Thursday 20th of June 2019

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 10:47

muti

Italian actress Ornella Muti has been told she could go to jail if she fails to pay damages for cancelling tour dates to attend a dinner with Russia's Vladimir Putin and actor Kevin Costner.

Muti had been due to perform on stage in December 2010, but called in sick for three nights and flew to St Petersburg to attend the charity gala.

Now Italy's top appeal court has upheld her conviction for attempted fraud.

The actress has said in the past she is unable to pay the theatre damages.

The Supreme Court of Cassation confirmed on Thursday her six-month suspended jail term as well as a €500 (£445; $560) fine and €30,000 in compensation to the Verdi theatre in Pordenone, in north-eastern Italy.

Her conviction for attempted fraud stems from a sick note she gave the theatre that said she was suffering from acute inflammation of the trachea, with a fever, a cough and a hoarse voice. 

The medical certificate recommended five days of rest and reports said she then travelled to the Russian charity gala to which President Putin had invited her some time before.


...

Ornella Muti, 64, is known outside Italy for films such as Flash Gordon and Oscar and continues to feature on screen and stage in Italy.

Italian media said she had 30 days to pay the compensation before the court took further action.

At the original trial in 2015, the actress said she did not have the funds to pay up.

Two years later she and her family were evicted from her home in Rome over €80,000 in arrears to an estate agency, Italian media report.

Muti has told Russian media in the past that she has a flat in Moscow and would like Russian citizenship.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48635599

 

So what's this "story" doing in this line of comments about the French actor peeing in an aeroplane? (read at top)... Well, both of these actors "love" Russia. Wow! Second, Muti and Depardieu played together in the famous series "The Count of Monte Cristo"... Third, who in their right mind would refuse dinner with Vladimir?

Why not send the bill for the fine and court case to the KGB (or the new equivalent, the GRU, though more obviously bumbling these days by employing dorks as spies)...

 

I don't think I mentioned this anywhere here: Toon at top by Gus Leoniksy...

 

 

MEANWHILE:

LONDON — European authorities Friday blamed Russia for a misinformation campaign designed to depress voter turnout in last month’s European Union elections and warned that new rules might be needed to force internet platforms to do more to stop the spread of false news.

A preliminary review of the parliamentary elections by the European Commission and the bloc’s foreign policy and security arm found an effort by Russian-linked groups and other nonstate actors to undermine credibility in the European Union through social media. The initiative tried to spread misinformation about divisive topics such as immigration and major events like the cause of the Notre-Dame fire in Paris.

“The evidence collected revealed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russian sources aiming to suppress turnout and influence voter preferences,” the report said. “There was a consistent trend of malicious actors using disinformation to promote extreme views and polarize local debates, including through unfounded attacks on the E.U.”

European officials did not provide details about what groups in Russia or elsewhere were behind the campaigns. The report also stopped short of assessing whether the efforts had an impact on how people voted, although turnout in the elections reached a 25-year high. Instead, the report largely cited the findings of outside researchers who had been tracking the European elections.

Independent investigators had warned that the region remained vulnerable to misinformation campaigns ahead of last month’s vote. Reports highlighted efforts by Russia-linked groups and those in favor of far-right policies to use Facebook and Twitter to spread false information and exaggerate political divisions.

Facebook blocked more than 1,700 pages, groups and accounts engaged in inauthentic behavior targeting European Union countries during the first three months of 2019, the report said. Voters in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain were among those targeted.

 

read more:

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/russia-sought-to-use-social-media-to-influence-eu-vote-report-finds/

 

amori perduti...

 

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 10:10

Earlier, US President Donald Trump accused Iran of attacking tankers sailing through the Gulf of Oman, claiming that a video released by the US military provides proof of it. Tehran has denied all the accusations and called on the US to stop carrying out false flag operations in the region.

Yutaka Katada, the president of the Japanese company operating the Kokuka Courageous tanker, which was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman damaging its hull, has refuted the US version of events in comments to the Japanese media, saying that the ship's crew saw a flying object ahead of the blast.

"I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship", Katada said.

The testimonies of the Kokuka Courageous crew, cited by Katada, come as a blow to US claims that Iran was responsible for the incident - accusations allegedly supported by a video. The footage, released by CENTCOM, purportedly shows how an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat approached one of the ships and removed an unexploded mine from its hull.

Iran has denied involvement in the "attack" on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman, slamming the US and its allies for trying to shift the blame onto the Islamic Republic. What is more, Iranian vessels have evacuated 44 crew members from the ships and taken them to the port of Jask until the tankers are determined to be safe.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201906141075878300-Oil-Tanker-Operator-US-Version/

 

Note: some of the personnel in the old toon at top have already been erased out of history or turned into a footnote or a pumpkin, but the spirit of the toon still holds...

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 09:41

murdoch media

 

Via fake "freedom of speech" articles, the Murdoch media has for a long time been attacking the universities for not being in love with the "Western superiority" mantra. The Ramsay Centre for a blow job inflation of the worth of Western civilisation curriculum is being resisted by Unis as it should be, but the Murdoch media is still stirring the possum with underhanded demands — through their own slanted and lacking-freedom of biased speech platform themselves. Nothing new.

 

Australian universities are already giving many courses on the full-worth of "Western civilisation" by their existing courses in economics and many other subjects — and they do not really restrict "freedom of expression". Universities tend to manage silly, stupid, ignorant and dangerous points of views which would take away valuable educational time in creating the accountants of the future.

 

Of course, Political Correctness has interfered with the rights of rabid right loonies, unchecked ruthless capitalists, fascists and nazis — preventing them somehow to trod upon other people — especially those with a bid more acceptance in their width of other points of views or those who are less fortunate — with insults, death threats, dirty army boots and spit... Of course, some of the other side are also pushing shit. Unis balance the crap as they should.

 

Looking at both ends of the barrel of guns (see image at top, which was specially taken at arm-length on tiptoe by Gus, to get the bore, exactly in line, of a barrel more than three metres long, successful shot after about eleven blind attempts, considering the gun was about three metres above ground and inaccessible being behind barbed wire — like much of our philosophical discourse — in the said barrel of which a little bird possibly representing peace and nature had made a hideout at the exit end) has always been a university pHd pass time, but the Murdoch media wants more unequal slant towards rabid chess-beating conservatism and less towards egalitarianism management of social issues. PHEW... 

 

"The user pays and if you can't pay, you should not be alive" is the motto of capitalism — as strongly supported by the Murdoch media, which resents people on welfare and prefer them in slavery, or dead, as the order of social status.

 

So until the Murdoch media starts to have articles designed to acknowledge the serious sciences of global warming in ernest, start exploring the concept of social equality without denigration, start to love windmills and solar panels, while understanding that the usage of fossil fuels is destroying the planet, then the Murdoch media can SOD OFF itself on the issue of "freedom of speech". 

 

Janet Albrechtsen, for example, has been a silly regular troll of many issues and has been proven wrong many times here. But she still pushes on like a two-bob wooden cuckoo clock run over by a bus.

 

Go away. Read from top.

 

Please note the quote marks around the word "fail" in the Murdoch media article... hence "freedom" in the title of this comment...

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 09:37
The attempt to extradite WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange from the UK to the US is not only about locking up the Australian, but about “shutting down dissent” and “investigative journalism,” claims journalist John Pilger.

Speaking outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Friday following the decision to open a new, full US extradition hearing in February 2020, Pilger insisted that the motivation of the American authorities in pursuing Assange was clear to see.

... [It] is quite clear that on a wider level this is an attempt to shut down WikiLeaks and put Assange away, but it’s also about shutting down dissent. It’s mainly about shutting down investigative journalism.

The Australian journalist suggested that other reporters in the UK and around the world were reluctant to show solidarity with Assange due to a “certain anxiety” that they may also be targeted for their investigative journalism.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/461865-pilger-assange-us-extradition/

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 09:34

President Trump insisted Friday that Queen Elizabeth II had more yucks with him during his state visit to the UK than she’s had in more than two decades.

“I have such a great relationship, and we were laughing and having fun. And her people said she hasn’t had so much fun in 25 years. Then I got criticized for it because they said we were having too much fun,” Trump told “Fox & Friends.”

Trump spent time with the 93-year-old monarch during his visit, touring Westminster Abbey and dining at Buckingham Palace.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told CNN that Trump’s claim was “not something we would comment on.”

 

Read more:

https://nypost.com/2019/06/14/trump-says-his-uk-visit-was-the-most-fun-queen-had-in-25-years/

 

The picture at top shows the queen rolling in the aisles with laughter...

 

 

Read from top.

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 09:26

Back in 1995, NASA researchers gave spiders drugs to see what effect they would have on how well the creatures spin their webs. After all, what better way for space researchers to spend their time?

In April 1995, an article in NASA Tech Briefs described how researchers at the US space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama gave spiders different drugs, from caffeine to marijuana, to study the effect the substances had on how well they spin their webs. While the results produced a startling visual aid to complement the Reagan-era Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program’s “just say no” message, scientists say it’s a mistake to directly translate the effects substances have on spider brains to how they’ll affect human brains.

https://sputniknews.com/science/201906141075879696-nasa-spider-study-stirred-shady-stimulant-suppositions-photo/

drugged

See: 

crazy spider web...

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 09:19

SPOILER ALERT: if you don't want to know the truth behind Martin Scorsese's new film, stop reading now.

Anyone who says Bob Dylan hasn't got a sense of humour can't have watched his new movie, Rolling Thunder Revue, directed by Martin Scorsese.

At the Sydney Film Festival audiences were laughing out loud at the characters, the storyline and the revelatory details contained in many of the scenes. 

The complicating factor in all this is very simple: some of the characters and quite a few of the stories are completely fictitious. 

Only the director and Dylan know exactly what's what, and the question is, does it really matter?

The background you need to know

First up there are a few things you need to know that, to the best of my knowledge, are true. 

In 1975, when Dylan set out on the Rolling Thunder tour, his marriage was on the rocks. 

Secondly, he'd just released one of his greatest albums, Blood on the Tracks (inspired in part by the break-up). 

Thirdly, he was brassed off with the idea of playing to big crowds, in big arenas, and he wanted to re-connect with his audience.

His answer to all this was to take to the road creating a travelling show like a carnival. To do that he gathered a troupe of musicians and artists including Joni Mitchell, Allen Ginsberg, Joan Baez and actor Sam Shepard, along with a first-rate band.

It was in many ways a promotor's nightmare. Lots of people, lots of venues and smaller audiences. But as Bob makes clear in the new film, you don't measure success by profit. 

Just to add spice to the undertaking, he shot the whole proceedings with a view to making a movie called Renaldo and Clara which, at its heart, was about multiple personalities and illusion.

So the film is a documentary, right?

Jump forward 44 years and now we are presented with the documentary version of the tour. 

Or are we? 

Early on, we are told the reason we have all the footage is that filmmaker Stefan van Dorp was contracted, way back then, to make a film about the tour in the style of a series of silent movie scenes — but it was never finished.

This of course is a total fabrication. The man being interviewed is actor Martin von Haselberg, who as it happens is married to singer and actress Bette Midler. 

It may be an illusion, but van Dorp's relationship with Dylan becomes a running joke in the documentary, culminating in a scene where the fictitious documentary-maker's voice asks Dylan for a quick interview and Dylan says "are you still here?". 

At this point the audience at the film festival erupts in horrified laughter, not because it's a joke but because we think Dylan's dismissal is real.

The truth and lies keep on coming. The fun part is working out what's what.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-15/martin-scorsese-bob-dylan-rolling-thunder-revue-netflix/11208926

 

Read from top.

 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 06:39

It seems like Boris Johnson, who has launched his political campaign to replace outgoing Theresa May as the UK prime minister, has more in common with US President Donald Trump than one might think – and it’s not just their trademark hair-do. 

Despite all scandals surrounding the gaffe-prone former UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson has topped the first ballot in the Tory leadership contest.

The bookies’ favourite, who’s been publicly backed by Donald Trump, once an outsider within his own party as well, has been consistently compared to the US President, and here’s why.

Basically No One Believed in Them

Back in 2016, American Republicans launched a Never Trump movement to prevent the real estate mogul from being nominated for the presidential election, while today Tories are trying to push the “Anyone But Boris” campaign to stop ex-London mayor from becoming the UK’s next prime minister.

...

Naughty by Nature?

The transatlantic twins – or cousins – have both been embroiled in cheating allegations: Trump has repeatedly been accused of sexual misconduct and having occasional flings while being married to FLOTUS Melania – something which he strongly denied, whereas Johnson found himself at the epicentre of a family scandal last year after British media claimed that he was being unfaithful to his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler.

And while Trump’s marriage stays afloat, Johnson is now an eligible bachelor – his spouse voted Leave.

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/world/201906141075874411-four-similarities-boris-johnson-donald-trump-share/

 

 

Read from top.

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2019-06-15 06:12

 

Ivan Golunov vs. Julian Assange: A Quest for Journalistic Solidarity

 

Denis Churilov

 

A Russian investigative journalist, Ivan Golunov, who has been writing primarily about corruption within the government, got arrested earlier this month on drug charges in Moscow.

The circumstances of his arrest and the pieces of information released to the public were dubious, to say the least, so the Russian public backlashed at the government. We saw a mass uproar on social media AND the mainstream media (even my apolitical Russian friends have been sending me links related to the story). 

Three major Russian newspapers, KommersantRBK, and Vedomosti, came out with identical front pages in his support, saying “I/We Are Ivan Golunov”.

Virtually all journalistic community rallied behind him. TV-news personas, such as Irada Zeynalova of NTV (a federal channel that has a reputation of being blatantly pro-government), were making statements on air in end-of-the-week news programs, saying that Golunov’s case is a “test for all of us”.

Multiple marches, both sanctioned and unsanctioned, with people demanding Golunov’s release, were planned for Russia Day and the following weekend. 

Within mere days, the MVD (Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs) dropped charges against Golunov, citing insufficient evidence.

Regional MVD directors who sanctioned the arrest are now being sacked from their positions.  An investigation is being launched. 

Further, Russians are now having a nation-wide debate about the need for the MVD reform, particularly regarding the way the authorities handle drug-related offences.

Interestingly, some of the pro-government publicists who are employed by the state-funded entities such as VGTRK have come out with an official apology, saying that they were wrong to smear him and that they feel ashamed of what they were initially saying about his drug charges.

Ivan Golunov was arrested on June 6.  It took less than a week for the Russian journalistic community to gain enough support for their colleague and to create enough public resonance for the higher authorities to pay attention to the case.  Golunov was released on June 11.

Now, tell me again how all Russian media is state-controlled, and how Western media is free. Does the name Julian Assange ring a bell at all? 

There was no outcry in the Western mainstream media when Assange was forcefully dragged out from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in April this year. 

In fact, nobody seemed to care that much. The only available footage of his arrest, the footage that the other media outlets have ended up licencing, was shot by RT crew.  No other media outlets were present at the scene when the arrest happened, even though everyone was expecting it to happen for days by then.

There were very few voices in the mainstream media rallying behind Assange. The dominant majority of the coverage ranged from indifferent to outright smear, getting as bad as saying that Assange got what he deserved“, with the authors trying to convince their audience not to fall for his “phony pleas for sympathy, his megalomania,”> and his “promiscuity with the facts” (sic!).

That says a lot about the current state of the Western mainstream media, doesn’t it?

Going back to Golunov case, there are still a few questions to be answered.  We don’t have all the information at this stage, and there are numerous rumours, speculations and conspiracy theories that you can find in the Russian blogosphere at the moment, suggesting that there are different cliques within the Russian power groups who are trying to compromise each other informationally by setting up such incidents that cause public uproar. 

I wouldn’t be able to comment on those as, again, we lack verifiable information, but it is just that the Golunov arrest (he is employed by Meduza, by the way, a Latvian based Russian opposition media outlet funded, among others, by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian oligarch in exile and a long-time Putin’s antagonist) strangely coincided with the opening of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2019, and it happened exactly two weeks prior Putin’s annual Direct Line Q&A event.  But it could be just a coincidence, and, judging by everything we know so far, it was, indeed, a case of routine corruption within the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry.

Either way, since the precedent has been set and Golunov is now making international headlines, I advise you to look into the case of Kirill Vyshinsky, a Ukrainian journalist who was working for Russia’s RIA Novosti in Ukraine and who has been in custody in Kiev for over a year now on the charges of…treason.

Or maybe you should look into names such as Oles Buzina, a Ukrainian opposition journalist who was murdered in 2015 by two members of the C14 neo-nazi group who still walk free, or Oleg Kalashnikov, or the dozens of other journalists and political activists who have been either assassinated or repressed in Ukraine since the 2014 Euromaidan regime change.

If you get your information exclusively from the Western mainstream media, the chances are that you’ve never heard of those cases, because the current Kiev government is pro-US, so it is okay with the, so-called, “international community”.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/06/14/ivan-golunov-vs-julain-assange-a-quest-for-journalistic-solidarity/

 

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Read also:

 

A LARGE TROVE of documents furnished exclusively to The Intercept Brasil reveals serious ethical violations and legally prohibited collaboration between the judge and prosecutors who last year convicted and imprisoned former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges — a conviction that resulted in Lula being barred from the 2018 presidential election. These materials also contain evidence that the prosecution had serious doubts about whether there was sufficient evidence to establish Lula’s guilt.

 

https://theintercept.com/2019/06/09/brazil-lula-operation-car-wash-sergio-moro/

 

 

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The UK’s decision to extradite WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to the US should be taken as a warning to all liberals who still have any faith in ‘American liberal democracy,’ says cultural philosopher Slavoj Zizek. 

The Slovenian sociologist told RT that signing of the extradition order is just one of two recent events that really worry him. The other “ominous” event was the Ecuadorian government’s invitation to US authorities to take possession of Assange’s property from its London embassy when he was taken to prison, including book manuscripts, computers and other personal possessions.

“The nightmare is that the accuser was directly invited to take possession of all these documents. This breaks even the elementary the norms of legality,” Zizek explained.

“The message is, ‘Yes, we will be brutal beyond measure.’”

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/uk/461862-zizek-assange-extradition-brutality/

 

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The US has accused Iran of detaining the crew of one of two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman this week, as the UK also joined in formally blaming the country saying no other nation or group “could plausibly be responsible”.

Washington claims Iran is behind a succession of recent shipping attacks in the Gulf. It said grainy video published on the US Central Command’s website provided evidence of Iran’s involvement in Thursday’s attacks. The footage purportedly shows an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the vessels.

Donald Trump said the attacks had “Iran written all over it”, while US defence officials claimed the mainly Russian crew of one of the ships, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, had been detained.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/14/us-accuses-iran-of-detaining-crew-after-oil-tanker-attack

 

------------------------- But:

 

Earlier, US President Donald Trump accused Iran of attacking tankers sailing through the Gulf of Oman, claiming that a video released by the US military provides proof of it. Tehran has denied all the accusations and called on the US to stop carrying out false flag operations in the region.

Yutaka Katada, the president of the Japanese company operating the Kokuka Courageous tanker, which was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman damaging its hull, has refuted the US version of events in comments to the Japanese media, saying that the ship's crew saw a flying object ahead of the blast.

"I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship", Katada said.

The testimonies of the Kokuka Courageous crew, cited by Katada, come as a blow to US claims that Iran was responsible for the incident - accusations allegedly supported by a video. The footage, released by CENTCOM, purportedly shows how an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat approached one of the ships and removed an unexploded mine from its hull.

Iran has denied involvement in the "attack" on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman, slamming the US and its allies for trying to shift the blame onto the Islamic Republic. What is more, Iranian vessels have evacuated 44 crew members from the ships and taken them to the port of Jask until the tankers are determined to be safe.

 

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201906141075878300-Oil-Tanker-Operator-US-Version/

 

 

 

Another Skripal event?...

 

Read from top: telling (religious and political) stories that have nothing to do with reality.

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-06-14 21:05

Two months after the fire that ravaged the cathedral, the vault of Notre-Dame de Paris is still threatening to collapse, said Friday, June 14, the French Culture Minister, Franck Riester . "Notre Dame is still today in a fragile state, especially at the level of the vault, which has not yet been secured," he said on France 2. "It can always collapse. "

The frame, dating from the Middle Ages, and the spire erected in the nineteenth century went up in smoke in the disaster — a priori an accident — on April 15. The walls, on the other hand, remained upright. "The whole area around Notre Dame has been secured, propped up, fretted, a number of stained glass windows have been removed to protect them, restore them, security measures have been taken on the various gables," added the Minister of Culture, but the vault remains "the most fragile part".

 

Read more:

https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2019/06/14/la-cathedrale-notre-dame-de-paris-reste-fragile_5476106_3224.html

 

Trans by Jules L. Read from top