‘Slap at the First Amendment’ – RT America forced to register as foreign agent

RT America has been forced to register as a ‘foreign agent’ in the US. The pressure from Washington began after US intelligence claimed the channel was an instrument for meddling and manipulation in America.

RT files for registration as ‘foreign agent’ in US facing ultimatum from Washington

In September, the Justice Department demanded RT register as a foreign agent. Social media companies then began blocking its adverts on such networks as Google, YouTube, and Twitter. They did that ahead of testimony in Congress, despite having no problem with RT before that.

But why is RT facing such unprecedented pressure from the US government and what are the possible consequences of this latest move?

William Binney, NSA whistleblower:

“It is a slap at the First Amendment. We, here in America, are always proud of having free speech, meaning that we weren’t going to suppress any kind of comments by anybody, even if we didn’t like them. That was our fundamental principle… Now that is pretty much a slap in the face. If we’re going to have TV stations like RT, who are funded by the Russians [register as foreign agents], why aren’t we going to force the BBC or other TV stations that are funded by countries to register also? We have no consistency in this – except we are selectively suppressing any kind of speech. That to me is a direct violation of our First Amendment to the Constitution.”

Ray McGovern, former CIA officer:

“One thing I’d just point out that is distinctive about RT – I have to admit this, and this is this: RT has never asked me for a pre-interview interview. CBS, ABC, NBC, Al Jazeera – they all say: “Can we figure out what you’re going to say, Mr. McGovern? Would you tell us what you’re going to say?” Sometimes BBC said: “Oh, we don’t need to hear that. We have somebody else.” RT has never asked: “What’s your gloss on this? What would you say about this?” All they do is say; “Here is the link, Mr. McGovern. We know you might know something about it. Please come on.” That is distinctive. And that is why I rejoice being asked to at least to talk to the people, who are smart enough to watch RT.”

George Galloway, broadcaster, and former UK MP.

GG: It’s dark and dangerous path, and we don’t know how far that path will now go. It is the branding of journalists as agents. That is very dangerous for the safety of journalists in many hot spots and difficult parts of the world…

Al Jazeera America was broadcasting freely and openly for many years in the US, even though the political line of Al Jazeera in places like Syria, for example, was deeply controversial, to say the very least. If we’re going to brand one group of journalists and broadcasters as foreign agents then inevitably all journalists will be branded by somebody as foreign agents…

The British Prime Minister just hours ago made similar noises unexpectedly. No one was expecting the statement that she just made. But if you follow the logic of the path that many British parliamentarians are now on – Theresa May is the prime minister because of Russia after all, if Putin fixed Brexit and Brexit ditched Cameron, then Theresa May is the prime minister because of the Russians. I’ll tell you what: if that turns out to be true – I’ll for one never forgive you!

RT:Is there a concerted effort to push RT out of the US? It’s been removed from YouTube’s premium package in the US, blocked from advertising on Twitter, etc. Now, this…

GG: Despite the fact that both – Google at the Congress and the others admitted that RT and Russia have broken none of the rules on the platform, but this package has not been yet reinstated on YouTube. Yes, of course except that in the 21st century – 17 years, almost 18 years – you can’t block coverage; you can’t block people consuming coverage in the modern world, but you can make it more difficult, and that seems to be where the US and maybe even the UK is headed.

But again you see with the 21st-century psychology – the book they try to ban always goes to the top of the best sellers list. The more difficult they try to make it, the more popular RT is becoming. People wear it as a kind of badge. Maybe I should get a badge – I am a foreign agent. It might become trendy; it might well backfire on the witch hunters – the people who are doing their best to destroy the very freedom of speech and expression they claim to stand for.

Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London

Ken Livingstone: The problem is that RT broadcast news that is true that American governments don’t want people to hear. Every evening I flip backward and forwards between BBC and RT, and Sky – every television channel has some sort of reflection of its national interest – it is inevitable.

But if I think back to what I saw on American television in the 1960s and 70s about the Vietnam War – it was an appalling level of bias and all of that. What I found very helpful about RT – it is telling us much more about what is happening in a horrific war in Yemen that you ever see on Western televisions. Western governments are trying to suppress the news of what Saudi Arabia is doing.

RT: To what extent will this latest step further damage bilateral relations between Russia and the US?

KL: We had this sort of attempt to demonize Putin’s regime. We’re told endless lies about what happened in Ukraine, in Crimea, and so on. I almost never find anywhere in the Western media the truth about what happened in Ukraine and in Crimea, and what the origins in the past of all that are. Basically to understand today’s politics you really have to understand some history as well. Broadly, what you get on American television is almost like adverts, rather than a serious historical analysis.

RT:What does this move say about the state of press freedom in the US?

KL: The idea that there is a free press is nonsense. Here in Britain and certainly in America so many of the newspapers are owned by billionaires who don’t pay their tax locally, launder their money offshore – they are not really representing the American people, they are just making a lot of money themselves…I just think myself, when I was questioning the British government’s policy under Mrs. Thatcher about what they were doing in Northern Ireland – the BBC was told that I should be on their television. For about 18 months I wasn’t interviewed at all…

منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/news/409854-fara-russia-foreign-agent/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Mongolian sumo champion under investigation for beer bottle assault on fellow wrestler

Harumafuji, 33, hit compatriot Takanoiwa over the head at a party for Mongolian sumo wrestlers last month, violating the strict sumo rules that prohibit wrestlers from demonstrating their emotions in public, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

Takanoiwa, 27, was treated in hospital for concussion and a fractured skull, NHK said.

Harumafuji, one of three Mongolian ‘yokozuna’ – or sumo grand champions – apologized on Tuesday to Takanoiwa for his injuries and for “causing trouble” for Takanoiwa’s stable master Takanohana.

“As for Takanoiwa’s injuries, I apologize deeply for causing trouble for stable master Takanohana, people affiliated with the Takanohana stable, the Japan Sumo Association and my stable master,” he said, NHK reported.

Harumafuji’s stable master, Seiya Isegahama, told reporters his charge is planning to visit his victim’s stable master later on Tuesday to apologize personally.

It was reported that Harumafuji will not take part in the Grand Sumo Tournament currently underway in Fukuoka, Japan. Takanoiwa, who will reportedly spend up to two weeks in hospital, is also not on the list of the tournament competitors.

Japanese sumo officials have so far not made any comment on the incident, as they are still investigating the allegations. However, it’s known that the incident has already been reported to police.

READ MORE: Futsal coach brutally attacks elderly referee in rage over red card (SHOCKING VIDEO)

For years, non-Japanese wrestlers were prohibited from obtaining the rank of yokozuna, the highest title in sumo, until 1993.

Currently, the majority of yokozuna hail from Mongolia and Eastern Europe. A Japanese-born wrestler hasn’t reached the rank of yokozuna in over a decade.

منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/sport/409857-sumo-scandal-harumafuji-yokozuna/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

US lawmakers slam ‘unauthorized’ military aid for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

In a non-binding move, the lawmakers publicly acknowledged that the US military support for Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen, which involves sharing information and refueling warplanes, goes beyond what Congress has approved. It further explains that US forces are authorized to combat only Al-Qaeda or its affiliates as well as other terrorist groups in Yemen – but not the Houthi rebels that are targeted by the Saudis.

Congress “has not enacted specific legislation authorizing the use of military force against parties participating in the Yemeni civil war that are not otherwise subject to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force [AUMF] or the 2003 AUMF in Iraq,” the resolution says. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who co-sponsored the document with Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), also drew attention to the fact that what the US military is doing goes beyond its authorized capacity.

“What our military is not authorized to do is assist the Saudi Arabian regime in fighting the Houthis,” Khanna said, as cited by Politico. He also claimed that Washington’s aid to Saudi Arabia runs counter to its own stated goals in the region.

“In many cases, the Saudis have aligned with Al-Qaeda to fight the Houthis, undermining our very counterterrorism operations,” he said. The document itself also states that “the conflict between the Saudi-led Arab Coalition and the Houthi… alliance is counterproductive to ongoing efforts by the United States to pursue Al-Qaeda and its associated forces.”

Khanna, also a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has previously accused Washington of contributing to Saudi airstrikes “that kill civilians” and “are creating a security vacuum that allows groups like ISIS [Islamic State/IS, also ISIL] to gain a foothold.”

The resolution adopted 366-30 on Monday is, however, largely symbolic and does not call for an immediate stop to US military aid to the Saudi-led coalition. Khanna particularly criticized the US interventions in the Middle East by saying that they had not “made the United States or the world any safer.” In a Twitter post he also called on Washington to embrace “a foreign policy of restraint and diplomacy.”

Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called on lawmakers to “sunset the 2001 AUMF,” adding that the document had never been intended to be “a blank check,” Politico reports. The 2001 AUMF authorized the US president to use military force against “nations, organizations, or persons” that are considered to be in any way linked to the 9/11 attacks, to prevent further terrorist assaults on the country.

The authorization has been used numerous times to justify military action against Afghanistan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Philippines, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, according to the Congressional Research Service. 

There were calls to halt US support for the Gulf countries fighting in Yemen even before the Monday resolution. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said in June that it was “astounding what’s going on in Yemen]” with US weapons, during a debate on American arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California and a long-time advocate for the suspension of US cooperation with the Saudi-led coalition, also said earlier this year that Washington should not increase its involvement in the Yemeni civil war “without any explanation” by the president.

Since March 2015, the UN has recorded a total of 13,504 civilian casualties in Yemen, including 4,971 killed and 8,533 injured. Yemen’s conflict has also brought one of the region’s poorest countries to the brink of famine.

منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/usa/409856-us-involvement-yemen-illegal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Merkel replaced Germany’s slaughtered Jews with their ‘worst enemies’ – Karl Lagerfeld

“One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place,” designer Lagerfeld told television show ‘Salut les terriens!’ on France’s C8 channel on Saturday.

“I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said, ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust,'” he added, as quoted by AFP. The comments came after Lagerfeld warned he was about to “say something horrific” regarding Merkel’s “huge error” of accepting so many refugees into the country.

The 84-year-old, who was born in Hamburg, went on to accuse Merkel of accepting so many refugees because she was trying to improve her image.

“Merkel had already millions and millions (of immigrants) who are well integrated and who work and all is well… she had no need to take another million to improve her image as the wicked stepmother after the Greek crisis,” said the designer, who serves as head creative director for Chanel and Fendi. His comments prompted several hundred people to lodge official complaints, according to France’s media regulator, the CSA, which said it is looking into the situation.

READ MORE: Merkel ‘to blame for AfD existence’ & will be challenged by new reality – analysts to RT

Around 1 million mainly Muslim migrants – most of them from war-torn Syria – are estimated to have entered Germany since 2015, as part of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Merkel has been criticized both domestically and abroad for her open-door policy for those fleeing war and persecution, with critics citing strains on the social welfare system and a rise in migrant-related crimes.

However, Merkel’s CDU party and its Bavarian SCU sister party agreed in October to cap Germany’s intake of asylum seekers at 200,000 a year. That number could be increased or lowered by the Bundestag in exceptional circumstances, Der Spiegel reported at the time, citing a draft paper.

منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/news/409851-germany-refugees-merkel-lagerfeld/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Parents of ‘Jihadi Jack’ say Foreign Office is ‘completely obstructing’ efforts to bring son home

John Letts and Sally Lane, who live in Oxford, said the Foreign Office, along with Minister Boris Johnson, have done nothing to help free their 22-year-old son, who they claim struggles with mental-health issues.

Johnson is already under fire and facing calls to resign after making inaccurate remarks about a British mother detained in Iran, which could potentially add a further five years to her prison sentence. During a Commons hearing at the beginning of the month, Johnson suggested journalist Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in Iran training journalists when she was arrested in 2016.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is currently serving a five-year sentence accused of attempting to overthrow the regime, insists she was in the country to introduce her then-18-month-old child to her Iranian relatives. The woman’s employer claims she is now facing new accusations of “spreading propaganda against the regime” as a direct result of Johnson’s remarks. He was forced to apologize for his comments, and stressed that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had only been there on holiday.

The embattled foreign secretary is now accused of failing the family of Jack Letts, dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’ by British media. Letts is being held in prison by Kurds in Rojava, a self-declared autonomous region in northern Syria. He was captured by the Kurds in the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) stronghold of Raqqa, Syria in 2015. Letts’ parents say their son was brought there after being injured in a bomb blast.

Letts had travelled to Syria at the age of 18. He had dropped out of school two years earlier and converted to Islam. “The Foreign Office have been completely obstructive. We have been sent four identical letters saying that they can’t do anything,” his mother said.

The parents said they first made contact with their son last month after not hearing from him since July. “We managed to find the contact details from the prison where Jack is being held from an Amnesty report,” Lane said.

“It seems absurd that we, as ordinary individuals, who don’t have any of the machinery of government to help us, can establish our own contacts with Kurdish officials, and the government itself [is] unable to do so.”

The parents condemned comments made by Foreign Office Minister Rory Stewart that all UK nationals fighting with IS in Syria should be killed there rather than be allowed to return home.

“Surely this is illegal. In a democratic system in this country, you don’t have the death penalty and you can’t just go and kill anyone if you think they’re guilty,” Letts’ father, John, said. “We’re outraged, and everyone decent should be outraged, by Rory Stewart.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “The safety and security of our country, our people and our communities remains the government’s number one priority. For that reason, we have consistently made clear over the last few years that people should not travel to Syria and parts of Iraq.

“As outlined in the FCO’s travel advice, the government is unable to provide support to British nationals in Syria as the UK government does not have consular representation there.”

منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/uk/409849-jihadi-jack-parents-isis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Military sees Bosnia progress in NATO bid

Bosnia meets the military conditions needed to take the next step towards its eventual goal of NATO membership, the head of the alliance’s military committee said on Tuesday. However, it remains unclear whether it can satisfy the political requirements, Reuters quoted Petr Pavel, a Czech army general, as saying. He said that the decision to give Bosnia the green light on activating its Membership Action Plan would be a political one. Bosnia must first complete full registration of all military assets in its two constituent, ethnically-based regions, the Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Serb Republic.

منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/newsline/409855-nato-bosnia-military-progress/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS