Forging a Counterfeit Reality: News from Skripal, Facebook and Forced NFL Patriotism

While making this video I discovered the Guardian editing Yulia Skripal’s new statement video to cut out the part where she thanks the Russian embassy for their offer of assistance. The task of forging a counterfeit reality just never stops with these people.

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Urges Congress to Oppose Authorization for War Against Iran

A New Flotilla Steams Towards Gaza

by Elizabeth Murray from Consortium News

“Islands Bruegge,” an idyllic harbor park that stretches along the east bank of Copenhagen, was alive with a celebratory crowd on Monday as three ships were about to steam towards Gaza. The 2018 Freedom Flotilla—two ships from Sweden and one from Norway — will call at ports in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy before traveling through the Mediterranean Sea to its final destination: Gaza harbor.

Volunteer boat guides explained the history and mission of the Gaza Flotilla movement, which has organized a number of journeys to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Gaza and break the illegal economic siege. An independent U.N. panel and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) say the blockade violates the Geneva Conventions and is illegal.

Israel dragged the last Israeli settlers from Gaza and withdrew the Israeli Defense Force in 2005. When the Palestinian Authority lost a 2006 election in Gaza to Hamas, Israel imposed the illegal blockade. A considerable number of young Danish people learned about Gaza for the first time and walked away with new political awareness of the injustices suffered by Gaza’s children, who are denied the same carefree life enjoyed by Danish children.

The upbeat music and offerings of traditional Palestinian falafel wraps washed down with Danish beer created a festive atmosphere at the Freedom Flotilla tent Passerby lined up to buy ‘Boat to Gaza’ T-shirts, Palestinian kaffiyehs (traditional checkered scarves) while a Palestinian musician strummed the oud (traditional Palestinian lute) and sang a song of sentimental love for his Palestinian homeland. A local Palestinian man danced and waved the Palestinian flag while the crowd clapped along…

[read more here]

US Supreme Court eliminates workers’ right to collectively sue corporations

by Eric London from WSWS

The United States Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis eliminates the right of tens of millions of workers to bring class action lawsuits against their employers. With the bang of a gavel, the Supreme Court has effectively stripped workers of their legal rights and guaranteed the flow of even greater fortunes to the corporate and financial oligarchy, which controls America’s legal and political system.

The majority opinion, written by Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch, upholds the legality of mandatory arbitration clauses that bar workers from filing lawsuits. This locks the courtroom doors for coal miners suffering from black lung, construction workers with mesothelioma, fast food workers cheated of overtime pay, farmworkers denied the minimum wage, waitresses sexually harassed by their bosses, and countless other workers suffering forms of workplace abuse and exploitation. It announces “open season” for intensified corporate exploitation at tens of thousands of workplaces across the country.

The decision revives the legal doctrine of the Gilded Age elaborated by the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision Lochner v. New York, which overturned a state law limiting the workday to 10 hours on the absurd grounds that the regulations violated workers’ “right” to work as long as they want. In reality, that ruling safeguarded the power of corporations to exploit workers without recourse.

Today’s Supreme Court followed a similar logic, justifying its decision to eliminate workers’ right to sue with the lie that workers are always free to negotiate better contracts with their corporate bosses.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly 60 million workers—56 percent of all private-sector nonunion workers—now no longer have access to the courts. Arbitration is a sham process set up by the corporations to deprive workers of even the minimal protections afforded by the courts and to spare businesses the cost of litigation.

Arbitration forces workers to take their grievances to a private tribunal. Sixty percent of all arbitrators are lawyers who formerly represented corporations. Arbitrators develop corrupt relationships with corporate lawyers who regularly appear before their tribunals and almost always rule against workers. Due process is severely limited as the rules of the arbitration are written by the corporations themselves.

According to a 2015 study, workers prevail in only 20 percent of all claims brought to arbitration and win an average of just $23,548. By comparison, workers win 57 percent of cases in state court, with an average compensation of $328,008…

[read more here]

Seoul Court Sentences Ex-Intelligence Chief to Imprisonment – Reports

(Turns out, in South Korea, if you do what our CIA and FBI did in 2016 to spy on and try to derail opposition candidates in an election… you go to JAIL. Gee… I wonder if that will happen here in the Shining City on the Hill?)

from Sputnik International

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced on Wednesday former chief of the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), Nam Jae-joon, to a three-and-a-half-year jail term for abusing power, Yonhap reported.

Nam was accused of attempts to hinder the investigation into political manipulations spearheaded by the NIS against the opponents of then-South Korean president Park Geun-hye, who was impeached following a political scandal in December 2016, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Thus, prosecutors insisted that Nam’s agency tried to sway public opinion in favor of Park’s government through cyberoperations on the Internet, the news outlet specified…

[read more here]

Iran, Russia, China, EU ‘Will Work to Salvage Nuclear Deal’

from TeleSUR

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has backed efforts to salvage the deal since the United States announced its withdrawal.

Following meetings with top European Union representatives, as well as officials in China and Russia, Iran‘s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is confident that the nuclear deal can be salvaged.

Posting on Twitter, Zarif said: “Constructive meeting with EU High Rep & E3 ministers in Brussels, following successful Beijing & Moscow visits. Positive start with solid political commitments. All agreed that much remains to be done in coming weeks to practically guarantee economic benefits for Iranian people.”

EU leaders agreed to work with Iran to try to salvage the deal, but no immediate decisions were made.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said: “As long as Iran respects the provisions of the deal, the EU will also respect it.”

Not witholding sharp remarks regarding Trump’s decision, Tusk told reporters: “Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think: ‘With friends like that, who needs enemies?'”…

[read more here]

US anti-Iran sanctions will further endanger Mideast: French FM

from Press TV

France has criticized the US for scrapping the Iran nuclear deal and resorting, instead, to a policy of pressure and sanctions against the country, warning that such an approach could further destabilize the restive Middle East region.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter radio on Wednesday that he disagreed with Washington’s decision earlier this month to defy international warnings and withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal.

“The sanctions to be launched against Iran will not foster dialogue,” but will rather weaken those promoting negotiation, he said.

This stance, he added, “is likely to put the region in further danger than it is today,” he added.

The remarks came two days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened Iran with the “strongest sanctions in history” if it does not comply with a list of 12 US demands.

The list requires Iran to halt its ballistic missile program and stop uranium enrichment, among other things…

[read more here]