Archive for Januar 9th, 2017

9. Januar 2017

Anti-Russia “fake news” campaign rolled out across Europe (wsws.org)

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/01/05/fake-j05.html
By Julie Hyland
5 January 2017

In the aftermath of the November 8 US presidential election, sections of the Democratic Party, the intelligence services and the media have intensified unsubstantiated pre-election claims that the Russian government hacked into Democratic Party email servers to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

The immediate purpose was to distract from the content of the leaked emails, which exposed a conspiracy by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to undermine her challenger in the primaries, Bernie Sanders.

With Trump’s victory, it has become the focus for a ferocious struggle within the ruling elite over foreign policy centred on the issue of what order the US should first aggressively escalate its diplomatic, economic and military offensive—against Russia or China. More fundamentally, its aim is to brand anyone raising questions about foreign policy as the “dupe” of a foreign power and to justify further sweeping censorship, above all against social media.

The same applies to the manufacturing of the fake news scandal in Europe. The divisions within the US over foreign policy are mirrored within and between national ruling elites across the continent. What all agree on, however, is that, whatever side eventually wins out, the agenda of militarism and war requires police-state methods.

This is the content of the resolution passed by the European Parliament on November 23, on “EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties.” The declared aim of the extensive resolution is to combat “third-party actors aiming to discredit” the European Union (EU) that “do not share the same [European] values.”

The resolution then defines as the main “actors” Russia and Daesh (or ISIL) and it is Russia that occupies most of the resolution.

It equates Russia with “transnational terrorist and criminal organisations…” that have “repeatedly engaged in a strategy of deliberate deception and disinformation, especially in the ‘new media’, social networks and the digital sphere…”

Accusing Russia of “information warfare”, the resolution asserts that it “is employing a wide range of tools and instruments” to “challenge democratic values, divide Europe, gather domestic support and create the perception of failed states in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood…”

The resolution specifically cites think tanks such as Russkiy Mir, the RT channel, Sputnik, alongside “internet trolls” and “cross-border social and religious groups…”

No evidence is presented to back up these claims. Nor is the content of the “disinformation” that it alleges ever specified. Rather “information warfare” is presented as any reportage, regardless of whether it is true or false, that undermines the interests of the European bourgeoisie.

While “not all criticism of the EU or its policies necessarily constitutes propaganda or disinformation”, the resolution states, “instances of manipulation or support linked to third countries and intended to fuel or exacerbate this criticism provide grounds to question the reliability of these messages…”

It is on the basis of such spurious equations that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have been forced into hiding and exile, accused of treason and threatened with imprisonment and worse.

Just as sinisterly, the EU resolution decrees “information warfare” to be an undeclared act of war. Such methods form an “integral part of modern hybrid warfare, which is a combination of military and non-military measures of a covert and overt nature, deployed to destabilise the political, economic and social situation of a country under attack, without a formal declaration of war,” the resolution states, “targeting not only partners of the EU, but also the EU itself, its institutions and all Member States and citizens irrespective of their nationality and religion…”

The claim that Russia is engaged in a de facto war against the EU stands reality on its head. There is no doubt that Moscow engages in propaganda against aspects of EU policy, but its actions are only a pale reflection of the unending campaign conducted by the US and the EU over the last period.

Washington, in particular, serves as the largest manufacturer of fake news in the world, as evidenced by the criminal lying claims that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” to justify pre-emptive war in 2003. But not far behind it are the major European powers, who are supporting US disinformation regarding the Syrian civil war, which they helped to ignite, with the same aim.

The “fake news” scandal is part of active and far-advanced efforts, led by the US, to destabilise Russia and encircle it militarily. It was US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland who admitted, in 2014, that Washington had spent $5 billion to secure regime change in Ukraine, just after the so-called Euromaidan protests succeeded in forcing the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych out of office. Representatives from Germany, Poland and France performed the official benediction on his overthrow on behalf of the EU.

The resolution was passed just two weeks after the announcement of NATO’s largest troop deployment against Russia since the Cold War. Its “incumbent response force” is being tripled to 40,000 and hundreds of thousands of troops have been placed on higher alert levels. This month, an additional 4,000 NATO forces are being deployed along Russia’s border in breach of the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act.

Poland has been the most aggressive in demanding such deployments. It is no coincidence that the resolution to the European Parliament was prepared by Polish Deputy, Anna Fotyga, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and a member of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defense (SEDE), aligned with NATO.

By declaring Russia to be engaged in a de facto war against the EU, the resolution’s supporters are seeking to politically legitimise this massive escalation in NATO’s provocations against Moscow. Any criticism or campaign against European support for NATO’s warmongering is to be deemed the work of “Russian trolls” or terrorists.

The motion describes as “hostile propaganda” anything that has the effect of “provoking doubt, dividing Member States, engineering a strategic split between the European Union and its North American partners and paralysing the decision-making process, discrediting the EU institutions and transatlantic partnerships…”

The text indicates the social and political factors driving the resort to authoritarianism. It complains that the “financial crisis and the advance of new forms of digital media have posed serious challenges for quality journalism, leading to a decrease in critical thinking among audiences, thus making them more susceptible to disinformation and manipulation..”

In other words, the huge social gulf that exists between working people in Europe and the ruling elite as a result of the 2008 financial crisis and the EU’s unending policy of austerity means the overwhelming majority of people are hostile to the political establishment and its official media, which they correctly regard as nothing more than propaganda outlets for the interests of the super-rich. This insight, which the resolution slanders as a “decrease in critical thinking,” makes the population far less susceptible to the efforts to dragoon them behind militarism and war.

On this basis, the resolution calls for an intensification of EU and NATO efforts to combine forces, in particular to step up “counterintelligence efforts aimed at countering” so-called “fake news” operations. Daesh/ISIL is also introduced here from the standpoint of justifying a clampdown on social media and new measures against “hate speech”, which is never defined.

The resolution was passed by 304 to 179, with 208 abstentions. However, a minority opinion tabled against the resolution made no mention of the threat to democratic rights through the escalation of state censorship. Its objections centred on complaints that Russia should be regarded by the EU as an ally in the Middle East.

As the resolution was being debated, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Bundestag that public opinion was being “manipulated” on the internet and that it would be necessary to “regulate it.” Simultaneously it was announced that Helsinki is to be the “hub” for a NATO/EU research centre into “hybrid warfare” directed against Russia and ISIL, while in the Czech Republic a new interior ministry department began operations January 1, known as the Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats. State Secretary for European affairs, Tomáš Prouza, said it was directed against “Russian propaganda” aimed at building “negative images of the European Union and NATO…”

9. Januar 2017

Kampf ums Wasser Syrische Armee beginnt Angriff um Wadi Barada. Aufbauplan für Ostaleppo (junge Welt)

https://www.jungewelt.de/2017/01-09/007.php

Die syrische Armee hat einen erneuten Angriff auf die von bewaffneten Gruppen kontrollierten Wasserquellen in der Nähe von Damaskus begonnen. Die Operation habe am Sonntag morgen begonnen, hieß es aus syrischen Militärkreisen. Die Wasserversorgung der syrischen Hauptstadt ist seit kurz vor Weihnachten unterbrochen. Es soll zu Gefechten und Luftangriffen in dem Tal Wadi Barada gekommen sein.

In den vergangenen Tagen waren die Kämpfe um das Tal zunächst zurückgegangen. Eine russische Delegation hatte nach Angaben aus Militärkreisen mit den dortigen bewaffneten Gruppen verhandelt. Nachdem die Gespräche über einen Zugang der Regierung zu den Wasserwerken gescheitert waren, habe die Armee eine neue Offensive gestartet, teilte ein Vertreter der syrischen Armee mit.

Im Umland von Damaskus kam es am Sonntag zu einem Anschlag. Laut der syrischen Nachrichtenagentur SANA starben fünf Menschen bei der Explo­sion einer Autobombe an einem Kontrollpunkt in Beit Dschinn, nahe den Golanhöhen. Fünfzehn Menschen wurden bei der Attacke verletzt, deren Ausführung die islamistische Gruppe Fatah-Al-Scham (früher Al-Nusra-Front) für sich reklamiert.

Am Samstag hatte die syrische Regierung einen Plan zum Wiederaufbau von Aleppo beschlossen. Erst im Dezember konnte das Kabinett die Befreiung der ehemaligen Handelsmetropole im Norden von Syrien vermelden. Zuvor hatten bewaffnete Gruppen Viertel im Ostteil der Stadt besetzt gehalten.

Während der Okkupation in den vergangenen Monaten waren viele Wohnhäuser und die Infrastruktur wie Krankenhäuser und Schulen zerstört worden. Der Regierungsplan sehe nun die Wiederinbetriebnahme der Strom-, Wasser- und Brennstoffversorgung vor, berichteten syrische Medien. Außerdem sollten die Straßen freigeräumt werden. Daneben werde geprüft, welche Häuser umgehend repariert werden könnten.

Das Kabinett billigte zudem einen Plan des Bildungsministeriums, im nächsten halben Jahr 50 Schulen in Ostaleppo wieder instandzusetzen. Bis zum Beginn des kommenden Schuljahres sollten 100 Bildungseinrichtungen fertig sein. Außerdem sei die Wiederherstellung von fünf Gesundheitszentren und zwei Krankenhäusern geplant. Auch der internationale Flughafen Aleppos sowie 18 Kilometer Eisenbahnschienen würden repariert.

(dpa/Reuters/SANA/jW)

9. Januar 2017

Mahnwache gegen NATO-Truppenverlegung nach Osteuropa am Samstag in Berlin

Gegen die Verlegung von Truppen und Kriegsmaterial der NATO nach Osteuropa protestierten in Berlin mehrere Dutzend Kriegsgegner/innen bei einer Mahnwache vor der US-amerikanischen Botschaft am Brandenburger Tor. Bei eisigen Temperaturen, wie sie auch für das derzeitige politische Klima in Westeuropa symptomatisch sind, forderten sie den Stopp dieser Truppen- und Materialverlegungen und den Verzicht auf weitere Manöver an der russischen Grenze.

In einem „Bremerhavener Appell“ hatten zuvor regionale und überregionale Friedensgruppen und politische Organisationen  zum bundesweiten Protest und zum Stopp der Transporte aufgerufen.

hier der ganze Artikel

https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/200722

9. Januar 2017

Französischer Syrien-Besuch: „Aleppo entgegen Medien-Berichten noch lange nicht tot“ (sputniknews)

https://de.sputniknews.com/politik/20170108314036385-aleppo-westen-propaganda-franzoesische-parlamentarier/

Neulich ist eine Gruppe französischer Abgeordneter, die zuvor auch die Krim besucht hatte, in Aleppo zu einem Gespräch mit Syriens Präsidenten Baschar Assad eingetroffen. Nach der Rückkehr spricht der Delegationschef und Ex-Verkehrsminister Frankreichs, Thierry Mariani, mit Sputnik über die tatsächliche Situation in der befreiten Stadt.

(…)

„Als ich nach Aleppo fuhr, habe ich eine vollkommen zerstörte Stadt und vernichtete Bevölkerung aufzutreffen erwartet. Und was haben wir in Wirklichkeitgesehen? 15 Prozent der Stadt sind zerstört, 20 Prozent stark beschädigt. 65 Prozent der Stadt haben das also überstanden“, erklärt der Politiker.

Die Stadt sei also noch lange nicht völlig „dem Erdboden gleichgemacht“, wie man das aus den westlichen Medien entnehmen könnte.

„Wenn man nach Aleppo kommt, sieht man dort das Leben weitergehen. Man muss lediglich den Enthusiasmus der Menschen während des Gottesdienstes in der armenischen Kirche sehen, um zu verstehen, dass dies so ist“, betont der Franzose. Des Weiteren würden Medien behaupten, dass Aleppos Einwohner „ausradiert“ worden seien.

„Ich habe gedacht, dass die Bevölkerung tatsächlich vollkommen vernichtet worden ist. Aleppo hatte 3,5 Millionen Einwohner. Während der tragischen Ereignisse sind 35.000 Zivilisten ums Leben gekommen. 35.000 – das ist fürchterlich, zu viel. Und ich möchte diese Verluste nicht verharmlosen. Aber wir müssen vergleichen dürfen können – diese Zahlen sind noch lange nicht das, was uns als ‚totale Vernichtung der Bevölkerung‘ untergejubelt wird“, so der Parlamentarier.

Es sei die Zeit gekommen, dass mehr Beobachter, Journalisten und Politiker statt in Pariser Elitevierteln Le Monde zu lesen, die Stadt besuchen sollten, bevor in den Medien wieder etwas erzählt werde, was der Realität nicht entspreche. „Aleppo ist eine Märtyrerstadt, eine leidende Stadt. Heute darf die Stadt aufatmen, weil alles vorbei ist.“

In Syrien gäbe es viele Franzosen oder auch französischsprechende Syrer, die allerdings trotz Versprechen aus Paris keinen Beistand seitens der französischen Regierung sehen würden.

„Schaut euch die Länder an, die ihre Politik veränderten. Oder im Gegenteil Russland, das seine Positionen nicht ändert. Das Wichtigste ist heute, zum Frieden zu kommen. Wie auch immer wir uns zu Assad verhalten, müssen wir dem Frieden zuliebe zu einer Einigung mit ihm kommen“, betont er. Im Gespräch mit den Parlamentariern habe Assad ganz klar gesagt „Ich möchte, dass Frankreich seine Position ändert“.

9. Januar 2017

Abby Martin Responds to Exploitation by NY Times – response to the Jan. 7 New York Times article falsely representing her work at RT America. (mediaroots.org)

It appears that the Times is, once again, working to push a false perspective being promoted by US government officials and agencies. To paint RT in such a cartoonish, totalitarian fashion—and to promote the idea that it is subverting US democracy—is the dangerous state propaganda that we should be worrying about.

read the whole article

http://mediaroots.org/abby-martin-responds-to-exploitation-by-ny-times/

9. Januar 2017

Wie westliche Journalisten US-Geheimdienstbericht über „russische Hacker“ kritisieren (sputniknews)

Viele westliche Journalisten, die die Ereignisse in Russland beleuchten, haben den Bericht der US-Nachrichtendienste über die „russischen Hacker“ mit Befremden aufgenommen, ihn wegen fehlender Beweise sowie wegen seiner seltsamen Schlüsse und seines „laienhaften“ Niveaus kritisiert.

CIA, FBI und NSA hatten am Freitag in ihrem veröffentlichten Bericht Russland ein übriges Mal der „Einmischung in die amerikanischen Wahlen“ beschuldigt, aber unter Verweis auf den geheimen Charakter der Geheimdiensttätigkeit erneut keinerlei Beweise dafür erbracht. Dabei ist dem Bericht zu entnehmen, dass die Schlüsse über „Russlands Geheimoperationen zur Einwirkung auf die Wahlen“ anhand solcher Quellen wie russische Fernsehreportagen und Notizen im Netz gezogen wurden. Die Hälfte dieses Berichts war faktisch dem TV-Sender RT und der Agentur Sputnik gewidmet, wobei die Angaben zu RT hauptsächlich aus der Zeit von vor fünf Jahren stammten.

Wie schon bei früheren Beschuldigungen Russlands wurden keine Beweise vorgelegt, und das ungeachtet der von Russland vorgebrachten zahllosen Widerlegungen und der Bitte, Beweise zur Verfügung zu stellen. Außer den russischen Vertretern bezeichnete selbst Donald Trump derartige Erklärungen als unbegründet und lächerlich. Vielen Journalisten ist aufgefallen, dass diese Veröffentlichung keine Beweise enthält.

Weiter im Artikel mit einer Anzahl von Beispielen: https://de.sputniknews.com/politik/20170108314034915-Journalisten-kritisieren-US-Geheimdienstbericht/

9. Januar 2017

“THE YANKS ARE COMING!” Victor Grossman Berlin Bulletin No. 124, January 8, 2017

jw
Hit that old song again, loud and clear! “Over there, over there, Send the word, send the word, That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming…”
Yes, sirree! Shades of 1918 and the Battle of the Marne! Shades of 1944 and the beaches of Normandy! But no, not just shades and not just words have already been sent.
2017 had hardly begun in Germany’s port of  Bremerhaven when 4000 lads and lasses in Yankee uniform disembarked and unloaded three shiploads, over 2,500 tanks, trucks and other combat vehicles, and sent them on by rail, on ferries through the Baltic or clanking along those Autobahn highways through North Germany. So many memories!
Colonel Bertulis at US Command Headquarters in Stuttgart called it “the greatest redeployment operation of the US Army to Germany since 1990…It will ensure that the necessary combat power is brought to the right place in Europe at the right time.” Higher up the ladder, Lt. Gen. Frederick Hodges, commander of US forces in Europe, said, “Three years after the last American tanks left the continent, we need to get them back.”
What dangerous front are they moving to defend? Where, this time, is “over there”?
Well, it is not exactly a front. Or not yet! Not one BB gun has been fired along the Russian border with Latvia or Estonia, nor along the short Polish or Lithuanian borders around the small, fully surrounded Russian enclave at Kaliningrad. Nor has anyone heard Putin or any other Russian leader utter a single threat or make one demand directed at any of those countries.
But, as General Hodges told journalists, the measures were a “response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea.” He added consolingly, “This does not mean that there necessarily has to be a war, none of this is inevitable, but Moscow is preparing for the possibility.”
Peace demonstrations (far too few) point out that Russia has 900,000 armed troops while NATO has 3.5 million, stationed in over a hundred bases in a world-wide ring around Russia. It threatened to shut off Russia’s only warm-water naval base on the Crimea (where most people, Russian-speakers, voted for their “take-over” in a referendum) while moving to close the ring from the south. It’s coup d’état Ukrainian government of Russophobes (and many fascist types) was largely set up by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in 2014. “’Yats’ is our man,” she telephoned and, after more money and violence, Yatsenyuk it was! People wondered what Washington would do if friends of Russia moved right up to American borders. Then they recalled coups or invasions in Guatemala, Cuba, Grenada, Panama, Chile. Not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, hardly closer to US borders!
Some Europeans even wondered at the planned arrival date of the new troops at the Russian borders, January 20th  of all days! Were there any star-struck generals or well-groomed connivers who hoped to end an era not with a whimper but with a bang? Did some fear that Donald Trump, while switching back and forth on nearly everything else he said in his campaign, might just possibly, for whatever reason,  keep his word about getting along peacefully with Putin? For the highest ranking neo-con enthusiast down to the last deluded riveter at Lockheed-Martin – that sounded alarming!  
How many Germans believe all the New Year’s fireworks from Washington about Putin’s electoral hacking? Most of them certainly drew other conclusions as to why Clinton was defeated. They have many questions about that mysterious American institution, the Electoral College, which somehow offers nothing remotely resembling anything like an academic degree. Many have lost old faiths in their great friend and protector.
But some welcome this operation, “Atlantic Resolve“, like smaller ones which preceded it. Although it is not sponsored by the UN, not even by NATO, but only by the outgoing US administration, some political leaders, as in Canada and Britain, now want to have the German Bundeswehr get into the act and send a battalion to Lithuania. The Baltic countries are not far from St. Petersburg. Then still called Leningrad, a million and a half people died there, mostly of hunger and cold during the genocidal Nazi siege in 1941 to 1944. The flags and uniform colors of those who maintained that siege were different, but some traditions have long lives, as too many have been demonstrating in loud marches and more and more voting booths.
As yet, at least, not too many in Germany like the idea of playing mass scale Russian roulette. In Augsburg, over 50,000 people, many old-timers unable to walk, had to leave homes and hospitals on Christmas Day so a giant triple-fused bomb from World War Two, 75 years ago, could be defused. And now there are those, only a hundred miles away in Stuttgart, who speak lightly of a Number Three! And today’s missiles can have phosphorus, uranium and nuclear components, and be delivered by unmanned drones.
If this Operation Atlantic Resolve somehow recalls the idea of New Year’s resolutions, millions could supply a few of absolute, overriding urgency; move troops and weapons out and away, negotiate, make peace, break with the conscience-less plans and ambitions of a limited number of greedy adventurers and turn to the planet’s vitally crucial problems – a decent life for all its people and plans for saving our tortured planet.
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