Dark Web: The Unseen Side of The Internet


The Dark Web is a really weird topic to discuss on the internet. Anyone can access it, but yet most people don’t know too much about it at all. Is it as bad as people make it out to be, or is it just over hyped?

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Julian Assange’s Extradition Case is a SHOW TRIAL!


We speak to legendary journalist and filmmaker John Pilger on Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing this Monday, which he attended. He discusses how Julian appeared at the trial, the bias of the judge against Julian Assange, the lack of mainstream media coverage of Julian’s persecution, his health and conditions in Belmarsh prison, CIA spying on Julian Assange and more!


Julian Might Not Live to the End of the Extradition Process

I was deeply shaken while witnessing yesterday’s events in Westminster Magistrates Court. Every decision was railroaded through over the scarcely heard arguments and objections of Assange’s legal team, by a magistrate who barely pretended to be listening.

Before I get on to the blatant lack of fair process, the first thing I must note was Julian’s condition. I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

I had been even more sceptical of those who claimed, as a senior member of his legal team did to me on Sunday night, that they were worried that Julian might not live to the end of the extradition process. I now find myself not only believing it, but haunted by the thought. Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.

The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election; a simple clarification the mainstream media appears incapable of understanding.

The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was case management; to determine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. The key points at issue were that Julian’s defence was requesting more time to prepare their evidence; and arguing that political offences were specifically excluded from the extradition treaty. There should, they argued, therefore be a preliminary hearing to determine whether the extradition treaty applied at all.

The reasons given by Assange’s defence team for more time to prepare were both compelling and startling. They had very limited access to their client in jail and had not been permitted to hand him any documents about the case until one week ago. He had also only just been given limited computer access, and all his relevant records and materials had been seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy by the US Government; he had no access to his own materials for the purpose of preparing his defence.

Furthermore, the defence argued, they were in touch with the Spanish courts about a very important and relevant legal case in Madrid which would provide vital evidence. It showed that the CIA had been directly ordering spying on Julian in the Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide security there. Crucially this included spying on privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers discussing his defence against these extradition proceedings, which had been in train in the USA since 2010. In any normal process, that fact would in itself be sufficient to have the extradition proceedings dismissed. Incidentally I learnt on Sunday that the Spanish material produced in court, which had been commissioned by the CIA, specifically includes high resolution video coverage of Julian and I discussing various matters.

The evidence to the Spanish court also included a CIA plot to kidnap Assange, which went to the US authorities’ attitude to lawfulness in his case and the treatment he might expect in the United States. Julian’s team explained that the Spanish legal process was happening now and the evidence from it would be extremely important, but it might not be finished and thus the evidence not fully validated and available in time for the current proposed timetable for the Assange extradition hearings.

Read the full article at: Craig Murray

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Who are Sultan Erdogan’s Allies in Syria?


Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighters at a training camp in Azaz, Syria. (REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

Around 25,000 Free Syrian Army rebels are joining the Turkish military operation in northern Syria with the goal of recapturing Arab towns and villages seized by the YPG Kurdish militia almost two years ago, a rebel commander said on Sunday.

Turkey, dubbing the operation it launched in northern Syria on Oct. 9 Operation Peace Spring (which also could be translated as Operation Fountain of Peace), has been reorganizing Syrian militia groups loyal to Ankara under the banner of the Syrian National Army, or Jaish al-Watani in Arabic.

The formation of the new National Army with the participation of outfits that were active at Azaz, Jarablus, al-Bab, Afrin, Idlib and Latakia was announced at a press conference in Sanliurfa on Oct. 4. According to information offered by Abdurrahman Mustafa, the Turkey-guided president of the Syrian provisional government, the new army is composed of the Free Syrian Army and groups affiliated with the National Liberation Front. This new army will operate under the provisional government’s defense ministry and its components will not be using their original names.

Groups that were under National Liberation Front, which was dominated by Islamist groups, will be incorporated into the new army under designations of 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th corps. The original National Army was organized into three corps. They will retain their organizational charts.

A statement attributed to the National Army that deployed to the field Oct. 10 declared there will be no pity for Kurdish fighters. “Hit them with iron fists, let them feel the hell of your fire,” the statement said.

The following are mentioned as components of the new National Army: Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam, Suqhur al-Sham, First Coastal Division, Liva Selam, Jaish al-Sani, Jaish al-Nasir, Free Idlib Army, Suwar al-Jazeera, 51st Brigade, Firqa Shimal, Jaish al-Ahfad, Jaish al-Sharkiyya, Firqa Mutassim, Jabhat’us Shamiyye, 5th Regiment, Liwa asl Shimal, Muntassir Billah Brigade, Festakin Kema Umirte, Jaish al-Islam, Liwa Sultan Osman, Rical el-Harb, Liwa al-Awwal Magavir, Fevc al-Mustafa, 9th Division, 23rd Division, Semerkand Brigade, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Brigade, al-Wakkas Brigade, Hamza Division, Sultan Murad Brigade, Liwa al-Fatih, Liwa Shukur al-Shimal, Ahrar al-Sharqiyye, Jaish al-Mukha, Failaq al-Sham, Sultan Suleiman Shah.

Among them, 21 previously received aid from the CIA or the Pentagon. Also, 14 have been provided TOW anti-tank missiles. This reveals a stark dilemma: The groups that were educated and equipped by the United States west of the Euphrates are now fighting against the groups east of the Euphrates that have been also educated and equipped by the United States. In other words, two US-backed groups are fighting with each other.

Read the full article at Al-Monitor

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I Fooled You All


Background image of Greta Thunberg is courtesy of Axios.com, modified by me. Click image to enlarge.

I really like her cheeky, Mona Lisa-like smile in this image.

Related: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg

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Edward Snowden on Trump, Privacy, and Threats to Democracy


On the eve of his memoir ‘Permanent Record’ being published, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden talked at length from Moscow with MSNBC’s Brian Williams in an exclusive interview. This is their discussion in its entirety, edited down slightly for clarity.

See also: Edward Snowden’s Memoirs: Permanent Record

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CrossTalk on Trump & Iran: ‘Locked and Loaded’


Again we stand on the brink of war. We should not be surprised: official Washington was quick to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi energy assets. Iran has denied involvement, while the Houthis have claimed responsibility. Will Trump take the neocon bait and set the Middle East on fire?

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About Political Correctness


Background image courtesy of Calvin University, modified by me. Click image to enlarge.

Examples of current opinions considered to be politically correct:

    • Syrian President Assad is killing his own people
    • Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons
    • Israel has a right to defend itself no matter what
    • Global Warming/Climate Change is mainly caused by human activity
    • Putin used army of Cyber Trolls to interfere in U.S. presidential election

People with different or opposing views are often ridiculed and labeled deniers, crackpots, tin foil hats, conspiracy theorists, unpatriotic, etc.

Some background information about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

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Edward Snowden’s Memoirs: Permanent Record


The man whose state surveillance revelations rocked the world speaks exclusively to the Guardian about his new life and concerns for the future

The world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, says he has detected a softening in public hostility towards him in the US over his disclosure of top-secret documents that revealed the extent of the global surveillance programmes run by American and British spy agencies.

In an exclusive two-hour interview in Moscow to mark the publication of his memoirs, Permanent Record, Snowden said dire warnings that his disclosures would cause harm had not come to pass, and even former critics now conceded “we live in a better, freer and safer world” because of his revelations.

In the book, Snowden describes in detail for the first time his background, and what led him to leak details of the secret programmes being run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s secret communication headquarters, GCHQ.

He describes the 18 years since the September 11 attacks as “a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction, with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts and secret wars”.

Snowden also said: “The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.

Read the full article at: The Guardian

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Hong Kong’s Summer of Defiance



More than three months of dramatic public protests throughout the summer of 2019 have shaken Hong Kong, bringing huge demonstrations onto the streets – on occasion numbering well over a million people – and at times escalating into violent confrontations between police and activists.

The protests began in June in response to the government’s plans to amend Hong Kong’s extradition law amid widespread fears that, if the legislation were enacted, anyone suspected of breaking the law in the territory could be sent to mainland China to face trial.

But they soon took on a broader pro-democracy theme.

Initially, the protests echoed the events of 2014 when hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers occupied key roads for 79 days in a largely peaceful show of civil disobedience that came to be known as the Umbrella Movement. But then, they took on a distinct and arguably more effective character, as this latest generation of protesters started to flex their muscles and targeted government buildings (including the Legislative Council chamber, which was briefly occupied), the airport, train stations and other key parts of Hong Kong’s infrastructure.

In doing so they also expanded their list of demands to include not just the withdrawal of the controversial bill but also the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and an investigation into police conduct and the use of force during the protests.

How all this will be resolved remains to be seen.

Despite the hardening police response, the protesters so far remain uncowed and have already won some important concessions; Lam was quickly forced to postpone the proposed extradition bill – and most recently has announced it will be retracted altogether.

Yet there is also increasing speculation about how these events have been viewed in Beijing and if, when and how the Chinese government might intervene.

Some analysts believe that the mainland authorities will be desperate to see the protests end, one way or another, before October and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

A team from People & Power has been following these events for many weeks. In a two-episode special report, filmmakers Lynn Lee and James Leong have been tracing the causes and possible consequences of Hong Kong’s Summer of Defiance.

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Erdogan: We’ll Flood Europe With Syrian Refugees Unless ‘Safe Zone’ Established


Background image courtesy of Globalo.com, modified by me. Click image to enlarge.

“We will be forced to open the gates. We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Thursday while demanding that European countries give political support to his controversial ‘safe zone’ plan in northern Syria.

Ankara is currently in tense negotiations with the United States over Erdogan’s plan to militarily carve out a large swathe of territory along the Turkish-Syrian border which would serve as a buffer zone of sorts where US-backed Kurdish militias could not operate.

Erdogan said one million refugees could settle in the new buffer territory, thus alleviating the crisis on Turkish soil, and ultimately for Europe as well.

Turkey sees the YPG core of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as a terrorist extension of the outlawed PKK. Turkey has of late vowed to carve out the proposed ‘safe’ territory on a unilateral basis if it can’t make progress with Washington.

Erdogan issued a ‘with us or against us’ ultimatum to the world on Thursday:

“You either support us to have a safe zone in Syria, or we will have to open the gates. Either you support us or no one should feel sorry!”

Read the full article at ZeroHedge

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