize the western nations in their strategy of divide and conqu  -and the establishment of a Police State to control the civil unrest which is to come.

Dubaibanker – Bravo Russia! Keep showing the middle finger and stand for your independence and rights!

The fact that G-7 nations keep provoking Russia shows that Russia is moving ahead wisely and in a direction where it protects the rights of its own citizens and also be insulated from any international collapses.

Last 1.5 years, Russians have sold or are continuing to sell all real estate globally, massively reducing travel overseas, closing overseas bank accounts, using tax amnesty in Russia since Dec 2014 and hence strengthening the domectic economy.

At a time, when all countries need more tourism or more real estate buyers, such actions by EU and US are causing themselves more harm than to Russia!

Idiotic!

Alexander Mercouris:

News about the freezing of Russian assets in France and Belgium will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Khodorkovsky case.

The asset freezes will almost certainly be relaxed or lifted over the new few weeks because they are legally dubious.

To understand why, it is necessary to explain the nature of the case.

First, I should explain that there are two completely different judgments by two completely different courts in the Khodorkovsky case.

The first was made by the European Court of Human Rights. The second was made by the International Commercial Arbitration Tribunal in the Hague

The right of the European Court of Human Rights to look into Khodorkovsky’s case is undisputed.

The European Court of Human Rights administers the European Convention of Human Rights. Russia has signed and ratified the Convention and is bound by it. The Convention requires Russia to prosecute its cases properly and to ensure that any case brought to trial is conducted properly and fairly.

The European Court of Human Rights decided that the case Russia brought against Khodorkovsky by and large met those criteria. It decided that Khodorkovsky is a crook who defrauded the Russian state of billions by engaging in massive tax evasion. It decided that the Russian state was right to bring legal proceedings against him. The claim it did so for purely political reasons — because Khodorkovsky was a political threat to the Russian government — is untrue.

Though the European Court of Human Rights decided that the conduct of proceedings Russia brought against Khodorkovsky on the tax evasion charges was by and large fair, it did identify certain serious procedural mistakes committed by the Russian authorities in their haste to act against Khodorkovsky and his company Yukos. It awarded Yukos’s shareholders $1.9 billion in compensation.

The right of the Hague Tribunal to look into Khodorkovsky’s case is by contrast hotly disputed, and not just by the Russians.

It claimed the right to do so on the strength of Russia’s signature to the EU’s Energy Charter.

Russia did sign the Energy Charter but refused to ratify it. Russia has insisted that it is not bound by the Energy Charter.

Up to now this has been accepted by everybody – including the EU. Indeed the EU constantly complains about it.

A string of top lawyers, not all of them Russian (one was a top British barrister) advised the Hague Tribunal that Russia is not bound by the EU’s Energy Charter and that the Hague Tribunal therefore has no standing to hear the case.

The Hague Tribunal paid no attention and incredibly decided that Russia is bound by the Energy Charter and that it would hear the case.

Having made that frankly astonishing decision, the Hague Tribunal then proceeded to hear the case.

The European Court of Human Rights, when it looked into the case, refused to retry the whole case against Khodorkovsky, saying this was a matter for the Russian courts. It looked instead into whether the case against Khodorkovsky in Russia had been properly and fairly conducted. It decided that by and large it was.

The Hague Tribunal simply ignored what the Russian courts did and proceeded to retry the whole case. It did not explain its grounds for doing so. On the face it of that looks like a gross violation of Russia’s sovereignty and of Russia’s right to try its own cases in its own courts.

Having made that equally astonishing decision, the Hague Tribunal then accepted uncritically the evidence of Khodorkovsky and Nevzlin (Yukos’ vice president) that the case against Khodorkovsky was politically motivated, ignoring all evidence to the contrary, even though it was forced to admit that Khodorkovsky and his company Yukos had arranged their tax affairs in a way that broke Russian law.

Not surprisingly, given the obvious bias, the Hague Tribunal then decided the case against Russia and said Yukos had been illegally seized.

Where the European Court of Human Rights awarded Yukos’s shareholders $1.9 billion, the Hague Tribunal then awarded them a whopping $50 billion – an amount it did not explain and which is completely unprecedented in any legal judgment.

The judgments of the two courts therefore completely contradict each other.

No jurist comparing the two courts would have any doubt that it is the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights that is the better, more legitimate one.

Not only is the European Court of Human Rights a much more prestigious and authoritative court than the Hague Tribunal. As the court set up to administer the European Convention of Human Rights it is also the only proper court to decide what ought to have been the only valid question in the case – which was whether the case brought against Khodorkovsky in Russia was properly and fairly conducted or not.

By contrast the judgment in the Hague Tribunal is not only wrong but grotesquely biased – to the point of absurdity.

Russia has made it clear it will not pay either judgment.

It is right not to pay the Hague judgment, which is wrong and absurd.

As for the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, I suspect the reason the Russians refuse to pay this judgment is that they suspect that the person hiding behind the “Yukos shareholders” (and who would in the end get most of the money) is none other than Khodorkovsky himself.

The asset freezes in France and Belgium were made under the Hague judgment, not the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.

What is bizarre about that is that the Hague judgment is under appeal. The much smaller — and better — European Court of Human Rights judgment is not under appeal since Russia’s appeal against that judgment has been rejected.

The asset freezes do not just affect the property of the Russian government. They affect the assets of all sorts of other Russian individuals and entities, including the Orthodox Church. As these had no part in the Khodorkovsky case and no connection to Yukos, there were no legal grounds for freezing their assets. Doing so was illegal.

Russia has had to face this sort of thing before – legally dubious and in some cases straightforwardly illegal asset freezes directed not just at the Russian state but at Russian individuals and entities, made on the strength of biased and legally dubious judgments.

They should be seen for what they are – acts of harassment directed at Russia during times of international tension.

In this case the asset freezes seem to have been timed to coincide with the EU’s decision to extend the sanctions against Russia and with the opening of the economic forum in St. Petersburg, whose mood some people obviously wanted to spoil.

The Russians know how to deal with this sort of thing. As Russian officials have said, they were expecting it.

There are numerous legal countermoves they can take, especially when some of the asset freezes are obviously illegal, and when they are made to enforce an obviously biased judgment, which is under appeal.

The Russians have also made it clear that they have no intention of paying the sums awarded under either judgment.

Though legal action of one sort or another will doubtless go on for a long time, the eventual outcome is not in doubt .

The Yukos shareholders — whether or not Khodorkovsky is behind them — will see at most only a fraction of the money they are claiming, and quite possibly nothing.

References:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-19/furious-russia-will-respond-kind-europes-political-asset-seizures?page=1

 

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Is Silicon Valley Morphing Into The Morality Police?

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

The Duran

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Authored by Adrian Cohen via Creators.com:


Silicon Valley used to be technology companies. But it has become the “morality police,” controlling free speech on its platforms.

What could go wrong?

In a speech Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

“Hate tries to make its headquarters in the digital world. At Apple, we believe that technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge. There is no time to get tied up in knots. That’s why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms.”

Here’s the goliath problem:

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

Will Christians who don’t support abortion rights or having their tax dollars go toward Planned Parenthood be considered purveyors of hate for denying women the right to choose? Will millions of Americans who support legal immigration, as opposed to illegal immigration, be labeled xenophobes or racists and be banned from the digital world?

Yes and yes. How do we know? It’s already happening, as scores of conservatives nationwide are being shadow banned and/or censored on social media, YouTube, Google and beyond.

Their crime?

Running afoul of leftist Silicon Valley executives who demand conformity of thought and simply won’t tolerate any viewpoint that strays from their rigid political orthodoxy.

For context, consider that in oppressive Islamist regimes throughout the Middle East, the “morality police” take it upon themselves to judge women’s appearance, and if a woman doesn’t conform with their mandatory and highly restrictive dress code — e.g., wearing an identity-cloaking burqa — she could be publicly shamed, arrested or even stoned in the town square.

In modern-day America, powerful technology companies are actively taking the role of the de facto morality police — not when it comes to dress but when it comes to speech — affecting millions. Yes, to date, those affected are not getting stoned, but they are being blocked in the digital town square, where billions around the globe do their business, cultivate their livelihoods, connect with others and get news.

That is a powerful cudgel to levy against individuals and groups of people. Wouldn’t you say?

Right now, unelected tech billionaires living in a bubble in Palo Alto — when they’re not flying private to cushy climate summits in Davos — are deciding who gets to enjoy the freedom of speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and who does not based on whether they agree with people’s political views and opinions or not.

You see how dangerous this can get — real fast — as partisan liberal elites running Twitter, Facebook, Google (including YouTube), Apple and the like are now dictating to Americans what they can and cannot say online.

In communist regimes, these types of folks are known as central planners.

The election of Donald Trump was supposed to safeguard our freedoms, especially regarding speech — a foundational pillar of a democracy. It’s disappointing that hasn’t happened, as the censorship of conservative thought online has gotten so extreme and out of control many are simply logging off for good.

A failure to address this mammoth issue could cost Trump in 2020. If his supporters are blocked online — where most voters get their news — he’ll be a one-term president.

It’s time for Congress to act before the morality police use political correctness as a Trojan horse to decide our next election.

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Paul Craig Roberts: The Disintegration of Western Society

Feminists brought this madness onto themselves.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


Radical feminists are now being banned by Twitter not because they hate men, which is perfectly OK as far as Twitter is concerned, but because they object to “transwomen.”

What is a “transwoman?” As far as I can understand, a “transwoman” is a male with a penis who declares himself to be a women and demands his right to use women’s toilette facilities along with the women who are using them.

The feminist, Meghan Murphy, twittered a statement and a question:

“Men are not women.”

“How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between men and transwomen?”

Twitter described this as “hateful conduct” and banned Meghan Murphy. https://quillette.com/2018/11/28/twitters-trans-activist-decree/

There you have it. Yesterday it was feminists who were exercising their special society-bestowed privileges to censor. Today it is the feminists who are being censored. As this insanity of “Western Civilization” continues, tomorrow it will be the transwomen who are censored and banned.

What precisely is afoot?

My readers, who have partially and some wholly escaped from The Matrix, understand that this is the further fragmentation of American society. Identity Politics has set men, women, blacks, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, and white people against one another. Identity Politics is the essence of the Democratic Party and the American liberal/progressive/left. Now, with the creation of “new” but otherwise nonexistent “genders,” although they are honored as real by the controlled whores who masquerade as a “Western media,” we witness radical feminists being silenced by men pretending to be women.

I sympathize with Meghan Murphy, but she brought this on herself and on the rest of us by accepting Identity Politics. Identity Politics gave Meghan a justification for hating men even, as she failed to realize, it provided the basis for moving her into the exploitative class that must be censored.

Where does this end?

It has already gone far enough that the American population is so divided and mutually hostile that there is no restraint by “the American people” on government and the elite oligarchs that rule. “The American people” are no longer a reality but a mythical creature like the unicorn.

The film, The Matrix, is the greatest film of out lifetime. Why? Because it shows that there are two realities. A real one of which only a few people are aware, and a virtual one in which eveyone else lives.

In the United States today, and throughout “Western Brainwashed Civilization,” only a handful of people exist who are capable of differentiating the real from the created reality in which all explanations are controlled and kept as far away from the truth as possible. Everything that every Western government and “news” organization says is a lie to control the explanations that we are fed in order to keep us locked in The Matrix.

The ability to control people’s understandings is so extraordinary that, despite massive evidence to the contrary, Americans believe that Oswald, acting alone, was the best shot in human history and using magic bullets killed President John F. Kenndy; that a handful of Saudi Arabians who demonstratively could not fly airplanes outwitted the American national security state and brought down 3 World Trade Center skyscrapers and part of the Pentagon; that Saddam Hussein had and was going to use on the US “weapons of mass destruction;” that Assad “used chemical weapons” against “his own people;” that Libya’s Gaddifi gave his soldiers Viagra so they could better rape Libyan women; that Russia “invaded Ukraine;” that Trump and Putin stole the presidential election from Hillary.

The construction of a make-believe reality guarantees the US military/security complex’s annual budget of $1,000 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money even as Congress debates cutting Social Security in order to divert more largess to the pockets of the corrupt military/security complex.

Readers ask me what they can do about it. Nothing, except revolt and cleanse the system, precisely as Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said.

Is Thomas Jefferson Alive and Well In Paris?

If this report is correct, pray the revolt spreads to the US.

https://www.infowars.com/video-french-police-remove-helmets-in-solidarity-with-yellow-vest-protesters/

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Google Employees debated burying conservative media in search

Google engineer Scott Byer falsely labeled The Daily Caller and Breitbart as “opinion blogs” and urged his coworkers to reduce their visibility in search results.

The Daily Caller

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Via The Daily Caller


  • Google employees debated whether to bury The Daily Caller and other conservative media outlets in the company’s search function as a response to President Donald Trump’s election
  • “Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years,” one engineer wrote in a thread that included a Google vice president
  • Google employees similarly sought to manipulate search results to combat Trump’s travel ban

Google employees debated whether to bury conservative media outlets in the company’s search function as a response to President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, internal Google communications obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation reveal.

The Daily Caller and Breitbart were specifically singled out as outlets to potentially bury, the communications reveal.

Trump’s election in 2016 shocked many Google employees, who had been counting on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win.

Communications obtained by TheDCNF show that internal Google discussions went beyond expressing remorse over Clinton’s loss to actually discussing ways Google could prevent Trump from winning again.

“This was an election of false equivalencies, and Google, sadly, had a hand in it,” Google engineer Scott Byer wrote in a Nov. 9, 2016, post reviewed by TheDCNF.

Byer falsely labeled The Daily Caller and Breitbart as “opinion blogs” and urged his coworkers to reduce their visibility in search results.

“How many times did you see the Election now card with items from opinion blogs (Breitbart, Daily Caller) elevated next to legitimate news organizations? That’s something that can and should be fixed,” Byer wrote.

“I think we have a responsibility to expose the quality and truthfulness of sources – because not doing so hides real information under loud noises,” he continued.

“Beyond that, let’s concentrate on teaching critical thinking. A little bit of that would go a long way. Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years – demographics will be on our side.”

Some of Byer’s colleagues expressed concern that manipulating search results could backfire and suggested alternative measures

One Google engineer, Uri Dekel, identified himself as a Clinton supporter but argued that manipulating search results was the wrong route to take.

“Thinking that Breitbart, Drudge, etc. are not ‘legitimate news sources’ is contrary to the beliefs of a major portion of our user base is partially what got us to this mess. MSNBC is not more legit than Drudge just because Rachel Maddow may be more educated / less deplorable / closer to our views, than, say Sean Hannity,” Dekel wrote in a reply to Byer.

“I follow a lot of right wing folks on social networks you could tell something was brewing. We laughed off Drudge’s Instant Polls and all that stuff, but in the end, people go to those sources because they believe that the media doesn’t do it’s job. I’m a Hillary supporter and let’s admit it, the media avoided dealing with the hard questions and issues, which didn’t pay off. By ranking ‘legitimacy’ you’ll just introduce more conspiracy theories,” Dekel added.

“Too many times, Breitbart is just echoing a demonstrably made up story,” Byer wrote in a reply to his original post. He did not cite any examples.

“That happens at MSNBC, too. I don’t want a political judgement. The desire is to break the myth feedback loop, the false equivalency, instead of the current amplification of it,” Byer added.

“What I believe we can do, technically, that avoids the accusations of conspiracy or bias from people who ultimately have a right and obligation to decide what they want to believe, is to get better at displaying the ‘ripples’ and copy-pasta, to trace information to its source, to link to critiques of those sources, and let people decide what sources they believe,” another Google engineer, Mike Brauwerman, suggested.

“Give people a comprehensive but effectively summarized view of the information, not context-free rage-inducing sound-bytes,” he added.

“We’re working on providing users with context around stories so that they can know the bigger picture,” chimed in David Besbris, vice president of engineering at Google.

“We can play a role in providing the full story and educate them about all sides. This doesn’t have to be filtering and can be useful to everyone,” he wrote.

Other employees similarly advocated providing contextual information about media sources in search results, and the company later did so with a short-lived fact check at the end of 2017.

Not only did the fact-check feature target conservative outlets almost exclusively, it was also blatantly wrong. Google’s fact check repeatedly attributed false claims to those outlets, even though they demonstrably never made those claims.

Google pulled the faulty fact-check program in January, crediting TheDCNF’s investigation for the decision.

A Google spokeswoman said that the conversation did not lead to manipulation of search results for political purposes.

“This post shows that far from suppressing Breitbart and Daily Caller, we surfaced these sites regularly in our products. Furthermore, it shows that we value providing people with the full view on stories from a variety of sources,” the spokeswoman told TheDCNF in an email.

“Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology. Our processes and policies do not allow for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies.”

The discussion about whether to bury conservative media outlets isn’t the first evidence that some Google employees have sought to manipulate search results for political ends.

After Trump announced his initial travel ban in January 2017, Google employees discussed ways to manipulate search results in order to push back against the president’s order.

A group of employees brainstormed ways to counter “islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Iran’, etc,” as well as “prejudiced, algorithmically biased search results from search terms ‘Mexico’, ‘Hispanic’, ‘Latino’, etc.”

WATCH:

Trump speculated to The Daily Caller in September that Google and Facebook are trying to affect election outcomes.

“I think they already have,” Trump said, responding to questions about potential election interference by Google and Facebook.

“I mean the true interference in the last election was that — if you look at all, virtually all of those companies are super liberal companies in favor of Hillary Clinton,” he added.

“Maybe I did a better job because I’m good with the Twitter and I’m good at social media, but the truth is they were all on Hillary Clinton’s side, and if you look at what was going on with Facebook and with Google and all of it, they were very much on her side,” Trump continued.

Google this month corrected a “knowledge panel” about a Republican women’s group that labeled them “enablers.”

Google cited Wikipedia for the disparaging description, though a similar change made to Wikipedia’s page for the women’s group was corrected almost immediately. Google left up the digital vandalism for three weeks.

Google apologized in May after search results for the California Republican Party falsely listed “Nazism” as one of the state party’s ideologies.

Then, too, Google blamed manipulation of the party’s Wikipedia page for the inaccurate and disparaging description.

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