THE PEOPLE THAT ARE TRYING TO RIG THE ELECTION ARE HARD AT WORK

Facebook Braces Itself for Trump to Cast Doubt on Election Results

August 21, 2020

Facebook Braces Itself for Trump to Cast Doubt on Election Results

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook spent years preparing to ward off any tampering on its site ahead of November’s presidential election. Now the social network is getting ready in case President Trump interferes once the vote is over.

Employees at the Silicon Valley company are laying out contingency plans and walking through postelection scenarios that include attempts by Mr. Trump or his campaign to use the platform to delegitimize the results, people with knowledge of Facebook’s plans said.

Facebook is preparing steps to take should Mr. Trump wrongly claim on the site that he won another four-year term, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Facebook is also working through how it might act if Mr. Trump tries to invalidate the results by declaring that the Postal Service lost mail-in ballots or that other groups meddled with the vote, the people said.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and some of his lieutenants have started holding daily meetings about minimizing how the platform can be used to dispute the election, the people said. They have discussed a “kill switch” to shut off political advertising after Election Day since the ads, which Facebook does not police for truthfulness, could be used to spread misinformation, the people said.

The preparations underscore how rising concerns over the integrity of the November election have reached social media companies, whose sites can be used to amplify lies, conspiracy theories and inflammatory messages. YouTube and Twitter have also discussed plans for action if the postelection period becomes complicated, according to disinformation and political researchers who have advised the firms.

The tech companies have spent the past few years working to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election, when Russian operatives used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to inflame the American electorate with divisive messages. While the firms have since clamped down on foreign meddling, they are reckoning with a surge of domestic interference, such as from the right-wing conspiracy group QAnon and Mr. Trump himself.

“We don’t have experience with that in the United States,” Mr. Stamos added.

Facebook may be in an especially difficult position because Mr. Zuckerberg has said the social network stands for free speech. Unlike Twitter, which has flagged Mr. Trump’s tweets for being factually inaccurate and glorifying violence, Facebook has said that politicians’ posts are newsworthy and that the public has the right to see them. Taking any action on posts from Mr. Trump or his campaign after the vote could open Facebook up to accusations of censorship and anticonservative bias.

In an interview with The New York Times this month, Mr. Zuckerberg said of the election that people should be “ready for the fact that there’s a high likelihood that it takes days or weeks to count this — and there’s nothing wrong or illegitimate about that.”

A spokesman for Facebook declined to comment on its postelection strategy. “We continue to plan for a range of scenarios to make sure we are prepared for the upcoming election,” he said.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said, “President Trump will continue to work to ensure the security and integrity of our elections.”

Google, which owns YouTube, confirmed that it was holding conversations on postelection strategy but declined to elaborate. Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, Twitter’s vice president of public policy, said the company was evolving its policies to “better identify, understand and mitigate threats to the public conversation, both before or after an election.”

Facebook had initially focused on the run-up to the election — the period when, in 2016, most of the Russian meddling took place on its site. The company mapped out almost 80 scenarios, many of which looked at what might go wrong on its platform before Americans voted, the people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Facebook examined what it would do, for instance, if hackers backed by a nation-state leaked documents online, or if a nation-state unleashed a widespread disinformation campaign at the last minute to dissuade Americans from going to the polls, one employee said.

To bolster the effort, Facebook invited those in government, think tanks and academia to participate and conduct exercises around the hypothetical election situations.

An idea that came up during one exercise — that Facebook label posts from state media so users know they are reading government-sponsored content — was put into effect in June, said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, who joined the session.

“We can see that their policy decisions are being affected by these exercises,” he said.

But Facebook was less decisive on other issues. If a post suggested that mail-in voting was broken, or encouraged people to send in multiple copies of their mail-in ballots, the company would not remove the messages if they were framed as a suggestion or a question, one person who advised the company said. Under Facebook’s rules, it takes down only voting-related posts that are statements with obviously false and misleading information.

In recent months, Facebook turned more to postelection planning. That shift accelerated this month when Mr. Trump said more on the issue, two Facebook employees said.

On Aug. 3, Mr. Trump questioned whether the Democratic primary in New York’s 12th Congressional District should be rerun because of long delays in counting mail-in ballots.

“Nobody knows what’s happening with the ballots and the lost ballots and the fraudulent ballots, I guess,” he said.

The next day, Mr. Trump broadened his attack, falsely stating that mail-in ballots lead to more voter fraud nationwide. “Mail ballots are very dangerous for this country because of cheaters,” he said. “They go collect them. They are fraudulent in many cases.”

Mr. Trump’s comments alarmed Facebook employees who work on protecting its site in the U.S. election. On the group’s internal chat channels, many wondered whether Mr. Trump would launch even more attacks against mail-in voting, one employee who saw the messages said. Some asked whether the president was violating Facebook’s rules against disenfranchising voters.

Those questions were ultimately sent to Mr. Zuckerberg, as well as top executives including Joel Kaplan, the global head of public policy, the employee said.

In a staff meeting later that week, Mr. Zuckerberg told employees that if political figures or commentators tried declaring victory in an election early, Facebook would consider adding a label to their posts explaining that the results were not final. Of Mr. Trump, Mr. Zuckerberg said the company was “in unprecedented territory with the president saying some of the things that he’s saying that I find quite troubling.” The meeting was reported earlier by BuzzFeed News.

Since then, executives have discussed the “kill switch” for political advertising, according to two employees, which would turn off political ads after Nov. 3 if the election’s outcome was not immediately clear or if Mr. Trump disputed the results.

The discussions remain fluid, and it is unclear if Facebook will follow through with the plan, three people close to the talks said.

In a call with reporters this month, Facebook executives said they had removed more than 110,000 pieces of content between March and July that violated the company’s election-related policies. They also said there was a lot about the election that they didn’t know.

“In this fast-changing environment, we are always sort of ‘red teaming’ and working with partners to understand what are the next risks?” said Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity at Facebook. “What are the different kinds of things that may go wrong?”

So, The Demonicrats Have Never Accepted The 2016 Results And Made Every Possible Accusation That Trump Cheated, Did Mr. Zuckerberg Throw The Kill Switch Then? Why The One Sided Plans In 2020 Misleading Readers That Only Trump May Dispute The Results? What If The Dems Do? Pathetic….6 Reply

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August 21, 2020

Facebook Braces Itself for Trump to Cast Doubt on Election Results

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook spent years preparing to ward off any tampering on its site ahead of November’s presidential election. Now the social network is getting ready in case President Trump interferes once the vote is over.

Employees at the Silicon Valley company are laying out contingency plans and walking through postelection scenarios that include attempts by Mr. Trump or his campaign to use the platform to delegitimize the results, people with knowledge of Facebook’s plans said.

Facebook is preparing steps to take should Mr. Trump wrongly claim on the site that he won another four-year term, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Facebook is also working through how it might act if Mr. Trump tries to invalidate the results by declaring that the Postal Service lost mail-in ballots or that other groups meddled with the vote, the people said.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and some of his lieutenants have started holding daily meetings about minimizing how the platform can be used to dispute the election, the people said. They have discussed a “kill switch” to shut off political advertising after Election Day since the ads, which Facebook does not police for truthfulness, could be used to spread misinformation, the people said.

The preparations underscore how rising concerns over the integrity of the November election have reached social media companies, whose sites can be used to amplify lies, conspiracy theories and inflammatory messages. YouTube and Twitter have also discussed plans for action if the postelection period becomes complicated, according to disinformation and political researchers who have advised the firms.

The tech companies have spent the past few years working to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election, when Russian operatives used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to inflame the American electorate with divisive messages. While the firms have since clamped down on foreign meddling, they are reckoning with a surge of domestic interference, such as from the right-wing conspiracy group QAnon and Mr. Trump himself.

“We don’t have experience with that in the United States,” Mr. Stamos added.

Facebook may be in an especially difficult position because Mr. Zuckerberg has said the social network stands for free speech. Unlike Twitter, which has flagged Mr. Trump’s tweets for being factually inaccurate and glorifying violence, Facebook has said that politicians’ posts are newsworthy and that the public has the right to see them. Taking any action on posts from Mr. Trump or his campaign after the vote could open Facebook up to accusations of censorship and anticonservative bias.

In an interview with The New York Times this month, Mr. Zuckerberg said of the election that people should be “ready for the fact that there’s a high likelihood that it takes days or weeks to count this — and there’s nothing wrong or illegitimate about that.”

A spokesman for Facebook declined to comment on its postelection strategy. “We continue to plan for a range of scenarios to make sure we are prepared for the upcoming election,” he said.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said, “President Trump will continue to work to ensure the security and integrity of our elections.”

Google, which owns YouTube, confirmed that it was holding conversations on postelection strategy but declined to elaborate. Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, Twitter’s vice president of public policy, said the company was evolving its policies to “better identify, understand and mitigate threats to the public conversation, both before or after an election.”

Facebook had initially focused on the run-up to the election — the period when, in 2016, most of the Russian meddling took place on its site. The company mapped out almost 80 scenarios, many of which looked at what might go wrong on its platform before Americans voted, the people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Facebook examined what it would do, for instance, if hackers backed by a nation-state leaked documents online, or if a nation-state unleashed a widespread disinformation campaign at the last minute to dissuade Americans from going to the polls, one employee said.

To bolster the effort, Facebook invited those in government, think tanks and academia to participate and conduct exercises around the hypothetical election situations.

An idea that came up during one exercise — that Facebook label posts from state media so users know they are reading government-sponsored content — was put into effect in June, said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, who joined the session.

“We can see that their policy decisions are being affected by these exercises,” he said.

But Facebook was less decisive on other issues. If a post suggested that mail-in voting was broken, or encouraged people to send in multiple copies of their mail-in ballots, the company would not remove the messages if they were framed as a suggestion or a question, one person who advised the company said. Under Facebook’s rules, it takes down only voting-related posts that are statements with obviously false and misleading information.

In recent months, Facebook turned more to postelection planning. That shift accelerated this month when Mr. Trump said more on the issue, two Facebook employees said.

On Aug. 3, Mr. Trump questioned whether the Democratic primary in New York’s 12th Congressional District should be rerun because of long delays in counting mail-in ballots.

“Nobody knows what’s happening with the ballots and the lost ballots and the fraudulent ballots, I guess,” he said.

The next day, Mr. Trump broadened his attack, falsely stating that mail-in ballots lead to more voter fraud nationwide. “Mail ballots are very dangerous for this country because of cheaters,” he said. “They go collect them. They are fraudulent in many cases.”

Mr. Trump’s comments alarmed Facebook employees who work on protecting its site in the U.S. election. On the group’s internal chat channels, many wondered whether Mr. Trump would launch even more attacks against mail-in voting, one employee who saw the messages said. Some asked whether the president was violating Facebook’s rules against disenfranchising voters.

Those questions were ultimately sent to Mr. Zuckerberg, as well as top executives including Joel Kaplan, the global head of public policy, the employee said.

In a staff meeting later that week, Mr. Zuckerberg told employees that if political figures or commentators tried declaring victory in an election early, Facebook would consider adding a label to their posts explaining that the results were not final. Of Mr. Trump, Mr. Zuckerberg said the company was “in unprecedented territory with the president saying some of the things that he’s saying that I find quite troubling.” The meeting was reported earlier by BuzzFeed News.

Since then, executives have discussed the “kill switch” for political advertising, according to two employees, which would turn off political ads after Nov. 3 if the election’s outcome was not immediately clear or if Mr. Trump disputed the results.

The discussions remain fluid, and it is unclear if Facebook will follow through with the plan, three people close to the talks said.

In a call with reporters this month, Facebook executives said they had removed more than 110,000 pieces of content between March and July that violated the company’s election-related policies. They also said there was a lot about the election that they didn’t know.

“In this fast-changing environment, we are always sort of ‘red teaming’ and working with partners to understand what are the next risks?” said Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity at Facebook. “What are the different kinds of things that may go wrong?”

Exposing The Challenge Of Marxism

by Tyler DurdenFri, 08/21/2020

Authored by Yoram Hazony via Quillette.com,

I. The collapse of institutional liberalism

For a generation after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, most Americans and Europeans regarded Marxism as an enemy that had been defeated once and for all. But they were wrong… 

A mere 30 years later, Marxism is back, and making an astonishingly successful bid to seize control of the most important American media companies, universities and schools, major corporations and philanthropic organizations, and even the courts, the government bureaucracy, and some churches. As American cities succumb to rioting, arson, and looting, it appears as though the liberal custodians of many of these institutions—from the New York Times to Princeton University—have despaired of regaining control of them, and are instead adopting a policy of accommodation. That is, they are attempting to appease their Marxist employees by giving in to some of their demands in the hope of not being swept away entirely.

We don’t know what will happen for certain. But based on the experience of recent years, we can venture a pretty good guess. Institutional liberalism lacks the resources to contend with this threat. Liberalism is being expelled from its former strongholds, and the hegemony of liberal ideas, as we have known it since the 1960s, will end. Anti-Marxist liberals are about to find themselves in much the same situation that has characterized conservatives, nationalists, and Christians for some time now: They are about to find themselves in the opposition.

This means that some brave liberals will soon be waging war on the very institutions they so recently controlled. They will try to build up alternative educational and media platforms in the shadow of the prestigious, wealthy, powerful institutions they have lost. Meanwhile, others will continue to work in the mainstream media, universities, tech companies, philanthropies, and government bureaucracy, learning to keep their liberalism to themselves and to let their colleagues believe that they too are Marxists—just as many conservatives learned long ago how to keep their conservatism to themselves and let their colleagues believe they are liberals.

This is the new reality that is emerging. There is blood in the water and the new Marxists will not rest content with their recent victories. In America, they will press their advantage and try to seize the Democratic Party. They will seek to reduce the Republican Party to a weak imitation of their own new ideology, or to ban it outright as a racist organization. And in other democratic countries, they will attempt to imitate their successes in America. No free nation will be spared this trial. So let us not avert our eyes and tell ourselves that this curse isn’t coming for us. Because it is coming for us.

In this essay, I would like to offer some initial remarks about the new Marxist victories in America – about what has happened and what’s likely to happen next…

II. The Marxist framework

Anti-Marxist liberals have labored under numerous disadvantages in the recent struggles to maintain control of liberal organizations. One is that they are often not confident they can use the term “Marxist” in good faith to describe those seeking to overthrow them. This is because their tormentors do not follow the precedent of the Communist Party, the Nazis, and various other political movements that branded themselves using a particular party name and issued an explicit manifesto to define it. Instead, they disorient their opponents by referring to their beliefs with a shifting vocabulary of terms, including “the Left,” “Progressivism,” “Social Justice,” “Anti-Racism,” “Anti-Fascism,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Critical Race Theory,” “Identity Politics,” “Political Correctness,” “Wokeness,” and more. When liberals try to use these terms they often find themselves deplored for not using them correctly, and this itself becomes a weapon in the hands of those who wish to humiliate and ultimately destroy them.

The best way to escape this trap is to recognize the movement presently seeking to overthrow liberalism for what it is: an updated version of Marxism. I do not say this to disparage anyone. I say this because it is true. And because recognizing this truth will help us understand what we are facing.

The new Marxists do not use the technical jargon that was devised by 19th-century Communists. They don’t talk about the bourgeoisieproletariatclass strugglealienation of laborcommodity fetishism, and the rest, and in fact they have developed their own jargon tailored to present circumstances in America, Britain, and elsewhere. Nevertheless, their politics are based on Marx’s framework for critiquing liberalism (what Marx calls the “ideology of the bourgeoisie”) and overthrowing it. We can describe Marx’s political framework as follows:

1. Oppressor and oppressed
Marx argues that, as an empirical matter, people invariably form themselves into cohesive groups (he calls them classes), which exploit one another to the extent they are able. A liberal political order is no different in this from any other, and it tends toward two classes, one of which owns and controls pretty much everything (the oppressor); while the other is exploited, and the fruit of its labor appropriated, so that it does not advance and, in fact, remains forever enslaved (the oppressed). In addition, Marx sees the state itself, its laws and its mechanisms of enforcement, as a tool that the oppressor class uses to keep the regime of oppression in place and to assist in carrying out this work.

2. False consciousness
Marx recognizes that the liberal businessmen, politicians, lawyers, and intellectuals who keep this system in place are unaware that they are the oppressors, and that what they think of as progress has only established new conditions of oppression. Indeed, even the working class may not know that they are exploited and oppressed. This is because they all think in terms of liberal categories (e.g., the individual’s right to freely sell his labor) which obscure the systematic oppression that is taking place. This ignorance of the fact that one is an oppressor or oppressed is called the ruling ideology (Engels later coined the phrase false consciousness to describe it)and it is only overcome when one is awakened to what is happening and learns to recognize reality using true categories.

3. Revolutionary reconstitution of society
Marx suggests that, historically, oppressed classes have materially improved their conditions only through a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large—that is, through the destruction of the oppressor class, and of the social norms and ideas that hold the regime of systematic oppression in place. He even specifies that liberals will supply the oppressed with the tools needed to overthrow them. There is a period of “more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution” and the “violent overthrow” of the liberal oppressors. At this point, the oppressed seize control of the state.

4. Total disappearance of class antagonisms
Marx promises that after the oppressed underclass takes control of the state, the exploitation of individuals by other individuals will be “put to an end” and the antagonism between classes of individuals will totally disappear. How this is to be done is not specified.

Marxist political theories have undergone much development and elaboration over nearly two centuries. The story of how “neo-Marxism” emerged after the First World War in the writings of the Frankfurt School and Antonio Gramsci has been frequently told, and academics will have their hands full for many years to come arguing over how much influence was exerted on various successor movements by Michel Foucault, post-modernism, and more. But for present purposes, this level of detail is not necessary, and I will use the term “Marxist” in a broad sense to refer to any political or intellectual movement that is built upon Marx’s general framework as I’ve just described it. This includes the “Progressive” or “Anti-Racism” movement now advancing toward the conquest of liberalism in America and Britain. This movement uses racialist categories such as whites and people of color to describe the oppressors and the oppressed in our day. But it relies entirely on Marx’s general framework for its critique of liberalism and for its plan of action against the liberal political order. It is simply an updated Marxism.

III. The attraction and power of Marxism

Although many liberals and conservatives say that Marxism is “nothing but a great lie,” this isn’t quite right. Liberal societies have repeatedly proved themselves vulnerable to Marxism, and now we are seeing with our own eyes how the greatest liberal institutions in the world are being handed over to Marxists and their allies. If Marxism is nothing but a great lie, why are liberal societies so vulnerable to it? We must understand the enduring attraction and strength of Marxism. And we will never understand it unless we recognize that Marxism captures certain aspects of the truth that are missing from Enlightenment liberalism.

Which aspects of the truth?

Marx’s principal insight is the recognition that the categories liberals use to construct their theory of political reality (liberty, equality, rights, and consent) are insufficient for understanding the political domain. They are insufficient because the liberal picture of the political world leaves out two phenomena that are, according to Marx, absolutely central to human political experience: The fact that people invariably form cohesive classes or groups; and the fact that these classes or groups invariably oppress or exploit one another, with the state itself functioning as an instrument of the oppressor class.

My liberal friends tend to believe that oppression and exploitation exist only in traditional or authoritarian societies, whereas liberal society is free (or almost free) from all that. But this isn’t true. Marx is right to see that every society consists of cohesive classes or groups, and that political life everywhere is primarily about the power relations among different groups. He is also right that at any given time, one group (or a coalition of groups) dominates the state, and that the laws and policies of the state tend to reflect the interests and ideals of this dominant group. Moreover, Marx is right when he says that the dominant group tends to see its own preferred laws and policies as reflecting “reason” or “nature,” and works to disseminate its way of looking at things throughout society, so that various kinds of injustice and oppression tend to be obscured from view.

For example, despite decades of experimentation with vouchers and charter schools, the dominant form of American liberalism remains strongly committed to the public school system. In most places, this is a monopolistic system that requires children of all backgrounds to receive what is, in effect, an atheistic education stripped clean of references to God or the Bible. Although liberals sincerely believe that this policy is justified by the theory of “separation of church and state,” or by the argument that society needs schools that are “for everyone,” the fact is that these theories justify what really is a system aimed at inculcating their own Enlightenment liberalism. Seen from a conservative perspective, this amounts to a quiet persecution of religious families. Similarly, the pornography industry is nothing but a horrific instrument for exploiting poor women, although it is justified by liberal elites on grounds of “free speech” and other freedoms reserved to “consenting adults.” And in the same way, indiscriminate offshoring of manufacturing capacity is considered to be an expression of property rights by liberal elites, who benefit from cheap Chinese labor at the expense of their own working-class neighbors.

No, Marxist political theory is not simply a great lie. By analyzing society in terms of power relations among classes or groups, we can bring to light important political phenomena to which Enlightenment liberal theories—theories that tend to reduce politics to the individual and his or her private liberties—are systematically blind.

This is the principal reason that Marxist ideas are so attractive. In every society, there will always be plenty of people who have reason to feel they’ve been oppressed or exploited. Some of these claims will be worthy of remedy and some less so. But virtually all of them are susceptible to a Marxist interpretation, which shows how they result from systematic oppression by the dominant classes, and justifies responding with outrage and violence. And those who are troubled by such apparent oppression will frequently find themselves at home among the Marxists.

Of course, liberals have not remained unmoved in the face of criticism based on the reality of group power relations. Measures such as the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly outlawed discriminatory practices against a variety of classes or groups; and subsequent “Affirmative Action” programs sought to strengthen underprivileged classes through quotas, hiring goals, and other methods. But these efforts have not come close to creating a society free from power relations among classes or groups. If anything, the sense that “the system is rigged” in favor of certain classes or groups at the expense of others has only grown more pronounced.

Despite having had more than 150 years to work on it, liberalism still hasn’t found a way to persuasively address the challenge posed by Marx’s thought.

IV. The flaws that make Marxism fatal

We’ve looked at what Marxist political theory gets right and why it’s such a powerful doctrine. But there are also plenty of problems with the Marxist framework, a number of them fatal.

The first of these is that while Marxism proposes an empirical investigation of the power relations among classes or groups, it simply assumes that wherever one discovers a relationship between a more powerful group and a weaker one, that relation will be one of oppressor and oppressed. This makes it seem as if every hierarchical relationship is just another version of the horrific exploitation of black slaves by Virginia plantation owners before the Civil War. But in most cases, hierarchical relationships are not enslavement. Thus, while it is true that kings have normally been more powerful than their subjects, employers more powerful than their employees, and parents more powerful than their children, these have not necessarily been straightforward relations of oppressor and oppressed. Much more common are mixed relationships, in which both the stronger and the weaker receive certain benefits, and in which both can also point to hardships that must be endured in order to maintain it.

The fact that the Marxist framework presupposes a relationship of oppressor and oppressed leads to the second great difficulty, which is the assumption that every society is so exploitative that it must be heading toward the overthrow of the dominant class or group. But if it is possible for weaker groups to benefit from their position, and not just to be oppressed by it, then we have arrived at the possibility of a conservative society: One in which there is a dominant class or loyalty group (or coalition of groups), which seeks to balance the benefits and the burdens of the existing order so as to avoid actual oppression. In such a case, the overthrow and destruction of the dominant group may not be necessary. Indeed, when considering the likely consequences of a revolutionary reconstitution of society—often including not only civil war, but foreign invasion as the political order collapses—most groups in a conservative society may well prefer to preserve the existing order, or to largely preserve it, rather than to endure Marx’s alternative.

This brings us to the third failing of the Marxist framework. This is the notorious absence of a clear view as to what the underclass, having overthrown its oppressors and seized the state, is supposed to do with its newfound power. Marx is emphatic that once they have control of the state, the oppressed classes will be able to end oppression. But these claims appear to be unfounded. After all, we’ve said that the strength of the Marxist framework lies in its willingness to recognize that power relations do exist among classes and groups in every society, and that these can be oppressive and exploitative in every society. And if this is an empirical fact—as indeed it seems to be—then how will the Marxists who have overthrown liberalism be able use the state to obtain the total abolition of class antagonisms? At this point, Marx’s empiricist posture evaporates, and his framework becomes completely utopian.

When liberals and conservatives talk about Marxism being “nothing but a big lie,” this is what they mean. The Marxist goal of seizing the state and using it to eliminate all oppression is an empty promise. Marx did not know how the state could actually bring this about, and neither have any of his followers. In fact, we now have many historical cases in which Marxists have seized the state: In Russia and Eastern Europe, China, North Korea, and Cambodia, Cuba and Venezuela. But nowhere has the Marxists’ attempt at a “revolutionary reconstitution of society” by the state been anything other than a parade of horrors. In every case, the Marxists themselves form a new class or group, using the power of the state to exploit and oppress other classes in the most extreme ways—up to and including repeated recourse to murdering millions of their own people. Yet for all this, utopia never comes and oppression never ends.

Marxist society, like all other societies, consists of classes and groups arranged in a hierarchical order. But the aim of reconstituting society and the assertion that the state is responsible for achieving this feat makes the Marxist state much more aggressive, and more willing to resort to coercion and bloodshed, than the liberal regime it seeks to replace.

V. The dance of liberalism and Marxism

It is often said that liberalism and Marxism are “opposites,” with liberalism committed to freeing the individual from coercion by the state and Marxism endorsing unlimited coercion in pursuit of a reconstituted society. But what if it turned out that liberalism has a tendency to give way and transfer power to Marxists within a few decades? Far from being the opposite of Marxism, liberalism would merely be a gateway to Marxism.

A compelling analysis of the structural similarities between Enlightenment liberalism and Marxism has been published by the Polish political theorist Ryszard Legutko under the title The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies (2016). A subsequent book by Christopher Caldwell, The Age of Entitlement (2020), has similarly documented the manner in which the American constitutional revolution of the 1960s, whose purpose was to establish the rule of liberalism, has in fact brought about a swift transition to a “Progressive” politics that is, as I’ve said, a version of Marxism. With these accounts in mind, I’d like to propose a way of understanding the core relationship that binds liberalism and Marxism to one another and makes them something other than “opposites.”

Enlightenment liberalism is a rationalist system built on the premise that human beings are, by nature, free and equal. It is further asserted that this truth is “self-evident,” meaning that all of us can recognize it through the exercise of reason alone, without reference to the particular national or religious traditions of our time and place.

But there are difficulties with this system. One of these is that, as it turns out, highly abstract terms such as freedom, equality, and justice cannot be given stable content by means of reason alone. To see this, consider the following problems:

1. If all men are free and equal, how is it that not everyone who wishes to do so may enter the United States and take up residence there?

By reason alone, it can be argued that since all men are free and equal, they should be equally free to take up residence in the United States. This appears straightforward, and any argument to the contrary will have to depend on traditional concepts such as nation, state, territory, border, citizenship, and so on—none of which are self-evident or accessible to reason alone.

2. If all men are free and equal, how is it that not everyone who wants to may register for courses at Princeton University?

By reason alone, it can be argued that if all are free and equal, they should be equally free to register for courses at Princeton on a first come, first served basis. This, too, appears straightforward. Any argument to the contrary will have to depend on traditional concepts such as private property, corporation, freedom of association, education, course of study, merit, and so on. And, again, none of this is self-evident.

3. If all men are free and equal, how can you justify preventing a man who feels he is a woman from competing in a women’s track and field competition in a public school?

By reason alone, it can be said that since all are free and equal, a man who feels he is a woman should be equally free to compete in a women’s track and field competition. Any argument to the contrary will have to depend on traditional concepts of such as man, woman, women’s rights, athletic competition, competition class, fairness, and so on, none of which is accessible to reason alone.

Such examples can be multiplied without end. The truth is that reason alone gets us almost nowhere in settling arguments over what is meant by freedom and equality. So where does the meaning of these terms come from?

I’ve said that every society consists of classes or groups. These stand in various power relations to one another, which find expression in the political, legal, religious, and moral traditions that are handed down by the strongest classes or groups. It is only within the context of these traditions that we come to believe that words like freedom and equality mean one thing and not another, and to develop a “common sense” of how different interests and concerns are to be balanced against one another in actual cases.

But what happens if you dispense with those traditions? This, after all, is what Enlightenment liberalism seeks to do. Enlightenment liberals observe that inherited traditions are always flawed or unjust in certain ways, and for this reason they feel justified in setting inherited tradition aside and appealing directly to abstract principles such as freedom and equality. The trouble is, there is no such thing as a society in which everyone is free and equal in all ways. Even in a liberal society, there will always be countless ways in which a given class or group may be unfree or unequal with respect to the others. And since this is so, Marxists will always be able to say that some or all of these instances of unfreedom and inequality are instances of oppression.

Thus the endless dance of liberalism and Marxism, which goes like this:

1. Liberals declare that henceforth all will be free and equal, emphasizing that reason (not tradition) will determine the content of each individual’s rights.

2. Marxists, exercising reason, point to many genuine instances of unfreedom and inequality in society, decrying them as oppression and demanding new rights.

3. Liberals, embarrassed by the presence of unfreedom and inequality after having declared that all would be free and equal, adopt some of the Marxists’ demands for new rights.

4. Return to #1 above and repeat.

Of course, not all liberals give in to the Marxists’ demands—and certainly not on every occasion. Nevertheless, the dance is real. As a generalized view of what happens over time, this picture is accurate, as we’ve seen throughout the democratic world over the last 70 years. Liberals progressively adopt the critical theories of the Marxists over time, whether the subject is God and religion, man and woman, honor and duty, family, nation, or anything else.

A few observations, then, concerning this dance of liberalism and Marxism:

First, notice that the dance is a byproduct of liberalism. It exists because Enlightenment liberalism sets freedom and equality as the standard by which government is to be judged, and describes the individual’s power of reason alone, independent of tradition, as the instrument by which this judgment is to be obtained. In so doing, liberalism creates Marxists. Like the sorcerer’s apprentice, it constantly calls into being individuals who exercise reason, identify instances of unfreedom and inequality in society, and conclude from this that they (or others) are oppressed and that a revolutionary reconstitution of society is necessary to eliminate the oppression. It is telling that this dynamic is already visible during the French Revolution and in the radical regimes in Pennsylvania and other states during the American Revolution. A proto-Marxism was generated by Enlightenment liberalism even before Marx proposed a formal structure for describing it a few decades later.

Second, the dance only moves in one direction. In a liberal society, Marxist criticism brings many liberals to progressively abandon the conceptions of freedom and equality with which they set out, and to adopt new conceptions proposed by Marxists. But the reverse movement—of Marxists toward liberalism—seems terribly weak in comparison. How can this be? If Enlightenment liberalism is true, and its premises are indeed “self-evident” or a “product of reason,” it should be the case that under conditions of freedom, individuals will exercise reason and reach liberal conclusions. Why, then, do liberal societies produce a rapid movement toward Marxist ideas, and not an ever-greater belief in liberalism?

The key to understanding this dynamic is this: Although liberals believe their views are “self-evident” or the “product of reason,” most of the time they are actually relying on inherited conceptions of what freedom and equality are, and inherited norms of how to apply these concepts to real-world cases. In other words, the conflict between liberalism and its Marxist critics is one between a dominant class or group wishing to conserve its traditions (liberals), and a revolutionary group (Marxists) combining criticial reasoning with a willingness to jettison all inherited constraints to overthrow these traditions. But while Marxists know very well that their aim is to destroy the intellectual and cultural traditions that are holding liberalism in place, their liberal opponents for the most part refuse to engage in the kind of conservatism that would be needed to defend their traditions and strengthen them. Indeed, liberals frequently disparage tradition, telling their children and students that all they need is to reason freely and “draw your own conclusions.”

The result is a radical imbalance between Marxists, who consciously work to bring about a conceptual revolution, and liberals whose insistence on “freedom from inherited tradition” provides little or no defense—and indeed, opens the door for precisely the kinds of arguments and tactics that Marxists use against them. This imbalance means that the dance moves only in one direction, and that liberal ideas tend to collapse before Marxist criticism in a matter of decades.

VI. The Marxist endgame and democracy’s end

Not very long ago, most of us living in free societies knew that Marxism was not compatible with democracy. But with liberal institutions overrun by “Progressives” and “Anti-Racists,” much of what was once obvious about Marxism, and much of what was once obvious about democracy, has been forgotten. It is time to revisit some of these once-obvious truths.

Under democratic government, violent warfare among competing classes and groups is brought to an end and replaced by non-violent rivalry among political parties. This doesn’t mean that power relations among loyalty groups come to an end. It doesn’t mean that injustice and oppression come to an end. It only means that instead of resolving their disagreements through bloodshed, the various groups that make up a given society form themselves into political parties devoted to trying to unseat one another in periodic elections. Under such a system, one party rules for a fixed term, but its rivals know they will get to rule in turn if they can win the next election. It is the possibility of being able to take power and rule the country without widespread killing and destruction that entices all sides to lay down their weapons and take up electoral politics instead.

The most basic thing one needs to know about a democratic regime, then, is this: You need to have at least twolegitimate political parties for democracy to work. By a legitimate political party, I mean one that is recognized by its rivals as having a right to rule if it wins an election. For example, a liberal party may grant legitimacy to a conservative party (even though they don’t like them much), and in return this conservative party may grant legitimacy to a liberal party (even though they don’t like them much). Indeed, this is the way most modern democratic nations have been governed.

But legitimacy is one of those traditional political concepts that Marxist criticism is now on the verge of destroying. From the Marxist point of view, our inherited concept of legitimacy is nothing more than an instrument the ruling classes use to perpetuate injustice and oppression. The word legitimacy takes on its true meaning only with reference to the oppressed classes or groups that the Marxist sees as the sole legitimate rulers of the nation. In other words, Marxist political theory confers legitimacy on only one political party—the party of the oppressed, whose aim is the revolutionary reconstitution of society. And this means that the Marxist political framework cannot co-exist with democratic government. Indeed, the entire purpose of democratic government, with its plurality of legitimate parties, is to avoid the violent reconstitution of society that Marxist political theory regards as the only reasonable aim of politics.

Simply put, the Marxist framework and democratic political theory are opposed to one another in principle. A Marxist cannot grant legitimacy to liberal or conservative points of view without giving up the heart of Marxist theory, which is that these points of view are inextricably bound up with systematic injustice and must be overthrown, by violence if necessary. This is why the very idea that a dissenting opinion—one that is not “Progressive” or “Anti-Racist”—could be considered legitimate has disappeared from liberal institutions as Marxists have gained power. At first, liberals capitulated to their Marxist colleagues’ demand that conservative viewpoints be considered illegitimate (because conservatives are “authoritarian” or “fascist”). This was the dynamic that brought about the elimination of conservatives from most of the leading universities and media outlets in America.

But by the summer of 2020, this arrangement had run its course. In the United States, Marxists were now strong enough to demand that liberals fall into line on virtually any issue they considered pressing. In what were recently liberal institutions, a liberal point of view has likewise ceased to be legitimate. This is the meaning of the expulsion of liberal journalists from the New York Times and other news organisations. It is the reason that Woodrow Wilson’s name was removed from buildings at Princeton University, and for similar acts at other universities and schools. These expulsions and renamings are the equivalent of raising a Marxist flag over each university, newspaper, and corporation in turn, as the legitimacy of the old liberalism is revoked.

Until 2016, America sill had two legitimate political parties. But when Donald Trump was elected president, the talk of his being “authoritarian” or “fascist” was used to discredit the traditional liberal point of view, according to which a duly elected president, the candidate chosen by half the public through constitutional procedures, should be accorded legitimacy. Instead a “resistance” was declared, whose purpose was to delegitimize the president, those who worked with him, and those who voted for him.

I know that many liberals believe that this rejection of Trump’s legitimacy was directed only at him, personally. They believe, as a liberal friend wrote to me recently, that when this particular president is removed from office, America will be able to return to normal.

But nothing of the sort is going to happen. The Marxists who have seized control of the means of producing and disseminating ideas in America cannot, without betraying their cause, confer legitimacy on any conservative government. And they cannot grant legitimacy to any form of liberalism that is not supine before them. This means that whatever President Trump’s electoral fortunes, the “resistance” is not going to end. It is just beginning.

With the Marxist conquest of liberal institutions, we have entered a new phase in American history (and, consequently, in the history of all democratic nations). We have entered the phase in which Marxists, having conquered the universities, the media, and major corporations, will seek to apply this model to the conquest of the political arena as a whole.

How will they do this? As in the universities and the media, they will use their presence within liberal institutions to force liberals to break the bonds of mutual legitimacy that bind them to conservatives—and therefore to two-party democracy. They will not demand the delegitimization of just President Trump, but of all conservatives.We’ve already seen this in the efforts to delegitimize the views of Senators Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Tim Scott, as well as the media personality Tucker Carlson and others. Then they will move on to delegitimizing liberals who treat conservative views as legitimate, such as James Bennet, Bari Weiss, and Andrew Sullivan. As was the case in the universities and media, many liberals will accommodate these Marxist tactics in the belief that by delegitimizing conservatives they can appease the Marxists and turn them into strategic allies.

But the Marxists will not be appeased because what they’re after is the conquest of liberalism itself—already happening as they persuade liberals to abandon their traditional two-party conception of political legitimacy, and with it their commitment to a democratic regime. The collapse of the bonds of mutual legitimacy that have tied liberals to conservatives in a democratic system of government will not make the liberals in question Marxists quite yet. But it will make them the supine lackeys of these Marxists, without the power to resist anything that “Progressives” and “Anti-Racists” designate as being important. And it will get them accustomed to the coming one-party regime, in which liberals will have a splendid role to play—if they are willing to give up their liberalism.

I know that many liberals are confused, and that they still suppose there are various alternatives before them. But it isn’t true. At this point, most of the alternatives that existed a few years ago are gone.

Liberals will have to choose between two alternatives:

  1. Either they will submit to the Marxists, and help them bring democracy in America to an end,
  2. Or they will assemble a pro-democracy alliance with conservatives.

There aren’t any other choices.

Criminal justice activist Donna Hylton, featured in DNC video, was convicted for role in grisly 1985 murder

Republicans say Hylton’s past shouldn’t be ignored

By Barnini Chakraborty | Fox News

(Hylton said she has been on the receiving end of social media threats since her appearance. )

Donna Hylton was known as inmate #86G0206 for 27 years.

She was behind bars for her role in the grisly murder and torture of Thomas Vigliarolo, a balding New York businessman found stuffed inside a steamer trunk and left to rot in Harlem. Hylton and six others let him die “in the most heinous circumstances,” the prosecutor said at their trial in 1985. On Thursday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hailed Hylton as one of “America’s most impactful community leaders” and asked her to participate in a video reading of the Preamble to the Constitution during a televised portion of the convention.

Her appearance has left some people puzzled and others furious, wondering why the DNCwould rally behind a woman who was involved in the brutal rape, torture and murder of a 62-year-old man.

In a Thursday night tweet, Hylton said she has been on the receiving end of social media threats since her appearance.

“Getting hate messages and very un-Christian attacks on @Twitter. Learned a valuable lesson years ago from my Pastor *Give Unto Ceasar (sic) that which is Cesar’s* With that said, hope those filled w/hate find some peace. Stay focused #DemConvention,” she wrote.

Her tweet prompted quick support from some followers but also opened up Hylton and the DNC to a tsunami of criticism.

Adnan Khan wrote: “F$&k these bots and the cowards who don’t have a picture or use their real name. Look where you are! You clearly have more value than them. They should google me next. And the 10million+ of is [sic] out here after me. We could do this all day.”

Rodney H. tweeted, “The vitriol I’m seeing directed at my friend and colleague from dense, white racists is infuriating. Please go find something better to do with your time than harass a Black woman doing libertion [sic] work.”

Others sought to remind the public of her violent past.

One user wrote, “Did anyone notice listed under the DNC’s “America’s most impactful community leaders” was Donna Hylton? She’s a classy 55-year-old woman convicted for the kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of a 62-year-old Long Island real estate broker in 1986.”

Twitter user @Covidhomeschool weighed in: “You are the furthest thing from a Christian. Pretend all you want about loving Jesus. People who torture and murder do not go to heaven. There is no making up for what you did. Yet, you are monitizing [sic] off it! Just shows how you really are not sorry. Hell gates await you!”

Donna Hylton attends Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on Sept. 23, 2018 in New York City. (Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

Born in Jamaica, she was sold to an American couple in New York when she was 7 years old. She was allegedly told by her mother she was going to Disneyland but ended up spending years with an adoptive father who was a pedophile. Hylton said she would often hide from him in her closet, and when she saw a little sliver of light coming through the room, she knew he was on his way in to molest her. In and out of trouble for years, she saw some success in high school and became a local track star. But then things took a turn and at the age of 19, she was arrested for her role in the kidnapping and murder of Vigliarolo.

According to court records, Hylton and her cohorts drugged and kidnapped Vigliarolo at the behest of Louis Miranda who accused Vigliarolo of swindling him out of $139,000 on a con both of them ran. The kidnappers, three men and four women, held Vigliarolo prisoner for about 15 days during which they starved, burned, beat, sexually assaulted and raped him. He died of “asphyxiation and the deprivations of his imprisonment,” the prosecutor said.

Hylton, who was not present when Vigliarolo took his last breath, was eventually caught by the authorities after she delivered a ransom note and someone got a partial license plate of the car she was driving.

At trial, she claimed she participated in the crime under duress and said Miranda had threatened to kill her then 4-year-old daughter if she didn’t. A jury convicted her of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree kidnapping. She was sentenced to 25 years to life in jail.

Behind bars, Hylton tried to turn her life around. She got her college degree in 1992 and a master’s degree to follow in women’s studies and English literature from Marymount Manhattan College. In 2011, she was ordained a Christian minister and a year later, she was paroled.

Hylton told Fox News on Friday she is innocent of the charges against her.

“As a 19-year-old survivor of human trafficking and sexual violence who was coerced into a horrible situation, I was powerless to stop what happened to him,” she said. “Yet, despite being innocent I was convicted and incarcerated for 27 years. What happened to Mr. Vigliarolo should not ever happen to anyone and I have spent my life since then fighting on the side of truth and justice for myself and countless others caught in the cycle of perpetual violence and victimization.”

Since her release, Hylton has been an outspoken advocate on prison reform, recidivism and gender inequality in America’s jails. She’s spoken at universities and seminars around the country and is frequently a guest expert on the topic.https://www.youtube.com/embed/JxLF2YSy6FU

She’s written a book and founded the From Life To Life organization that supports women who have been victims of abuse and the criminal justice system.

Hylton told Fox News that Americans are in a tough spot and that we “must reckon with the truth of how our society perpetuates these cycles, and we cannot do that unless we look at the entire story.”

Along the way, she’s also picked up a lengthy list of famous friends. On her website, she’s pictured with Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Alicia Keys, Gloria Steinem and Annie Leibovitz, to name a few. Hylton was also front and center at the “Panel of Powerful Women” event for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

An email seeking comment from the DNC was not immediately returned.

The CIA Versus The Kennedys

by Tyler DurdenThu, 08/20/2020

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freed Foundation,

Former Congressman Ron Paul and his colleague Dan McAdams recently conducted a fascinating interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which focused in part on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was Kennedy Jr.’s uncle.

Owing to the many federal records that have been released over the years relating to the Kennedy assassination, especially through the efforts of the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s, many Americans are now aware of the war that was being waged between President Kennedy and the CIA throughout his presidency. The details of this war are set forth in FFF’s book  JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne.

In the interview, Robert Kennedy Jr. revealed a fascinating aspect of this war with which I was unfamiliar. He stated that the deep animosity that the CIA had for the Kennedy family actually stretched back to something the family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, did in the 1950s that incurred the wrath of Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA.

Kennedy Jr. stated that his grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, had served on a commission that was charged with examining and analyzing CIA covert activities, or “dirty tricks” as Kennedy Jr. put them. As part of that commission, Kennedy Jr stated, Joseph Kennedy (John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy’s father) had determined that the CIA had done bad things with its regime-change operations that were destroying democracies, such as in Iran and Guatemala.

Consequently, Joseph Kennedy recommended that the CIA’s power to engage in covert activities be terminated and that the CIA be strictly limited to collecting intelligence and empowered to do nothing else.

According to Kennedy Jr.,

“Allen Dulles never forgave him — never forgave my family — for that.”

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I wasn’t aware of that fact.

I assumed that the war between President Kennedy and the CIA had begun with the CIA’s invasion at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. The additional information added by Kennedy Jr. places things in a much more fascinating and revealing context.

Upon doing a bit of research on the Internet, I found that the commission that Kennedy Jr. must have been referring to was the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities, which President Eisenhower had established in 1956 through Executive Order 10656. Eisenhower appointed Joseph Kennedy to serve on that commission.

That year was three years after the CIA’s 1953 regime change operation in Iran which destroyed that country’s democratic system. It was two years after the CIA’s regime-change operation in Guatemala that destroyed that country’s democratic system.

Keep in mind that the ostensible reason that the CIA engaged in these regime-change operations was to protect “national security,” which over time has become the most important term in the American political lexicon. Although no one has ever come up with an objective definition for the term, the CIA’s power to address threats to “national security,” including through coups and assassinations, became omnipotent.

Yet, here was Joseph P. Kennedy declaring that the CIA’s power to exercise such powers should be terminated and recommending that the CIA’s power be strictly limited to intelligence gathering.

It is not difficult to imagine how livid CIA Director Dulles and his cohorts must have been at Kennedy. No bureaucrat likes to have his power limited. More important, for Dulles and his cohorts, it would have been clear that if Kennedy got his way, “national security” would be gravely threatened given the Cold War that the United States was engaged in with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, and other communist nations.

Now consider what happened with the Bay of Pigs. The CIA’s plan for a regime-change invasion of Cuba, was conceived under President Eisenhower. Believing that Vice President Nixon would be elected president in 1960, the CIA was quite surprised that Kennedy was elected instead. To ensure that the invasion would go forth anyway, the CIA assured Kennedy that the invasion would succeed without U.S. air support. It was a lie. The CIA assumed that once the invasion was going to go down in defeat at the hands of the communists, Kennedy would have to provide the air support in order to “save face.”

But Kennedy refused to be played by the CIA. When the CIA’s army of Cuban exiles was going down in defeat, the CIA requested the air support, convinced that their plan to manipulate the new president would work. It didn’t. Kennedy refused to provide the air support and the CIA’s invasion went down in defeat.

Now consider what happened after the Bay of Pigs: Knowing that the CIA had played him and double-crossed him, John Kennedy fired Allen Dulles as CIA director, along with his chief deputy, Charles Cabell. He then put his younger brother Bobby Kennedy in charge of monitoring the CIA, which infuriated the CIA.

Now jump ahead to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which Kennedy resolved by promising that the United States would not invade Cuba for a regime-change operation. That necessarily would leave a permanent communist regime in Cuba, something that the CIA steadfastly maintained was a grave threat to “national security”— a much bigger threat, in fact, than the threats supposedly posed by the regimes in Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954.

And then Kennedy did the unforgivable, at least insofar as the CIA was concerned. In his famous Peace Speech at American University in June 1963, he declared an end to the entire Cold War and announced that the United States was going to establish friendly and peaceful relations with the communist world.

Kennedy had thrown the gauntlet down in front of the CIA. It was either going to be his way or the CIA’s way. There was no room for compromise, and both sides knew it.

In the minds of former CIA Director Allen Dulles and the people still at the CIA, what Kennedy was doing was anathema and, even worse, the gravest threat to “national security” the United States had ever faced, a much bigger threat than even that posed by the democratic regimes in Iran and Guatemala. At that point, the CIA’s animosity toward President Kennedy far exceeded the animosity it had borne toward his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, several years before.

Beirut blast triggered by chemicals owned by Hizballah, supplied by Iran – report

August 20, 2020 By Debka.com

Western secret service sources revealed to the German Welt paper that Hizballah owned the stock of ammonium nitrate that triggered the Aug. 4 disaster in Beirut, killing 170 people and devastating the city. Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah categorically denied his organization had anything to do with the 2,750 tons of the chemical stored in Beirut port since 2013. However, those sources now reveal that, around this date, Hizballah took delivery of at least three shipments of this dangerous substance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al Qods, which was then headed by Gen. Qassam Soleimani, who was killed last year by a US drone. Hizballah is said to have paid a billion Iranian rials (around 61,438 euros) for the supplies on April 4, 2014.

The ammonia nitrate shipments came in by sea, air or overland through Syria. The freight from October 2013 is said to have been transported in flexible bulk containers by plane, presumably with one of the private Iranian airlines, which are front companies of the IRGC. One of them, Mahan Air, was deprived of the right to take off and land in Germany last year.

Mohammad Qasir, 57, is said to have been Hizballah’s logistics master for 20 years and responsible for paying for the ammonium nitrate deliveries. He has been on the US list of sanctions to stop Hizballah funding since 2018. In Nov. 1982, during the Lebanon war, his brother Ahmed Qasir drove a truck into the headquarters of the Israeli army in Tyre and killed at least 75 Israeli soldiers, 14 of their Arab prisoners and himself. The explosive used in this attack: ammonium nitrate. Mohammed knowingly sacrificed his brother.

On the Iranian side of the dangerous chemicals’ supply line to Hizballah is Behnam Shahriyari, who has been subject to US sanctions since 2011. He appears as the head of the Iranian transport company Liner Transport Kish, which apparently also handled the ammonium nitrate delivery to Hizballah.

An expert talking to Welt offered several reasons to explain why Hizballah maintained a stock of explosive substances at Beirut port at that time. One was its possible use in support of Bashar Assad’s battle against Syria rebels; another related to the tunnels Hizballah was then driving under the border into Israel. The Shiite terrorists may have intended to use the ammonium nitrate for attacks on northern Israel. Those tunnels were uncovered and deactivated by the Israeli military last year.

Also last year, the London Telegraph reported that Hizballah had cached thousands of ice packs in four properties in northwest London, a deception tactic also used in Germany. A counter-terrorism  source told the paper that the ammonium nitrate was to be used for “proper organized terrorism.”

This is vengeance worthy of Stalin – and it’s driven by fear: MARK ALMOND on the ‘poisioning’ of Putin critic Alexei Navalny

By MARK ALMOND FOR THE DAILY MAIL

August 20, 2020

The nondescript cafe is where Alexei Navalny, the main opposition leader and Putin’s most vociferous critic, sipped a cup of tea before boarding a flight back to Moscow yesterday

The nondescript cafe is where Alexei Navalny, the main opposition leader and Putin’s most vociferous critic, sipped a cup of tea before boarding a flight back to Moscow yesterday

Tomsk, one of the oldest cities in remote Siberia, rarely makes headlines in Russia – let alone around the world. Not any more.

For the Vienna Cafe at Tomsk Airport may one day be ranked alongside Zizzi in Salisbury and the Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, on Vladimir Putin’s charge sheet under the heading: Suspected Poisonings.

The nondescript cafe is where Alexei Navalny, the main opposition leader and Putin’s most vociferous critic, sipped a cup of tea before boarding a flight back to Moscow yesterday.

Within hours he was hospitalised and, as I write, is on a ventilator as doctors try to determine what led a healthy, 44-year-old fitness fanatic to collapse screaming in agony then fall into a coma.

His family and supporters are in no doubt that a toxin was administered via the tea. He has, after all, been subject to such an attack before.

For those of us in Britain, the news brought back memories of the audacious poisonings of Russian exiles here: the murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 after he drank tea contaminated with radioactive polonium at a London hotel, and the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in 2018. 

(The pair fell ill after lunch at the Zizzi restaurant although the poison, novichok, had been administered elsewhere.)

Too many of Putin’s enemies at home and abroad have been the victims of mysterious poisonings for there not to be a link back to the Kremlin despite the routine outraged denials.His family and supporters are in no doubt that a toxin was administered via the tea. Navalny is pictured in Tomsk with his supporters

His family and supporters are in no doubt that a toxin was administered via the tea. Navalny is pictured in Tomsk with his supportersPutin foe rushed off plane unconscious with suspected ‘poisoning’

But why now? Why would Moscow want to create an international scandal over Navalny when it is dealing with a full-on crisis in neighbouring Belarus?

After a rigged election on August 9, that country has erupted in often violent protest against Alexander Lukashenko, who has held power for 26 years.

Putin is anxious to keep his hardline ally Lukashenko in power for one very good reason. He fears that the virus of a sudden mass protest against a ‘president-for-life’ there could spread to Russia and he has been shaken by an apparently docile population turning on a leader who is in effect a dictator.

The Russian president has made it clear he is prepared to intervene militarily to ‘restore order’ in Belarus where – and no doubt at the Kremlin’s behest – Lukashenko has accused Alexei Navalny of fomenting protest. 

Navalny, the charismatic founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, made his name exposing the lifestyles enjoyed by Putin’s appointees which go far beyond their meagre official salaries.

He has highlighted how the president’s closest aides live like lottery winners. He has called Russia’s ruling elite a ‘party of crooks and thieves’. 

This has put him in the Kremlin crosshairs and he is hated by the apparatchiks, suffering arrest, imprisonment and losing partial sight in one eye after an attack by a pro-Kremlin activist.

Until recently, however, the Kremlin could dismiss him as a Moscow phenomenon, the equivalent of a privileged Hampstead liberal with as much electoral clout. 

But the opposition leader has used the internet brilliantly to evade media censorship and his blog, Twitter feed and YouTube channel have linked him with a growing tranche of discontented people across Russia.Putin is seen as coldly-calculating. In practice, he takes reckless chances that paralyse his opponents because they could never have imagined him doing something so risky+

Putin is seen as coldly-calculating. In practice, he takes reckless chances that paralyse his opponents because they could never have imagined him doing something so risky

That’s what made his visit to Tomsk, where regional elections are about to take place, so sensitive politically.

Russia’s regions are restive, cut off from Moscow and politicians who seem oblivious to their concerns. In this political climate, Navalny is seen as the underdog tackling the head of Russia’s wolf pack pretty well single-handedly.

In Belarus, Putin saw how the opposition candidate and rightful winner of the election, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a mother of two with limited political experience, could galvanise voters antagonised by the one-man rule of Lukashenko for a generation. 

After all, it was just two months ago that Putin changed the Russian constitution to let him rule well into the 2030s.

Putin is seen as coldly-calculating. In practice, he takes reckless chances that paralyse his opponents because they could never have imagined him doing something so risky. 

Think back to when he sent ‘little green men’ – Russian special forces – into Crimea in 2014.

Stamping out dissent in Belarus would warn off any Russians thinking of protesting at home. And fear has always made Russia’s rulers ruthless. 

As Stalin used to say: ‘Get rid of the person, you get rid of the problem.’Russian police storm opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s office

Kim Jong Un ‘promotes his sister to second-in-command of North Korea to help him deal with “stress” of ruling’

  • Kim Jong-un has delegated some powers to subordinates, South Korea claims
  • Sister Kim Yo-jong ‘is now in charge of policy toward South Korea and US’ 
  • Move makes her de-facto second in command, but not his official successor
  • South Korea said the move was designed to help Kim deal with ‘stress’ of ruling

By CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE 

August 20, 2020

Kim Jong Un has promoted his sister to second-in-command of North Korea, according to South Korea‘s spy agency. 

Kim Yo Jong, 32, is now in charge of North Korean policy towards the US and South Korea, effectively making her his de-facto deputy, spy chiefs said.

Her brother still maintains ‘absolute authority’ over North Korea, but has delegated some responsibilities to help him deal with the ‘stress’ of ruling, it was claimed.

The report comes months after 36-year-old Kim disappeared from public view for 21 days, amid speculation he was seriously ill.

Kim Jong Un
Kim Yo Jong

Kim Jong Un has promoted his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to become his de-facto second in command and help deal with the ‘stress’ of leadership, South Korea’s spy agency claimsSouth Korea says Kim Jong-Un’s sister is ‘de facto second-in-command’

Ha Tae-kyung, a member of South Korea’s Intelligence Committee, said spy chiefs revealed the transfer of powers during a briefing on Thursday.

‘Kim Jong-un is still maintaining his absolute authority, but some of it has been handed over little by little,’ he said, according to Chosun Ilbo.

While the move makes Kim Yo Jong her brother’s effective deputy, it does not make her his official successor, the newspaper added.

Other subordinates were also handed additional responsibilities, South Korea said. 

Kim is thought to have three children with his wife Ri Sol Ju, though none of them have been seen in public. They are thought to be aged ten, seven, and three.

Kim Yo Jong had already taken a more prominent role in North Korea’s leadership structure following suspicions over her brother’s health back in May.Kim Yo Jong had already been taking a more prominent role in North Korea, after her brother disappeared from public view earlier this year amid speculation about his health+1

Kim Yo Jong had already been taking a more prominent role in North Korea, after her brother disappeared from public view earlier this year amid speculation about his healthKim Jong Un’s sister lurks behind Donald Trump at Hanoi summit

In June, she gave the order to blow up a joint liaison office with South Korea amid fury at propaganda leaflets being sent over the border.

She was also charged with organising a counter-leaflet campaign in revenge, and ordered loudspeakers playing propaganda messages to be erected along the border.

She also threatened South Korea with unspecified military action, until Kim Jong Un ordered the threat to be withdrawn.

At the time, observers said it was possible that North Korea was trying to boost the leadership profile of the younger Kim, in the event she has to step in for her brother if his health fails.

Others suggested that the pair were attempting to develop a ‘good cop, bad cop’ dynamic, potentially giving them an edge in negotiations with foreign powers – after the collapse of nuclear talks with Donald Trump.   

Obama State Department Official Destroyed Records At Christopher Steele’s Request

by Tyler DurdenThu, 08/20/2020

In January 2017, former State Department official Jonathan Winer destroyed several years worth of reports from former UK spy Christopher Steele, at Steele’s request, according to the Daily Caller, citing a report released Tuesday.

Winer, a former legislative assistant to former Sen. John Kerry who became the State Department’s Special Envoy for Libya when Kerry was Secretary of State – was Steele’s contact at the State Department, and received the now-debunked reports claiming that President Trump had been compromised by the Russians.

According to the Senate report, Winer disclosed that he destroyed reports that Steele had sent him over the years. The Senate report also says that Winer failed to reveal when asked in his first interview with the committee that he had arranged the meeting for Steele at the State Department months earlier.

“After Steele’s memos were published in the press in January 2017, Steele asked Winer to make note of having them, then either destroy all the earlier reports Steele had sent the Department of State or return them to Steele, out of concern that someone would be able to reconstruct his source network,” reads the Senate report, which quote sWiner as saying “So I destroyed them, and I basically destroyed all the correspondence I had with him.

In total, Winer had received over 100 intelligence reports from Steel between 2014 and 2016.

Emails that The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show that Winer shared Steele’s reports with a small group of State Department officials. The Senate report says that the State Department was able to provide the committee with Steele’s reports from 2015 and 2016, though most from 2014 are missing.

In March, Steele told a UK court that he had “wiped” all of his dossier-linked correspondence in December, 2016 and January, 2017, and had no records of communications with his primary dossier source, Igor Danchenko.

In addition to receiving reports from Steele, Winer gave Steele various anti-Trump memos from Clinton operative Sidney Blumenthal, which originated with Clinton “hatchet man” Cody Shearer. Winer claims he didn’t think Steele would share the Clinton-sourced information with anyone else in the government.

“But I learned later that Steele did share them — with the FBI, after the FBI asked him to provide everything he had on allegations relating to Trump, his campaign and Russian interference in U.S. elections,” Winer wrote in a 2018 Op-Ed.

Steele was paid $168,000 by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to produce his anti-Trump dossier, which was funded in part by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, who used law firm Perkins Coie as an intermediary. 

Thugs Savagely Assault, Rob Retired NYPD Sergeant In Manhattan Daytime Beating

by Tyler DurdenThu, 08/20/2020

As scenes of brutal violence become depressingly commonplace in an NYC were hundreds of cops have been removed from their street posts by Bill de Blasio’s NYPD, this latest video shared by the New York Post is particularly memorable.

In an attack that took place in Manhattan’s garment district, a well-heeled part of town where violence is uncommon, two young men beat and robbed a retired NYPD sergeant after the man appeared to try and reason with one of the two men, before the man – who had a desk warrant out for aggressive panhandling at the time – suddenly assaulted him.

Nobody bothered to intervene as assailant landed dozens of punches to the sergeant’s head, and as his partner in crime came by to pick up his belongings.

After the ordeal was over, one of the assailants returned to deliver another kick to the retired sergeant’s head as he tried to regain his composure.  Later, one of the patrons at a nearby deli offered the sergeant some napkins to help wipe off his face.

The suspect, whom police sources have identified as Masterjadin Roman, 20, of Canarsie, has been arrested.